Let’s do a video! What should it be about?
We need a new website! What design do we like?
Let’s arrange for a presentation to potential clients. What’s the topic?

If this sounds familiar, stop your work now. Sure, these are all terrific opportunities to build thought leadership – of your firm and its industry experts. But you’re asking the wrong questions. You’re wasting time and money. And you’re ignoring the fundamentals of effective professional services marketing. While it’s appealing to jump right to the fun, exciting tactics, strategic thought leadership first requires – you guessed it – a clear, solid strategy.

Thought leadership communications, as part of your professional services marketing approach, can be a powerful way to rise above the noise and get heard by those who matter most – in the markets and industries where you’re looking for new business.

Ask these six questions to build thought leadership into your professional services marketing strategy.

What do we stand for?

Ask this question first and repeatedly. Start with your organization’s expertise: What are your strengths? What is your vision? What challenges have you successfully resolved for clients? The answer should be aspirational yet simple. Imagine and define what you do best.

What do we stand for? Ask this question first and repeatedly.Click To Tweet

Who cares?

What are the key industries that need your specific expertise? Which businesses in these practice areas are most important? Target the clients you want based on where the greatest demand exists.

What do we have to say (that’s different)?

This question helps take your offering and translate it into messages that resonate. More so, by focusing on what’s different about your organization and its leaders, you’re not only joining the conversation, you’re positioned to help lead it. Give your experts in various industries and practice areas a voice. Doing so shows the depth and breadth of your organization’s thought leadership.

What does our audience want to hear?

You can’t expect to simply “build it and they will come.” Perform due diligence on the industry issues and developments that most concern potential clients. Stay on top of new legal, regulatory, economic and technological trends. This helps demonstrate your organization’s focus on resolving issues and complexities for impacted businesses.

Where are they gathering?

Assess what platforms or communication channels are used most by your audience. How do they prefer to engage and receive information? These answers provide a solid litmus test for determining whether specific tactics or opportunities make sense for your thought leadership strategy.

What do we want them to do about it?

It’s one thing to say you want to get your name “out there,” but you need to translate awareness into new business. To ensure your efforts ultimately create demand for your firm and its professional or consulting services, make sure your call to action is clear.

When any or all of these elements are ignored, your investment in thought leadership communications won’t deliver a strong return. On the flip side, once you’ve nailed each of these six elements, your professional services marketing efforts are much more likely to stick.

Download the White Paper - Thought Leadership: Your Organization's Secret to Reputation Marketing

For more than 12 years, Jen Zottola has helped bring clients’ stories to life – through media opportunities, digital and marketing content, executive presentations, employee communications and more. Fusing creativity with strategy, she crafts compelling, award-winning copy proven to reach and resonate with the right audiences in the most impactful ways. As editorial director, Jen collaborates with clients and account teams to provide counsel on messaging and voice, as well as writing and editing support. Her creativity isn’t reserved only for writing; Jen also gets a kick out of party- and event planning.