What is Thought Leadership Content?

thought leadership content guide

Your brand's content marketing approach depends on your team's ability to create unique thought leadership content. And, if it's done right, it will be the brand-differentiating content marketing asset. But thought leadership content demands more than just having an opinion. 

Everybody wants to create thought leadership content, but only a few seem to be familiar with its exact meaning.

Thought leadership content is all about surfacing those earned secrets you have as a brand—the unique perspectives, expertise, and resources you have that inform the public about your product/service and your brand's philosophy. 

Becoming a 'thought leader' in a domain is not an easy feat. You have to be the protagonist in your niche.

The aim should be clear - to describe your brand as a leading authority in your industry/discipline, to become a source of the bigger-picture developments happening in your space for your audience, and let your competitors think, 'Why didn't we write that?' 

So, what exactly is thought leadership content?

Thought leadership content is an approach to content creation that intends to address the needs of the brand's target market and build credibility, trust and loyalty with authentic, purpose-driven content marketing. It takes a more informative and niche approach. Thought leadership content attempts to answer questions such as 'Why?', 'How?' and 'What if?' It aims for readers to think about a certain subject matter and become inspired to take action.

Why is thought leadership content important for brands?

Thought leadership content is important for brands because it increases the chances of conversion and brings quality traffic. It helps build relationships with bloggers and media publishers who may be willing to link out to your site in exchange for you sharing your expertise on a topic.

Thought leadership also reaches beyond sales, into branding and marketing. Having other sites talk about you, share information about you, comment on your data produces incredibly valuable exposure to your brand.

Thought leadership also gives a chance for brands to improve their reputation online by contributing something meaningful to the web that people can learn from. The resulting influence significantly exceeds the monetary benefits derived from this strategy.

Thought leadership is vital for brands because it builds credibility. It provides knowledge on topics that are of interest to readers while also providing insight on solutions for problems they may be encountering at present.

Thought leadership examples

Thought leadership is an effective tool to influence customer behavior in a positive way.

Here are some examples of companies who have made use of this type of content and the outcome they achieved:

  • One example of thought leadership content is a blog post addressing how important it is for people to remain active throughout their lives as they get older. The authors may not be scientists, but they are looking at facts surrounding ageing populations and drawing conclusions based on these facts. They are also giving out advice on how seniors can remain fit and active throughout their retirement years. Their ultimate aim is convincing health-conscious folks about a service or product.
  • Another example of thought leadership would be an article that argues the importance of a healthy diet and how it can lead to better mental abilities. This can include data from government agencies and other research on how certain foods have stood as cures for ailments such as depression. The article can also recommend certain food recipes that prove to be healthy enough to eat regularly. The target audience would be people that are looking for alternatives to OTC medicines or those considering a change in dieting pattern.

Benefits of thought leadership content

By leveraging thought leadership content marketing, brands can engage with their target audience much more efficiently and effectively than ever before. They don't need to slog through distribution platforms in order to get their message across. Thought leadership gives businesses a chance to make their own rules and build their presence however they please.

Thought leadership also helps businesses drive traffic to their websites that would otherwise never have found them without Google search. It builds momentum for a brand's growth and expands its reach.

Another benefit of thought leadership content is that it helps a brand stand out from the crowd and get noticed.

Thought leadership content is also cost-effective as the publishing costs involved are much lower than putting together an advertising campaign, for example.

It may be even more cost-effective than some forms of marketing since it builds credibility and helps push sales through word of mouth, social media sources, etc.

These benefits make thought leadership content extremely relevant for all types of businesses who want to expand their reach online without having to invest a lot of cash on marketing campaigns.

Thought leadership marketing strategies

Creating a killer thought leadership content marketing strategy that gets results is not easy. You need to know how to create and design content that's going to be effective at achieving your goals.

Here are some steps which you can follow in order to become a thought leadership brand:

1. Create a goal

The first and one of the most important steps in creating any type of content is to know what your ultimate goal is. What do you want to achieve from this piece of work? Create a list with measurable goals such as link building, more subscribers, or even gaining more traffic.

Make sure that your content has something unique about it which sets it apart from the rest out there so that people can share it, read it, and take action after doing so.

2. Brainstorm content ideas

After you have made your list of goals, it's time to think up some ideas. Some topics that might be relevant for you are those that are likely to bring authority, credibility, and influence within the niche audience that your business is targeting.

You can also talk about how and why a brand leader has become a thought leader in the first place.

The more creative your content is the better results you are going to achieve at the end of it.

3. Conduct research to back up points

When you have come up with an idea or two, start researching to back up those points and then write about it in a way that will get people thinking. You don't want facts that only serve as filler without providing any actual value; this is not what thought leadership is all about.

4. Identify the audience

It's also vital to understand your target audience in order to ensure that they receive maximum value out of your content. After all, if no one will find use in your article, then why spend time coming up with something creative when you could just write an ordinary blog post?

5. Write credible content

Credibility is key to thought leadership content marketing. The best way to build credibility is by providing real proof that you are an expert in a certain field or niche. This can be done through personal experiences, data, and other types of evidence which customers would find reliable and trust you more by reading your content.

6. Distribute the content

Once your article is ready, don't just sit back and expect to see traffic coming to your site. You need to get a hold of the sources which you have listed in your goals, such as social media channels like Twitter and Facebook or popular content curation sites like Reddit. You can also reach out to people with large followings who can feature your content for more publicity.

7. Measure Results

Once you have completed the tasks above, it's time to check your results and see if you can make use of further changes or improvements in order to better suit your needs. You should be able to see which channels are bringing in more traffic and which ones need improvement.

How to write thought leadership content?

Brands can create thought leadership content by simply approaching topics from an expert point of view.

One example is the UK-based tech firm: We Are Social. The company has created various types of content through which it has taken diverse approaches in creating thought-leading material for itself, such as video interviews, webinars, blogs, press releases, etc.

When it comes to creating thought leadership content, there are certain things that brands can keep in mind. These include

1. Focus on your expertise

Thought leadership content is all about showing off your brand's expertise in a particular industry or niche. You can do so by providing tips and advice for other businesses who are currently facing the same problems in their respective fields, as well as providing case studies on how your own business has created wealth out of certain ideas.

2. Address real-world problems

As a brand, you will serve as an authority figure when people read your content. So it's best to come up with something that readers can relate to.

For example: if you are writing about the ways in which businesses can increase conversion, then make sure you tell them how your company has managed to double its revenue using the same strategy and why they should follow suit instead of following a generic approach.

3. Backup thesis with data

Always back up your ideas with data. Data is the ultimate proof that you are an expert in a certain niche or industry, and therefore it will help strengthen your credibility, which would be very important when creating thought leadership content.

4. Focus on storytelling

Although you cannot create a compelling story out of thin air, you can make use of your experiences, data, and readily available resources to create an interesting narrative that would persuade readers better. Storytelling is an art and taps into the emotion of readers, which will make them feel connected to your content.

5. Don't hype your product or service

One way to lose credibility is by hyping your product or service within the thought leadership content. Remember that you are not selling something here. People from your niche or industry would be more interested in what you have to offer in terms of information instead of the aggressive sales pitches you throw at them.

Suggested Reading: 

Thought leadership content ideas for brands

In order to create good thought leadership content, brands can make use of the following ideas:

1. Case study

Case studies are very common in many marketing blogs and other forms of media. A case study is basically an article that tells about how a brand has managed to solve a real-world problem in its niche or industry.

2. Inspirational videos

These kinds of videos are simple and straightforward. It's basically a video in which the brand owner would speak about his success story or how he has managed to reach where he is today.

3. Webinars

A webinar is a live presentation in which the brand owner would discuss something relevant in his niche or industry. These are usually recorded and made available online for people to view.

4. Interviews

An interview allows you to share insights with your readers by allowing them to understand what made you achieve success in your niche or industry. People can also ask questions to keep the conversation going.

5. Podcasts

You can use a podcast to speak about your thoughts and ideas in regards to specific topics on the go. It's basically recorded audio of your voice which could be listened to later at any time.

Do you want us to write thought leadership content for your brand?


The great thing about thought leadership content marketing is that it helps build your brand and improve its trustworthiness. It builds trust among your target audience, which can then be converted into sales in the long run. When creating thought leadership content, make sure that it's not a sales pitch. Instead, create something that will add value to the reader who visits your blog.

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