With so much thought leadership now being produced by professional firms it is inevitable that the quality of output will vary. For thought leadership to gain maximum traction with its desired audience it should meet five simple goals, as outlined in the diagram below. These criteria are based on Meridian West’s extensive research among buyers of professional advice focusing on what they look for when engaging with thought leadership content from professional firms.
Effective thought leadership…
1. Is well written and easily digestible.
First and foremost thought leadership needs to read well. It should make judicious use of research and insights, including concise summarises and easy-to-digest takeaways for time-poor readers.
2. Takes advantage of multiple channels.
Professional firms need to take into account the multiple ways that their audience can consume content. An inventive online roll-out strategy that communicates a compelling story to your audience is a key differentiator, and helps to showcase a firm’s experts in different settings.
3. Has a strong visual design and intuitive method of presenting data.
Think about how to present data in a way that excites your audience but doesn’t distract from the key messages. Charts and graphs should be easy to interpret. Frameworks help create proprietary IP that fee-earners can use as part of their business development conversations.
4. Makes use of sector and geographic insights where possible.
Try to personalise insights as much as possible to different audiences; the more tailored content is to individual readers the higher the levels of engagement you will receive. Sector and geographic case studies and insights are a way of showing the relevance of ideas and concepts to individual readers.
5. Contains a clear point of view on research results and their implications.
Effective thought leadership provides a call to action, and highlights the ‘so what?’ for readers in any research findings. Having a firm’s experts provide a point of view on the issues demonstrates expertise and credibility. Focusing on practical implications provides a commercially-relevant hook for business development conversations.
To learn more about how to create compelling thought leadership, please download our How To Guide.