Genuine Thought Leadership Requires Action

Written by Ben Connelly

Jan 31, 2022

For forward-thinking companies in 2022, crafting thought leadership has become the next level of content marketing. When your business produces thought leadership, you no longer follow trends. You create them. Your company goes from up-and-coming to influential. You drive actual change in your industry.

So, it makes sense that everyone from Deloitte to McKinsey to the RAND Corporation is writing about thought leadership. But while many CEOs and public relations people talk about thought leadership, genuine and trendsetting insight is still relatively rare.

What Sets Apart Real Thought Leadership?

The difference between those who merely talk about thought leadership and those who actually drive change is action. The people and companies who take action are the ones whose thought leadership matters. This action can take many forms, but – at its core – action is the tangible follow-through for the message and vision of a company.

Action drives change. Action demonstrates commitment to the principles laid out in articles and white papers. It backs up in reality what was written down in words.

That is not to say that words don’t matter. They do. Language is the means by which we convey thoughts and ideas. For it to be put into practice, an idea must be expressed and communicated (to the relevant parties). Without words, there is no thought leadership.

But action reinforces and complements the written word. Together, words and actions create something real. Together, they drive change.

A Few Lessons from This Insight

While there are many takeaways from the understanding that action and words work together to change hearts and minds (and reality), there are a few lessons we’ll focus on today. 

1. Doers vs. Communicators

We believe that the dichotomy between doers and communicators within a company is a false one. Why? Because the doers can be communicators.

The people on the ground can be the ones communicating their experiences and broadcasting their perspectives. In fact, audiences want to hear from the doers. Employee advocacy is a great way to make that happen, by allowing your audience to hear directly from your engineers, designers, architects, frontline staff, software developers, and your test team.

But there’s another reason the dichotomy is a false one. Rather than working in tangent to one another, we believe that the doers and communicators need to work together. They need each other. The doers can create their own content. But the guiding architects and managers need to be the marketing and public relations team, who actually design the overall thought leadership message.

Instead of writing every post themselves, the communicators can now become the designers who shape and direct the flow of content.

2. Commitment to Employees

Lots of companies talk about their commitment to their people. But we believe that one way to actually demonstrate that commitment is to give employees a voice. Empower them to craft content. If you’re proud of your diverse workforce, this is also an excellent way for you to pursue equity.

3. Trendsetting

A precondition for being a trendsetter is doing something first. Being an early-adopter. Trying novel ideas. Employee advocacy is a novel concept. It’s new. Not many businesses practice it. By trying it out, you can be a trendsetter. You can set a new standard within your industry for employee engagement and crowdsourced content. Your action can drive change.

Taking Action on Employee Advocacy

It’s a new year, and there’s no better time than the present to take action on resolutions made in 2021. We believe that if you make 2022 the year you take action on empowering your employees to be content creators, you’ll never regret it.

Action is difficult, which is why it’s often so much rarer than white papers. Action requires risk. But opportunity requires risk. Change requires risk. Genuine thought leadership requires risk.

So, if you’d like to demonstrate through your actions that you are a thought leader in your industry, take a leap on employee advocacy. It just might pay off for you.

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