Influence people

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Where's the Thought in Thought Leadership?


Thought leadership is to leadership as fast food is to food.

While the stuff served daily through most B2B marketers' Tweets, videos, blog posts and e-books looks tasty and can be consumed quickly, it isn't particularly satisfying. Or good for you.

Although there are thousands of exceptions, most B2B marketers rush out junk, contributing to the deafening "content shock" Mark Schaefer describes.

Plainly, simply, thought leadership shouldn't be advertising. It's supposed to be content that's authentic and that articulates leading-edge thinking, not your marketing department's  social media strategy.

And thought leadership shouldn't be about media. It's supposed to focus on thought, not LinkedIn or Meerkat or Snapchat.

B2B marketers are hacking the system when they publish non-nutritional content, however carefully it's dressed to resemble food for thought.

Ironically, every B2B marketer could contribute thought leadership, if only she trusted the few thoughtful individuals inside her organization—and they trusted themselves. Sadly, neither do.

"Thought leaders focus on crafting ideas, not audience reaction and reach," says digital marketer Walter Adamson in Firebrand

He's 100% right. Thought leaders don't lean on vapid videos and tricked up infographics to entreat customers. They rely instead, TEDishly, on "ideas worth sharing."

"Being a thought leader means putting your own personal thoughts out there in whatever form appeals to you," Adamson says. "It’s not about the medium. It’s about the message and it’s about filling in the white spaces which teams of content producers don’t even know exist."

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