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Is content and thought leadership the same?

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

Thought leadership and content are terms frequently used in the business and marketing world but are the same thing and why are they important?

What is the difference between content and thought leadership?

Although both terms are used a lot by businesses, they are very different. Thought leadership is when businesses build unique perspectives on hot topics and have answers to the biggest questions on the minds of their buyers. It becomes effective when the passion and expertise of the individual or thought leader coincide with the interests of the audience you are trying to reach.

Content marketing is commonly about producing content quickly and in high volumes. True thought leadership takes considerable time to develop and contains much longer in-depth pieces.

Why are thought leadership and content important?

Thought leadership is particularly powerful in business to business and content can be highly effective in any sector. Here we outline some of the key benefits.

1. Used in business decision making

According to research by Edelman and Linked In, nearly half of business decision makers said thought leadership has directly led them to award business to an organisation. Thought leadership and content can aid anyone involved in the business decision making process to gain alignment across their company regarding the problems they are facing.

2. Brand affinity

The benefits of thought leadership but also content to some extent, start with brand affinity. By communicating thought leadership and creating content assets you become part of the conversation, early in the buying journey. Plus content that demonstrates thought leadership tends to be compelling as it has built-in authority, and inherent trustworthiness.

3. PR

Thought leadership has tremendous PR value and helps not just with sales and marketing, but recruitment and corporate affairs as it boosts your corporate reputation.

4. Longevity

A piece of thought leadership or content should not just be used once. A lot of thought leadership and content will contain evergreen content, which means it won't have a limited shelf life. Think about how it can repurposed and used across all your different channels to maximum the value of your investment.

5. Easy consumption

Thought leadership and content can take many forms from white papers, infographics, a webinar or presentation. It is important to consider your audience and how the thought leadership or content will be consumed - are you audience time poor and are likely to scan the content and want a quick overview? Are they visual learners?


Thought leadership is not a quick or cheap exercise. It requires significant investment, not just financially, but with buy in from the top and across a business. Normally, it takes years for a brand to be seen as a though leader in their field, but the benefits are significant.

Content on the other hand can created relatively quickly and much more cost effectively.

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