Content the the core to your thought leadership program and, before all else, there are two terms to get straight when discussing your thought leadership content strategy.
The first is form, which is the the term for the type of content that you are producing. Content can be textual like a blog post, visual like an infographic, it can be audio or video, or it might be a speech delivered in person at a conference. A strong thought leadership program could combines all of these as well as adding some additional forms such as books, white papers, podcasts, and a curated social media presence, too. The form of the content in your thought leadership program should be based on the location of the audience that you are seeking to reach and the ways that they prefer to consume their content.
That brings us to the second term: channel. Content is distributed via channels, and these are numerous and varied. A simple article might be distributed on your personal or corporate blog, as a LinkedIn post, in a newspaper or on a media site as an op-ed, published in a magazine, or delivered as a downloadable PDF behind a paywall. The channel selected should help you reach the audience you’ve identified as key while also serving any second purpose that you are hoping to fulfill. It’s a balancing act – an op-ed in a major national newspaper might reach a lot of people and lift your thought leadership profile but you won’t be able to judge just how many people you reached, while a paywalled PDF will reach a far smaller audience but you’ll know exactly who clicked through and how to contact them after.
The right content, in the right form, and delivered via the right channel is the key to thought leadership success. An experienced content strategist can help you put your ideas in front of the right people at the right time and in the right way in order to generate the best possible return on your investment.
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