Your candidates have now defined their audience, listened to what is already being said, and started to tell their stories. How much, though, are they engaging with their audience? What does their engagement profile look like?
Thought leadership is marketing. It therefore exists to drive sales. However, that won’t be its most direct effect, and it certainly won’t be the most immediate. The most immediate effect is (or should be) more conversations, paving the way to better relationships with customers and potential customers. You cannot have a conversation if you do not listen and engage. Without engagement, it’s not a conversation, it’s a broadcast.
There is an easy way to assess engagement: listening to what’s happening.
Managers of thought leaders, and digital engagement leaders, need to be comfortable with being online and sharing their own thoughts. You need to be ‘walking the walk’ before you ask anyone else to do so. There is more about the importance of this here. You should, therefore, be engaging with your thought leaders online. You can be part of their conversations, or at the very least monitoring quietly in the background.
Even while you are engaging with your audience, you can see how your thought leaders are involved in conversations, and building their own relationships with customers, competitors and commentators. This will give you a very good picture of their ‘engagement profile’.