Learnings from a new Thought Leader

As the newest Inker on the team, I’m still discovering the full scope of what thought leadership can accomplish for our clients.

Being a writer in today’s very loud world often becomes synonymous with being a marketer. What first attracted me to Intelligent Ink wasn’t just quality content – although that was evident – but instead an unwavering sense of purpose. Thought leadership drives deeper thinking in the work that Intelligent Ink pursues. It’s the difference between content for content’s sake and content for impact. 

I used to work in libraries, where every kind of person congregates to be silent together, surrounded by aisles of unlimited questions and answers and opinions. The internet, as I see it, is one huge library. Content is our best shot at aligning other people to our point of view.

The world is filled with words trying to convince you to act and think in a certain way. Every piece of writing, by nature, is persuasive. Vote for this candidate, save the planet, buy my product, like my page. Content doesn’t have to pretend that it’s not persuasive to be meaningful and effective. But it does have to cut through the “click me!” stage and get to the heart of what a brand is trying to achieve.

What thought leadership strategy brings to content is an unwavering sense of why a service or product or idea is important – to the planet, to an individual, or to an industry. 

Thought leadership doesn’t end at “because if you believe me, you’ll buy more product.” Instead, it leads to, “if you believe me, you’ll change your behavior and maybe even change someone else’s.” The service you offer as a brand actually then functions like a by-product of deeper thinking.

Christina recently shared with the Intelligent Ink team a story that, for me, illuminated what it is we’re doing here:

One of her clients went on a rant about what was frustrating them in their industry — the annoying, antithetical blocks in the road. So, Christina helped her write a post about it. Not with a prescribed marketing strategy – just an honest, well-crafted post that spoke to the real frustrations that were preventing progress.

As you’d guess, that post exploded. It ended up seeing twice as much engagement for that client than any other post in years. The topic struck a chord with people, and it started a dialogue.

I can’t say whether that client saw boosted sales immediately because of that single article. But I think they gained something far more powerful — a space in people’s minds. 

What I’ve realised about thought leadership, in the last few months of working with Intelligent Ink, is that better content isn’t just about igniting an immediate reaction. Rather, it’s about driving real action – alongside also building trust as an industry leader. 

If content marketing is going fishing for engagement, then thought leadership is introducing yourself to another fisherman on the water. You may not come home with a bounty of fish the first day, but you now have a net that extends twice as far.