Thought Leadership Defined

Like crowdsourcing or search engine optimization, Thought Leadership has become a buzzword in public relations that is often misunderstood and misused. What is Thought Leadership, who writes Thought Leadership posts and why is it important?

What is Thought Leadership?

Thought Leadership was coined 20 years ago in the pages of Strategy+Business after then-Editor-in-Chief Joel Kurtzman stated “those worth talking to were called Thought Leaders.” As the idea spread, lengthier definitions were introduced by a variety of publications intrigued by this new phrase. According to Mashable, when a person’s idea multiplies and distributes itself throughout the Internet, then that leadership becomes Thought Leadership.

Similar to content marketing, the creation of relevant and valuable content, Thought Leadership is crucial for marketing, branding and public relations in today’s age of constantly connected consumers. Thought Leadership can be a blog, white paper or even social media posts that dive deep into issues to establish an individual or a company as a go-to expert.

Who is a Thought Leader?

Anyone can write self-proclaimed Thought Leadership posts. However, the real question is who should write Thought Leadership posts? Forbes says a true Thought Leader is “an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.”

At Schroder Public Relations, we couldn’t agree more. We consider ourselves Atlanta’s leader in content marketing and provide daily, hard-hitting content for our clients in their areas of expertise from healthcare to real estate to law. Anyone with a stake in a brand should always be soaking in industry knowledge. However, Thought Leaders take it one step further and have ,unique ideas that transcend traditional industry knowledge.

How does Thought Leadership Benefit a Business?

Thought Leadership isn’t just for experts to share their wealth of knowledge and ideas to help out other industry competitors. Providing Thought Leadership is a lucrative power play that is designed to grow a business.

Though you may already be part of a steady business with great clients, more opportunities are always within reach. Thought Leadership can bring you more press  and respect in your respective industry. “Being seen as an industry leader can bring in press that will give your business more exposure, but it’s also a great way to network and meet potential partners,” said Lauren Hockenson in Mashable. Not only will Thought Leadership solidify your current business as a legitimate player in your industry, it will also open doors for growth.

Newton’s First Law of Motion says every object (in this case, business) tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied. If your content and brand are stagnant, your business will become stagnant, too. To continue to grow your business, you must stay in the forefront of the industry, always asking, and answering, “What’s next?”