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Written by:

James Fortier

Apr 27, 2021

5 Thought Leadership Examples from Experts, Innovators, and Influencers You Might Want to Follow


Build lasting relationships with the audience you care about most

It's easy to see why creating thought leadership content doesn't get prioritized.

Do you know anyone whose workload hasn’t increased over the past year? Though about 20% of our colleagues now care for their children in addition to conquering their workload – that percentage could be a lot larger depending on who you work with. By the time your average marketing professional manages the tasks and campaigns they are responsible for, there isn’t a lot of spare time left for thinking. Let alone for writing.

But that’s okay, because thought leadership content doesn't really impact near-term results. Right?

Well it turns out, thoughtful ideas from experts, innovators, and influencers can make a real difference for brands competing in the B2B space.

Consider a few findings from a recent Edelman-LinkedIn research report:

Decision makers are inclined to read more thought leadership content:
58% read one or more hours of thought leadership per week.

More than half of business professionals surveyed make decisions about who they will work with based on thought leadership:
55% of respondents said they use thought leadership to vet organizations they may hire

Thought leadership can lead to more higher-quality leads:
47% of C-suite executive reported they shared their contact information based on reading thought leadership

Think about those last two stats for a moment.

Based on thought leadership, your prospective customers make decisions on who they will work with. And compelling thought leadership content tends to generate more, higher-quality leads.

So, why has thought leadership been deprioritized, again?

How to create magnetic thought leadership content

In a moment, I'll share a few examples of sharp thinking that – for me – breaks through the clutter. But first let's take a moment to consider what all these pieces have in common.

Broadly speaking, some of the most effective thought leadership efforts are distinctive, authoritative, perhaps provocative. You want to help your audience learn, grow, and solve difficult problems. You can also aim to keep your customers up-to-date on emerging trends – and hopefully turn your website into a destination for repeat visitors in the process.

First, try to link your thought leadership efforts to your overall business goals. Then, learn how to tell a story that captivates your readers. Here are a few examples:

1. Offer advice on how business execs can grow their business faster.

1_Offer_advice

Jason Lemkin (@jasonlk) is a tech entrepreneur, author, and venture capitalist. Formerly CEO of EchoSign (which was acquired by Adobe) Jason has invested in companies collectively worth over $1.5 billion. While he is somewhat active on Twitter, he also founded a vital resource for his technology community called SaaStr.

Interesting post:
"10 Things That Would Have Helped Me Go From $1m to $10m Faster with Less Stress"

Pains being addressed:

  • Identifying situations when your own actions are the problem
  • Learning how to stay out of your own way
  • Recognizing when you must trust good leaders to do what's right

One bright idea:
“Spend less time fixing things, more time recruiting senior folks to own them.”

2. Explain how you overcame market challenges.

2_Explain_how_you_overcame_market_challenges

As Chief Customer Officer at Hubspot, Yamani Rangan (@yamanirangan) oversees the marketing, sales, and services teams. With more than 24 years of experience working in the tech industry, Yamani has also served in prominent strategic roles at Dropbox, Workday, and SAP.

Interesting post:
"HubSpot’s CCO on Go-to-Market Success, Redefining Growth, and Doing the Right Thing”

Pains being addressed:

  • Breaking outdated paradigms in sales, marketing, and branding
  • Helping your organization become truly customer focused

One bright idea:
"Delighting the customer is more important than winning the customer."

3. Give your readers an insider account on how to achieve.

3_Give_your_readers_an_insider_account

Noah Kagan (@noahkagan) is a technology entrepreneur and CEO of AppSumo and Sumo.com. He's known for getting fired by Facebook on the eve of going public (thereby missing out on a $185 million payday), building a $3 million dollar business before age 28, and more recently for publishing musings and ideas on his blog called, OkDork.

Interesting post:
"What I Learned Growing an 8-Figure Business”

Pains being addressed:

  • How to build a business with reliable recurring revenue
  • Having confidence that your product is correctly priced.
  • Understanding the best ways to grow and scale your business

One bright idea:
"Have one clear goal for your business and make it visible daily to everyone on your team."

4. Help customers get out of a quandary.

4_Help_customers_get_out_of_a_quandary

Tiffani Bova (@Tiffani_Bova) is Growth & Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. Formerly a distinguished analyst and research fellow at Gartner, she is the author of "Growth IQ: Get Smarter About the Choices That Will Make or Break Your Business," and remains an in-demand keynote speaker for business conferences and events.

Interesting post:
"Reinvent Your Sales Process While Still Hitting Your Numbers”

Pains being addressed:

  • Setting the stage for future growth without compromising this quarter's numbers
  • Persuading your sales force to adapt to new ways of doing things
  • Getting your sales teams to change their behaviors

One bright idea:
"It’s not the market’s responsibility to accommodate your strategy and sales model. It’s the seller’s responsibility to adapt."

5. Offer a unique point-of-view.

5_Offer_a_unique_POV

David Skok (@BostonVC) is an entrepreneur who founded four companies and oversaw one notable business turnaround. His venture capital experiences include engagement with companies such as AppIQ, CloudSwitch, and Hubspot – and he’s well-known for his blog, www.forEntrepreneurs.com.

Interesting post:
"When Selling is the Worst Way to Win Customers”

Pains being addressed:

  • How to adjust sales tactics in a world where buyers have all the power
  • Establishing a positive relationship with prospects who don't want to be sold to

One bright idea:
"Figure out how to add value to your customers in your content, but don’t be tempted into using your blog to carry sales messages. This can have the opposite effect you are looking for, and damage your relationship building."

Summary & Takeaways

Want your brand to stand out over the long-term? Help business professionals see you as an expert in your industry. Make sure ample resources are set aside to generate thought leadership content that your audience will care about.

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