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Do You Know Your Pillars of Thought Leadership?

Questions to ask about content leadership in your market space.

What are pillars of thought leadership?

These are the areas where your company excels. It is usually no more than a few key areas. These are the things that make your company successful and valuable to your customers. Examples include your products and services, your people, your internal processes, employee training, company culture, leadership, and other things that bring value to the marketplace. These are the foundations for your pillars of thought leadership.

Why is thought leadership important?

People will research your company in great detail before buying and must learn about you through content in various forms. This content is required to be discovered in Google and people’s ongoing research.

Thought leadership helps people do their jobs better, enhances their lives, helps them avoid pain and provides them with new and insightful information. Writing something people already know is not thought leadership, and you should avoid this approach.

What are the top three reasons people buy from your company?

Start with this exercise. Ask your customers the top three reasons they buy from you. The results may surprise you, and those answers are at the heart of your ongoing content and make up your pillars of thought leadership.

What do you do better than anyone else?

Take it one step further by defining what your company does really well, better than any other company if possible. Keep in mind, this is determined by your customers.

How is your company different?

You may have a hard time determining what you do well, but you should be able to clearly state how you are different. Your people, services, and product will undoubtedly have unique characteristics. This is why people buy from you and what you should write about.

What are the drivers of effective digital content?

Here are a few ideas to get great content and better understand your pillars of thought leadership.

  • Meet with your sales team for content ideas based on their most recent conversions with prospective customers. Keep in mind, some prospects know more than the sales rep after their research, and you will learn a great deal from them.
  • Bring your sales and marketing team together to discuss the pillars of thought leadership. Work to get at least five pillars in place.
  • Ask your customers what the three primary reasons they buy from you are.
  • Review your Google Analytics stats to see which pages are the most popular and which blogs get the most visits.
  • Develop campaigns and content calendars based on your thought leadership topics. Your thought leadership is best expressed on a regular schedule in your email content, blogs and social posts. It is also highly effective in long-form content on your website, ebooks and webinars.
  • Assign marketing and sales team members to each part of the content leadership process, from scheduling to tracking results.
  • Write long-form content articles with 1000+ words that are incredibly insightful and based on keyword searches in your marketplace.

Thought Leadership Examples

Here are a few examples of thought leadership from companies you are familiar with.


Simple to use products to get work done and enjoy content, images, sound, and video. Apple is a thought leader in simple and elegant products. They know how to build devices that entertain, educate, and are tools for enrichment and self-improvement.


Electric vehicles and the infrastructure to build a lifestyle around electric cars and trucks.


Access to a highly organized and searchable database of the world’s information. How to target millions of people with ads they want to see.


How to make exercise fun at home. Workout at home, yet feel like you are part of a community through video and virtual workouts.

Thought Leadership Summary

More than ever, content marketing is a vital part of your efforts to attract customers to your brand. Understanding what to write about is based on the key benefits your company brings to customers. These are your pillars of thought leadership. Get a clear understanding of these pillars and work them into regular content campaigns. The result will be sales increases and growth in loyal customers.

Thomas Young

Thomas Young is the CEO and Founder of Intuitive Websites. He is a consultant, award winning Vistage speaker and author of “Winning the Website War” and “Sales and Marketing Alignment.” Tom has helped thousands of companies succeed online and has over 25 years digital marketing experience.