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Thought Pieces are the foundation for Thought Leadership

Introduction
Thought Pieces are documents that pull together in a coordinated way a company’s thinking and positioning on key and topical issues on their industry and their business environment. They are commonly of around 500-750 words in length. This blog sets out how Thought Pieces can provide the foundation of a Thought Leadership programme.

Advantages of Thought Pieces
The advantages of Thought Pieces include:

• Building blocks for your Thought Leadership programme and for your company’s positioning as Thought Leaders and Market Influencers.
• Your company has a defined stance and clear thinking of a key business issue.
• Collaborative process to collect insights for the piece, which gets full internal buy-in.
• Subject experts in the company can contribute their knowledge of the subject.
• Thought Pieces provide useful internal briefing and training documents.
• Consistent and co-ordinated communications on a subject across your business and in all key media (so your company ‘speaks with one voice’)
• Provides efficient framework for the production of digital content – client presentations; web content; ; blogs; press articles; social media etc – all content is developed from one source.
• Leads to Thought Leadership positioning on chosen subjects.

Thought Pieces should also reflect relevant keyword research, to enable efficient SEO and PPC advertising.

Video

Still an underused medium in many marketing and comms programmes, video acts as a visual representation of the written copy, edited according to channel – e.g. longer formats for websites; shorter edits for social media channels. In the age of YouTube and the ‘quick fix’, video is an engaging medium to get your message across to target audiences.

Getting started

For the programmes we run with clients, we start by identifying with the clients the hot topics on which they have something to say. We then collect insight on the subjects from subject experts in the client’s organisation, either by correspondence or through interviews. From this material, and our own research and insight on the subjects, we then write up the Thought Pieces. Each draft document is then shared with the people in the client who contributed on each subject, for review and sign off. We can subsequently adapt and repurpose the content for any media, as required. We can also test with target audiences how the client’s positioning has influenced their attitudes and stance on the chosen subjects. Where appropriate this can kick off an industry-wide debate, with your company seen as an informed commentator.

Timing

In our experience a suite of Thought Pieces – on say 6-8 subjects – can be developed, signed off, and ready for dissemination in 3-4 weeks.

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