Thought leaders have thoughts…and an appetite for risk.
That was the gist of the article I wrote this time last year entitled “The Perils and Pearls of Thought Leadership.” I cited industry visionaries such as Larry Ellison at Oracle and Marc Benioff at Salesforce as examples of executives who cast aside the safety of vanilla, me-too thinking for the benefits of opinionated discourse.
My experience at Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) during the past 12 months has further solidified my standing on the absolute necessity of thought leadership in content marketing as a vehicle for community creation.
Simply put, you have to give readers a reason to consume and engage with your content. This means a willingness to share best practices. Or present an informed and, at times, controversial opinion. Or publish exclusive interviews with market leaders and influencers.
And, please do not prattle on about how content aggregation can serve as the foundation of an editorial strategy. I’m all for expressing an opinion about someone else’s perspective and…yes…we do that on behalf of our clients. Yet, merely amassing content from other sources provides little value to the reader.
Sure, it is a safe play, however there is already a search engine called Google that does a swell job of helping readers find content.
Effective content creation as part of a Web2Sales program requires strategy, commitment and determination.
Apparently, none of these attributes were present in the meeting rooms at Verizon Wireless when evaluating the ill-fated SugarString.com campaign. This innovative content play was gutted the moment it came to light there were certain topics that were off limits because of Verizon’s funding.
Talk about rolling over on a dime. Sheesh…I am not sure which is more sad, how quickly Verizon Wireless pulled the plug or their lack of fortitude.
My reaction to anyone who complained about the site not reporting on issues like net neutrality would have been a big, old “so what.” Verizon Wireless was the publisher, they could write (or not write) about anything they want. You as the reader are free to choose how to invest your time online.
When done well, content publishing as a vehicle for community creation will induce uncomfortable moments. Embrace it, I say. The benefits far outweigh the discomfort.