Thought leadership is important, particularly for agencies or consultants looking to attract clients. Before you roll your eyes: we’re not advocating for tossing “Thought Leader” in your LinkedIn bio and expecting business to just roll in. However, we are saying that the habits of thought leaders—sharing ideas via blogging, speaking publicly, recording podcasts, distributing newsletters, etc.—are most definitely ways that you can increase the authority, competitive advantage, and visibility of your company.
Unlike “synergy” and “hacking,” thought leadership is a buzzword worth unpacking. Let us explain.
As an independent agency, producing content isn’t just a way of driving clicks; it also establishes your authority within your field. Being perceived as an expert—as someone who’s put in the legwork—helps independent agencies gain a competitive advantage against much bigger corporate shops. Huge, established agencies often don’t invest much time into thought leadership; their brand name and track record get them enough business. As a growing agency stakeholder with a less established brand and shorter track record, sharing your smarts via content can help you compete with the big guys.
Create a Barrier to Entry for New Competition
Other upstart agencies, which may look a lot like yours, are looking for ways to eat your lunch. The reality is that a talented startup competitor might be able to produce client work that is as good as yours out of the gate; what they certainly cannot do, however, is replicate a year’s worth of thought leadership overnight. In this way, your bank of content helps create a kind of “barrier to entry” for new guys looking to compete with you for work. When a prospective client is comparing equally skilled agencies with similar rates, established authority is a not-so-secret weapon.
Test Ideas as a Minimum Viable Product
Are you sitting on any killer ideas that are too risky to execute for a current client? Besides helping to establish a competitive advantage against both incumbent and entrant agencies, pursuing opportunities for thought leadership is a way for agency leaders to test their craziest, potentially deal-making ideas on the open market. We flesh out our most innovative ideas by writing and speaking about them. A prospective client might catch wind of your idea and think, “I want that.” Thus, a blog post or interview becomes a minimum viable product for your most ambitious ideas—almost like pitching the entire brand world on your vision at once.