Thought leadership initiatives are rapidly becoming a standard in today’s financial services marketing-driven world. Wealth managers seeking to build practices with the affluent are increasingly making concerted efforts to become prominent and influential in their areas of specialty

The rationale for pursuing a thought leadership position is straightforward and logical: By enhancing their professional profiles, wealth managers attract more clients and are more effective in generating new business. However, thought leadership is about more than being identified as an expert in a specialized field. These days, effective thought leadership must also include thoughtfully and consistently converting that positioning into increased financial and strategic value.

Although a growing number of wealth managers are taking steps to leverage their expertise in the form of whitepapers, media outreach and educational forums, they are also undermining their efforts by making critical errors that impede progress and deter new business. In short, while these wealth managers can demonstrate their expertise, they are simultaneously unable to monetize their newly created stature.

Why? Their most common mistake is failing to fully leverage their intellectual content. Ten years ago, for example, it was easier to get attention by issuing a white paper because they not all that common. But that is no longer the case. These days, white papers are coming out virtually every day, and most of them are closer to sales and advertising materials than the insightful research that advisors and their wealthy clients crave.

Producing a white paper on a cutting-edge topic, for example, will probably be sufficient to garner some short-lived attention from the media, peers, competitors and prospects. It may even result in a few new relationships. As such, white papers are as far as most firms will go to use their intellectual capital to drive new business.

The white paper, however, can no longer stand alone. When a white paper is part of a larger, integrated marketing initiative, it is more likely to generate the desired results for its authors and sponsors. The content in white papers and research pieces must be repurposed across mediums and outlets to reach distinct, inter-related audiences. The initiative must also include explicit details on the solutions, successes and know-how of its thought leaders to ensure significant results and revenues.

Another pervasive and somewhat related mistake is failing to adequately follow up on thought leadership activities. For example, wealth managers often produce events, such as breakfast meetings for potential clients, that will highlight their knowledge and a recommended course of action. Even if they get good a good crowd, however, most wealth managers neglect to circle back to the attendees to determine if there are opportunities for new business. Regular, proactive follow-up after such events produces substantially more business than waiting for the prospects to step forward.

Thought leadership can be instrumental to building a very profitable high-net-worth practice for wealth managers. Two steps—skillful, integrated marketing campaigns and diligent follow-up—can be the difference between expensive and unfruitful initiatives and an engine for business development.

Russ Alan Prince, president of R.A. Prince & Associates, is a consultant to family offices, the ultra-wealthy and select professionals.