I’ve started to wince when I encounter marketers talking about “thought leadership marketing” as a lead generation strategy — usually in conjunction with a pitch for blogging.
Unless your objective is to obtain an academic position, sign a book contract, build a seminar company, or become a professional blogger, thought leadership marketing is not the most direct or cost-effective route to success.
Crafting journal-worthy blog posts and white papers with the frequency and consistency required to attain a thought leadership reputation is a time- and resource-intensive endeavor. If you’re going to make that investment, be clear about what you’re doing and why.
If your objective is winning new clients, thought leadership does not drive leads and referrals. Results do.
However, thought leadership builds credibility and helps explain how you achieve your results. It is powerful and valuable because it can close deals.
How “thought leadership” helps win business:
- Demonstrates insight, expertise and intellectual rigor
- Demonstrates persuasiveness
- Imparts third-party credibility
- Reassures current and prospective clients, and validates their choices
Best of all, thought leaders are more likely to get speaking gigs, and speaking gigs beget more speaking gigs — now THAT’S where you generate leads and referrals…