4 Keys To Crafting Thought Leadership Content For CEOs
Creating and publishing the right content is instrumental to building a thought leadership brand. Through strong content, business leaders can demonstrate their expertise in a particular area and establish themselves as an authoritative, trustworthy source.
These tips on thought leadership content for CEOs will help business leaders become thought leaders.
1. Know your audience
The first step in crafting CEO thought leadership content is knowing who it’s for. Is your target audience consumers, other businesses in your industry, prospective clients?
Some people assume that they know who their audience is. But it’s important to conduct research and listen to feedback to learn more about who they are, what they care about, what their goals are, and how and where they consume content.
The last part is crucial. For a thought leadership content strategy to work, the content should be posted on platforms where your target audience is.
Of course, it’s also important to publish content that will engage and speak to your audience. Otherwise, you will be wasting your time.
2. Be original/unique
Regurgitating the same old content as others won’t help you stand out.
You need to offer your own angle, insights, solutions, and opinions. This will also help establish your authenticity, which is another vital component to the perception of you as a thought leader.
Bring something different to the table. Don’t repeat or copy what others have said, or even what you have said. Don’t let your story become redundant and boring. This will diminish your relevance, uniqueness, and impact. Challenge the status quo or conventional wisdom by offering a fresh or alternative perspective.
Easier said than done, right? But there are some hacks to being original and unique, including the ultimate hack—being yourself.
An increasingly rare commodity in today’s market, authenticity will go a long way in helping you define your voice and message. Know who you are and what you stand for and deliver that message accordingly. Draw on life experiences and share stories of your trials and triumphs. Let people feel like they know who you are.
At the same time, don’t make it all about you. Think about how your narratives can help others overcome obstacles in their own lives. Help your audience understand their problems from a new perspective.
3. Mix content types
For an effective CEO thought leadership, populate your chosen platforms with a variety of content.
Think about the kinds of images, stories, or interviews that have affected and inspired you. Whether it’s the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius or a passage from a Tony Robbins lecture or a quote from an interview with an inspirational business leader like Warren Buffett—or Jimmy Buffett, for that matter—don’t shy away from sharing it with your audience. The right content might connect with someone in a meaningful, impactful way.
Your audience wants to know more about your industry and business, and one of your missions as a thought leader is to educate them. This might mean posting behind-the-scenes video of how the sausages get made (unless you’re actually making sausages, in which case maybe don’t do the video thing), links to informative blog posts or articles, white papers, and case studies.
Everyone’s got an opinion, as the saying goes, but as a business leader your opinion can rise above the noise. LinkedIn is an especially appropriate forum for sharing opinions about your industry, as your followers on that platform are more likely to be connected in some way to your field. Sharing your opinions about what’s happening in your industry—especially if you comment first, or find something that no one else is talking about—can enhance your image, show off your expertise, and humanize your brand or business.
Upcoming/current industry trends
Every industry has its ups and downs and trends. Commenting on them shows that you are taking an interest and keeping abreast of the latest developments. You may also have some insight to share, such as noting that this isn’t the first time this has happened or that the trend has its roots in a surprising place. This also adds to your thought leader status.
Types of industry trends include:
- Technology: What are the latest advances in software, hardware, and emerging technologies that might affect your industry?
- Consumer: Are there changes in consumer behavior, preferences, and demographics?
- Market: What are the fluctuations in supply and demand, pricing, and market conditions?
- Regulatory: Are there new government regulations and policies going into effect?
- Environmental: What are some of the environmental issues affecting your industry?
- Social: How are changes in attitudes, values, and cultural influences driving your approach or product?
Latest industry research
Just about every industry engages in research, whether examining customer preferences, testing new products, analyzing the competition, or investigating new business opportunities. Leverage this information to create content that will connect with stakeholders and customers. More people—including your competitors—will want to keep a close eye on your social channels for up-to-date and accurate info regarding your industry.
4. Engage with your audience
Now that you’re crafting and publishing suitable content, is your work done?
Now comes the engagement part.
Engagement brings balance to the conversation. Without engagement, content becomes one-sided. Get your audience more involved by responding to comments and feedback and inviting participation. Benefits of this approach include:
- Fostering a sense of community: A thought leader who is actively engaging with their followers inspires a sense of belonging and encourages more people to follow and share your content.
- Building trust and credibility: People want to know if you’re approachable, receptive, and interested in what they have to say.
- Mitigating bad press: Engaging on social media gives you a chance to shape the narrative, clarify your points, and mitigate damage.
- Learning: You might be surprised at what you learn from your audience.
- Networking and relationship building: Building trust and credibility on your social channels can lead to connections and collaborations with other thought leaders, influencers, potential clients and hires.
- Boosting visibility: Most social media platforms measure their users’ engagement. The more engagement, the more they will boost your content.
Many executives and business leaders strive to be seen as thought leaders. When a CEO or founder is perceived as a thought leader, that person’s business or company sees benefits such as increased earned media opportunities, more clients, and increased profits.
By creating and publishing content that follows the above guidelines, you will be seen as a CEO who is engaged, involved, and knowledgeable—in other words, a true thought leader.