Tentpole Thought Leadership

Many orgs rely on “tentpole” thought leadership.
Just like film studios rely on summer blockbusters.
Take them away and campaigns crumble.

What is tentpole thought leadership?
It’s the splashy, high-prestige work.

๐Ÿ” Original research
๐Ÿ“ƒ Whitepapers
๐Ÿ“• Books

Creating tentpole thought leadership consumes
large amounts of time and money.
Especially in large orgs.

It’s like a Marvel movie.
You need a big budget for visual effects.
(Dr. Strange’s cape won’t fly on its own.)

Tentpole thought leadership has gravitas.
People nod politely.
They smile.
(even if your audience never reads it).

Wait, what?
Unread? Unseen?

Yeah, that’s the problem with
tentpole thought leadership.

It’s easy to tell yourself a
“Field of Dreams” fiction:
‘If you write this whitepaper, they will read it.”

Mmm. nope. Unlikely.

Marvel doesn’t put out any movie
without a large marketing campaign
to first build interest.

๐ŸŽž๏ธFilm trailers
๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธIn-theater posters
๐Ÿ’ปSocial media
๐Ÿ“บTelevision spots
๐ŸšŒ Bus and bus shelter ads

There’s a *lot* of short-form work that’s
created and deployed
to support that tentpole film.

And that’s the lesson for thought leadership.

Now, how are you supporting
your tentpole thought leadership?

What do you do to get your audience
interested in your big insights and ideas?

You need to evoke curiosity with
short-form pieces
before you’ll draw someone to
tentpole thought leadership.

That “tentpole” doesn’t support itself.


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