Digital Marketing Revolution: 4 Keys to Establishing Thought Leadership
Don’t take offense to this but let’s be honest – just because someone has written a book, received an award, or hosted a webinars or seminars, it does NOT necessarily make that person a thought leader in their respective field. In other words, many people would agree that the term “thought leader” has been used too loosely in today’s society where people can “self-annoint” themselves with any title that they see fit. By definition, a thought leader is one who has mastered his craft and is relied upon as a resource and a trusted influencer; however, we found this definition from a Forbes article to be spot-on:
“A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.”
If your business (or you personally as the CEO or VP of a department) can establish a reputation as a thought leader in the eyes of others, the benefits can become huge in more ways than one. This can include your company being able to pull in new clients and generous revenues as a result of your recognized for your brilliance and brand equity. Every business that seeks to be successful would naturally desire to be viewed as a thought leader in their industry, and for many of them, the floating question is What does it take to establish my company as a thought leader? To help guide you in the right direction, here are a 4 key elements that could help you achieve a successful thought leadership campaign.
1) Reputation Management
Whether the claims are true or false, many companies have fallen victim to negative listings in search engine results about their products or services. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.” — when your company is actively implementing a proactive online reputation management strategy, it helps to build endearing trust between your company, your customers, partners, and stakeholders. Doing this helps to prevent a customer’s negative comment, an ineffective product or service, or an actual crisis event from imploding your business. No business is perfect in everything that they do (not even those listed on the Fortune 500 list). The key is that when your brand guards it’s online reputation and establishes thought leadership by doing things like having its executives to write insightful and engaging blogs about your industry, creating an easy online forum for customer support where your staff responds promptly, or being a great corporate citizen by volunteering and giving back to charitable organizations, you will notice that when bad things happen (some which may be totally out of your control), the impact to your company’s bottom won’t be as great as it could have been if you hadn’t build some brand equity as a thought leader.
2) Public Relations
There’s no doubt that public relations firms can work wonders for a company’s brand. The one downfall is that they tend to work those wonders within their own established circles or networks. The result is that your business becomes dependent on “their” relationships. Establishing your company as a great thought leader will require your brand to build relationships yourself, and this can be accomplished by consistently producing engaging, quality content for your prospects, customers and your peers in your industry to consume. Sure, it will take time; however, we all know that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
3) Content Marketing
Your company’s content marketing efforts are where the rubber meets the road and will determine if and when you will achieve the coveted title of “Thought Leader”. According to Michael Brenner, former VP of Marketing and Content Strategy at SAP, in an article for Forbes, “thought leadership is simply about becoming an authority on relevant topics by delivering the answers to the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience.” – So, what does this mean for your business. It means that you will need to take the time to research and define the buyer personas for your B2B or B2C products or services, gain additional knowledge, and provide your target audience with relevant and practical advice along each stage of their journey along your sales funnel. In the process of you creating and distributing high-quality, engaging content, you will build trust with those who are consuming your content, and this helps to develop a relationship with them that could result in a lead or a new customer. Establishing thought leadership via content marketing is not only essential, it also is a key factor in having an impact on future revenues.
4) Lead Generation and Sales Conversion
Too many times, people encounter “schemes” or tricks to get them to click on a call-to-action button or image. Shame on companies that implement these tactics. Good thought leadership is centrally focused on content that sincerely helps people. Why? Because the helpful piece of content that your company creates and distributes will also be viewed as valuable by the person who is consuming the content (by reading, viewing, or listening). Relevant and valuable content makes people feel like the content is actually “talking to them” and they will want to share the content with others in their network. That’s how engaging content helps to foster a relationship that is built on trust, and trust is the foundation of new leads, new customers, brand loyalty, and brand ambassadors. Just always remember that good quality prospects for your product or service will click and convert when they are ready as a result of great content. One of the greatest benefits of content marketing designed to generate leads is that your sales funnel will always be full — this is what every company wants at the end of the day.
The reality is that establishing thought leadership has emerged as a top priority with sales and marketing executives. Growth starved organizations are looking for ways to differentiate themselves with new ideas, education, and relevant solutions that address buyers’ pains and influence the buyer’s perceptions of value. Our Aiden Marketing team understands that sharing a client’s subject matter expertise and their strong point of view on a topic are essential to achieving success in the digital, social, and mobile channels that buyers use during the majority of their buying process.
Please join us on November 15, 2015 at the Catonsville Baltimore County Public Library from 2pm to 4pm and discover how to take your business to the next level. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comment section. We look forward to you joining us!