Every day, it seems as though we are inundated with an endless stream of content swearing to teach us the secrets to success, wealth, and happiness. Thought leadership is the flavor of the year, and rightfully so. The Edelman 2021 B2B Leadership Impact Study found that 42% of B2B buyers were influenced by thought leadership content. This is far too impressive to be ignored as we move into 2022.
However, with the buzz and hype surrounding thought leadership, so too do we see a lack of direction and strategy, with broken thought leadership programs being launched without any hope for true impact. This is content completely divorced from purpose – it is content for the sake of content rather than for serving its intended audience.
A great thought leadership strategy should be designed like a seamless engine of precise messaging, structured to create the widest possible impact on the desired audience.
So, how do we do that?
As I wrote previously, the reason thought leadership exists in the first place is to use one’s unique knowledge, mindset, and experience to impact the dialogue on a large scale, often through leveraging social media, press, and authorship. In today’s world of “more, more, more,” we can lose sight of this. Thought leadership can no longer be a disorganized and disjointed screaming match.
A strategy for thought leadership in 2022
An effective thought leadership strategy in 2022 will integrate a wide range of topics and multiple executives from across your company, showing how each piece supports the others to complete the whole puzzle. It will be organized and forward-thinking. And, most importantly, it will be deeply rooted in purpose.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re in luck. With our Executive Leadership Branding program, I created a precise strategy that I will outline here – because I am a great guy.
Let’s start with some questions.
1. What is the purpose of your thought leadership strategy?
Before you create any content, you need to get extreme clarity on the purpose behind your thought leadership. What do you want to accomplish? Who is your audience? What problems do they have that you can solve? And how can your messaging help them solve these problems?
“The reason thought leadership exists in the first place is to use one’s unique knowledge, mindset, and experience to impact the dialogue on a large scale.”
2. How are the key pillars of your brand interconnected?
A successful strategy will codify and integrate the key expertise needed to accomplish your purpose as defined in step one. What are the distinct pillars of your brand, and how does each pillar work together to support the organism as a whole?
Every great organization is built by a team. To only feature one pillar of your brand in your thought leadership is to rob your audience of global understanding.
3. Who are the key executives?
Identify the executives who have the deepest knowledge in each pillar and place them at the forefront of your strategy. Be sure to connect each team member, too – it will only benefit your strategy to have the executives building off of and leveraging each other’s content.
4. How are you going to organize your content?
It is vital to organize your thought leadership strategy into a legible and forward-thinking content calendar. Content released without strategy and structure will fail to adequately tell the story of your brand and/or business. Create a roadmap for your readers to follow over time that will help them grow and achieve their goals.
5. How is your audience going to find your work?
In 2022, we can no longer rely on a finicky algorithm to bring our content to new eyes. We have to put ourselves in the driver’s seat. Set up an online home for all your content to live in that is highly searchable and easily accessible to all users.
Rise above the noise of our oversaturated online world, and get specific about your thought leadership. Come back to your purpose, and take the time to go through the questions above. The route to a successful thought leadership strategy in 2022 here.