Seven steps to successful thought leadership


This is the final blog in a four-part series that explores what it takes to become a successful thought leader. To read the previous blog, click here.

Creating a thought leadership position for your organisation is a proven way to increase your brand’s relevance and trustworthiness among potential buyers.

There are seven steps to conducting successful thought leadership:

  1. Get executive buy-in

Lower or mid-level executives can’t create a thought leadership campaign without the support of the executive team. Thought leadership demands the credibility of a senior spokesperson and a concerted approach from the entire organisation.

To convince C-level executives that thought leadership is right for your business, you need to be able to communicate a clear need:

“Today our organisation is at X. Your strategy demands we get to Y (new sales, market penetration, customer retention, etc.). To cross the gap, we need to … Let me show you how I can help close that gap.”

  1. Set the strategy

Understand your organisation’s business strategy for the medium and long term. Your thought leadership strategy needs to map to the business strategy for it to have any kind of measurable impact.

  1. Select the right artefacts

Thought leadership can occur through presentations, books and eBooks, whitepapers, tip sheets, blogs, media interviews, and more. Creating the right artefacts is crucial to your ability to communicate effectively with your chosen audience.

  1. Choose the right communication channels

Communicate with your audience where they live. If your audience is a niche group of electrical engineers, don’t try to get interviews on national news programs. Instead, talk to them through industry associations, journals, and at trade shows.

  1. Build the program

As with any business initiative, thought leadership can’t be a nebulous promise. It needs to be carefully planned and resourced, then measured and updated as necessary.

  1. Use marketing automation

Marketing automation can build scale and velocity without adding cost or complexity. Using the right tools to get your message out can improve your engagement and your reach.

  1. Measure outcomes

Measurement is the only way to see what’s working and what isn’t, so you can direct resources where they’ll have the most impact. If you’re having trouble moving the needle, you can decide whether to make wholesale changes. 

To find out how we can help you execute a successful thought leadership campaign, contact us today or register to attend our thought leadership events.