As a marketer, you have to build content that nurtures trust in the market, improving your brand authority and reputation. Almost every big name in any industry is known for more than just being successful at their business or profession. They are considered leaders, when they go on to disseminate their expertise by, no doubt, giving direction internally within their organizations, but also sharing it with others. Over the last few years, this has given rise to a new type of content marketing, and that is the subject of our discussion today.
What is Thought Leadership?
Thought leadership builds an audience’s trust in your expertise in the field. However, it is more of an effect than a cause. You do not start out as a thought leader; you become one.
Thought leadership isn’t just about providing high-quality products and services but rather bringing your industry to a higher level of talking about the numerous challenges faced, and offering solutions based on your expertise and experience. A thought leader isn’t just great at influencing people with solutions but also has the ability to explain why their approach is better.
According to a study by Edelman and LinkedIn of 1,200 respondents, 58% of respondents read one or more hours of thought leadership content every week. Furthermore, 55% said they used thought leadership to qualify the merit of organizations they may hire.
Thought leadership is responsible for influencing consumer decisions. Over 60% of consumers reported buying a product and service after reading thought leadership content that offered them value. Marketers in varying niches explore new ways to share their ideas, with thought leadership at the core, because expert content can encourage expert opinions.
5 Best Practices of Thought Leadership Marketing
1. Be rooted in deep research and adding value
The most fundamental aspect of creating thought leadership content is to provide valuable experiences to viewers. People who engage with your content should be inspired to think, take action, and indulge in productive discussions.
Since more people are on the internet, your content marketing quality should be a top priority. Video resolution, image resolution, vocabulary, and every little aspect that goes into your content marketing template should be double-checked for quality. Quality content offers uninterrupted engagement with your ideas.
Ensuring that your content is grammatically accurate, readable, interactive, and engaging will go a long way in establishing your presence as a thought leader. Whether you’re doing it for yourself or a brand, thought leadership is about the commitment to make the world a better place with ideas that have an immediate impact on the environment.
2. Say something new or say something in a better way
There is a lot of content on the internet already and one could argue that unless you have a unique or new point of view on a subject, don’t bother talking about it. This may not always be possible. With thought leadership content, it’s great if you have something new to say about a subject relatively less spoken about, for instance, perhaps a new technology or product. Another way to approach the subject is to perhaps use different, more engaging ways to say the same old thing. Can you give with an anecdotal approach to drive the same point home, or perhaps an interesting infographic can do the trick. Tom Fishburne’s comic, the Marketoonist is a great example of this. He may not be saying something new each time, but his style is witty, irreverent and fun and is bound to make you think and also draw a chuckle out of you.
3. Use of social media effectively
Social media is buzzing with activity, and thought leaders are producing content specifically to increase their following on social media. That’s because an idea worth sharing is complemented by a following.
Sharing blog posts about your industry, vlogs, and infographics can showcase your expertise on any given matter. You can use social media to promote your thought leadership by engaging in discussions with other thought leaders. In fact, social media offers a wider view of your audience, which helps you make the most of your content marketing strategy.
When posting on social media, you have to maintain consistency by following a schedule to share content at the right time to reach your audiences. To become a trusted thought leader, you have to post informational content frequently, where the market garners a solid idea of what you represent.
Picking the right types of content marketing like videos, images, blogs, and infographics helps you refresh your targeted audience’s views. Picking the right social media platform will give you the best engagement for the type of content you produce.
4. Spread your thought leadership message with your team
Thought leadership content is not limited to your industry expertise but the value produced in your imminent environment. The best way to showcase your thought leadership is by promoting the content that your team members create.
As your audience expands, they have multiple options and opinions about your brand, and thus it is your responsibility to encourage your team to share their expertise. An expert may provide useful information, but a team of experts can bring real value.
Since thought leadership is about creating credibility, your team’s thought leaders can add to the value you provide through content. Some ways to get your team to disseminate thought leadership content:
- Online events and speaking seminars
- Guest podcasts, videos, and webinars
- Media connections and press releases
- Guest blogging
One of the most valuable assets of a thought leader is their ability to create team spirit. Nobody can be a better judge than your team members.
5. Find your style
The way thought leadership content is delivered is as important as the content itself. Two things can play a role in determining your winning style: the industry and the type of audience you are catering to and the tone and style of writing that comes most naturally to you. This could be story-led, data-oriented, very visual through videos and informative carousels or even through live sessions answering questions around your area of expertise.
Let’s consider a lot of the content created by internal leaders at Tata Group of Industries for a minute. In fact, one of the web pages of the Tata website is titled “Tata Stories of Heritage”. All thought leadership content around the brand and its leaders is extremely anecdotal ,i.e., driven by stories of Ratan Tata and his response to various situations. This is the case because stories help build a legacy, a legacy which Tata has established over decades of existence in India.
What Makes a Good Thought Leader?
Content is king, and quality is the throne. These four pillars of thought leadership content revolve around producing high-quality content that drives engagement and results in brand advocacy.
- Produce valuable content
- Provide educational insights
- Offer accurate information
- Use a targeted approach
You have to know the audience you’re targeting and create content that matches their interests by introducing insightful advice on solving a challenge or creating a more fulfilling experience. Thought leadership evolves with your knowledge of the market and the industry, gradually forming bonds with people to encourage mutual understanding and learning.