There’s a risk, for us long term inhabitants of the nation of consulting, that we fail to notice what is going on in the world outside our borders. And yet, when we look at the world of thought leadership from the perspective of our target reader, it’s clear that they have access to – indeed, are being bombarded by – content from multiple nations.
Mainstream newspapers and magazines, business publications, and expert individuals are all creating content that is relevant to your target reader. And often, due to writing skills developed as a result of years of tough battles for reader numbers, they’re creating content that is much better than your thought leadership at capturing the attention of senior executives, keeping them engaged, and encouraging them to come back for more.
And then there are the other B2B services firms who are very definitely being won round to the concept of thought leadership as a way of building brand and cementing relationships. In our 2015 survey of senior executives in the US1, we asked them to name a memorable piece of thought leadership. Content from consulting firms led the way (39% of pieces named). But, not far behind, came content from technology firms (24%).
We’re not surprised on two accounts. Firstly, technology is everywhere – it’s very clearly no longer the preserve of the CIO. Which means that content from technology firms is no longer directed just at the CIO. And secondly, we’re seeing technology firms investing heavily in thought leadership and it getting that content out to your target reader.
So next time you’re contemplating the competitive landscape for your thought leadership, do make sure that you take a look beyond your own borders.
1. In June 2015, we surveyed over 500 senior executives based in the US. Respondents work in organisations with 1,000+ employees in four sectors: financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.