By Wendy Marx
Thought leadership is a tested concept that works. But the tactics behind this strategy have changed. So what should you know about thought leadership as it is today? Let’s look at the top thought leadership trends that impact strategy and how you need to respond to these trends.
What You Need to Know About Thought Leadership Strategy
Before we get into what trends could affect your thought leadership strategy, let’s discuss the basics of thought leadership and why every brand should use it.
First, let’s consider what is thought leadership…
Thought leaders are looked up to in their business community because of their expertise and passion for what they do. They selflessly share useful content with their audience, which earns the trust of their audience.
Michael Brenner, a thought leader in his own right, puts it this way…
It’s not pedigree. It’s not where you went to school. Thought Leadership means you provide the best and deepest answers, to your customers’ biggest questions, in the formats your audience likes to consume.
As you can see from that explanation, a primary component of thought leadership is content. Content such as blog posts, ebooks, videos and infographics help thought leaders to connect with their audience and extend a helping hand.
Why should brands use thought leadership?
Thought leadership has proven its value time and time again. In one study from Grist 66% of senior level executives noted that they seek out thought leadership material that helps them to stay ahead of emerging trends and make better decisions.
Bottom line? Especially in the B2B industry, where purchase decisions are a complex process, thought leadership can help you to stand out. One study from Edelman and LinkedIn even showed that many executives awarded business to organizations based on their level of thought leadership — and such executives were willing to pay a premium price for that organization’s product or service.
But enough with the whats and whys. Let’s get into the trends that currently impact thought leadership, and what you need to do in response to the trends.
5 Thought Leadership Trends That You Need to Know
1. Trust in Business CEOs Wane
Research shows that trust in businesses and business leaders are at an all-time low. For instance, only 37% of respondents in one study ranked CEOs as extremely or very credible, leaving 63% giving them a thumbs down.
It’s easy to understand how people must feel — with so many stories surfacing about how brands have cut corners. It’s no wonder that people look at business leaders with a skeptical eye.
Does this spell the end of thought leadership for business leaders? No. But it does provide a trajectory of what to do.
Knowing this, thought leaders need to work on earning the trust of their audience. That means communicating authentically with people and always supporting facts and figures with real data.
Behind this is the idea of being selfless. Doing things for the sake of your audience, not your brand. Providing helpful, actionable content. From such selflessness, trust will …read more
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