It’s a set of buzzwords you’ve heard before, but “thought leadership” is so much more than sweeping speeches or inspirational articles. In fact, the more you can think outside of the box when it comes to delivering thought leadership content, the better chance you have of earning engagement from your following, potential customers, or business partners.
At Osmosis, we help ideate and create a wide variety of highly engaging content, from feature-length documentaries to interactive microsites.
Why Commit to Making Thought Leadership Content?
Over the last few years, thought leadership has only increased in popularity and importance. A 2021 impact study from Edelman revealed that more than half of C-suite executives spent more time consuming this content than before the pandemic, and 48% of executives said they spend over an hour per week reading or reviewing thought leadership pieces. This content also led to over half of decisionmakers buying a new product or service they had not previously considered buying from these organizations.
What Makes a Thought Leader?
Thought leadership is best thought of as a core component of an overall strategy to build a brand. Experts in their fields are better able to establish trust with potential customers because they do more than simply explain new products or services; they show people what’s driving the need for these things to begin with. They understand what’s at stake for their audience — and they follow some basic steps toward creating engaging content with a clear path forward.
Here are the steps to follow to create a multi-channel thought leadership campaign with enough impact to capture the attention of your target audience.
Steps to Successful Thought Leadership
STEP 1: Identify a message that you feel is important – and your team feels inspired to share
A strong thought leadership piece resonates not only with your core audience, but also with your own employees and collaborators. It’s also best to keep things brief: 55% of buyers in Edelman’s 2021 impact study said if a thought leadership piece did not pique their interest within the first minute, they moved on.
The Osmosis team partnered with the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, or SIFMA, to create videos that take the complex history of capital markets and deliver a human perspective through mixed-media animations. We paired archival photographs with sharp data visualization to deliver films, graphics and social media-ready cut-downs that were able to reach not just association members or visitors to the SIFMA website, but also to engage wider audiences on Vimeo, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
STEP 2: Identify your channels (don’t ignore video) and plan your multi-pronged approach
With endless possibilities online, on mobile devices and beyond, a multi-channel approach is a key way to ensure a wide audience for your content, whether that’s through a streaming docuseries, a standout social media campaign, or a branded YouTube channel.
A global survey in 2021 of over 4,000 marketers showed that 72% planned to increase their use of Instagram, along with increases of: 71% for YouTube, 66% for Facebook and 51% for LinkedIn. YouTube alone has over 2 billion monthly active users and generated $8.6 billion in ad revenue in Q4 of 2021, representing a 25% YoY increase. Apple was the largest spender, buying over $237 million in ads.
Climate Now, a multimedia resource on the science and economics of climate change, has been a top project at Osmosis, garnering a 2022 Webby Awards nomination for Video Science & Education (Video Channels & Series). The mission is to provide policy makers, business leaders, investors and journalists with the scientific and economic context necessary to make good decisions about policy, capital and narrative focus on everything from climate change to clean energy technologies, cutting edge research, and policies relevant to the climate crisis and the energy transition. We’ve worked to engage this core audience through thought leadership that works in concert across media, whether you’re listening to the Climate Now podcast, attending a live event, reading the newsletter or watching a video.
STEP 3: Identify your formats and decide how you will share them
Along with a multi-channel approach, it’s important to continue to amplify your thought leadership content through social media, paid social posts and additional website messaging. A 2021 report from Statista showed that 93% of marketers used Facebook to promote businesses, while 78% used Instagram, 61% used LinkedIn, 55% used YouTube and 48% used Twitter.
Facebook ad spending also saw a large jump during the pandemic, increasing by 56% in 2021 alone, for a total of $28.6 billion. In-feed video posts still drive higher engagement than photo or text-based posts on the platform, but live feeds are increasingly popular, increasing viewership by 50% in 2020.
In March 2022, Osmosis released The Quest for Sleep, a feature-length documentary examining the stories of real people who have trouble sleeping and the science of what’s going on in our brains and our bodies when we can’t get enough sleep. To spread the message about the film’s premiere, we worked on a coordinated campaign across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to encourage people to sign up online to watch the film on the day it premiered, and also to attend live screenings in multiple cities. The result was an increased awareness of sleep as a major part of our overall health, as well as an audience deeply engaged in finding hope for new ways to treat their trouble sleeping.
STEP 4: Pick a partner with expertise in developing video, visual storytelling and other forms of innovative content
At Osmosis, we bring all of these approaches to thought leadership under one roof. Our team understands how to distill your message then integrate it across different types of media, whether that’s through coordinated multimedia campaigns, an illuminating docuseries, immersive live events or anything in between. Edelman’s 2021 impact study also revealed that over 70% of decision-makers felt that less than half of the thought leadership they engaged with gave them valuable insights. We partner with you to create something bold, consistent and creative that stands out.
Ready to talk? We’d love to connect: [email protected]