Thursday Thought Leadership Roundup: A Company of TLs, Ghostwriters and Spies, and Content Overload
In this week’s thought leadership roundup, we explore how to tap into every employee’s potential expertise, overcoming the dangers of content overload, and how ghostwriters and spies play into content marketing’s biggest issues.
How to Create a Company of Thought Leaders
“Outline your strategy by asking key members of your team some high-level questions. What do we want to accomplish here (attract talent, convert leads, boost loyalty, etc.)? What differentiates our company? Who is our target audience? What do we want to communicate to them?
These answers will guide you in creating a content plan. Once you have that in place, you’re ready for execution…
Create an editorial calendar with due dates. Make sure your employees understand that they’re not submitting the great American novel every time they create content. In fact, they shouldn’t even worry about spelling, grammar, or sentence structure. All you need from them are thoughts, ideas, and insight. Because it’s substance you’re after, they should feel free to write in a stream-of-consciousness style; your writers and editors will turn it into something engaging and readable.”
Our take: The strategy is in the structure — as a rule, natural thought leaders will emerge without prodding, but you should never depend on it, or assume that there aren’t at least a few diamonds in the rough who are waiting for motivation, encouragement, or a platform to share their ideas.
How Thought Leadership Beats Content Overload
“Unless you’re selling toilet paper, your target market is not everyone. And even if you are selling toilet paper, according to my best friend — a salesperson with a huge consumer goods company — only 99% of American households currently purchase it. (Gross, I know.)
The point is, you have a specific audience, so creating the next viral cat video isn’t that helpful unless your audience really loves cats and it makes sense for your brand.
Instead of creating content that will resonate with the masses, create content that resonates with the 100 or 1,000 people who really matter to your business.”
Our take: The bane of the content marketer’s existence is dealing with a fractured audience, or one that has an exceptionally broad focus. The trick is, like the author points out, to employ thought leadership and develop assets that are truly valuable to specific segments of that audience. Great leaders give their marketers the proper tools and enough information to do this.
Ghostwriters, Spies, and Content Marketing’s Thought Leadership Problem
“At the end of movies about the CIA, there’s often some takeaway about the thankless life of an intelligence officer. I was watching Argo this weekend, and sure enough, after all the diplomats were saved from Iran, Tony Mendez—the hero played by Ben Affleck—is notified he received an award from the President. Only he never actually gets the award, because, as his boss tells him in a parking lot, nobody can know about his mission.
Then it hit me: That’s the life of a content marketing ghostwriter.
Sure, you need to strip away all the danger and heroism and patriotism, but the function of doing a job without any recognition is identical.”
Our take: Since we regularly talk about the importance of employee engagement and incentives, this article really hit home. Thought leadership isn’t really thought leadership if the content being promoted is being crafted by someone other than the thought leader themselves, making the overuse of ghostwriters a dangerous game.