My recent post on pitching thought leadership continues to drive comment, including a raspberry from my girlfriend who thinks “thought leadership” sounds like controlling people’s minds. I tell her it just means coming up with truly new ways of solving a customer’s problem. She just rolls her eyes.

A lot of the rest of you, though, agree that thought leadership is critical to rising above the “he said, she said” of competing product claims but that it usually isn’t done right. One of the most interesting threads came from Chris Stetson, a veteran researcher at OpinionPath who wonders why so few marketers take the same time to “pre-test” thought leadership content in the way they would a more conventional marketing or advertising campaign.  

A big reason, he suspects, “is that the ad folks are ill-at-ease reviewing editorial work. They still deep down love media's impartiality and the power that such credibility produces. So they want even the custom content to retain the good 'ol air of impartiality.

Except how do you make sure your thought leadership copy will increase the reader’s belief that the brand is a thought leader if you haven’t tested it? Seems like we’re back in the old days where “I know half of my ad dollars are wasted; I just don’t know which half.” Anyone out there have any best practices for testing thought leadership content in this new age of B2B, vendor-sponsored publishing?

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email or call me at 508 725-7258.

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