Marketing and thought leadership go hand in hand, especially when content is king.
Since experts can easily make themselves heard through social media, blogs, vide platforms, and online advertising, they can leverage their expertise to become major influencers.
As we’ll see, though, becoming an expert is just the first step.
How Experts Can Win through Thought Leadership Marketing
A thought leader is one who drives discussion and conversation in their field, influencing the way business is done. By virtue of their renowned expertise, these experts have a significant edge when it comes to marketing.
Thought leadership marketing is a relatively new term, but it has quickly taken hold in the digital world. As you may be able to guess, thought leadership marketing involves leveraging your experience to engage in marketing.
Before we get into the fundamental ingredients for successful marketing through thought leadership, it’s important to understand that thought leadership is relative to where you do business.
There are certainly global thought leaders, but there are also countless local business communities throughout the world, each with their own thought leaders.
Another important thing to understand is that there are always people higher up on the intellectual food chain. That is, the leader in your local business community may establish his authority by using research and analyses he drew from an international thought leader, who based his or her work on previous research by other thought leaders.
Original research is always the most powerful way to become a thought leader, but not everyone can perform exploratory scientific experiments. Instead, focus on establishing your authority within your circles by following a few best practices.
5 Must-Haves for Marketing with Thought Leadership
So what are the ingredients to successful thought leadership marketing?
First and foremost, you need to be an expert in your field. Without expertise, you won’t be able to influence others, drive discussions, create conversations, or change the way people do business.
Only experts can engage other experts in conversations and influence an industry, so expertise is the baseline for anyone who wants to become a thought leader.
While you may not to perform original research that defines an industry, you can still compile that data and analyze it. The more insightful your analyses of the data and trends within an industry, the more you will add to a discussion, and the bigger your presence will be.
Not all thoughts are created equal. The same goes for content and research. The more in-depth your research, experience, and expertise, the higher quality content you will be able to produce for your marketing program.
It’s also worth noting that the end user’s experience must also be top quality. Mountains of in-depth statistics won’t do you any good if the user experience makes this data difficult to understand.
If one post is all you’ve got, no one will hear it.
Quality content should be backed by quality research, which should then be reiterated and promoted. Here are a few ways to scale up the quantity of your content:
- Post multiple times on social media
- Cover the same material several ways and several times on your blog
- Repurpose the same content for new media formats
- Distribute your content effectively on other websites, through media outlets, partners’ social media accounts, and so on
If you’ve got something good to say, then make sure to say it loudly.
4. Engaging Stories
Engagement is key to grabbing and holding on to an audience.
No matter how great your ideas, you won’t make a splash unless you tell stories the right way. Focus on telling your stories through engaging media formats, such as video and infographics. Even if your research is “boring", make it fun and engaging.
Half the battle is creating influential, quality content. The other half is making sure people listen to you. Keep your industry engaged by focusing on them and explaining why your research matters to them and how it changes the game.
Don’t be afraid to have and opinion and present a challenge. As long as your controversy isn’t over-the-top, then you shouldn’t be afraid to engage your industry by stirring up the post a little bit.
5. Game Changers
On the one hand, you should keep up a consistent stream of thoughtful, insightful content. But to really make shifts in your industry, you need to create “talking pieces” that will put your company in the spotlight.
In some cases, these works may consist of original research that makes headlines. The more insightful your data, the more your marketing will be able to change the game.
As mentioned, not every company can become a research firm, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build thought leadership. Create thoughtful PR pieces that offer new angles and insights into existing research.
As mentioned, thought leadership is relative. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, you can still become a leader within your circles. And if you back up your expertise with an engaging marketing program, you will be able to drive the discussions in those circles.