Trust is the foundation for every successful relationship, whether it’s personal or professional. While we may understand the importance of developing personal trust between our peers, building trust between your company and customers is also crucial for gaining and retaining business. That’s where thought leadership content comes in.
Many small to medium-sized businesses make the mistake of being too salesy with their content. By writing and distributing thought leadership content, you pique the interest of potential buyers and keep current customers engaged and loyal to your business.
In this blog we’ll cover the following topics:
Definition of Thought Leadership
Thought leadership content is a marketing strategy mostly executed through social media, and it involves sharing educational content that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise on a particular topic. Overall, the goal of thought leadership content is to build brand and top-of-mind awareness while establishing yourself as a trusted expert in your industry.
Different Types of Thought Leadership Content
Thought leadership content can be approached in many different ways, and it’s important that you use a variety of these so you can meet your buyers where they interact most.
Here are some of the most common types of thought leadership content that marketers create:
Webinars help potential and ongoing customers better understand your company’s product, service, industry. Webinars are often used by software companies so they can showcase their expertise on the subject matter and expand on how their software can make their everyday business functions easier.
Let’s say you’re a software company that helps customers find the best prospects for their sales pipeline. A webinar for your business could cover how some of the most successful companies in the market have found and implemented prospects in their pipelines. In this webinar, your subject matter experts can expand on how your software solution can help businesses find prospects that align with your target market and meet your ideal customer profiles (ICP).
Creating thought leadership blog posts are great for getting your industry expertise out on the internet. This could include posting content on your own company website or guest posting on other websites. Guest posting is great for sharing your expertise and showing that not only your business believes in what you have to offer, but other companies and industry experts do as well. This can help boost SEO value as well because it follows the E-A-T acronym, which is great for optimizing content and drives more users to your website. Additionally, these blog posts can be shared on your social media profiles for maximized reach.
Social Media Posts
Writing and distributing social media posts is one of the more popular thought leadership tactics. Due to its low cost, many sales and marketing thought leaders use professional social media networks like LinkedIn to share their insights into the current state of the industry. Sharing thought leadership content on social media can help showcase the knowledge you have regarding your industry and its subject matter. Social media thought leadership content is often written and distributed by topic experts rather than from the business profile because it gives it a more human approach, encouraging users to trust an individual rather than a business.
Another way that companies distribute thought leadership campaigns is through podcasts. Whether it’s starting their own podcast or attending different podcasts as a guest, this type of thought leadership marketing content is ideal for catching potential clients who are interested in learning more about the subject matter.
For example, before starting our own podcast, the executive leaders of Abstrakt were invited to share their sales development and marketing knowledge on different business growth-focused podcasts. When they realized the impact they were having on business owners who listened to the podcasts they were featured on, they decided to start a podcast of their own.
Today, The Grow Show is continuously gaining new followers and providing small to medium-sized businesses with real-world insight into the state of the sales and marketing industry. Find a Grow Show episode that piques your curiosity.
Video is another type of content that can be used to present excellent thought leadership insights. Many freelancers use video to generate new sales opportunities because it’s an effective way to get in front of potential buyers who are actively looking for answers or solutions to their pain points. This includes making and sharing how-to videos, interviewing other topic experts, posting quick (yet engaging) videos on social media, and more. Making thought leadership videos is a great way to create content and engage interested individuals because they’re short enough, encouraging them to pay attention the whole time and provide quicker insights than if they were to read a long-form blog about it.
If you want a quick hitting way to catch the eye of potential buyers, sharing whitepapers on your social media profile or on a topic-related group or forum is another way to present thought leadership content. Whitepapers can provide a comprehensive analysis of a particular topic or issue. By providing in-depth research and analysis, you can establish yourself as an expert in your field and demonstrate your knowledge, encouraging potential buyers to trust what you have to say. Additionally, whitepapers are a great asset to share case studies about how your industry knowledge has helped other business owners accelerate their everyday operations.
Why Is Thought Leadership Content Important?
While there are so many different ways to approach thought leadership content, why is it important to your sales development and digital marketing efforts anyway?
Thought leadership content is essential for growing businesses because it:
- Establishes credibility: This type of marketing content helps establish credibility and promotes trust between your business and the potential buyer. Sharing valuable and relevant content demonstrates your commitment to helping your audience succeed.
- Increases website traffic: Thought leadership drives engagement with your brand, specifically when it comes to your website and social profiles. If they see the valuable insight your industry experts have to provide, they’re more likely to see what your company has to offer them.
- Improves lead generation: Thought leadership content can also help to generate leads for your business. By providing valuable content that addresses the needs and pain points of your audience, you can attract potential customers and establish yourself as a trusted business who can help them solve their problems and relieve pain points.
- Builds brand awareness: Sharing content that is informative, relevant, and engaging empowers you to attract and retain the attention of your audience, keeping them engaged with your brand. The more familiar they become with your brand, the more likely they are to buy from your business rather than competitors.
- Humanizes brands: Last but not least, thought leadership content humanizes brands because it assigns a face and a personality to a business. Since buyers are more likely to trust an individual than a brand, thought leadership content encourages a potential customer to be more open to learn about your product or service offerings.
Today’s Best Thought Leadership Examples
With all the aspiring thought leaders out there, there are some that have grown their personal brand (and their business) with their content. Here are a few of the most notable thought leaders we think you should be aware of and use as an example when starting off your thought leadership marketing strategy:
Rand Fishkin is a well-known marketing expert, especially when it comes to the SEO world. Rand is the co-founder of Moz, a leading SEO software company, and was the CEO of the company until 2014. He is also the author of the book “Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World” which expands on his experience as an entrepreneur and the challenges he faced while establishing Moz.
Rand is a prominent speaker and thought leader in the field of digital marketing, and he regularly speaks at conferences and events around the world. He is also known for his Whiteboard Friday video series, where he shares insights on SEO and digital marketing strategies, empowering growing businesses to apply the same principles to their company.
Mel Robbins is a motivational speaker, author, and television host. She is best known for her TEDx talk, “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over,” which has over 30 million views on YouTube. Robbins is also the author of several bestselling books, including “The 5 Second Rule” and “Take Control of Your Life.”
Mel has had a big impact on thought leadership content, particularly in the areas of personal development, motivation, and productivity. Through her books, speeches, and media appearances, she has shared insights and strategies for overcoming self-doubt, achieving goals, and taking action to improve one’s life. Her focus on practical, actionable advice has resonated with audiences around the world and helped her to establish herself as a thought leader in the personal development space.
Cami Travis-Groves is a transformational coach that helps creatives and entrepreneurs identify the cause of self-limiting beliefs like imposter syndrome and grow a mindset that leads to a life of abundance. Cami shares her methods for long-lasting success, so audiences feel empowered to achieve success.
With over 30 years of graphic design experience, she previously helped businesses clarify their visual messaging and spark their target audiences into action. Today, she is a volunteer mentor with ADPList and she shares with creatives the lessons she’s learned the hard way, so they can avoid similar painful bumps in the road.
In December 2022, a few of our sales enablement team members had the opportunity to attend one of her sessions and gain insight into how to overcome imposter syndrome in the workplace. Learn about their key takeaways from Cami’s session by reading our blog here.
TED Talks have had a significant impact on thought leadership content since their inception in 1984. TED Talks are short, powerful presentations that cover a wide range of topics, from science and technology to social issues and personal development. These are incredibly impactful pieces of thought leadership content that can help promote a personal or professional brand.
How to Build a Thought Leadership Strategy
To be a successful thought leader, you must first build a strategy. Here are some ways to get you started on building a thought leadership strategy that yields results:
Know Your Area of Expertise
First thing’s first—define your area of expertise. The more you know about a specific subject matter, the more you can talk about it and provide people with your expert insights. This is the time to define your niche and see what people are wanting to learn about your topic, product, or service. Additionally, the more unique your content is, the more you’re able to differentiate yourself from other thought leadership content creators, so make your content unique and something new than what other thought leaders are promoting.
Know What Your Audience Wants
Once you know your area of expertise, it’s time to explore what your audience wants to know about your subject matter. When you understand the wants, needs, and interest of your target audience, you can start creating content that is relevant and relatable to what they’re looking for. Additionally, this is the time to explore and identify what types of thought leadership content they want, whether it’s webinars, blog posts, social media content, blog posts, etc. This empowers you to distribute the right content on the right platforms, meeting the buyers where they engage the most.
Additionally, this same concept should be applied to the different type of content you create for your website. This makes sure that you are giving your audience what they want and not just feeding search engines with information that has minimal impact or relevance to the user.
Identify Subject Matter Experts at Your Company
While you may not have the forward personality or persona of putting yourself out there to express the insights of your topic, product, or service, someone in your company would be. Identifying the subject matter experts at your company empowers you to reach the right audience and potentially convert them from followers into customers.
For example, at Abstrakt, we have a wide range of subject matter experts. We often use LinkedIn to share thought leadership content from each of our topic experts. When it comes to sales development, our CEO, VP of Revenue, and VP of Sales share content related to sales development. On the other hand, when it comes to digital marketing, our VP of Marketing shares content related to this subject matter because most of their followers are interested in learning about their insights when it comes to building and sustaining a marketing strategy.
Distribute and Repurpose Content on Various Platforms
After you’ve defined your area of expertise, what your audience is looking for, and who is responsible for sharing content, it’s time to start distributing your thought leadership content. While some types of thought leadership content may be more effective than others in your target audience, it’s best to develop a content strategy around various platforms so you can meet the needs of multiple personas within your target market.
Measure the Performance of Your Strategy
After your thought leadership strategy is put into place, it’s time to measure its effectiveness. This includes tracking metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, number of leads generated, and amount of revenue generated. This data can be used to refine your strategy and optimize content over time, resulting in more significant results.
Creating and distributing thought leadership content is essential for piquing the interest of users who are looking for solutions to their pain points. While small to medium-sized businesses tend to prioritize sales-focused copy, writing thought leadership content encourages decision-makers to learn more and further trust what your business has to offer.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, our copywriters and digital strategists have the expertise to learn what potential buyers are looking for and write blog content that aligns with their wants, needs, interests, and pain points. When you’re ready to craft and distribute content that potential buyers in your target market are looking for, contact the digital marketing experts at Abstrakt.
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