Thought leadership is just content worth stealing

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Clients in Japan and overseas that come to us often have one thing in common. They want to build a reputation as a thought leader in their field.

But what is this over-used term ‘thought leadership’ all about?

Well, it’s not about exclaiming how wonderful and great you are. In fact, it’s not about you at all.

It’s saying things in a way that your audience responds, “Yes, EXACTLY. I could not have put that better myself!”

Powerful communicators don't dominate a conversation. They draw one out of an attentive audience and win them over as loyal cheerleaders.

That’s why great copywriting and content development is so important.

It prompts readers to re-use your words to express the same thought when they talk to others. Either mentioning you by name when they reference the idea, or sharing your words verbatim among their network.

You can put forward the most interesting idea in the world, but if it’s not stealable, you won’t get quoted.

Take this paragraph, crafted way back in 1776:

All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural rights, of which… they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

Nothing wrong with that. All sounds sensible and forward-thinking, especially for the time. But will you remember it? Would you quote it? Would you share it?

Would you say to someone, hey, I read this great passage by a guy called George Mason the other day that really hit the nail on the head?

No.

But let’s look at what happened to the same passage once Thomas Jefferson got his hands on it:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You might just use that.

Which is probably why half the world, well beyond the borders of the US, can recognise that quotation. Why it caught on so fast and became such an influential and inspiring concept. Why it still packs a punch, 300 years on.

We all love a good quote. Something pithy and powerful that we can whip out to prove our point. It makes us feel smart, erudite, witty – a bit of an expert.

It'’s why reading a perfect one-liner that sums up an idea that’s been floating around in the back of our brain gives us that “YES!” moment.  It's why we immediately want to post it, share it, commit it to memory.

When someone gives you the tools to be eloquent on a topic you struggle to explain, that feels like a gift.

The best copywriters understand this intuitively. They’ll focus on crafting quotable sentences their readers can lift straight from the text and straight into their own voice.

And technology is your friend here. Like, share and comment buttons on most sites make it easier than ever before to multiply your message.

Help your audience put your best words into their own mouths and they’ll soon be shouting your ideas from the rooftops.

That's what Smith &Edit's copywriting and content development services strive for.

When we craft your press release, editorial, blog post or other written content, we don’t just think about the quality of the points being made. We ask what would someone steal? Which lines deliver your point in a way that’s totally quotable?

Give your audience plenty to steal, and they’ll do the hard work for you.

Mark Smith

Smith & Edit, Minato, Tokyo,