Finding your voice:

There’s probably no better way to bolster your brand’s credentials as a thought leader than through a smart, targeted content marketing campaign. However, the content many brands produce don’t offer the reader anything relevant or useful, which quickly diminishes that brand’s credibility. Here are some tips to help your brand find its thought leadership voice.

###Listen first
You are already listening to the social media buzz in your industry (you are listening, RIGHT?), so develop a short list of topics that you can credibly match up to your organization’s expertise. Make sure you keep a broad lens to see what’s being discussed both upstream and downstream of your product to find logical places to join the conversation. For example, if you make commercial gym equipment, make sure you’re listening to what gym owners, personal trainers and end users are saying. Are there common pain points (no pun intended) they see that are relevant to what you know?

###Have a helpful take
Often, brands look at thought leadership as an opportunity to spout off about something that everyone is talking about in the industry, but don’t offer a proposed solution. Or, brands cook up very vague content that doesn’t take a stand on an issue and is a thinly disguised excuse to try and sell stuff.

Your thought leadership content should hit a sweet spot that balances an opinion on an industry issue (backed by your organization’s experience) with truly helpful advice that educates your reader.

Think of the last few articles you tore out of print magazines or bookmarked – what did they have in common? I’d bet they all provided some useful advice from a credible source – maybe a recipe from Bobby Flay or a diet tip from a personal trainer.

When thinking about forming an opinion, don’t be afraid to swim against the current of industry sentiment from time to time. Having an opinion that’s contrary to prevailing wisdom is a way to stand out, but that doesn’t mean you should take a contrary view just to stand out – make sure it lines up with what you truly believe.

The point here is, if you’re going to ask someone to read your blog, you need to offer useful insights, real and personal experiences and fresh perspectives – all delivered in a manner that sounds like it’s coming from a human. Some examples in our business include Seth Godin’s [blog]( and Edelman President Richard Edelman’s [6 a.m. blog](

###Use your brand voice
Somewhere in a not-too-dusty corner of your marketing department should be a set of guidelines for your brand voice. If you don’t have them or they are out of date, [maybe it’s time for a brand refresh]( Get to know these before diving into developing thought leadership content.

Framing this content in your brand’s voice creates a subtle connection back to your brand and fortifies what it stands for. Each piece of content you develop should pass the “does it sound like us” test.

Keep in mind that thought leadership is not a business goal – your goal should be offering a steady stream of useful content that reinforces your brand’s position in the marketplace. The tips above are a great starting point, but there certainly are more. Share your thoughts with us on Twitter via [@IntrinzicSays](