Thought leadership – a means of gaining trust in today’s b2b marketing environment.
When radical changes are happening at a rapid rate in the world of marketing- radical actions are required to stay ahead of the game and ahead of your competitors. B2B marketing has evolved from telemarketing shop floors into the streamlined and ultra-competitive level-playing field of social media.
One thing that has not changed is the need for a recognisable brand voice that can be heard above the chatter. Under handed tactics such as false or overhyped advertising will not work in this day and age. In fact, the damage of such tactics to your brand can be irreparable. A lack of trust has seen diminishing returns for some of the biggest brands out there while on the other hand, new businesses have capitalised on building trust and through building that trust, building authority.
A good example of a thought leader is Moz founder, Rand Fishkin. The ‘wizard of Moz’ is an affable personality on social media with a brand that helps everyone from novices to experts in the field of SEO.
You too must be a likeable and reliable personality online and offline, someone how helps others and doesn’t just bombard your audience with sales pitches. No one has time for a Don Draper on LinkedIn and Twitter but they do have time for thought leaders. If you can be innovative and you are ready to share one of the greatest assets a business has i.e. knowledge, maybe you could be the next thought leader. In fact, this should be a focus point of your social selling.
Find your niche and share your expertise.
Thought Leaders specialise in niche aspects of marketing and tailor their content to reflect this specialisation.
- Look at your client base, think about what attracts them to hire you and what it is they love about your marketing formula.
- Focus in on that niche with laser precision, dig deep into that well of knowledge and become an applied expert in it.
- Perhaps you are a skilled networker who can talk the right language in person and when it comes to digital engagement.
- Channel this skill into value rich content such as blogs or break it down into chunks and send it out in tweets.
- Keep your competitors in mind and make sure your content is bulletproof, don’t leave any room for error.
Be a consistent and innovative thought leader
There is no glossing over the fact this won’t be easy. The key requirements of Thought Leadership are:
- Keeping Up To Date With Your Competitors By Offering Deeper Insights On Their Content.
- Carry Out Dedicated Social Listening To Your Current And Potential Clients To Solve Their Problems.
- Perform Regular Keyword Research To Explore Emerging Trends In Your Industry In Order To Capitalise On Them.
- Keep Learning On The Job-Even When You Think You Know All There Is To Know About Your Niche
You will have read the standard advice thousands of times. You understand the need for a unique authoritative voice, compelling content and a content strategy. The deluge of webinars, blog posts, white papers and tweets leave no room for doubt about what works that it’s a case of being heard above the noise.
Every day you will need to gather your team, analyse, develop strategies, evaluate and re-evaluate. Ask the question ‘which initiatives helped my business build up a successful funnel?’ Start with your service users. Ask them what insights they would benefit from and find ways to deliver that content.
Jason Miller is LinkedIn’s Global Content Marketing Leader. In a LinkedIn article entitled ‘3 Types of Thought Leadership: Creating the Perfect Mix of Content for Your Brand’ he defines 3 categories:
- “ Industry thought leadership, including perspective on news and trends ”
- “ Organisational thought leadership, embodied in the vision and ethos of your company ”
- “ Product thought leadership, focused on being the best solution for your customers ”
Align your expertise with your customer’s goals, offer them content that fullfils their needs and establishes your influence. Be careful not to simply ‘rinse and repeat’, high quality lead magnets can be re-purposed and should be but you must stay on top of your game and maintain a consistent stream of digital engagement that evolves with the ever changing B2B landscape.
Wherever you are on this obstacle filled “ Thought leadership journey ” at this particular moment, it might be the right time to reach out and book a free consultation with an appropriate consultancy (such as 2MARK-IT!) to discuss your needs.
About the Author: Peter Rovers is CEO of 2MARK-IT a global Social Selling & marketing, consultancy, enablement and training firm.