Most professionals agree that thought leadership is an effective form of marketing. It helps you get known publically for your expertise, the research required helps with personal development and publishing articles helps other people find experts which can lead to new files and additional marketing opportunities.
However, does the value of thought leadership differ based on your practice and target audience?
The basic premise of thought leadership is to provide free and thoughtful insight in areas you practice and is of most importance to your audience. The concept is simple and has been discussed at length. For example, a corporate tax lawyers creates content on tax laws that CEOs/CFOs are interested in. The audience is specific, the content is written in a manner that is easily consumable and provides guidance or answers to, “what to do in case you come up against this problem….”
But what if your audience can be easily defined but not easily found. For example if you are a litigation lawyer who helps individuals that have been harmed, your audience could theoretically be anyone in the province which you are licensed. Writing content for an audience of millions will be more difficult and may not resonate the same way as our corporate tax lawyers’ content. There is value in the litigation lawyer’s content but its value requires a different measurement. The audience may not necessarily be looking nor care for a thought leader in the traditional sense.
With all thought leadership pieces, starting with a real problem will draw in potential readers, providing a solution to the problem will keep readers around and help you develop your platform. When your audience is unknown, how the information is shared becomes increasingly important. Including a great deal of legal information, citations, etc. will not interest a broad audience in the same way it is for a defined small audience. You need to present the problem in a different manner, pose questions that will attract readers while providing enough detail so that you come across as knowledgeable. Using a lot of legal language will not be engaging to the broad audience.
So the answer is yes, thought leaders are relevant to all practices and all audiences. There is value. If your audience is difficult to define, make sure the content is easy to digest and searched by potential clients. The more defined the audience, the deeper you can go with the content and developing your platform. The expectation in both cases is your in-depth understanding of the problem and solutions.