Four people sit around a table with laptops and microphones recording a podcast episode

Thought Leadership: Don’t Overthink It

Clients and prospec­tive clients often ask us about thought lead­er­ship. Most of the time it’s because they know they should be imple­ment­ing it, but are over­whelmed by the idea and unsure about how or where to start. For­tu­nate­ly, an impact­ful thought lead­er­ship pro­gram doesn’t have to be over­whelm­ing – and, when done well, can be an essen­tial com­po­nent of your mar­ket­ing plan.

If you have at least one sharp com­pa­ny leader with a firm pulse on your com­pa­ny and indus­try, you’re in a strong posi­tion for influ­enc­ing through thought lead­er­ship. We can help guide you toward that out­come with answers to the three most com­mon thought lead­er­ship ques­tions we get:

1.     How much time does thought lead­er­ship take? This is undoubt­ed­ly the most com­mon ques­tion we get. And right­ful­ly so! When peo­ple hear the phrase “thought lead­er­ship,” it often evokes scenes of spend­ing count­less hours writ­ing, speak­ing and becom­ing almost fanat­i­cal about a par­tic­u­lar top­ic you are pas­sion­ate about. While some peo­ple may choose this route to build their influ­ence, it doesn’t have to be that way. An impact­ful thought lead­er­ship pro­gram can be imple­ment­ed in a vari­ety of ways to make it easy on your sub­ject mat­ter expert (SME) and claim a min­i­mal amount of time in their busy sched­ule. Often, this starts with tak­ing a close look at exist­ing con­tent from the SME, or from the orga­ni­za­tion they rep­re­sent, and iden­ti­fy­ing ways to ampli­fy its mes­sage and reach by repur­pos­ing it across mul­ti­ple plat­forms – earned, owned, social and paid. It is a tremen­dous way to be effi­cient while align­ing with an over­ar­ch­ing strat­e­gy. It’s a great way to jump­start a thought lead­er­ship pro­gram with­out spend­ing enor­mous amounts of time rein­vent­ing the wheel.

The key, of course, to any thought lead­er­ship pro­gram is to be con­sis­tent and to keep nur­tur­ing plat­forms with new con­tent, per­spec­tives and ideas – which means there will come a time when new con­tent is need­ed. This, too, can be done eas­i­ly and effi­cient­ly. One com­mon approach is to work side-by-side with an agency like Bell­mont Part­ners that can help plan and craft that con­tent for you. Our team can inter­view SMEs and draft con­tent on their behalf; reduc­ing the amount of time your orga­ni­za­tion and SMEs need to spend on it. This process works for gen­er­at­ing bylined arti­cles and blog posts or speech­es and pre­sen­ta­tion scripts. We often talk to SMEs when they’re dri­ving from one meet­ing to the oth­er – or even on their way to yoga or their kid’s soc­cer game!

2.     How do we know if we’re reach­ing our audi­ences? Depend­ing on what type of thought lead­er­ship con­tent you’re gen­er­at­ing, there are some clear ways you can mea­sure its reach and impact. Audi­ence cir­cu­la­tion num­bers for a bylined arti­cle, amount of engage­ment or com­ments on a LinkedIn post, or mon­i­tor­ing Google Ana­lyt­ics for traf­fic to your web­site are just a few. But these are not the only met­rics you should take into con­sid­er­a­tion when it comes to eval­u­at­ing the suc­cess of a thought lead­er­ship program.

Thought lead­er­ship cam­paigns also often lead to qual­i­ta­tive results. From a LinkedIn con­tact reach­ing out to recon­nect over cof­fee to a client or part­ner men­tion­ing that they read your lat­est bylin­er dur­ing a call, thought lead­er­ship cam­paigns not only help bring in new busi­ness but also solid­i­fy and help grow exist­ing rela­tion­ships – and recruit tal­ent in a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket­place. If you’re curi­ous about ROI specif­i­cal­ly for LinkedIn, take a look at this recent Bell­mont Part­ners blog post.

3.     How will this help me reach my goals? Like with any mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy, it’s impor­tant to think about why thought lead­er­ship is ben­e­fi­cial and under­stand how it fits into the greater ecosys­tem of exist­ing mar­ket­ing efforts and goals. Cre­at­ing one real­ly strong blog or LinkedIn post like­ly won’t instant­ly dri­ve sales or recruit new part­ners; rather, it’s one tac­tic to edu­cate the mar­ket and build recog­ni­tion in a fair­ly non-pro­mo­tion­al way.

Thought lead­er­ship shouldn’t just be con­sid­ered an “ad” for your com­pa­ny – it should be an authen­tic, recur­ring reflec­tion of your val­ues, dif­fer­en­tia­tors and ben­e­fits. A thought lead­er­ship pro­gram should show­case the exper­tise of the peo­ple behind your brand, pro­vide edu­cat­ed com­men­tary about your com­pa­ny or indus­try, and share your insights about indus­try chal­lenges beyond your own com­pa­ny. This means think­ing about what a read­er or lis­ten­er could learn from you that they can apply to their own busi­ness. Often, clients get stuck want­i­ng to pro­mote what their com­pa­ny does, which is good in mod­er­a­tion, but shar­ing fresh per­spec­tives about indus­try trends and chal­lenges ensures your con­tent is rel­e­vant to a wider exter­nal audi­ence – and it keeps them com­ing back.

All those ques­tions are spe­cif­ic ways to ask “Is thought lead­er­ship worth it?” We absolute­ly think it is. Your com­pa­ny thrives because of the smart, tal­ent­ed peo­ple steer­ing it, so it only makes sense to cap­ture their per­spec­tives and chan­nel it into con­tent that gen­er­ates trust, loy­al­ty and cred­i­bil­i­ty to help your busi­ness flourish.


Thought Leadership One-Pager ODF

To learn more about our thought lead­er­ship strat­e­gy, down­load this free resource or reach out to us at – we’d love to connect!


Leave a Reply

Graphic with coffee cup and woman's headshot
What’s Brewing? with Jamie Taets, CEO of The Keystone Group
May 17, 2022
Five people pose standing. The man in the middle holds a trophy
Bellmont Partners Takes Home MN PRSA Classics Win
May 13, 2022
Graphic with headshot announcing promotion
Bellmont Partners Promotes Julie Goulette to Assistant Account Executive
May 12, 2022
Woman takes a selfie in front of a harbor with the Duluth Liftbridge in the background
Bridget Nelson Monroe Named One of Ragan and PR Daily’s 2022 Top Women in Communications
May 3, 2022
What's Brewing image with Bob and Dave from Sustainable Safari
What’s Brewing? With “Safari Bob” Pilz and Dave Harvey from Sustainable Safari
April 21, 2022
A hand holds a digital calendar on a desk with a cup of coffee and a cell phone
Values-Based National Holidays — Marketing Fodder or Tacky Virtue Signaling?
April 20, 2022