3 Thought Leadership Trends for 2017

by Isaac Oswalt on November 17, 2016

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What’s next for thought leadership in 2017? With everyone claiming to be an industry “expert” these days, it’s natural to wonder if thought leadership will simply suffocate under the weight of all the digital clutter it’s produced. We’ve written before how even the savviest marketers are struggling to stand out as legitimate solution providers. But don’t write an obituary for thought leadership just yet! In fact, as the B2B cycle continues to lengthen and more decision makers weigh in throughout the buying process, thought leadership will become even more important for framing the buying process in your company’s favor.

In 2017, the biggest challenge businesses will face is differentiating themselves in the cluttered digital marketplace. In addition to taking a page out of our thought leadership best practice manual, these three thought leadership trends will help your business stand out:

1. Follow the “How-Now-Wow” Strategy

Introduced by Monster’s Marketing Managing Editor/Senior Director and Content Marketer of the Year candidate Margaret Magnarelli, the “How-Now-Wow” strategy is designed to help businesses align topic and tone. We’ve written before why finding your voice is so important for thought leadership and content marketing in general. The “How-Now-Wow” strategy takes this one step further, aligning your brand’s voice (and your personal voice) with a bigger strategic purpose.

As you conceptualize your 2017 thought leadership pieces, ask yourself these three questions:

  • HOW is this content educational or authoritative?
  • Is this content immediately useful for my audience right NOW?
  • Does this content have a share-worthy WOW factor?

2. Build an internal newsroom.

From Marriott to Red Bull, major brands have started building their own content newsrooms. These newsrooms break down internal communication silos and empower instant responses to trending stories for real times wins. For example, Contently reports that Marriott’s newsroom and content studio dubbed “M Live”, allows employees to jump on real-time marketing opportunities, driving everything from social conversations (including a 650% increase over a 30-day period) to hotel room bookings.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking here: “Where on earth will I get the budget or resources for an internal newsroom from?” Your “newsroom” doesn’t have to be huge or require a massive budget– it’s more about a shift in mentality. In fact, you may already have the beginnings of an internal newsroom. Do you have a member of your marketing responsible for content creation or social media? Then you’ve got the makings of your first newsroom or content studio! Start building towards this concept today by streamlining the approval process and empowering employees to instantly respond to real-time opportunities as they develop. Businesses that do will have a leg up on the competition.

3. Syndicate your content.

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of a smart thought leadership distribution strategy. But distribution goes beyond tweeting or sharing a thought leadership piece on LinkedIn. In 2017, distribution will be all about syndication. Create once, publish everywhere with syndication. Before you panic about Google dinging your business for duplicated content, remember that’s it’s a very simple process to “disallow” or disable your content from being indexed multiple times by Google. HubSpot has a fantastic, easy-to-follow guide to rectifying this problem.

Yes, having quality content on your website is important. However, with sites like Medium and LinkedIn Pulse steadily building an engaging audience, where you share your thought leadership will become just as important as what you say. Get ready to maximize your impact!

Final thoughts:
From syndication to building a more effective share-worthy content strategy, 2017 thought leadership trends are all about working smarter, not harder.

Millennial Selling Checkling  

Isaac Oswalt

Owner of 21 Handshake, a strategic marketing company, driven to grow relationship-driven businesses. Futurist in nature, Isaac displays a deep desire to preserve the human element in today's business. Trust being the ultimate currency, his clients appreciate that "new and stronger handshakes" is a success metric in their businesses.

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