Thought leadership involves becoming a recognised leader or influential voice in an industry, through the creation and sharing of ideas, innovative insights, and knowledge. It showcases expertise and critical thinking abilities on topics that matter to the industry and its advancement.
A thought leader is seen to have expertise, experience, and credibility in their field and is recognised as a trusted source of innovative ideas and insights. They often challenge existing norms, offer unique perspectives, and provide solutions to complex problems.
Digital Finance and Fintech Associations can benefit from thought leadership as it can:
- Highlight expertise and establish credibility,
- Build and differentiate your brand,
- Build your network,
- Identify new members and partners,
- Engage with your audience,
- Drive traffic to your website and social media.
All of which contribute to growing membership and opportunities for your association.
There are many ways to demonstrate thought leadership. In this series, we will explore several, including webinars and social media. The focus of this blog post is just that, writing a blog post! Here is our advice for crafting an impactful thought leadership blog post.
Plan your blog
Planning – it is easy to drive straight into writing, but before your pen hits the paper (or fingers hit the keyboard!) give some time to your audience, the topic, and structure.
When selecting a topic, consider something that you know well, and that will be interesting to your target audience. Understanding your target audience will help in identifying topics that will meet their needs and interests. Consider things about your audience such as their professional backgrounds, demographics, interests, and challenges and this will help identify the type of piece your audience will want to read. Also, look at industry hot topics and debates, this can be a great way to capture your audience’s attention if you can add to or synthesise the debate.
Also, consider AI tools such as ChatGPT that can generate content for blog posts in seconds! You will need to customise, fact-check, and tailor the post to find your brand voice and style, but it can save you significant amounts of time in generating content. Do make sure you adapt and tailor – a copied and pasted blog is easily spotted and can negatively impact on your credibility.
Construct your blog – make reading an an effortless process
Once you have identified your topic, create a structural outline including the key points you want to make in each section. This will help you to maintain focus when writing and ensure you have a well-structured post that flows easily. Create an attention-grabbing headline or title that will entice readers to click and read your blog post.
The introduction to your blog is a good opportunity to establish interest and context from your readers. To grab their attention with a compelling introduction, we suggest building on your previously established catchy headline/title. This will form a basis for writing a concise and interesting introduction, whilst keeping readers interested.
Organise your content into clear sections or paragraphs that flow logically from the introduction and through the piece or use sub-headings as we have used in this piece. Imagine reading a blog post is like driving to a new destination, you need some signposts and directions to help you reach that end point. Paragraphs and sub-headings function as that guide, making the blog easy to read.
Keep the readers reading – make your blog engaging
Use interesting statistics and figures to retain readers’ engagement and understanding. Using relevant data will also strengthen your argument. We recommend using trusted sources for your data and research to strengthen the validity of your blog. Provide your readers with links to other sources relevant to your blog. This will further support your points and provide additional information for interested readers.
Adding visual elements such as images, charts infographics, or videos will enhance your content and make it visually appealing and more engaging. Images can be more impactful and allow you quickly to illustrate your point.
We suggest using a friendly and conversational tone that is approachable and easy to understand. More formal language can be reserved for papers, a blog should be short and easily digestible. Keep sentences short and avoid using technical jargon.
Your blog post should be unique or share different insights or expertise. Do offer your own opinion or perspective on the topic. You may also want to highlight why the topic is important to your readers and your industry by exploring its implications – this works particularly well in the concluding part of the blog.
Also include a clear call to action that encourages readers to engage further with your content or take specific actions related to the topic. Examples of a call to action include becoming a member of your organisation or attending a relevant event.
Editing and publishing – make sure your blog reaches its audience
We suggest creating a blog that provides your readers with more depth or insight into the topic without overwhelming them. Six hundred words is a good minimum baseline with a maximum of around 1500 words. But focusing on quality over quantity is more important. Before publishing your work, it is a good idea to proofread and fact-check. We suggest having someone else also review your blog, get them to review the flow and readability of the post as well as checking the facts.
Digital tools such as Grammarly and the editor function in Microsoft Word can help you improve the style and readability of your blog post, along with identifying spelling and grammatical errors. Grammarly and other sites such as The Write Life are also good places to find free resources on blog writing.
When your blog has been through the checks and is published, promoting it will help increase its visibility and reach. We recommend sharing your blog on social media, relevant forums, and other platforms. Keep up with your readers and engage with their thoughts on your blog. Responding to comments and feedback on your blog post will help foster interaction and build a community around your content.
We’ve created a hand guide with our top tips for you, download here – good luck!