Thought Leadership and Whitepapers

A while back. (Ok, in this indus­try time moves fast so a LONG while back.) I read an arti­cle writ­ten by Elise Bauer on Thought Lead­er­ship. She lays out what thought lead­er­ship is and presents a few steps for mov­ing towards becom­ing a thought leader. One of those steps popped into my head today as I was attempt­ing to get a white paper on some obscure infor­ma­tion secu­ri­ty research top­ic. The par­tic­u­lar step I am refer­ring to is Elise’s sug­ges­tion for those want­i­ng to be thought lead­ers to unlock their white papers. So as I’m going through the rig­ma­role of fill­ing out email address­es, con­tact infor­ma­tion, odds and ends about what my com­pa­ny does, where we posi­tion our­selves in the indus­try, how many employ­ees we have, how many kids each of those employ­ees have, how many pets each kid has, of those pets how many are dogs/cats/hamsters/zombies.….you get the point. Those ques­tion­naires are often gru­el­ing and irri­tat­ing. Not only are the ques­tion­naires annoy­ing, one can only assume that they often pro­duce flawed data since, myself includ­ed, users do not always pro­vide true and accu­rate infor­ma­tion. We are infor­ma­tion secu­ri­ty pro­fes­sion­als after all and one of our repeat­ed mantras is “Secu­ri­ty through Obscu­ri­ty” right? But I digress. So, Elise’s sug­ges­tion pops into my head and makes me real­ly think about the white paper I am about to down­load. I begin to think about whether this white paper is tru­ly good infor­ma­tion or is it sim­ply anoth­er mar­ket­ing slick?

Things that as thought lead­ers we should be aware of and cog­nizant that our vis­i­tors will ask them­selves. Ask our­selves, is the qual­i­ty of infor­ma­tion in our white papers valid? Is it infor­ma­tion that speaks to our strengths and illus­trates that we know our core busi­ness inside and out? Does it pro­vide insight, tech­ni­cal or oth­er­wise, as to why we are stronger and more adept at our core busi­ness than our com­pe­ti­tion? Final­ly, let’s not alien­ate and/or irri­tate our vis­i­tors, poten­tial clients/consumers/customers by hav­ing them pro­vide tons of infor­ma­tion just to unlock our exper­tise or as Elise states:

Be gen­er­ous with your exper­tise. Or the mar­ket will favor some­one else who is.