Today’s businesses understand the value of good-quality content; content that can not only grab eyeballs but also demonstrate expertise. The facet of content marketing that helps executives establish their authority and steer the conversation is called thought leadership.
Some industry buzzwords become so popular that they end up losing their true meaning. Unfortunately, thought leadership is one such idea. Even though there can be no rigid definition of the topic, this article will try to explain the concepts behind thought leadership and tell you how to use them to your benefit. After all, when 55% of decision makers use thought leadership to vet companies, it is important to get it right.
But before we begin, let’s talk about what is thought leadership.
What is thought leadership exactly? And how does it differ from other content strategies?
Content marketing strategies differ from company to company. Each brand has different goals catering to a wide variety of audiences. But one common thread that runs through all the strategies is this – content is meant to attract your target audience and convert them into paying customers. When working in the B2B field, this means putting out thought leadership content by tapping into internal resources.
Content that initiates conversations, shapes new ideas, brings to light otherwise unseen facts, and displays an uncanny depth of knowledge comes under thought leadership. This content is usually written by higher level executives who not only have on-field experience but also possess the curation to provide contextual answers to the audience’s questions. The format and mode used to put out thought leadership content can vary from company to company. From videos and podcasts to articles and whitepapers, thought leadership can be created in a multitude of ways to suit your audience’s tastes.
What goals can thought leadership accomplish?
- The biggest benefit of thought leadership is the fact that it positions you as an expert in your domain. When clamouring for the attention of your target audience and competing with several other brands, coming off as an expert and leader can help you stand out.
- Thought leadership cannot be written for a general audience. It’s supposed to be created for niche audiences that are looking for very specific answers. The content is provocative and not ideally suited for general readers. Most thought leadership content builds on existing knowledge and brings up new, insightful topics for discussion.
- Apart from establishing your authority, it also creates brand awareness and recall, ultimately, building your business. In fact, almost 60% of decision makers have given business to a company due to their ground-breaking thought leadership content.
- Well-written thought leadership can also be used as lead magnets. When the content is rich with information and inspiring, people are more likely to share their contact information with a company. According to a study, almost half of all C-Suite executives have shared their contact details after consuming thought leadership.
- Thought leadership incites conversation and debate around industry-related topics that matter. It nudges the discussion ahead and allows for a conversation to open up. Often, thought leadership is controversial. But as long as they’re backed by facts and experience, even the most controversial topics can be beneficial.
Thought leadership can be leveraged to build relationships and cement your brand name if used right. When creating such content, keep your exact audience in mind and assess their pain points. As a thought leader your job is to either provide them with answers or the resources to find their answers. Once you’ve understood what is thought leadership, you’ll be able to use it to further your own cause.