The need for thought leadership content is becoming increasingly important to businesses. This is due in part to the fact that it creates credibility and trust with a target audience. It can also open doors to new opportunities. The process of developing thought leadership material is not overly complicated and is well worth the investment in your time.
Let’s outline a helpful approach to developing thought leadership content. This will help you grow your brand and the demand for your business. The questions below will guide you down the path to creating compelling content. In doing so you can build brand equity, generate demand, and push your inbound marketing strategy plan. Let’s go!
What is thought leadership content?
Thought leadership content can come in many forms, such as articles, social media posts, videos, podcasts, etc. The objective is to demonstrate one’s expertise, talent, skills, and passion for their business, industry, products and/or services. It is an effective approach to position someone, or yourself, as an authority within a specific industry.
The best content answers questions. This can include addressing a problem your target audience is focused on. It should point them to the latest solutions and can even foreshadow the most impactful upcoming trends. The goal is NOT to create sales-heavy content, but to share your ideas, vision and knowledge with your potential customers.
The most desirable content will go into enough depth that your customers’ biggest questions are answered without them needing to “reach back” for more info.
Is thought leadership important for B2B operations?
Thought leadership is incredibly important for B2Bs. This is becasue these customers are often part of larger companies with purchasing decisions that may require more time and more people that need to weigh-in.
How to begin creating thought leadership content?
While being recognized as a thought leader does take some time and effort, it is actually pretty easy to begin generating thought leadership content. Here is a great example.
You are likely already an expert at something and if you’re not, then hopefully someone you are working with is.
Next, research the industry and begin conversations with your customers. What issues are they facing, what problems are not getting solved, or how is the industry changing?
Then, decide the best way for you to provide solutions for those issues or answer any questions. Is it on a short social media post? Is it a longer problem that may require something more like a technical white paper? Just about all of us have a smartphone; maybe the answer requires a visual demonstration like a video.
How do you become a guest on a podcast?
More and more people are listening to podcasts and there is actually an effective way to increase your chances of getting invited to be a guest. Here’s an “Easter egg” (read: secret way) to make this happen.
First, find one that you think would be appropriate for your expertise, and then reach out to the host or producer. Tell them you are really impressed with their show, or that a recent episode caught your attention. Let them know how it helped you solve a problem for a customer. Briefly let them know how your expertise is relevant to the subjects they cover or relevant to their audience. Then end with, “if you ever want to collaborate on something, just let me know.” You’d be surprised how often this leads to a guest appearance.
Who should be our company's thought leader?
Anyone and everyone can be a thought leader for your company. That is what’s so great about thought leadership. Most of us are experts in our own fields. Anyone who inspires your consumers to take action and can move them into your sales funnel can and should contribute.
Thought leadership can come from the CEO, a member of the sales team, engineers, designers, customer service representatives, etc. Basically anyone who is willing to share the knowledge they have gained that has proven to be tried, trusted and successful.
What is a thought leadership strategy?
Just because almost everyone is an expert in what they do, does not mean that they should just start milling out content without a goal or objective.
The very first step to generating thought leadership is to come up with an impactful strategy. This is an effective way to have you and your team brainstorm and contribute ideas, then coordinate on how and when those should be released.
Still worried that maybe you are not up to the task of developing this type of content? Not to worry. There are plenty of content marketing and PR companies that can help develop a strategy and even the content itself.
Remember, every journey begins with a single step. So don’t get bogged down with the minute details, establish a goal, come up with a plan and start producing content!