Is Content Marketing synonymous with Thought Leadership?

Almost every business blogger aspires to be regarded as a thought leader in his or her respective field. It comes with a lot of perks: gaining desired traffic, a huge following, exposure on other blogs, and even individual success such as making a name throughout an entire industry.

Back in 1994, Editor-in-chief Joel Kurtzman coined the term “thought leadership” in a Booz Allen Hamilton Magazine Strategy & Business. According to Kurtzman, thought leaders are people “who had business ideas which merited attention.”

Going back to the title of this post, the standing question lies. Does being a thought leader remain to be the sole force that rationalizes content marketing?

In a article entitled “What is a thought leader?” it was asserted that there are two “functions” that come into play in thought leadership: one is being an authority, and second is being profitable. The article presents both sides of the thought leader persona and how it relates to the true nature of content marketing in a business.

1. “A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.”

The foremost essence of being a thought leader is authority. This is mostly the marketing function of content, where the main target is to attain a certain level of perception and regard from those who support a particular business website or blog. With authority comes attention and respect – and marketers use those honors to position themselves in the market.

2. “A thought leader is an individual or firm that significantly profits from being recognized as such.”

This definition addresses the commercial aspect of thought leadership. While many people don’t readily see this as a by-product, it’s actually happening in reality. When a person or team representing a firm was able to come up with a state-of-the-art concept that, in its own way is innovative and revolutionary, they will have gotten the attention of clients – not just ordinary passersby but businessmen who actually are willing to pay for the idea.

Say, an IT products and services firm comes up with a never-before-heard business operation model for SMB IT operations. Not only will blog readers be intrigued with what the new concept has to offer, companies would also consider employing such ideas in their own businesses. But of course, that idea, should you choose to monetize it, must be made available only to those who are willing to “buy” it.

Thought leadership, as you can see, as evolved from being a mere breeding ground for industrial popularity. It could also come in handy in terms of profitability and engaging potential clients to actually establish a business partnership with your own.

This content originally appeared at Sales and Marketing Solutions.