Content Strategy: What Makes Thought Leadership Popular on JD Supra?

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Every month JD Supra shares a list of the 25 most popular posts (as defined by number of reads) published on the platform during the previous thirty days. These reports help readers to discover trending topics, well-written thought leadership, timely analysis and commentary on news of the day, and top-tier authors guiding myriad business (and sometimes personal) decisions.

From a marketer’s perspective, especially someone supporting thought leaders in their own organization, the natural question about these reports: how can we make the list? How can we stay on it?

In this post, I’ll address those questions by exploring two others:

  • Which thought leadership format is most popular?
  • What are common attributes of widely read content?

Thought leadership comes in a variety of forms and media, including client alerts, blog posts, newsletters, white papers, podcasts, and videos. Each format has a specific use in your overall content marketing strategy. As it happens, client alerts and blog posts are the most popular format, accounting for roughly 20 of the top 25 posts in our list each month.

The beauty of alerts and blog posts is their relatively standard formula:

what is happening + why/how will it impact businesses/industries + what should executives know/do about it (call to action).

These are brief updates on important information that has a direct and usually immediate impact on businesses and people. Your clients and prospects need this information. Make them timely and digestible. You can always come back later with more analysis and insight in a longer format. In fact, I recommend exactly that. Circle back to your most popular brief posts/alerts and dive more deeply into the issues they cover.

Beyond good writing and timely delivery, also consider these attributes of top performing alerts/posts from 2022 YTD:

While posts and alerts are high-performing vehicles to underscore the depth and breadth of your expertise, long-form content —including newsletters, whitepapers and interviews — also regularly appear on the popular list and deserve space on your editorial calendar.

Newsletters are regularly scheduled updates on a specific theme and generally include multiple topics. They usually require an editorial team to curate topics and compile each month/quarter which makes them an excellent opportunity for team building and overall brand visibility. Consider these popular editions from 2022 thus far:

White papers and longer form content regularly top the charts, providing in-depth analysis of an industry or topic. Due to their scope, they typically enjoy a nice shelf-life, earning readers not just in the first week but also months after publication — which makes them worth the higher investment of resources. Popular example from 2022 include:

Interviewing a subject matter expert is another smart approach to content development. Whether you pose the questions by email and then edit or transcribe a conversation, interviews can strengthen the relationships with clients and referral sources who serve as interview subjects. Here are a couple successful examples:

We’ll continue to keep you apprised of popular content each month. In the meantime, including a few best practices for your editorial arsenal below.

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Paul Ryplewski is JD Supra's VP of Client Services. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

 

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