BTL 1 – Understanding thought leadership

So you want to become a thought leader?

The first and most important aspect is to understand what that means.

One of the questions that people often ask is the difference between thought leadership and content marketing. The two are closely associated, but very definitely not quite the same.

Content marketing is creating and sharing content online as a way to increase interest in your brand, services or products. Thought leaders very definitely do this, but they do it in a very specific space. We can think of content marketing as being on two axes: building on and consolidating existing relationships, and sharing new ideas. Thought leadership can only happen at the intersection of those two axes: when you are both consolidating existing relationships, and sharing new ideas.

Thought leadership comes about through bringing new solutions to existing problems to people that you know in some way. You do not have to know them in person, or well: following someone online is a form of relationship. You do, however, need to know your audience in the sense that you understand their problems and pain points, and can identify ways to solve those problems.

You cannot simply decide to be a thought leader. You may, if you share the right content, be judged to be a thought leader by your peers and customers. Like any relationship- or trust-based outcome, it takes time to develop.

Still think thought leadership is for you? You can read more about what it means here.

Back to: Embarking on your thought leadership journey