Looking at examples of the thought leadership output of many professional services firms, it’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cast a long shadow. This is hardly surprising given the upheaval it has caused, and the way that it forced firms to pivot quickly away from their well-thought through 2020 content calendar to an approach that effectively focused on providing emergency assistance to clients in the form of “action leadership.” This focused less on data points and challenging established thinking, and much more on providing next step actions and downloadable checklists. And as the pandemic progressed, so too did firms’ content, with a clear focus on the “new normal” and how organisations should deal with a rapidly changed working reality. And that was precisely what clients wanted and needed in this time of unprecedented change.
But fast-forward to summer 2021 and what’s now becoming clear is that some firms are looking a little bit stuck in 2020 when it comes to their current content catalogues. While it’s of course sadly true that the pandemic continues to cast a blight over the world, organisations have by-and-large adapted to the changes it has wreaked and many are now keen to take a much more future-focused approach. Those organisations could be disappointed by the relative dearth of thought leadership focused on the long-term, or even struggle to find it amid the plethora of COVID-specific and “new normal” guidance.
So perhaps now is the time for firms to pause, and consider how they want to meet this need. If you have not yet taken a long hard look at your back catalogue and consider whether all of your COVID response material remains relevant in summer 2021, you could take the opportunity to do so. Just because it was hugely well-received by information-hungry clients last spring does not mean that it is still needed. It’s also a good moment to think about future publication calendars, and the topics that clients could find of interest. Instead of dwelling on what has already happened and how to deal with it, look to the future, and develop your thinking around the opportunities for growth, change, and challenge. Now is definitely the time to get a little bit blue-sky again.