Many businesses aspire to be thought leaders in their industry. Customers view thought leaders as experts in their field and look to them for advice and insights.
Building thought leadership takes time and effort, but it can be valuable for your business. By becoming a thought leader, you can differentiate yourself from your competitors, elevate your brand, and build trust with your customers.
What is Thought leadership?
At its core, thought leadership is about establishing yourself and your business as a visionary expert in your industry—someone others turn to for new ideas and advice.
Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, and Tony Robbins are classic thought leadership examples that most people have heard of. But you don’t have to be famous to produce thought leadership marketing.
As long as your content provides insightful answers that satisfy your customers’ biggest questions, your company can achieve thought-leadership status.
5 Reasons to build thought leadership into your content
Thought leadership impacts your marketing effectiveness and branding as a whole. When you become known as an expert in your field, people are more likely to do business with you. Here are some of the benefits thought leadership can bring to your company:
- Helps customers understand what you do and how it solves their problems. In order for customers to want to buy from you, they need to understand what your business does and how it can help them. When you produce thought-leadership content, you’re able to educate your target audience about your product or service in a way that builds trust.
- Differentiates you from the competition. In any industry, competitors will always be vying for the same customers. You can set your business apart from the rest by establishing yourself as a thought leader.
- Increases brand awareness. The more people see your company’s name, the more likely they will remember it when they need a product or service you offer. Thought leadership can help increase brand awareness and recognition by getting your name out there in front of potential customers.
- Drives sales. Customers who trust you and see you as an authority in your industry are more likely to do business with you. Thought leadership can lead to an increase in sales and revenue for your company.
- Helps you attract top talent. If you want to attract the best employees, you need to be known as a company that is at the forefront of your industry.
How do you build thought leadership?
To build thought leadership, you’ll need to focus on creating quality, original, informative, and useful content. Your content can be in the form of blog posts, infographics, ebooks, podcasts, videos, or well-written social media posts.
Your company’s content can draw on the expertise of your entire team and even utilize ghostwriters or guests to create posts, videos, and infographics that will solidify your reputation.
Keep in mind that providing valuable information in a crowded content marketplace is becoming more challenging.
The LinkedIn-Edelman 2021 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study found that 71% of professionals say that less than half of their thought leadership content provides valuable insights. And yet:
- 42% have invited a company to bid on their business based on thought leadership content.
- 64% consider thought leadership a valid basis for assessing a vendor’s capabilities and competency.
- 54% of decision-makers (48% of the C-Suite) report spending more than an hour per week reading and reviewing thought leadership.
If you’ve set your sights on becoming a respected voice in your industry, you’ll need a solid strategy for developing thought leadership content.
But first, you’ll need a clear image of your goal. So what is thought leadership exactly, and how do businesses succeed in achieving it?
Developing a content strategy for thought leadership
There are four essential elements of a thought leadership content strategy: topic selection, content quality, a consistent publishing schedule, and promotion.
Selecting topics for thought leadership content
Your company’s thought leadership content should focus on the most relevant topics to your industry and target audience. These are the topics you have the most expertise in and your target audience is interested in learning more about.
You can develop ideas for thought leadership content by conducting keyword research, analyzing your competitors’ content, creating your own original research studies, and surveying your target audience.
Orbit Media Studios polled 481 marketers to learn more about how people define thought leadership. The top three topics most strongly associated with thought leaders they surveyed included:
- Educational and how-to content (cited by 70% of respondents).
- Identification/evaluation of trends (67%).
- Research reports (60%).
Interviews, opinions, and inspirational content were all cited by fewer than 50% of respondents.
Producing quality content
Your company’s thought leadership content should also be original and provide new insights that your target audience hasn’t seen before.
This can be difficult, as you’ll need to stay up-to-date on the latest industry news and trends while offering your unique perspectives.
One way to ensure that your content is of the highest quality is to hire a professional writer or editor to help create or polish your blog posts, infographics, ebooks, videos, and other material.
Make the most of your investment by repurposing your best content into new formats. Yesterday’s blog post can be tomorrow’s podcast topic.
To ensure that your content is reliably excellent, you’ll need to regularly prune outdated or subpar content from your site. Pruning will help you maintain a high level of quality while also ensuring that your website is up-to-date.
Creating a consistent publishing schedule
To establish yourself as a thought leader, you’ll need to invest in consistent content creation. This could mean publishing a new blog post once a week, releasing a new video every month, or putting out a new podcast episode every other week.
Whatever your publishing schedule looks like, it’s essential to be consistent so that your audience knows when they can expect new content from you.
Promoting your thought leadership content
Once you’ve created quality thought leadership content, you’ll need to promote it so that it reaches your target audience.
There are several ways to do this, including sharing it on social media, emailing your subscribers, and guest posting on other blogs.
You can also promote your content by conducting webinars, hosting podcasts, and speaking at industry events.
People also expect to see thought leaders giving TED talks and appearing as a guest on relevant podcasts and web programs, so these are also great avenues for promoting your content.
Keys to success
Thought leadership is a great way to increase brand awareness and drive sales for your business. By creating quality content regularly, you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry and attract more leads.
Remember, to be a successful thought leader. You’ll need to focus on selecting the right topics, producing high-quality content, maintaining a consistent publishing schedule, and promoting your material. With these tips, you can start developing your thought leadership strategy today.
Want some help creating your thought leadership content? Talk to a content specialist at ClearVoice and find out how we can help with everything from the strategy to the creation of your thought leadership content.