Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute recently took companies to task in an assessment of branded content that he published on LinkedIn. “The majority of content produced by brands through blog posts, enewsletters, social media posts, print magazines and webinars is flat out awful,” he wrote, noting that nine out of 10 companies produce content like media companies to attract and retain customers. He indicated that one of the problems with branded content is that the vast majority of brands lack an actual strategy. Enter Dr. Liz Alexander and Craig Badings of Leading Thought, who have published a new online course to help brands get grounded in a form of content marketing known as thought leadership, or the creation of ideas that advance the state of the art in any given field. And I’m happy to report that Liz and Craig devoted a chapter of the curriculum the thought leadership strategy I created for digital agency iCrossing (where I managed thought leadership, social media, and influencer outreach for more than two years). My key take-away for Liz and Craig: an effective thought leadership strategy must flow from the needs of your own brand.
The contents of my interview with Craig, conducted earlier in 2013, are available for purchase as part of the course, which also includes insights from the likes of thought leader Jeff Bullas. However, I’ve been granted permission to cite a few of the highlights of my interview. Here are three questions you should always ask when you create a thought leadership strategy, based on my experiences at iCrossing and the ideas I shared with Craig:
1. What does your brand stand for?
You can create interesting thought leadership if you don’t understand your brand — but your ideas will be off topic, off tone, and off strategy, thus confusing your audience rather than attracting potential clients. That’s why it’s essential that you connect your thought leadership to your brand personality, messages, and Continue reading