Tag Archives: Contributed Articles

Five Top Ways Contributed Articles Can Drive Thought Leadership – Part II

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.

By Stefanie Hoffman 

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Five Ways Your Contributed Article Can Drive Thought Leadership- Part I

Contributed articles are a mainstay of any successful PR program. They increase visibility. They drive credibility in your industry. They enable you to articulate your message precisely the way you want.

And above all else – they allow you to boost thought leadership. From the moment you sign with a PR agency – like 10Fold – you hear how a consistent and robust contributed article program will position you as a thought leader in your market.

Now the definition of a thought leader varies, depending on who you talk to. Though relatively subjective, Wikipedia defines thought leader as “an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.”

For our clients, that means that the companies that they are building and the cutting edge technology that they are offering today will be used as a platform for leading, growing and articulating the trajectory of an entire industry tomorrow.

So how can you leverage contributed content to expand your share of voice and emerge ahead of the pack as an industry thought leader? While there is neither a simple formula nor straight trajectory that leads directly to thought leadership, here are a few ways your contributed articles can be used to help put you on that path.

Stake a Claim Without Apology
One major hallmark of a leader – or thought leader – is that they drive forward with confidence. The same standards apply to your contributed article.

By definition, industry leaders charter their own path, invoke new ways of thinking and inspire new ideas – even if those ideas aren’t ready to be fully accepted in the marketplace. The contributed article is your mouthpiece for driving home revolutionary new ideas that hold the potential to spark an industry paradigm shift.

What does that look like? For example, the security industry might never defeat ransomware. Next-generation anything might already be obsolete. Certain enterprise platforms might be going the way of the dodo. It’s likely your assertions might make some uncomfortable – and that’s okay.

So — as long as you can factually support your claims — don’t be afraid to put a stake in the ground and take a few risks.

Bolster Credibility (With Strong Research)
Anyone can make a claim – that’s the easy part. But what will ultimately drive credibility and boost your esteem in the industry are claims that hold up to a lot of outside criticism – a LOT.

As your visibility and thought leadership expands, it’s likely you will find yourself under increased scrutiny by competitors and others intent on removing you from your leadership pedestal. And you need to be prepared. Making claims that are factually incorrect or arguments that are full of holes will swiftly and surely diminish your credibility and make it that much more difficult for the industry to realize your vision.

Contributed articles enable you to bolster market standing – while also extinguishing outside criticism — by giving you a palette to present rational, factually sound arguments supporting your claims. At the very least, you’ll have the ability to leverage statistics, research and forecasts from credible sources to shake off the naysayers. If you’re citing your own original research, you can rely on industry analysts and researchers that will underscore why it was important.

In any case, you can expect that your message will increasingly be placed under the microscope– especially as your share of voice increases. The real thought leaders will be able to weather the storm of scrutiny that will only intensify as they gain an edge over your competition.

Identify Trends First
If you’re discussing a trend mid-cycle, it’s likely that the most critical wave has already passed or is about to. Among other things, leaders are visionaries – and that means they’re looking two, five or ten steps ahead.

Customers and readers alike want to know where to go next, whether it’s the next technology investment, enterprise infrastructure implementation or cool new gadget. They want to know where to invest their money and resources. And they want to be the first

Contributed articles give you a way to thoroughly articulate what the industry can expect from the VC community or whether their startup should invest in cryptocurrency – not just now, but five years from now. Essentially, your article is your vehicle for mapping new directions for the industry, and then driving them there.

Find part II of this piece here.

By Stefanie Hoffman 

Looking for more great insights? Check out some of our other content here, and subscribe to our email list below: