I think your problem is really one of expectation management, and that your boss has unrealistic expectations and needs enlightening.
If I run a blog / write content for people then - even if I've done my research - it's probably not going to impress a 'thought leader / authority' in their industry, because I just don't have the depth of knowledge gained over years that leads to genuine insight. All I'm doing (albeit comprehensively, to the point where the author wouldn't recognise their work) is rehashing what others have already said. The site is 'following', 'commenting', 'aggregating' - NOT 'leading', 'inspiring' or 'doing its own thing'.
You can rank SME sites with that sort of work in less competitive niches, but if you're up against people who are doing real work then you're out of luck.
OK content = OK links, but not great ones. You need to get that through to your boss.