Marketing For Thought Leadership
November 4, 2011
Getting the Most Out of Your Thought
Leadership Publications
Thought leadership publications are elemental components of most professional services firms and account for a sizeable proportion of the marketing budget. That's why it's critical for firms to ensure they are getting the biggest return possible on these publications.

In our experience, two factors play a critical role in driving high ROI:

Factor #1: Choosing the ideas, and the types of publications, that are most worthy of one's time, effort and money. Most consulting firms, especially larger ones, are rich in potential topics on which to publish. However, for a variety of reasons, not all of those topics should be pursued. A firm must make choices. One way a firm can inform its choice is to adopt a formal way of evaluating the ideas it supports through publishing and determining which types of publications are best suited to helping the firm achieve its marketing goals—much like a venture capital firm carefully screens new-business ideas to determine which ones to put its money behind. The Alterra Group white paper Making the Most of Your Firm's Publications: a Portfolio Approach to Intellectual Capital discusses such an approach in detail.

Factor #2: Make sure that whatever a firm ends up publishing, it is developed to the highest possible content and writing standards. Because a firm's published pieces are physical embodiments of its expertise, as we discuss in the Alterra Group white paper Why Great Writing Matters to Professional Services Firms it's vital that white papers, articles, books and the like exhibit superior writing. Books arguably are the most challenging publications to produce, not only because of the amount of time and money involved, but also because the stakes generally are quite high. The last thing a firm wants to do is spend a lot of time and money only to produce an expensive doorstop that no one wants to read or, worse, that paints the firm and its experts in a negative light. For more insights on the keys to producing a successful book, see our white paper Making a Business Book Pay Off.

Through the many years Alterra Group has worked with clients on their thought leadership publications, we have seen numerous instances in which firms were not making the most of their publications budgets. White papers were written on topics that had little to no connection to the strategic goals of the firm, studies were conducted on issues that only the sponsoring partners cared about, and books were rushed to completion without sufficient attention to content or writing quality. For firms today looking to get a greater return on their marketing budgets, avoiding such mistakes should be of paramount importance.

We hope you find this material informative and that it sparks thoughtful discussion among you and your colleagues. And we'd love to hear your perspective on the issue. Feel free to send us feedback at info@alterra-group.com.

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