Thought leadership content: good for brand perception and sales


Thought leadership content is having a huge impact on corporate buyers. The 2020 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study, published by Edelman and LinkedIn, shows that for 89% of executives, thought leadership is enhancing their perceptions of a brand. As well as brand impact, 49% say this type of content influences their purchasing decisions and 48% find it an engaging form of content, spending an hour to more a week consuming it.

The research of 3,275 executive decision-makers shows that thought leadership content has a role to play in earning the trust of the audience. It helps increase trust in an organisation, a sense of its capabilities and also levels of respect executives have in the organisation. Some 69% of respondents say that thought leadership is one of the best ways to get a sense of the type and calibre of an organisation’s thinking.

And the benefits of publishing thought leadership content don’t stop there. As a result of reading thought leadership pieces, decision makers say they:

  • Invited the organisation (which was not in their original consideration set) to bid on a project
  • They awarded business to the organisation responsible
  • They decided to increase the amount of business they did with the organisation
  • They purchased a new product or service from the organisation that they had not previously considered buying

On top of that, 42% of respondents say they are willing to pay a premium to work with an organisation that produces thought leadership, versus those that don’t.

Although 57% of decision makers rate the thought leadership they read as good, there is bad news for brands – only 15% rate thought leadership as very good or excellent, with 28% saying it is mediocre to poor. Plus, only 29% say they reliably derive value from the content they consume.

Poor content can have negative consequences for a brand, with 38% of decision makers saying it causes them to lose respect and admiration for an organisation. And for 27%, it has led to them not giving business to an organisation.

And when it is working well, the research suggests a large majority of organisations won’t be able to make the link between content and new business.

Worryingly, 74% of vendors are not able to link their thought leadership content to sales leads and business wins. So even if you are doing it well the organisation may not realise the impact it is having.

The report goes on to outline what makes thought leadership content effective.

  • 87% say it needs to be timely (on a topic they are thinking about)
  • 75% say it needs to be short and easy to absorb
  • 73% of producers credited deep thinking and intellectual rigour among the most important drivers of their last exceptional Thought Leadership success
  • 58% of producers credited promotional follow through and support for distribution among the most important drivers of their last exceptional Thought Leadership success – distribute it broadly and effectively

In our article What makes great thought leadership content? we examine what is required to develop credible, trusted content that educates, entertains and informs.


5 reasons to invest in thought leadership content
Source: 2020 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study, Edelman/LinkedIn


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