Content marketing is a well-established discipline for generating inbound leads through keyword targeting and other methods.
But what about innovative leadership?
For some, the term is an instant buzzword. Others believe that innovative leadership and content marketing are the same, which is not the case, although both can be put to good use.
Content marketing offers business value
Content marketing works in large part by creating a transfer of value from the content editor to the reader.
Content marketers need to make sure they have valuable information to pass on to readers. Over time, this is a smart way to build a relationship with the reader, positioning yourself as your obvious supplier.
There are a few things to note about this relationship and I emphasize this to distinguish between content marketing and innovative leadership:
- The “merchandise” negotiated in content marketing is valuable information. Researchers want to find solutions to their problems. Content marketers learn what users are looking for and develop content that provides answers to their readers. Finally, researchers can choose the content marketing company as a supplier.
- The content reader’s professional marketing relationship is usually top to bottom. As a content marketer, we write to a buying audience, but that doesn’t mean it’s a one-way street. Good content is supported by strong community management and dialogue must take place. Ultimately, however, the relationship architecture is vertical rather than horizontal.
Innovative leadership offers ideas in exchange for presentations
Implementing innovative leadership requires identifying a target audience and learning their needs. This is because innovative leadership often requires the exchange of ideas for business presentations.
What is the difference between that and what we just discussed about content marketing?
Scenario, for example. The natural home for innovative leadership is excellent B2B marketing. Many organizations in this space have innovative leadership managers. These organizations do not necessarily need to build a reputation, but saying something original about a problem can be a useful way to differentiate yourself in a crowded vendor scenario. This is especially true when the organization wants to market a new solution or break established industry practices.
Content marketing is used in B2B and B2C sales contexts, but it is more appropriate than innovative leadership in a B2C environment. For example, it can provide a lot of useful information on how to solve a home renovation problem, but the information conveyed is probably not the final investigation. This is probably an informational guide to solving a problem.
Needless to say, content marketing must be original, informative, and engaging. But there is a difference between providing useful information and disseminating original ideas or ideas that you have never written about. The first is content marketing. The latter can be innovative leadership.
In innovative leadership, offers are worth more than short-term gains
With innovative leadership, there are usually fewer sales than even with content marketing. In fact, the sales goal can be a long way off, and the immediate goal of innovative leadership may just be the beginning of a relationship.
The main B2B sales processes are not known to move at the speed of light. Besides, major contracts are awarded through the issuance of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and are subject to strict bidding guidelines. Sometimes it is mandatory by law to respect it.
The commercial media, often involving innovative leaders, is an important information channel for both sides of this process. Unlike blogs, points of sale are external and the lack of advertising is often a requirement for style guidance.
In the context of long sales cycles and specialized industries, it may be more important to be on the radar of a potential buyer than to sell something tomorrow. That is why innovative leadership is often used in the B2B context, especially for making presentations.
It’s amazing how C-level managers find time in their commitments to read innovative leadership content: 48% of decision-makers spend more than an hour a week on innovative leadership materials, according to the latest edition of the Impact Study of Leadership at Edelman / Pen.
Content marketing is fundamentally different from innovative leadership
Innovative leadership and content marketing are all about making words. But make no mistake: it is not the same thing.
Formatting content provides readers with value in creating relationships that ultimately benefit the author. This is usually done through content on managed channels (on-site, proprietary).
Innovative leadership focuses on conveying original insights or interesting ideas to stimulate interest in recipients. Information is also routinely sent to external readers through commercial media and other niche publications.
As your goals and audience differ significantly, innovative leadership and content marketing cannot be approached in the same way, at least not if you expect good results.
This is not to say that your content marketing writer cannot provide innovative leadership; instead, the tone of voice and the content itself must be different. It would not be a bad idea to define a separate editorial agenda and strategy for each company.
When you use innovative leadership, it’s important to get it right. The latest edition of the Edelman / LinkedIn study confirms the risks of poorly executed innovative leadership. Organizations that have achieved A for Innovative Leadership have been rewarded with greater brand awareness and a greater chance of being included in RFP events. On the other hand, those who thought about leadership realized that it had negative consequences:
- 38% of decision-makers said that innovative leadership has reduced their admiration for an organization.
- 27% of decision-makers said that innovative leadership led them to not do business with an organization.
Unfortunately, the study also showed that a great deal of innovative leadership does not achieve the desired goals: decision-makers often complain that innovative leadership … well, it does not contain “many” thoughts “or” many “leadership”.
This is what innovative leadership should be
To avoid creating low-quality, innovative leadership that could damage your reputation, think about innovative leadership and strive to create content that gets the right message across.
Innovative leadership must include high-quality thinking. Innovative leadership does not mean repeating someone else’s ideas and dressing in sophisticated language. If your innovative leadership is worth the time of an executive reader, it must include original ideas that they haven’t read or that they couldn’t read anywhere else.
Your readers will probably know who you are, what you do, and what you end up selling. The unknown is your thinking and your vision. Innovative leadership must make you unknown.
If your insights are truly original, your readers expect you to support them with research. If you don’t have the budget to order, see if there is research to support your cause.
In any case, before putting your pen to paper in an innovative leadership article, ask yourself:
- Has it been written before, or am I just repeating someone else’s ideas?
- What is the insight I am trying to convey? Is it something that readers are likely to find original?
- Is it a topic that my readers might be interested in?
Innovative leadership and content marketing work well together
The good news about content marketing and innovative leadership is that you don’t have to choose one or the other.
If you have a strong marketing team ready to produce good content, there’s no reason why you can’t do both. But a different style and content are needed. After all, the two types of assets will pursue different goals.