How to write thought leadership articles

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By Matthew Stibbe

Thought leadership articles are one of the hardest forms of content marketing to get right. You need in-depth research, remarkable writing and impeccable style.

Research

Thought leadership articles have to be based on solid industry knowledge, a good grasp of current trends and events and deep insight into a marketing persona’s potential problem or challenge. They need to be backed up by solid, objective data. They need skilful writing in order to weave in your company’s position and expertise without compromising credibility.

Here are a few research tips that will help you anchor your copy:

  • Start at the source. Scour your company intranet for documents, brochures or videos that could help. Devour and break down whatever you can find.
  • Ask an expert. Whether it’s a product expert from inside your company, a third party specialist or a happy customer, there is always someone out there who knows more than you. Interviews should be guided and informative conversations. Your role is to listen.
  • The site you can never cite. Wikipedia is fantastic for getting an overview of a person, a term or anything else. Of course you should never rely on it absolutely as a source, but start there.
  • Google News and Blog searches. Looking at what comes up in the headlines, and where in the world that topic is buzzing is a brilliant way to tap in to the heart of the current conversation. Start with Google News, then drill down into industry or interest-specific publications

Using your sources

Sourcing means getting information, writing with it and keeping track of where it came from. Attribution, at least in this context, is how you report where it came from in your writing. Sourcing is always a good thing. Attribution is more subtle.

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