The All-Too-Obvious Fundamentals of Thought Leadership — Part I

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The term “thought leadership” is thrown around so often these days it may be in danger of becoming just another meaningless entry in the business jargon lexicon, like “synergy” or “paradigm shift.” That would be unfortunate, because there are significant benefits for an organization that can effectively build and maintain a status as a thought leader.

From a marketing perspective, thought leadership is an opportunity to highlight talent and expertise, providing additional depth and perspective on a business’s mission, message, and brand. An effective thought leadership strategy can set an organization apart from the competition. And, best of all, it helps entities communicate with new audiences that may be out of reach using other more traditional marketing approaches.

The specific considerations an organization must consider when establishing the basics of a thought leadership strategy may seem obvious and common-sense, but they do warrant some discussion. For example, if John Q. Executive wants to be viewed as a thought leader in his industry, he should have actual expertise and experience in his field and be up-to-date with the current trends. And at the risk of invoking more overused business jargon, when it comes to thought leadership, content is still king. Knowledge and expertise can’t be transmitted through osmosis or telepathy — they must be on display on the platforms and media that are most likely to reach an organization’s intended audience.

Like I said, these are obvious considerations, and most aspiring thought leaders understand these basics. However, there are other fundamental principles that should be just as obvious, but often get overlooked when industry experts and business leaders start developing their thought leadership strategies. It’s your basic forest-for-the-trees scenario.

With a series of blog posts, I intend to discuss some of these obvious-yet-often-ignored fundamentals. Today, I’ll start with the simplest one.

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Freelance Writer & Communicator. Pseudo-Lawyer. Former U.S. Senate staffer. Cinephile. Mormon. Autism Dad. Wannabe musician. Twitter: @MBryanHickman

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