The role of thought leadership in your marketing strategy
Before you can sell your product or service to the market, you need to create awareness – about your company, its vision and competitive advantage. One great way to do this
is to use marketing channels to promote thought leadership developed by your company’s experts.
Thought leadership is a marketing tactic that demonstrates your company’s expertise and vision in certain areas to help to build credibility and trust with customers and elevate your reputation. It goes beyond simply sharing knowledge about a topic to describe how your company sees the market or industry evolving and your involvement in shaping it. Through blogs, videos, speaking engagements, third-party articles, white papers and other vehicles you can share your company’s vision for the future. The more your company becomes associated with a topic, the more people will view your organization as a trusted source of information and advice. And eventually, if they find themselves in need of a related solution, they will already know who your company is and, hopefully, consider your offerings.
“Being a thought leader is one way to establish yourself as an expert whose opinion people should trust, which can bring them to your company when they need resources,” writes Martin Rowinski, CEO of Boardsi, in a Forbes article.
While thought leadership strategies are relatively straightforward, there are nuances to getting it right. Keep these points in mind when developing your own plan:
Offer people something useful without asking for anything in return. Maybe subject-matter experts in your company understand pending regulations, emerging technology or international laws that will impact the industry – those experts can offer their vision of how these triggers may change the landscape and advice for dealing with them to customers and prospects. But steer clear of trying to sell a related solution or service in the same marketing motion. The point here is to showcase your company’s vision for how customers can be successful; a related sale can come later. Many companies have even started ungating their thought leadership content in order to influence as many people as possible.
Separate thought leadership from knowledge. Sharing how-to information is helpful for existing customers, but won’t necessarily attract new ones who aren’t familiar with your products yet. Your goal with thought leadership should be to raise eyebrows as well as awareness; to make a name for yourself in your industry.
Stress the leadership in thought leadership. If your content says the same thing that your competitors’ does, you’re likely to get lost in the noise. Bold thought leadership stands out from the crowd and helps people remember you. It’s okay to go out on a limb with a prediction or vision as long as you use conditional language (for example “Chances are the industry will see more of these types of privacy regulations in the coming years.”) and you state your case for why you believe what you do.
Your organization is full of experts who no doubt have strong opinions about the industry – rely on them to help you create influential thought-leadership content that builds trust and awareness. Check out our services page to find out how we can help.