Mastering thought leadership content. . .
The digital world has drastically changed the way we seek information. It’s now second nature for most of us to go online to research about a business or company. Most businesses have since established some sort of online presence – including setting up company profiles on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking platform. This is especially important as more companies adjust the way they communicate to stakeholders in the face of COVID-19.
Simply having a LinkedIn company profile, however, is not enough. Customers want to do business with people they trust and brands whose values and stories resonate with them. This begins with establishing credibility and expertise. Beyond the usual updates on company initiatives and announcements, publishing thought leadership content can help brands demonstrate these qualities.
Corporate and personal thought leadership
Before conceptualising a thought leadership communications plan, it is useful to note that the dynamics attached to corporate and personal thought leadership are different. Personal thought leadership refers to an individual’s opinions and beliefs, while corporate thought leadership refers to the unified opinions and beliefs of the brand.
Both, however, are equal contributors to building a business’ credibility. Often times, opinions of individuals from the company largely shape the brand culture and corporate thought leadership, so personal thought leadership pieces play an equally important role.
At RICE, part of what we do for our clients includes building and refining their thought leadership strategy. The following guiding questions are useful as starting points in helping an organisation or brand master their thought leadership on LinkedIn:
1. What are your brand’s perspectives and priorities?
What do you stand for as a brand? Is everyone in the organisation aware of the brand values and stance on major issues? While it is not realistic (or healthy) for every employee in an organisation to agree on everything, it is important to be on the same page when it comes to understanding where the company is headed in terms of priorities and where it stands on major issues. Effective thought leadership cannot be established if there is misalignment of corporate values and blatant contradictions coming from different leaders or business units.
It helps to routinely bring up these areas of discussion to ensure that everyone is kept abreast of the latest company events, campaigns and initiatives. Encourage employees to discuss and debate about them. It’s also instrumental that leaders are vocal about these matters, both in person and on their own digital platforms to ensure consistency across the organisation.
One of our clients, ZALORA, is a good example of how an organisation can use LinkedIn to share its company mission and vision with stakeholders, thereby creating a coherent thought leadership narrative. For instance, when they recently released their sustainability strategy in Southeast Asia, ZALORA shared posts on LinkedIn to reiterate their commitment to sustainability as part of their business strategy.
2. What are your thought leadership goals?
What do you want to achieve from your thought leadership initiatives? For most, establishing trust is likely the end goal. But there are many other outcomes and objectives that first need to be fulfilled before you can reach the ultimate goal. Some examples include increasing brand awareness, deepening engagement, or even boosting job applicants.
Knowing what these objectives are and what outcomes you wish to see is also useful in refining the metrics used to measure the success of thought leadership efforts.
For some of our clients, the primary objective of publishing thought leadership content is to be a trusted and informed voice on their industries in Asia Pacific. To do so, company executives can leverage LinkedIn to connect with fellow industry players, former colleagues, team members in other countries and regions, and more. They regularly share their thoughts on industry developments and celebrate or recognise each other’s milestones in their career journeys. These include shared moments of celebration, and amidst the pandemic, moments of solidarity when staff, partners and consumers across Asia banded together in response to the uncertainty.
3. What types of content should you publish?
For thought leadership content to be impactful, it first needs to be purposeful. Consider the mindset and context of your audience before determining the ideal way to present the content.
There are many different ways to create and publish thought leadership content, ranging from blog posts, videos, infographics, webcasts and more. For instance, power management platform Eaton publishes a mix of blog posts and media mentions as a means to increase brand awareness and showcase credibility.
How you choose to present thought leadership content should connect with the goals you’ve laid out. And most importantly, ensure that your thought leadership content includes the key elements needed for any piece of content: it needs to be accurate, relevant to your audience, easy to understand, shareable and actionable.
If you wish to learn more about building a thought leadership strategy on LinkedIn for your brand, feel free to get in touch with us here.