It’s no industry secret that today, every brand needs to establish a repertoire of credibility if they want to stand out in the industry and engage their customers. One strategy that can help businesses achieve that target is thought leadership.
The reality of matters is that many marketers today are familiar with branding but not with it. Although they both serve the same function (in a way) to promote a business, some marketers don’t fully understand the need to establish themselves as the leading light in their fields.
This article seeks to debunk thought leadership marketing in detail by discussing what the practice entails, its benefits, the qualities of a thought leader, and strategies to consider when developing its campaign.
What Is Thought Leadership Marketing
It is a marketing technique designed to position a business as a trusted professional in its field of expertise. It involves creating and promoting informational content regarding the industry to develop and contribute to new and existing customers.
The authored content involves the thought leader sharing their expertise and ground-breaking ideas through video, infographics, social media platforms, and even live events. It could be an interview forecasting trends for the upcoming business year, an article meant to direct the audience towards key resources that can make their lives or jobs easier, or even a social media post discussing issues affecting the industry and its future.
This way, a business can provide genuine value to their customers by educating them without coming off as if they’re advertising.
Related: Thought Leadership Marketing for Lawyers
Qualities of a Thought Leader
While some people seem to have a constant flow of good ideas, it takes more than a thought leader. It involves taking those ideas and executing them into action to drive positive results for the business. Let’s take a look at the qualities that set apart business leaders from thought leaders:
Are Actively Engaged in Their Industry
A thought leader should be highly involved in their field. They care about the industry and want to see it grow. They provide valuable insights into the industry to support it as they engage the stakeholders involved.
Have Industry Expertise
Being a leader in your business is not enough. A thought leader should know the ins and outs of the industry, its history, as well as current and emerging trends.
Provide Clear Value
Thought leadership is more than creating content for brand awareness. A thought leader should be able to communicate clearly and provide significant value to the industry. This can be in the form of guidance, insights, or even industry support.
Developed a Loyal Following
Thought leaders have a loyal following that values their insights and looks to them for information, guidance, and solutions to industry-related issues.
Benefits of a Thought Leadership Marketing Strategy
As a thought leader, people don’t look to you for product advice. People look to you to provide them with ideas, strategies, and information as an industry expert. When seen as an industry leader, customers will have a positive image of you and trust you more. Let’s briefly look at how a business can leverage thought leadership to gain an edge over its competitors.
Reinforce Your Brand
Marketing can be an incredibly demanding practice. However, developing and executing a campaign can help elevate all your marketing efforts a few levels higher. This is because clients associate thought leaders with their brands because of their cutting-edge insights and visionary mindset.
Thought leaders also establish and foster lasting relationships with new and existing customers, strengthening the company’s image as a reliable and trusted brand.
Gain a Competitive Advantage
Thought leadership marketing could help a business gain a competitive advantage through differentiation. Customers nowadays are more aware of the market than they have ever been before. It’s become easy to access and engage with content and information about market prices, what to look out for, and emerging trends in the industry.
A business with its own program will gain attention from the market and attract the most valuable clients since customers look to buy from or work with companies ahead of the curve.
Boost Your Sales and Profit Margins
Profitability is critical to a company’s success. The upside is it can boost a company’s profits by fostering high efficiency and work quality within company employees as well as help boost the sales of the business. Thought leaders help land more high-quality work than less prominent competitors since they are seen as the frontrunners of their industry.
For instance, a survey on AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) firms conducted by Design Intelligence found that 65% of them thought leadership programs directly correlated the program and their revenue.
Also read: Thought Leadership in Consulting Firms
Thought Leadership Strategies to Consider
A thought leadership campaign isn’t just something companies can drive right into. There needs to be a cohesive and well-planned strategy behind it. Here is a list of factors that your business needs to take in developing a campaign.
Understand Your Audience
Like every other marketing function, you need to consider who you’re communicating to for the campaign to be effective. Take the time to find out their interests, where they live, and their needs and wants. This insight will guide you in coming up with comprehensive content for the business.
Set Achievable Targets
You have to understand the objectives you expect from your thought leadership strategy. Make sure your objectives are realistic, practical, and measurable. Examples of goals include increasing traffic or generating more leads.
Diversify Your Thought Leadership Content
Factor in your business offers and focus on creating a diverse selection of topics around your products/services. Ensure they involve what your audience is curious to know and that the thought leadership content provides expert solutions to their problems.
The Bottom Line
Top businesses use thought leadership marketing strategies as a foundation for all their marketing endeavors. This allows businesses to communicate their brand ethos to establish a relationship of trust between them and their audience.
Think of the Gordon Ramseys, Steve Jobs, and Oprah Winfrey’s of this world. Despite being incredibly successful in business, these people are considered thought leaders and experts in their respective fields.
For expert advice on thought leadership, contact us here to discuss how we help establish you as a frontrunner in your industry.