Thought Leadership: AI Strategies for Success

Join Britney Gardner as she explores the concept of thought leadership in the age of artificial intelligence (AI). She highlights that thought leadership isn’t about claiming personal ownership over every idea; rather, it involves taking inspiration from others and utilizing their insights to fuel transformative discussions about the impact of AI on leadership. Drawing an analogy to a mosaic or kaleidoscope, Gardner explains how she views herself as a constant rearranger and connector of ideas.

She covers:

  • How to form your thought leadership
  • What role AI can play in sharing your thought leadership through content
  • What AI is good at, and what it is very bad at
  • An article she found on LinkedIn and it’s great parallels to this topic

Building upon the previous episode on building an audience of thinkers that take action, this episode celebrates being number 250 of The Know, Like & Trust Show!

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Listen to this episode on:

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Highlights in this episode:

  • [00:01:25] Beach walks reveal incredible rock art.
  • [00:03:56] Idea generation, development, and articulation are crucial.
  • [00:08:18] Grateful for LinkedIn article by Kelly Dunning.
  • [00:13:05] Using AI for basic writing tasks is unnecessary.
  • [00:15:23] AI shapes diverse ideas for effective content.
  • [00:17:12] AI good at graphics, pulling quotes; not distinctive. You matter in marketing, AI needs you.

Mastering Thought Leadership: AI Strategies for Success

In this fast-paced age of artificial intelligence, thought leadership has become more important than ever. But what exactly is thought leadership? And how can you establish yourself as a leader in your field? In this blog, we’ll dive deep into the concept of thought leadership and explore the power of content strategy and idea development, including the power of AI. We’ll discuss the real work that goes into becoming a thought leader and how it can be your ultimate achievement. Additionally, we’ll explore the role of AI in transforming thought leadership and shaping future trends. Join us as we navigate the challenges and opportunities that AI presents in the world of thought leadership.

Understanding the Concept of Thought Leadership

Thought leadership, especially in the AI age, is a big deal. It’s all about being that trusted authority, the go-to influencer in your field. Thought leaders have the smarts and the knack for dishing out invaluable insights and guidance. And there are perks! One, your content shines like a diamond in that sea of sameness. Two, your business booms as recognition comes rolling in.

Unveiling the Magic: The Power of Content Strategy and Idea Development

A well-crafted content strategy is essential for driving thought leadership initiatives. It not only helps in creating valuable insights but also sets the foundation for developing thought leadership content. After all, content is king, but without a strategic approach and innovative ideas, its reign is incomplete. By leveraging platforms like social media and utilizing tools such as AI and machine learning, CEOs and thought leaders can reach a wider audience and make an impact.

The Real Work is in Development

If you’ve ever wandered through a modern art museum and overheard someone say, “My toddler could paint that,” you understand the idea isn’t that someone can do something. It’s that they thought of doing it in the first place. That piece of art is theirs and receives recognition because they created it first.

beach rock art as a model for though leadership content creation

Or if you’ve seen beach rock art and marveled at the cascading shapes and colors artfully arranged on the sand, and then wondered how did they ever conceive the idea–you know it’s the idea development that makes them an artist. They had the idea and the skill to execute the best practices.

Thought leadership in the age of AI requires a strategic and well-developed content strategy, too. Idea development is a crucial step in thought leadership, involving the identification of unique and valuable insights. The real work lies in the development phase, where ideas are refined, researched, and crafted into compelling content. The magic lies in connecting the dots of ideas into an overarching strategy that captivates the target audience. Jeremny Enns said, “The real work is collecting the dots and then connecting them. It’s idea generation, development, and articulation.”

Shaping Your Thought Leadership

Your ability to see different ideas and piece them together into a work greater than the sum of its parts is what sets you apart. But that doesn’t mean every idea has to be original–only that you can make the connections that AI cannot and that others in your niche have not yet.

I’m not just collecting the beach rocks and dropping them randomly. I’m connecting them and rearranging them in a new work. I’m using someone else’s perspective to inform my own and in turn, giving you a new perspective. That’s how thought leadership begins.

The point isn’t claiming every piece of content is completely from you. We’re mosaics, just like beach rock art. We’re kaleidoscopes of ideas, ever rearranging and everchanging. The point is that you have to have ideas–and you have to be able to put them together in a way that makes it easy for others to understand when you create thought leadership content.

Thought Leadership Can Be Your Swan Song

content swan songs

The myth of the swan song is, well, a myth! There’s a European swan called the Mute Swan that was rumored to be silent its entire life until singing a heartwrenching song just before dying. As such, the concept of a “swan song” often associated with the end of one’s career is not entirely accurate. What if, instead, we thought of the swan song being something that the swan works into over time, gradually moving from honking to murmuring, murmuring to humming. Eventually, the swan breaks into its version of an aria.

In marketing, too, your swan song is continually evolving and improving. It’s not about creating the best piece at the end, but rather the sustained effort you have put into developing your ideas. In the end, you get to a piece of content that’s so fantastic at conveying your big idea, it just clicks for the intended audience.

In today’s digital world, content is considered king, but it is the strategy and ideas behind that content that truly fuel its influence. We believe that the real work lies in the development of these ideas, taking fragments of insight and creativity and connecting them to create something truly remarkable–much like a beach rock artist takes rocks and pebbles of various shapes and colors and creates art out of the disparate pieces. True mastery comes from the consistent effort put forth over time.

This is how we’ll excel in AI-aged content creation. Our vision is US.

AI Cannot Think

The real work of content marketing isn’t producing it. It isn’t in making a great idea work for both a LinkedIn a post and an email. It isn’t in repurposing a podcast episode into a GOOD blog post. For a marketer, the real work is in the strategy, the vision for your content marketing in the first place. Then, content strategy guides the creation, distribution, and promotion of resonant thought leadership content.

AI job replacement meme

I’ve seen various versions of this meme floating around the interwebs:  “Don’t worry graphic designers, for AI to replace us the client has to be able to accurately describe what they want.”

For AI writing to replace you, it would have to have ideas in the first place. It can collect the dots now, but AI can’t connect them, and it can’t lay them out into a mosaic masterpiece where the sum of all the parts is so delightfully greater than the individuals. AI can regurgitate a joke, but it cannot create one alone! However, with the advancements in generative AI, we may see the potential for AI to develop creative ideas in the future.

Key Takeaway:

AI isn’t replacing you because you need to give it a freaking point of view FIRST.

Strategy: The Heart of Content Marketing

thought leadership AI graphic generated from combining my headshot and AI art

Developing a clear thought leadership strategy is the heart of content creation. While AI can execute tasks, it lacks the human ability to think creatively and envision a roadmap. It requires well-defined instructions to function optimally. Remember, the vision behind your content creation is what sets you apart from the rest.

The Role of AI in Transforming Thought Leadership

AI can revolutionize thought leadership by enabling more efficient and personalized content creation and distribution. With AI-powered tools, thought leaders can automate tasks like scheduling and content distribution, freeing up time for strategic thinking. AI’s data analysis skills help spot trends and insights, keeping thought leaders ahead of the curve. But don’t forget to sprinkle that human touch and authenticity on your content, as AI is simply a powerful tool that supports human expertise.

Key Takeaway:

Embracing AI in thought leadership can unlock new possibilities and enhance the impact of ideas, rather than create them.

Our Role in an AI-dominated Web

Sure, AI can gather bits of data strewn across the web. Yet, it remains unable to connect these and lay them out into cohesive, engaging content. It’s incapable of producing a mosaic masterpiece brought about by interweaved thoughts and ideas. AI cannot save us time until we provide it with a solid perspective: ours.

Understanding the specific needs and challenges of the best client is essential for creating content that resonates with them. While AI can enhance content creation by providing insights and analysis, human expertise and creativity are still indispensable in crafting compelling narratives.

Is AI the New Frontier for Thought Leadership?

AI is paving the way for a new frontier in thought leadership. Thought leaders must adapt and embrace new technologies to remain relevant in the age of AI.

thought leadership ai generative art

The Potential of AI to Shape Future Thought Leadership Trends

AI has the potential to revolutionize the landscape of thought leadership. By analyzing vast amounts of data, AI tools can generate valuable insights to enhance the quality and effectiveness of thought leadership content. Moreover, AI can automate repetitive tasks, freeing up thought leaders to focus on higher-level thinking and creative problem-solving. This technology also has the capability to personalize content recommendations and tailor messaging to individual audiences, thereby increasing the reach and impact of content creator efforts. With AI as a powerful ally, the future of thought leadership looks promising and exciting.

Navigating the Challenges and Opportunities of AI in Thought Leadership.

AI’s impact on thought leadership can be profound, reshaping the entire landscape. But AI cannot think. It cannot understand. It will only ever create derivative content. For some kinds of content, that may be okay–but we’re talking about thought leadership here. You can’t lead with derivative content.

AI isn’t the enemy; it’s their sidekick! Thought leaders can leverage it to enhance strategies and decisions. Ethics matter too—careful consideration and responsible implementation are key. The future lies in embracing AI while keeping that invaluable human expertise intact.

Need help being the leader in your marketing?

We offer done-for-you content plan that builds upon your thought leadership and helps you land clients online.

The One Thing Thought Leaders Need Most

Thought leadership requires you to–shocker!–have thoughts. And that means you need to be thinking a lot. But you need to think in a way that marries different ideas, that turns the kaleidoscope of input you have from your world into thoughts worth listening to.

Content Worth Creating

At a minimum, content worth listening to means your best clients:

  1. see things in a step-by-step way, so they can see themselves moving through the steps to get to their desired result
  2. build trust with you along the way so that not only do they see you know what you’re talking about, but you’re the one to guide them to this result
  3. positions you to actually deliver the result

Key Takeaway:

Your swan song is the work of doing this so well that you get to a piece of content that just clicks.

How do you get there? You use AI to help you regain the thing all thought leaders need–and that most are in dire lack of at any given moment. TIME.

beach rock art mosaics for thought leadership ai modeling

How AI Can Help Thought Leaders

So where does AI fit into this? It’s going to help you shape your thinking into whatever various content formats you want to distribute. Using tools like ChatGPT or Content At Scale, Memento or VidyoAI, AI is great at:

  • Helping you turn a complete thought journey into a LinkedIn carousel, Instagram carousel, or Tweet thread (if you still think Twitter is a thing, that is)
  • Helping you come up with an analogy or story to illustrate a point, particularly if you’re struggling to source one from your own life experience.
  • Turning a riff or a dialogue you’ve recorded (aka a podcast episode you blurted out without notes, so it’s not organized!) into a structured conversation.
  • Rephrasing a thought in another tone or voice.
  • Helping you create graphics and imagery to illustrate your metaphors.
  • Pulling quotes from a video.

Wanto AI-proof your marketing plan? Spend more time thinking about the following:

  • The thing you can’t stand–and you know if people just stopped doing it, they’d fix half their problems instantly
  • The thing that’s ACTUALLY your best client’s problem, even if they don’t know it yet/haven’t acknowledged it/think it’s something else
  • One–or even three, but preferably one–thing you want to start seeing your people do. Or do better.
  • The a-ha moment when you figured any of these things out.

These are your flags, your hills. These are the basis of your authority opinions, and these are the things that will make you stand out. These contrary opinions are the foundation of your thought leadership. And no one–or robot–can take that away from you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is thought leadership?

Thought leadership is the concept of being recognized as an expert in a particular industry or field–as one who has unique insights that make their audiences pause and say, “Hmm–I haven’t thought about it that way before.” Thought leaders are known for their innovative ideas and thought-provoking content.

How can AI help thought leaders?

ai art showing beach rock mosaics

AI has become an invaluable tool for thought leaders. By leveraging AI-powered tools, thought leaders can gather and analyze data, automate repetitive tasks, and enhance their accessibility through new content delivery channels. AI truly empowers thought leaders to make informed decisions and engage with their audience more efficiently.


In this AI era, thought leadership pieces are key, folks. You don’t want to blend in with the same-sea crowd! Blazing trails with your groundbreaking ideas and insights is the goal. But here’s the catch: true thought leadership takes skill. You need a killer content strategy and one-of-a-kind ideas that speak directly to your audience. No shortcuts, my friends; AI is a sidekick, not a catch all.

If you don’t love creating content, that’s okay. There’s help both with AI and without. But you need the thought to prime it. That’s from YOU. You need to cast the vision, choose which beach rocks to pick and which direction to face them, and how far apart they’ll be from one another.

Need help being the leader in your marketing?

We offer done-for-you content plan that builds upon your thought leadership and helps you land clients online.

Resources Mentioned

Music by Michael De La Torre. Thanks, Mikey!

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