How leadership content can help your brand stand out in a ‘sea of sameness’

Strap yourselves in folks, the wave of 2019 (marketing/PR,social media/content marketing/digital) trends ‘prediction’ articles have breached the front gate and continue to seep through our virtual front door.

I used to devour such articles.

But not so much today because it all gets a little … samey.

I know I’m not the only one.

Mark Masters, founder of You Are The Media, has become very outspoken on this issue.

Instead of looking forward and adding to the predictable prediction frenzy, Mark has gone the other way and has asked people what lessons they learned this year.

The prediction articles are but a microcosm of ‘content sameness trap’ we all are prone to fall into at some point or another. It just gets so darned hard to tell many of these articles apart some times.

The lazy way to ‘do’ content is to just copy whatever everybody else is doing. Don’t think too hard, just DO!


Sometimes it works and can be effective, especially if you put a unique spin on it. But the more we all go down this path, the less effective it will become over time.

And that’s my worry: when businesses start banging out stuff without too much thought, rather than providing value as intended, they’re actually turning people off.

Answering people’s questions

I like the idea of addressing customers’ pain-points. I really do.

Answer the questions people most frequently ask. Do it with enthusiasm and a genuine intent to serve and you cannot go wrong. Micro-videos work best here, and the more niche you go and the deeper you drill down, the better. I recommend this course of action to many of my clients, particularly as a content marketing starting point.

In my content universe, I call this UTILITY CONTENT.

It’s useful and valuable (hence the word ‘utility’), but my fear is once this box is ticked, what then? What happens when every customer’s pain-point is addressed and question answered?


Leadership content is substantive and insightful; it tends to be more thought provoking and is often bigger picture in nature than utility-based content:

  • Leadership content is all about moving people with your ideas, to spark conversation and potentially ignite debate.
  • It doesn’t always address a customer need or pain-point, indeed, it might even challenge people, metaphorically ‘poke them in the eye’ by changing the way they think about a particular topic or issue.
  • THINK: Commentary on industry issues and trends, insights based on research, informed perspectives on big picture topics; the audience doesn’t know what it doesn’t know – often this content is interesting and worth coming back to but doesn’t necessarily address a challenge or pain-point a customer might have.
  • While thought leadership content is generally more associated with social organisations and professional services firms, lifestyle-oriented brands can also tap into this ‘bigger picture’ publishing trend by providing content that inspires and takes the reader (or viewer or listener) deeper into a topic that’s broader than just one’s brand. Paint and paper company Farrow & Ball’s The Chromologist online publication is a good example of this. Ditto Bellroy, with its Carryology online magazine.

Seth Godin gets leadership content (although he probably just calls it ‘blogging’).

So too does Mark SchaeferAnne Miles, GE, Edelman, strategic design consultancy ThinkPlace and US wood panelling company, Norbord.

Leadership content is a great way for companies to strategically put distance between their brand and their competitor’s. In the sea of noisy sameness that permeates the online world today, this might just be the the thing that takes your business to the next level.



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