Unpacking leadership content: rocket fuel for your professional profile and reputation
Leadership content might take more work - original thought and a sharpened point of view often does - but it will be worth it over the long haul!
G’day, my name is Trevor Young and this is my newsletter about positioning ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities that come with being an active participant in today’s ‘Reputation Economy’. You can subscribe by clicking on this button:
In a previous newsletter, I outlined my ‘Content Groups’ model (see illustration below) and explained how it has assisted me in helping entrepreneurs and business leaders to clarify their thinking around the content they (want to) produce.
The goal of the model is to help us become more intentional with the content we create and distribute. Recapping the four content groups:
‘Utility’ (useful, helpful, audience-first);
‘Leadership’ (flag-in-the-ground, lead the conversation);
‘Human’ (behind the public face of your business/show the personal side); and
‘Branded’ (company news, promotional etc).
In this article, I want to dig deeper into LEADERSHIP CONTENT
Unpacking leadership content: rocket fuel for your professional profile & reputation
First-class leadership content has the power to not only differentiate your brand and your business in the marketplace, but also significantly build visibility, reputation and trust.
Think of it as rocket fuel for your professional personal brand!
Utility content is a great place to start for most individuals and businesses because, let’s face it, no one ever went wrong being useful and helpful! This is usually the type of content that marketers recommend.
Leadership content, on the other hand, is more substantive, thought provoking and insightful. This is the type of content that people share and talk about, and tends to be bigger picture in nature compared to utility content. Personally, I think it’s best developed and created through a PR lens versus a marketing one.
The critical element: Leadership content is designed to spark conversation and potentially ignite debate. It doesn’t necessarily address a customer need or pain point. Indeed, it might even challenge people, metaphorically ‘poke them in the eye’ by changing the way they think about a particular topic or issue.
This content could inspire people to take action. It could tap into their dreams and their aspirations, maybe help them reframe their thoughts around a subject dear to their heart.
Think commentary on social or industry issues and trends, insights based on research, informed perspectives on big-picture topics.
Often this content is interesting and worth bookmarking and coming back to.
It’s also the content most likely to attract the attention of industry movers and shakers, journalists or influencers such as bloggers and podcasters.
If your goal is to increase the level of editorial coverage (earned media) you receive via third-party media outlets, then building a solid base of compelling leadership content might prove useful in this regard.
The Edelman Trust Barometer is a classic leadership content play (at a very high level). It continues to generate tons of editorial exposure across all levels of media, from the tier 1 publications right down to individual bloggers and podcasters.
Buffer's State Of Remote Work report - which examines data from over 2000 remote workers around the world looking at the shifts and evolution of remote work in 2022 - is another great example of meaty leadership content that gets shared and talked about. Ditto Mighty Networks, with its From Dependence to Independence report that chronicles the rise of the independent creator.
Granted, the above examples of research-based content marketing tends to be the domain of companies with pockets that are deeper than yours and mine (albeit they still need leaders and internal experts to articulate and communicate the results via the media).
But with today’s array of technology at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to conduct our own research that’s robust enough to generate a result that piques the interest of the media and our own networks.
Case in point: Richard van der Blom’s LINKEDIN ALGORITHM REPORT.
It’s a solid piece of work that has generated a crazy amount of engagement on social media that in turn has led to heaps of podcast interviews for Richard. His LinkedIn post that launched the report received 6134 reactions, 2059 comments and 816 reposts!
Importantly, the report has positioned Richard at the top of the LinkedIn expert ‘tree’.
But you don't have to produce a research report to tick the leadership content box.
Recruitment thought leader, Greg Savage, remains as provocative as ever with his Savage Truth blog.
Sarah Walker-Smith is CEO of Shakespeare Martineau, a fast-growing, progressive UK law firm with over 900 staff. She articulates her views around a range of topics, including:
gender equality (example)
small business (example)
social media (example)
the future of law firms (example)
David Hieatt Co-Founder of Hiut Denim Co (Wales-based jeans brand) and The Do Lectures (voted one of the top 10 ideas festivals in the world by The Guardian - its talks have been viewed over 150 million times). He constantly challenges the way we think about business and life through his content on LinkedIn.
Meanwhile, Chris Do is really kicking goals with his thought-provoking leadership content across multiple platforms, while Joanna Penn continues to educate and inspire in equal measure, producing great thought leadership content around the future of creativity and writing (check out this podcast interview with Joanna - Staying ahead of the game - how Joanna Penn continues to evolve her professional personal brand)
Other examples of leadership content include:
Seth Godin. One of the world’s most successful bloggers, Godin is the poster child for leadership content. His concise articles are consistently challenging and thought provoking. There is no way you’ll see him posting an article along the lines of “Five Ways to Hack Your Marketing Plan.” (I googled it to make sure!).
Professor Scott Galloway. His videos “cut through the biggest stories in tech and business. Expect unfiltered insights, bold predictions, and thoughtful advice to help you thrive in the workplace.”
Leadership content - done well, with purpose and zeal - can often help differentiate entrepreneurs and domain experts in the marketplace.
For this reason, I believe it has a place in the content armoury of one’s personal brand communications. Leadership content might take more work (original thought and a sharpened ‘spiky’ point of view often does) but it will be worth it over the long haul.
👋 I'm Trevor, experienced content & communications strategist, coach & mentor
✅ I help credible business leaders and industry experts elevate their profile, build their reputation and grow their sphere of influence in a way that's strategic, sustainable ... and respectful
#PersonalBranding #ThoughtLeadership #ContentMarketing #ReputationRevolution #ReputationEconomy #PersonalPR