6 tips for writing compelling thought leadership articles


Jeff Bradford, a Entrepreneur organization (OE) member in Nashville, is the founder of the bradford group and Chairman of the Bradford Dalton Group, a full-service public relations and advertising agency with offices in Atlanta, Jacksonville and Nashville. We asked Jeff why thought leadership is such an important part of effective marketing and brand awareness. Here’s what he shared:

Executives looking for ways to generate brand awareness for their business and improve their profile as a trusted industry authority should turn to a proven, effective public relations tactic: writing a copywriting. articles on thought leadership.

Thought leadership articles are a great opportunity for leaders to demonstrate their expertise and credibility by sharing their perspectives on a business issue that is affecting consumers or businesses in your industry. In today’s increasingly connected digital world, it also drives engagement with current customers (who you want to keep) and potential buyers (who you want to convert into paying customers).

A 2019 B2B study Edelman-LinkedIn found that 55% of decision makers increased their business with their current partner because of thought leadership content. The survey also found that 60% of decision makers purchased a product or service they had not previously considered due to thought leadership articles and videos.

As the founder of a public relations agency that has been in business for 20 years, I have seen first-hand how thought leadership articles have helped increase awareness and improve lead generation for our business and our clients. . Another important benefit is the articles published on thought leadership. Similar to a news story, the article involves third party approval as the outlet’s editorial staff deemed it worthy of the reader’s attention.

Here are six tips for writing unique and compelling thought leadership articles to market yourself, your business, and its products and services:

1. Focus on what you know

To be accepted as a thought leader and subject matter expert, it is essential to focus on the industry topics and issues that you know best. Commenting on challenges and solutions in areas where you have minimal experience or a limited track record of success can hurt your credibility. Pick a niche, build an audience, then look for opportunities to expand your reach.

2. Solve real world business problems

To be effective, your thought leadership article must address a real business challenge and provide an innovative solution. It is essential that the article clearly explains why current approaches do not work and explains why your solution is better than others currently offered or offered on the market. Weave elements of case studies written into the article to guide the reader on the journey. Briefly summarize the challenge customers face. Describe strategies and tactics to achieve positive results. Summarize the results and lessons learned.

3. Research the topic thoroughly

Take the time to do in-depth research on the subject before typing a word on your keyboard. Most likely, other people have written about the same problem. Read articles on major business media, major commerce industry news websites, and research reports from industry professional associations and management consultants (Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, Ernst & Young). Research will help you differentiate your article and, in the vernacular of journalism, move the story forward.

4. Save your thesis with data

No article is complete without reliable and timely data that validates the article’s thesis. Relevant and interesting data – combined with great storytelling (see below) – will hook the reader and bring your ideas to life. If company policy prohibits the publication of certain data (such as information on revenue, profit, or number of customers), write down how the numbers increased in terms of percentages. Customer surveys are another great tool to support the findings and solutions outlined in your article.

5. Focus on storytelling

Storytelling should be at the heart of every thought leadership article. The storytelling brings the article to life and taps into the emotions of the readers. It gets them thinking about how your company’s products and services can solve a business problem. To retain readers, make sure the article has a compelling opening paragraph and moves easily from section to section.

6. Don’t do the hype

One of the easiest ways to lose credibility and the reader’s interest is to promote your business’s product or service. Readers are one click away from skipping to another article – don’t give them an excuse by self-promoting. Avoid words like “transformational”, “disruptive” or “bordering on bleeding”. Readers will see through because they know that very few products or services meet these definitions.

Writing compelling thought leadership articles can be difficult and time consuming. The effort, however, will be worth it if you grow your audience and leverage your articles to help grow your business.

The opinions expressed here by the columnists of Inc.com are theirs and not those of Inc.com.

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