Part I of this piece can be found here
English novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton coined the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword” – an adage still relevant today. Contributed articles can go a long way to increase your visibility and expand your share of voice that can give you edge over your competitors.
In Part I, we discussed how contributed articles can help you stake a claim, identify trends and boost credibility. Here are a few more ways in which contributed articles can be leveraged to help you emerge ahead of the pack as a thought leader.
Provoke Thought or Undermine Status Quo
Good enough is usually never good enough. Customers are always looking for something faster, stronger, more efficient – or a whole new way of doing things.
That said, people don’t know what they don’t know. Where you will shine the brightest as a thought leader is when you introduce ideas that no one has even considered. This might mean you throw some (well warranted) shade at some industry behemoths or question an established industry trend – one that is pretty much accepted by everyone.
For example, an article with the headline “Is Digital Transformation Killing Your Entrepreneurial Spirit?” will likely get some backlash. But it will also get page views — a lot more than an article titled “The Pros and Cons of Digital Transformation.” It will also inspire conversation and new ways of thinking.
Contributed articles allow you to ask the really tough questions – even ones that make readers a little uncomfortable – in order to move the industry from its resting place and galvanize change. Even if you get some flack from readers, contributed articles be the vehicle to turn the status quo on its head by challenging previously held beliefs and make things better.
Point Out Industry Gaps and Shortfalls
No one likes to confront their shortcomings up close and personal. So, it can be challenging to get people, companies or industries to take a hard look at what isn’t working and own it. Among the many reasons is that once they become aware of their shortcomings, they will be responsible for making necessary changes.
Yet, as difficult as it can be, it’s often necessary in order for a paradigm shift or any meaningful change to occur. And it has to start somewhere. Contributed articles can be the spark that sets that kind of comprehensive change in motion. They can be used to shed light on a problem that has been hidden or covered up. They can expose gaping holes in management, technology, processes, strategy or ways of thinking that many have known about for a long time but were too afraid to articulate.
(For example, why HAVE healthcare organizations kept regulations in place that prevent them from updating security defenses. Or why do organizations continue to entrust third parties with critical data without oversight?)
It can be harder still to get them to take responsibility and outline a roadmap for change. But no system, technology or industry has changed without someone illuminating its flaws and where it could do better, beforehand.
Thought leaders can use contributed articles to point out that the emperor indeed has no clothes by identifying gaps and failings. But more than that, contributed articles can also be used to thoughtfully present solutions and push an industry in a new direction that will be ultimately be required for an even greater paradigm shift to occur down the road.
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