The term thought leadership conjures images of a douchey guy giving a Ted Talk. He’s usually striding across a stage, conflating world peace with some new technology. Thought leadership is dragged down by that image. It’s not fair.
Tech marketing types often wince when discussing it. One marketing director recently asked to have thought leadership removed from her marketing plan. The term has been around for more than 10 years and seems passe. But don’t give up on it yet. While the Ted Talk stereotype may have jumped the shark, thought leadership is firmly stationed inside the shark tank.
Thought leadership is the act of creating credibility and affinity by sharing meaningful insights on a consistent basis. Mostly this is blogging and presentations. Some of the content may get packaged in white papers, videos and longer articles. The hard part is having something interesting to say and saying some variant of it every day with great writing.
The strategy is always relevant because it’s about interesting ideas that are well expressed. If you’re trying to reach the C-suite or nearly anyone in the technology world, thoughtful content usually hits the mark. The tech industry is populated with deep thinkers who want insight and inspiration. They want thought leaders’ Tweets to be backed up with substance.
The only ones jumping the shark are Ted Talk clowns and Henry Winkler. Thought leadership represents interesting ideas that are well researched and well written. That will never go out of style.