2 words: though leadership.

Why?

Because you need the world to see you as leading the market – not because you’re noisy, not because you’re rubbing shoulders with the industry’s ‘celebrities’, and not because you’re spamming every corner of the social networks with joyful pictures of team away days, award dinners, and office dogs.

You need the world to see you as leading the market because you are the voice of wisdom. You have:

🧁Skills: honed over years of actually doing the work, not just theorising about how to do the work.

🧁Knowledge: you know what does/doesn’t work because you’ve experimented.

🧁Experience: you’ve ‘been there, done that’ – made the mistakes, and learned from them.


How to demonstrate authentic thought leadership

True leaders inspire their audiences and ooze value because they know what they’re doing, which means they don’t need to make bland statements about their credentials or become a self-proclaimed ‘expert’.

The following 6 sections share how to inject true thought leadership into your content:


Talk about change

We have 30 years’ experience.

So what?

Numbers alone mean nothing. Instead, talk about what sits behind that number. For example, the trends you’ve seen (because everything is cyclical), the battle scars you earned, and the fact that 30 years’ worth of experience means you’re sh*t hot at what you do!

For example:

Over 30 years we have identified a common set of questions our customers ask:

How do I demonstrate a problem to my board to secure the funding I need?

I have a small team, how much time will it take from them, and who else do I need?

What are the ‘quick wins’ that show immediate progress to my board?


Share case study examples

We helped Company ABC with data discovery.

So what?

Rather than just share a link to your case study, thread it through your content to bring the narrative to life, and to use as ‘evidence’ to show you do what you say you can do. Case studies are great because they’re the relatable middle ground – it’s a customer sharing the real value they received from you, rather than you bigging yourself up. Therefore, use your case studies to:

🧁Bring context to life: for example,

You have limited time to act and contain a breach before the regulator comes knocking. As Company ABC said, “The clock started ticking for us the moment we said the words out loud.”

🧁Explore problems and make pain points feel, well, painful: for example,

One of the biggest challenges organisations face is not knowing what data they have, where it is, and who has access to it. Company ABC claimed, “After 8 years in my role, identifying our data remained our biggest challenge.”

🧁Share the business impact you deliver: for example,

Understanding what is valuable in your data is vital, but the context changes over time, as Company ABC explained. ”Our business found itself, 10 years later, in a dispute about IP ownership. Through data discovery technology, we successfully went back into our email archive to trace the conversation to something that, at the time, was uninteresting…It’s saved us months of litigation being able to unpick the story and prove our side.”


Use research

I think thought leadership is the best content in the world.

So what?

Edelman agrees. Its research shows 89% of C-level decision-makers believe thought leadership influences their opinions of a company

See what I did there? Until I’m seen as a leader in my sector, my opinion means nothing. Therefore, I need to show my credibility by piggybacking off an authority, such as:

🧁Analysts: like Gartner, Forrester, IDC.

🧁Research: like government statistics, Statista, Vanson Bourne.

🧁Vendors: like Microsoft, IBM, Dell.

Furthermore, be sure to frame it the right way:

🧁NO: independent statistic > your opinion

🧁YES: your opinion > [authority] agrees > statistic


Inject anecdotes

I became a professional copywriter in 2015, landing my first client while sat in a ball pool at the local soft play.

So what?

Facts about your past aren’t enough to make you a thought leader. Instead, tease the value so they resonate with the audience. For example:

Since landing my first client sat in the ball pool of the local soft play, I’ve helped 17 clients win, or reach the finals of their industry awards, helped increase web traffic for one client by 383%, and supported marketing campaigns for 2 clients who successfully exited their businesses.

You don’t need to state your entire CV, simply inject tiny moments from it to demonstrate understanding because you’ve faced their challenges before – and most importantly, overcame them.


Share your wisdom

We’re the market leader.

So what?

Leaders inspire the next generation, so share your skills, knowledge, and experience. Plaster it on every page of your content. Add tips, tricks, and ideas that your audience they can take back to their desks and use today.

Offer your time – it’s the most valuable thing you have to give. Invite them to connect with you. Give them your email so they can drop you a question. Offer to meet up for coffee when you’re both attending an event. Be generous.

The best professional advice I was ever given: always be adding value.

If you have ambition to lead the market, keep this front of mind. Always.

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Get some independent verification of your greatness

We’re an expert.

So what?

It’s not enough to be a self-proclaimed leader. Add some weight behind your claim and back it up with an independent opinion:

🧁Analysts: like Gartner’s Magic Quadrants or the Forrester Wave.

🧁Awards: there are sooo many out there – all it takes is an investment to write the submission.

🧁Customer data: NPS scores, satisfaction surveys, and retention/renewal rates.

For example:

According to Gartner and Forrester, we are leading the way in AI-powered email marketing – while our 1,000+ happy customers will attest to the impact that a personalised experience has for every customer at every stage of their shopping journey.


The right content mix for thought leadership

🧁Executive articles: crack open the heads of your senior leaders and subject matter experts to share their wisdom with your target audience and help them to address current trends.

TEMPLATE: LinkedIn articlesTEMPLATE: subject matter experts
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🧁Webinars: get in front of your target audience to present how to tackle challenges and leverage opportunities – and then repurpose that content into a valuable white paper.

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🧁Guides & reports: give practical advice, step-by-step processes, and ‘top tips’ on how to overcome barriers to success.

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🧁PR: pitch timely editorial and/or secure speaking opportunities to become the industry authority on your subject.

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🧁Ebooks: the ultimate deep-dive on your topic of expertise, ebooks share your wisdom in an easy to consume way that your audience will treasure.

TEMPLATE: ebooks
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Still have a question?

I’ve been a professional copywriter since 2014, and before that I spent nearly a decade working as a B2B tech marketer. In that time, I’ve written thought leadership content for 180+ companies (I’ve also published a book on the topic!) so I know what does/doesn’t work and will apply the lessons learned to your content.

I’m genuinely an open book so you are more than welcome to ask me anything. All you need to do is…

Say hello!