Thought leadership begins and ends with your audience. Everything that you do needs to be aimed at your target audience. It is therefore essential that you understand your audience: where they are, their problems and pain points, and what they want from you.
Your organisation may already have created buyer personas. If not, you will need to do it, making them as specific as possible. This will help you to get to know your target customer as an individual, and in particular to understand their needs and wants, and how you can help them. Talking to your customers and prospective customers will also help you to understand their issues, as will looking at what they post on social media.
You need to understand why customers and potential customers might or might not choose your company to do business, and what criteria your customers use to make buying decisions.
You also need to know which channels are used by your target audience: where do they post, and where do they go for information? It is no good sharing relevant content on Twitter, say, if they are all on LinkedIn. However, you also need to post the right content to the right platform. For example, Medium is great for long-form content, but if you want to share relatively short content, Twitter is better. You can find out more about the different channels here. Finally, remember to keep checking up on your audience to make sure that they are still where you thought.