By David Drickhamer published November 4, 2011

5 Things Content Marketers Can Learn from a New Thought Leadership Platform

A few weeks ago, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) relaunched its online platform for thought leadership content, bcgperspectives.com. Content marketers can learn a lot from how the company handled its launch efforts. Take a look at some examples.

Include an introductory letter

Whether it’s a magazine redesign or a website launch like this one, introductory letters offer a glimpse of the strategy and aspirations behind new content offerings. In this case, the welcome note that BCG CEO Hans-Paul Bürkner posted on the blog reveals a strategy that reflects content marketing best practices and offers some content innovations in the consulting space.

Reflecting on the daily inspiration that the firm reportedly receives from its clients, Bürkner pledges that the website will be updated at least weekly, and probably more often. That frequency is essential for search engine optimization, of course. But it’s also essential for a firm like BCG with such broad topic expertise and a global consulting footprint to continually offer new, high-quality insights.

Break your website into topics

To help keep the content flowing, BCG has a range of featured topics to write about. For example, to cover the leadership transformation topic, BCG distilled the best practices from interviews with 11 CEO clients and offered the edited videos so visitors could watch what the clients had to say. Other content includes summaries of past articles by BCG authors that have appeared in key management journals like the Harvard Business Review. In addition, the inclusion of interactive graphics offers some nice eye candy and makes it possible to drill down for a deeper understanding of the relevant data.

Market insights, such as what the company provides for the red-hot tablet computer market, are even being released here before all of the survey data is compiled. That makes perfect sense in such a rapidly evolving market where the price:screen size overview reflected in the chart below shows two distinct target markets, which could quickly be outmoded by retail discounting and the next round of product releases.

Source: BCG Consulting Group.

Don’t be afraid to “go retro”

Some of the most innovative content, which does a great job of reinforcing BCG’s position as an in-it-for-the-long-haul strategy firm, are “classic” articles going back to the 1960s. These reprints — some of which are also available as mp3 recordings — feature BCG founder Bruce Henderson and other well-known BCG thought leaders. What’s striking about these articles, such as Why Change Is So Difficult, is how timely and on target they remain more than 40 years later. (Too bad every company doesn’t have decades of relevant content to dust off and repurpose.)

Include small touches

BCG also has a lot of little features that make it easy for users to consume and share content:

  • Users can easily share articles via e-mail or the social media portal of their choice.
  • Easy text enlargement makes sense for their target demographic.
  • By registering and logging in, users can easily save key articles and be alerted when new content is posted on targeted topics.

Don’t overlook your logo

While BCG does a lot of things well, there are things that can be improved. One problem with the site is the confusing dot in the logo after “bcg,” which is highlighted in the welcome letter headline and some other references. But the dot is not in the actual URL, bcgperspectives.com, nor is it in all references to the site. Why make the name of the thought leadership outlet all lowercase without spacing if the name doesn’t reflect the actual URL? There isn’t even a redirect if someone types in the name as it actually appears in the logo.

Thought leadership best practices

Overall though, the site is an impressive repackaging of current insights, archives, and classic thought leadership. It will be interesting to watch if Boston Consulting Group can continue to execute the strategy that they’ve laid out.

In summary, here are some key points content marketers should remember:

  • Match content frequency to market requirements and expectations
  • Offer content in multiple formats (text, video, audio)
  • Deepen your insights by presenting multiple perspectives on a common theme
  • Use interactive graphics to serve up data based on reader interests
  • Publish time-sensitive insights as quickly as possible
  • Mine your decades-old archives for content that remains relevant
  • Avoid inconsistent branding elements

Author: David Drickhamer

David Drickhamer helps clients tell and share stories that engage today’s business executives and leaders. Like any good liberal arts major, he's flexible and open to new opportunities, but tends to specialize in developing thought leadership content focused on operational excellence, management, business transformation and innovation. You can follow him on Twitter @biznotboring.

Other posts by David Drickhamer

  • http://twitter.com/brencournoyer Brendan Cournoyer

    Interesting piece David. Your summary at the end really highlights what every content strategy should consider (content in multiple formats, several takes on the same theme, interactive graphics and images, etc.). Cool to see the different ways people are finding inspiration for strengthening their content strategies.

  • http://www.drickhamer.com David Drickhamer

    Thanks Brenda. I think execution is the advantage a firm like BCG has in the content marketing arena. They have a long history of generating unique content, as demonstrated by their archived material, and consultants who are leading thinkers in their fields. Their expertise is what they sell, so they have to communicate it every which way that they can. 

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