Brian Carroll

Using thought leader content as a lead generation tool

Demonstrating your expertise gives you an edge to combat commoditization by attracting more business and proactively building your reputation. This is especially important in generating postitive word of mouth (WOM) too.

As an expert, people and companies will seek you out when they have problems. You’ll evolve from a vendor that is simply selling products and services to being an expert that is selling value. If you’re really good, people (you don’t even know) will start recommending you to their collegues and peers.

A while back, I met with a CRM consulting firm. They were interested in developing a lead generation program and I asked them about their value proposition. They said they were thought leaders. In fact, their website said so! When I visited their so called “thought leader” section, it contained just a few ‘white papers’ which required user registration to download. There really wasn’t any other proof. That’s not thought leadership!

There are a number of things you can do to share your expertise and establish a reputation for creating value. Thought leaders often do the following things; they write, speak, do research, analyze trends, and openly share insightful ideas with people (regardless of their timing to buy).

My point: Share your information freely and try to be a resource, otherwise your potential customers will find someone else who will.

Using thought leader content as a lead generation tool
Content is king in demonstrating your thought leadership and expertise. I’ve found that creating good content doesn’t require a lot of budget but it definitely requires time, a desire to learn, and a willingness to teach others what you’ve learned. Your actions demonstrate your thought leadership.
Thoughtleader_3
(click image to enlarge) The thought leadership mindmap, shows some of the types of content that you can use to position your company as “the” experts. If you want to be looked upon as an expert, your thought leading content needs to focus on your potential customer’s needs, issues and concerns. It must be relevant!

Some thought leadership content rules of thumb:

  1. It must be relevant to your target audience or their sphere of influence
  2. It needs to be timely and address the issues faced by your target audience
  3. It needs to demonstrate your value and tie into your value proposition
  4. It needs to give more value than the time it takes to process and digest it

The modalities you’ll choose to share, promote and distribute your content will depend on your market and your target audience. As a general rule, you will select less intrusive methods of capturing people who are just at the awareness phase of the buying process. Then you can use more intrusive methods like phone calling to see where they are at in their process and learn how you can be more of a resource. What thought leadership content am I missing?

Also See: Winning the Complex Sales Cycle with Thought leading Content

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Lead Generation, Leadership, Marketing Strategy, Public Relations (PR), Sales, Sales Leads, Thought Leadership, Weblogs



  1. Todd
    July 11th, 2005 at 12:22 | #1

    Brian, I thought this was a great piece and was going to pass this along to a couple of associates. It appears Revenue Roundtable is down or no longer operational. Do you have the full post on your site anywhere?

  2. March 25th, 2009 at 16:09 | #2

    Brian – great information. What are your thoughts on how a company can use its blog to interface with its lead management software (e.g., Eloqua)?

  3. December 12th, 2011 at 14:30 | #3

    Liking the sentiment, about giving great value to all and evolving into the vendor people trust, and therefore being their first port of call when they want to buy.

  1. June 17th, 2005 at 21:59 | #1
  2. June 17th, 2005 at 22:01 | #2
  3. October 9th, 2007 at 20:57 | #3