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It’s comforting to think that your content marketing really does improve your firm’s BD performance. It’s equally appealing to think that your BD strategy is underpinned by a robust programme of thought leadership.

Yet “Thought Leadership” is a term that has suffered from such significant definition creep in recent times as to virtually strip it of all meaning.

It’s easy to see why. The pressure for firms to generate a constant stream of marketing material to support their business development activities has grown massively as social networks and digital marketing channels have increased in importance.  This has resulted in an explosion of marketing collateral, much of it presented as “thought leadership”. The assumption being, of course, that such content is propelling the business towards its goals. But is it really?

Developing leading-edge thinking requires a lot of thought and effort. That may sound flippant. It’s not: true thought Leadership is a rare beast compared to its two stable-mates – Information-pieces and Comment-pieces. Yet the latter are often confused for, and wrongly positioned as, the former.

All three have important, complementary, roles to play in supporting and underpinning a firm’s BD strategy. Our Content Planning Framework aims to set out, in an interactive format, the distinctive characteristics of each type of content, their potential value to the reader and, hence, their potential BD value for your business.

The principle underlying the framework is that content only has BD value if it is of value to your target audience. The greater its value to the reader, the greater its BD value to you. So far, so good. The flip side, however, is that if a piece of content has no reader value it is, at best, merely market “noise”. At its worst, it’s an irritant that may do your business more harm than good.

It’s obvious when one thinks about it. But easily forgotten when one has a seemingly insatiable promotional machine to feed.

We hope the framework is a useful and pragmatic tool that will help B2B businesses plan and evaluate their content.

Most of all, we hope you’ll find it useful in assessing what BD benefit you can realistically expect to gain from your current and future content generation activities.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, we don’t regard this article as Thought Leadership.  Whether it’s a useful piece of BD material for us, however, depends on whether or not you find it of value. If  you don’t, our apologies for adding to the market noise!

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