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What 'The Great British Baking Show' Can Teach You About Thought Leadership

What 'The Great British Baking Show' Can Teach You About Thought Leadership

If you’ve ever seen “The Great British Baking Show,” you know all about how valuable it is to be deemed the “star baker” — the winner who shows the most promise and impresses the judges in each round of the competition.

Each episode follows a format of three rounds: the signature, the technical, and the showstopper. Although these rounds consist of various kitchen utensils, ingredients, and ultimately delicious treats (if all goes according to plan), the strategies that help bakers stand out are similar to those that help true thought leaders shine.

If you want to become a star thought leader, look to the strategies that brought Britain’s star bakers to light.



First Up: The Signature Challenge

On “The Great British Baking Show,” bakers first compete in the signature challenge. This is a chance for contestants to bake recipes they’re already familiar with and highlight their own unique skills. As a thought leader, this is your time to show off your personality and build credibility with your audience.


Start with fresh ideas.

The signature challenge parallels the first step of content creation. If you want to become a true thought leader, you have to start with unique insights. If you’re just reiterating what’s already been said, what value is that bringing your audience?

Now, idea generation can seem daunting, but there are steps you can take to find your unique angle.

  • Stay up to date on what’s happening in your industry. Sign up for Google Alerts, follow Twitter accounts of people making waves in your space, or just read through your favorite industry news websites daily for inspiration.
  • Google your idea. Seriously. If your search results are just headlines that reiterate your idea, it’s likely too stale. If you’re not seeing any results that say exactly what you’d like to, however, you’ve probably got yourself a unique take, and it’s time to figure out how you’re going to deliver it.


Round Two: The Technical Challenge



It’s time to get serious. During the technical challenge, things get a little more rigid for the baking contestants: They’re given the desired result but no detailed information on how to get there. The technical challenge is all about showing that you know the steps to get from point A to point Z. The same goes for a thought leader: Your technical round should be all about establishing your target audience and content goals to form a solid, actionable content marketing strategy.


Build a solid strategy.

So what technical knowledge will help you become a star thought leader? To answer this question, you have to start forming your content marketing strategy.

  • Determine your audience. What demographic are you trying to reach? Maybe you’re a young, female CEO who wants to inspire other young women to follow their dreams. If that’s the case, look into publishing in outlets young, aspiring women already read.
  • Establish KPIs. How will you measure success? Set clear expectations for your content so that you know whether it was successful or whether you need to pivot.
  • Write down your strategy. Make a clear outline of your goals and strategies to share with any necessary parties or to keep as a record.

CTA: For more information on how to create a strategy that drives ROI for your business, download our free interactive content marketing strategy checklist


Finally: The Showstopper Challenge

This is where the money’s at — figuratively speaking, of course. The star baker simply takes home a bouquet of flowers, a cake stand, and a huge amount of satisfaction. In the showstopper challenge, bakers have to wow judges with not only delicious flavors, but also a stunning presentation.


Show off your content.

This is the time to showcase your talents in a way that makes you shine. Much like a star baker, a star thought leader will not only produce an article that’s full of valuable, unique insights, but also present that article in an appealing format for online readers. This round is where you garner earned media to serve as a platform for your thought leadership.

  • Start sharing your valuable insights. If you’re not already, publish your ideas on a blog, LinkedIn, or your website. The conversation has to start somewhere, and this is the quickest way to establish yourself as an expert and get your ideas out there.
  • Push your content to a broader audience. You can accomplish this by securing press mentions with a public relations agency and submitting articles to publications in your industry.

For a step-by-step guide on how to do this, download your copy of "A Guide to Modern PR."


  • Share, share, share. Whatever you create, share it on social media, on your website, or in real life. If you adhere to the above steps, your content will be unique, valuable, and share-worthy.


If you start with unique ideas, form quality content in line with a solid strategy, and have the perfect place to put that content, you’ll be a star thought leader in no time. You might not get a bouquet and cake stand — but you will have an interested and engaged audience that trusts your ideas and comes back for more.


This blog post was developed and co-written by Jenna Fear, Sarah Czirr, Scott Trausch, and Diane McGraw. 


What are you waiting for? Time to get started! Download the “Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing for Thought Leadership” and earn your handshake from Paul.

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About Jenna Fear

I'm an editor at Influence & Co. I have always loved the inner workings of language and diving deep into the rules of grammar, style, and usage. My other passions include dogs (specifically my very large dog, Lucy), live music, and all things '90s.


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