Thought Leadership Isn’t a Content Type With Tracey Wallace

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Episode Summary

Thought leadership is another popular buzzword in the B2B marketing space. But even though it’s a buzzword floating around, it’s still critical for business growth. And very few companies know how to approach it. 

In this episode, Tracey Wallace, the Director, Content Strategy at Klaviyo, joins Erin to share her perspectives on what thought leadership means. Tracey pinpoints what it takes for an individual to be considered a thought leader. And she also outlines how thought leadership and content marketing can work together. 

During the conversation, Tracey breaks down the key elements of content that build trust and stresses the importance of repurposing content. They also touch upon the difference between communicating with executives and prospects and how mastering the skill of strategic communication and cross-collaboration can positively influence a content marketer’s career.

Guest Profile


Key Insights

Episode Highlights

What Does It Mean to Be a Thought Leader?

”From an individual point of view, it’s folks who are considered to be experts on a given topic.

Sometimes they’re the first people bringing up specific topics. We see a bunch of creators, and a lot of those folks are thought leaders; essentially, ‘creator’ is a new word for a thought leader. 

Companies, of course, can be thought leaders. It is harder and takes more time for companies to become thought leaders because all of us as humans like and trust other humans more and better than we like and trust companies. And so, it takes us a little bit longer to build that trust with an organization or a brand.”

Thought Leadership Is Not a Format, It’s a Goal

”Ever since I’ve been in the content marketing world, I’ve heard this phrase from executives and bosses: ‘We need to put some thought leadership out on it.’ I come from a journalism background, and I’m like, ‘Okay, cool, define that.’ And nobody seems to have a good answer, and everyone’s answer is different.

And so, anytime somebody says that to me, I’d be like, ‘We’re going to put out some content on this topic that relates to our product and make it the best content we can.’

We’re going to make sure we research it and make sure all that research is recent. We’ll do real interviews with […] at least three different customers, partners, agencies, or experts in the space so we can get that content into the piece.

Also, educate a writer because not all writers are experts in the thing they write about nor should they necessarily be. And then, making sure that we find examples. 

If we can’t find three examples of our customers doing a thing, then it’s not a thing. We can’t tell people to do this because our organization wants it or because we think it’s a good idea. We need to show them that other people are doing this. […]

That is what creates thought leadership from a brand perspective: your organization is seen as the type of company that puts out trustworthy, well-researched, well-thought-out, and easy-to-follow content. And any time you publish a piece of content on a topic that someone’s interested in, they’re going to read it, check it out, or share it. But one piece of content will never do that for you. One campaign won’t do that for you. You have to build it over time.”

Not Every Blog You Publish Needs to Use SEO as a Distribution Channel

”We have pieces that have SEO as a core part of their distribution strategy. And then other pieces, which we call human-interest stories, aren’t going to get a lot of search traffic, or if they do, it’s not going to be on terms we care about.

Because there are stories about our customers doing cool things and it’s like a feature about them. Those pieces, though, typically get picked up by newsletters. They get shared far more often on social media. Those are our distribution channels for those pieces. 

Content needs a good mix of both types of pieces in there. Again, human interest versus education. But that doesn’t mean that we have SEO content versus non-SEO content. It just means SEO is a major distribution channel for one type and not a major distribution channel for another type.”