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Unleash Your Inner Thought Leader 

Your growing business deserves great marketing, and great marketing requires high-quality content

From blog articles to social media posts, from SEO-fueled website copy to email newsletters: these powerful pathways help you reach your ideal audience, convert tire-kickers into customers, and nurture a legacy of brand loyalists.

Your approach to navigating these heavily trafficked marketing pathways is what defines your brand and drives your digital content strategy. 

Do you speed down Blog Boulevard in a bright red sports car? Do you saunter across Social Media Street with a latte in one hand and the leash of the dog you’re casually walking in the other?

There are many methods for attracting an audience and building your brand voice, and while none are inherently wrong, they won’t all be right for your business. If you want marketing that makes you stand out, you need content uniquely suited to your company’s goals.

So kick off your shoes, settle in, and get ready to read about our all-time favorite marketing tactic:
developing thought leadership content. 

Thought Leadership Content Is the New Black

The fine folks over at Semrush define thought leadership as “the delivery of authentic and genuine content that uses the expertise, insight, and experience of the author, with the goal of sharing that wisdom with others.”

No need to read it twice. Let’s break down that definition and explore what it means for your business.

1. Thought leadership is. . . “authentic and genuine”

Avid content consumers are big fans of relatable content, from the profoundly serious to the seriously silly. By and large, today’s online audience is intelligent, curious, and unabashedly vulnerable. Talk down to them at your own risk!

The takeaway:
Thriving thought leaders know better than to fake it ‘til they make it. Their followers expect honest content from real human beings. 

2. Thought leadership delivers. . . “expertise, insight, and experience”

Impulsively spewing poorly formed opinions across Al Gore’s internet is not thought leadership. However, thanks to content-conscious audiences, subject matter experts can earn celebrity status for their provocative insights and hard-won experience. 

The takeaway:
Top-performing thought leadership content challenges conventional wisdom through compelling storytelling and verifiable knowledge.

3. Thought leadership is made for. . . “sharing”

Above all, popular content is super shareable—both practically and emotionally. Share-worthy content ranges from the absurd to the outrageous, but its viral nature is what makes it so valuable. Consumers don’t have to work for it, businesses don’t have to pay for it, and everyone benefits from it. If you wouldn’t like, click, comment, or forward a piece of content, think twice about publishing it at all.  

The takeaway:
People share content the same way they spend money. We all love solutions to problems and good feelings. Frequently shared content doesn’t overtly sell; it solves and soothes. 

Don’t Think Thought Leadership Works? The Data Disagrees with You

Shared ideas have the power to differentiate your business, distinguish your brand, and develop a passionate following. We see the results of strong thought leadership content every day at Every Little Word.

Make thought leadership one of the cornerstones of your B2B digital content strategy if you want to:


  • Build credibility with a specific audience
  • Establish yourself or your business as an authority in your field
  • Boost your SEO with organic shares, tags, and backlinks
  • Attract like-minded customers or clients
  • Cultivate ambassadorship within your current customer community

But you don’t have to take our word for it! 

In 2021,
LinkedIn teamed up with Edelman to perform a B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. The study’s participants comprised B2B decision-making executives—and the data is fascinating.

We highly recommend a look at the full 35-page report! Meanwhile, we’ve outlined two major takeaways:

1. Thought leadership influences B2B buying decisions
The Impact Study revealed that 64% of B2B decision-makers prefer thought leadership content over marketing materials or product sheets when assessing a company’s capabilities. And 47% said they’ve discovered and purchased from a new vendor because of the vendor’s thought leadership content.

2. The best thought leadership content is personal and provocative 
LinkedIn and Edelman found that 64% of executives prefer thought leadership content with a “more human, less formal” tone of voice, and 67% want that content to feature an “identifiable author”—not just a business name. Additionally:

  • 81% welcome thought leadership that challenges their assumptions
  • 77% want deep-dive content delivered by subject matter experts
  • 87% seek out content that’s both “intellectually rigorous and fun”

Shouldn’t Your Content Be as Unique as Your Business?


Your ideas. Your voice. Your audience.

Those are the three ingredients you need to create authentic, high-value, shareable content.

Let’s dig in:

Step #1: Identify your audience 

No one ever sets out to create crappy content, but “high-value content” can mean almost anything, depending on who’s reading it. You could write a Pulitzer Prize-worthy piece on French parenting techniques, and its value would be exactly zilch to a kid-free pet parent researching veterinarians in Arizona.

To ensure your content provides value to the right people, take the time to clearly identify your audience. This audience—your content community—will hopefully align with a customer persona you’ve already developed.

When you know
who you’re talking to, you’ll know how to talk to them.

Step #2: Embrace your expertise

You can’t teach what you don’t know, so if you want to deliver high-value thought leadership content, your best bet is to tap into your existing strengths.

  • What ideas do you have that can help your audience dream big and live out loud?
  • What stories can you tell to elevate and enlighten your content community?
  • What lessons have you learned that can guide your readers in their own decision-making?
  • What data or forecasting can you reveal to help your community grow and evolve?

Begin jotting down content ideas whenever they come to mind—try using the notes app on your phone as a simple “content vault.” Chances are, if a topic excites or inspires you, it will do the same for your anticipated content community.

Step #3: Deliver value that doesn’t diminish

Information is useful and often important. But straightforward information rarely counts as thought leadership because once someone finds the facts they were seeking, there’s no need for them to return.

Influential thought leaders think bigger, striving to provoke passionate engagement and establish authentic connections.

Information expires. Ideas inspire.

Step #4: Cultivate content partners 

If you’re sitting in the C-suite, you probably don’t have a spare second to devote to content creation. But wait—there’s good news!

You don’t have to craft your own content to be a thought leader. You simply need
a trusted team of content partners to usher your ideas across the finish line.

Whether you delegate content to an internal team or engage an external agency, content partnerships are an important—and common—part of developing thought leadership content. Even seemingly simple content is time-consuming to execute. And unless you’re a skilled researcher, writer, editor, designer, photographer, SEO strategist, social media manager, blogger, and dedicated insomniac, there’s no way you’re going to get it all done without help.

We know how hard it can be to hand over the reins, but John C. Maxwell had it right: teamwork really does make the dream work. 

Score Your Current Content with This Quick Quiz

If you already have a catalog of content, you may be wondering, “Am I a thought leader?”

Pull up a few of your favorite posts or articles, then evaluate them against these quick questions:

  • My content includes a lot of keywords
  • My content focuses on my company’s products and services
  • My content doesn’t have a specific audience; anyone can benefit from it
  • My content always includes a reminder about our latest offer
  • My content is mostly cat videos

If you checked any boxes from #1 – #4, your content is probably not thought leadership. If you checked box #5, your content is, again, not thought leadership—but we love it anyway.

More importantly, you should know that
it’s totally possible to create great content that is 100% devoid of thought leadership.

Good Content Is Any Content That Achieves Its Purpose

Thought leadership is one content approach in a vast ocean of ever-evolving content strategies.

You can build an entire digital content strategy around thought leadership. You can opt to leverage thought leadership content on occasion. Or you can skip it altogether.

But if you feel that itch to start meaningful conversations, share impactful ideas, and build a community of changemakers, we’re here to help.

Every Little Word creates B2B content for companies committed to excellence. Ready to get serious about your digital content strategy?
Book a Discovery Call!

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Kristen Sweeney

We create content for industry experts and aspiring thought leaders. We use great writing to tell your story. Let’s work together to share your ideas with the world.

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