What Does the C-Suite Want from Thought Leadership?
Let’s talk about the C-suite. They’re busy, with little time to engage with your content. But that doesn’t mean that you should avoid creating content for them. It’s just that what you create must be a little bit different than what you’re generating for directors and managers.
Content marketing agency Grist recently released the results of a survey of 350 executives which reveals what they really expect from thought leadership. We recommend downloading and reading the report, but if you’re pressed for time here’s a quick summary (which you’ll probably appreciate if you sit in the C-suite).
What Makes Thought Leadership Valuable?
The C-Suite isn’t interested in the “how” they’re interested in the “why.” According to the Grist study, 66% of them are consuming thought leadership to stay on top of emerging trends. Coming in a close second, 60% of those surveyed said they want thought leadership to help them make better decisions. In short, the C-suite expects content to be useful.
Why Does Thought Leadership Fail?
Thought leadership often misses the mark. A significant 63% of executives in the Grist study reported that content fails when it’s “not directly relevant,” while 53% cited thought leadership that was overtly self-promotional. In other words, when creating content for the C-Suite, content should be as customized for the reader as possible: recognize who you’re talking to and adjust your message accordingly.
What is the Optimal Format for the C-Suite?
The C-Suite has little time for Infographics or Video, only 20% and 26% of execs cited them as desirable. Executives far and away appreciate shorter forms. Sixty-three percent cited a preference for short articles of 800 words, and 57% pointed to blog posts of 300-400 words. This affirms their lack of time. Most executives want their information delivered quickly and simply, with few hoops to jump through.
Is Thought Leadership Effective?
Thought leadership does work; the survey revealed that they read 31% of the content that comes across their desks and that 28% of it has a direct impact on decision-making.
What Does the C-Suite Want for the Future?
A whopping 80% of executives said that they’re looking for “content that [they] and their peers are involved in developing.” This creates an interesting dynamic for content marketers. The very people they’re trying to reach with their content seem to be willing to be actively involved in its creation.
Overall, the Grist survey is good news for content marketers. The C-Suite is not ignoring you. Thought leadership that adds value and that is easy to consume is not only appreciated, it’s welcomed. However, those marketers taking a one-size-fits-all approach to thought leadership face an uphill battle. The successful marketers will be the ones that can create useful, relevant content and who accurately get that content in front of the C-suite as efficiently as possible.
Photo Courtesy: Ben Dalton
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