Foundational Content & Campaigns

For more than 30 years, we have helped subject experts get their articles accepted as earned media in leading management journals (e.g., Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, the Financial Times). We don’t believe in so-called paid media — i.e., advertorials, “brand journalism,” or sponsored content — because readers know the difference.

Our people’s success at getting experts’ ideas into top-tier publications might make it look easy. It isn’t. Getting opinion articles accepted in prestigious publications is very difficult. Journals like Harvard Business Review and Forbes’ Leadership section reject more than 90% of the submissions they get. They have high content quality standards, which is also why they have huge audiences.

We believe every thought leader should strive to get articles in such publications. They confer big credibility with big audience. But normally we don’t accept assignments to develop an article submission from scratch. The reason is there’s not enough time to work with the authors to develop the substance necessary — to shape a counterintuitive point of view and gather the critical evidence (statistics and case stories).

We have a much better way of getting there. We call it creating a foundational argument. It not only is more likely to result in articles accepted by top-tier publications, but also gives our clients a long report they can publish on their own and get in front of their clients and prospects

Here’s how it works. We take three to six months (sometimes longer, if our client can’t spend enough time on this) to work with your authors in getting their idea in the form of a detailed outline. We do this after conducting multiple phone calls with them, gathering secondary research to bring statistics and stories to the argument, and talking to their clients to collect their case stories.

Once we and a client agree that the foundational argument’s detailed outline is complete, we then ghostwrite the report. These papers are typically 4,000 to 10,000 words in length. We bring in a graphic designer make the report professional-looking. The report itself becomes a marketing asset.

But that’s only the beginning of the marketing campaign. The content in the foundational argument report is what we use to create a number of thought leadership assets. They could include:

  • Multiple article submissions to leading journals
  • 10-12 short blog posts (~500 words each)
  • Webinar presentations
  • Conference presentations
  • Social media messages

These assets represent key pieces of a thought leadership campaign — all around one substantive and compelling piece of content.

That’s why we call it the foundational argument. It’s an essential element of successful thought leadership marketing campaigns.