Fact: Thought leadership comes in all shapes and sizes.
However, where writing thought leadership content can be a rewarding endeavor – both personally and professionally – generating relevant topics may, at first, seem elusive. If your creative muse needs a little prodding, consider the following:
1. Let your knowledge or passions guide you.
Thought leadership content is most valuable when coming from an expert on any given subject. When looking for creative inspiration, consider your passions or even your hobbies. What is your area of expertise? Perhaps you have a keen understanding of musical composition, which has helped increase your sense of discipline. Maybe you know how to install crown molding like a pro. Write an instructional article on what you do best. There are others that desire to know what you know.
2. Write about your current interests.
No doubt, there are many things that you are likely interested in. Have you researched a particular subject lately? Are you fascinated by what the next workforce generation will look like or what kinds of jobs will emerge? Why not write a 600-word article summarizing your opinion on what that could look like? If it is something that interests you, chances are, it is something that will interest others.
3. Consider current events or timely news.
Google is an excellent resource for both trends and news. Google Trends highlights what search phrases are at peak volume and shows you what people are searching for today. Alternatively, Google News is a great go-to for understanding timely coverage of what’s being published. If you see something you like, use it as inspiration to provide your supplemental perspective, whether you agree or disagree (i.e., what we can learn from a brand under fire or a recent cyber attack).
Knowing what people want can yield topics with great marketability — a quality your writing should possess.
4. Poll the audience (literally).
This is something I haven’t done as much, but I would like to. You’ve worked hard building your network – so why not leverage it and poll the audience?
In the literal sense, LinkedIn allows members to create a poll – here’s one I did on thought leadership pain points — which can then serve as inspiration for an article addressing the poll’s responses. A great place to start is doing a poll on understanding your current industry’s perspective on outlook or pain points.
5. A thought leadership shortcut.
If you really don’t want to commit to crafting something from scratch, I have an “easier” button that I like to use to source ideas. I love posting bite-sized status updates on LinkedIn that cover the innovation spectrum. At night, I’ll scroll through Reddit, and if I see something interesting, I’ll save it and post it to LinkedIn with a few sentences.
Example Status Update: Drones playing catch
At the end of the day, thought leadership requires action and consistency, regardless of the form it takes. Start taking the steps to establish and cultivate your footprint as a thought leader.