How to create compelling thought leadership that generates new business

Table of contents

  1. What is thought leadership?
  2. Why invest in thought leadership?
  3. The benefits of thought leadership
  4. What does good thought leadership look like?
  5. A strategic approach to thought leadership planning
  6. Meridian West’s Ideas Lab
  7. Key questions to support your thought leadership initiatives
  8. Securing internal buy-in for thought leadership
  9. Identifying and refining topic ideas
  10. Choosing the appropriate research methodology
  11. Making the most of your research
  12. Making the most of a limited budget
  13. Maximising the impact of the campaign roll-out
  14. Tips from leading professional service marketers

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Section 1: What is thought leadership?

Thought leadership might seem like a nebulous phrase. How is it possible to be a thought leader? Why does this matter to professional services firms? Put simply, thought leadership is an effective tool for professional services firms to support their revenue generation and business development efforts.

At Meridian West we define thought leadership as:

“An insight-based publication or campaign on a subject of current interest, commissioned with the aim of attracting media coverage, building your brand, and engaging with a wide audience which includes clients, prospects and colleagues.”

Thought leadership comes in many forms, but genuine thought leadership always delivers relevant, insightful content to clients. The examples below show that thought leadership can encompass a range of different topics and approaches:

  • A flagship research campaign featuring data from interviews with hundreds of C-suite leaders (PwC: Breakthrough innovation and growth);
  • A myth busting study about the common issues facing clients (Buzzacott: Dispelling seven myths about auto-enrolment);
  • A practical how-to guide highlighting market practice (Grant Thornton: A smarter way to get deals done);
  • A forward-looking view on trends impacting a particular market segment (Allen & Overy: Unbundling a market: The appetite for new legal service models).

This How to guide offers a practical, step-by-step approach for professional services business developers and marketers to create and roll-out a thought leadership campaign within their firm. It is based on Meridian West’s two decades of experience creating award-winning and market-leading thought leadership campaigns for a wide variety of professional services firms around the world.

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