Standing out in a crowded online space or an oversaturated market can be a challenge to your business growth. But one way to cut through the noise in your field is to become a thought leader and to share thought leadership content that establishes your credibility while growing your reach and your bottom line.
If that sounds like a great marketing strategy to you, you’re not alone. Many organizations are beginning to use this approach to reach their marketing objectives. So, it’s more important than ever to get it right.
Today, we’re sharing answers to some of the most asked questions about thought leadership content strategy including how to create that content and how to track your progress as you move toward your goals.
What Is Thought Leadership?
Thought leadership is a strategy companies can use to demonstrate their expertise, solidify their credibility, and become a go-to resource for those they serve.
Why Is Thought Leadership Important?
Thought leadership is important because it builds trust, showcases your values, creates a platform for your message, and allows you to reach more people who need what you offer.
“Thought leadership also provides platforms for the conveyance of best practices, communication of practical knowledge, and the sharing of hard-earned experiences, success stories, and social responsibility.”
Companies across the industries are already using thought leadership in their digital, experiential, and print marketing strategies. These organizations have recognized how thought leadership can grow the company in a myriad of ways. So, there’s never been a better time to begin or refine your thought leadership marketing strategy.
How Can a Company Demonstrate Thought Leadership?
There are a variety of ways to showcase your thought leadership through content.
According to marketing leader Hubspot, “To become a thought leader, one might create and promote educational, helpful content and become active in the industry community, particularly on social sites.”
Other approaches include writing guest blogs, appearing in newsletters, authoring op-eds, issuing well-researched and evidence-based white papers, and drafting articles with reputable industry publications or websites.
The key is that the content is helpful and relatable, and positions you as the trusted resource clients or audience members can rely on for the most accurate and vital information out there.
How Do I Create Thought Leadership Content?
Creating thought leadership content begins with defining your key messages, the purpose of your message, and your relevant content pillars, topics, and platforms. Part of this process will also include competitor research and SEO research to see what other messages might overlap or compete with yours. A sound research foundation will allow you to verify that your message relates to what your audience is looking for online.
Once you know who you’re speaking to, on which topics, why, and where, you can move strategically and connect those dots to create content calendars (and the assets themselves).
Creating assets involves consistently branded content in a voice that’s recognizably your own. Developing cohesiveness in this way allows you to create a reputation and visibility that builds trust because you show up professionally, every time.
What Are Some Types of Thought Leadership Content?
Thought leadership content comes in a variety of forms. As a thought leader, you’ll be defining your subject matter knowledge and developing trust by solving problems and easing pains. You’ll also be creating a unique message that stands out.
You might even decide to create relationships with other thought leaders and media outlets to further bolster your expertise and recognition.
Depending on your goals and audience, thought leadership content might include:
- Blogs, guest blogs, articles
- Social posts and Tweets
- Podcast appearances
- Live media appearances
- Pre-recorded educational training
- Speaking engagements, conference appearances
- Experiential marketing opportunities
- PR efforts
- Whole-authored White Papers or Industry Guides
No matter what you choose, it’s important to keep your thought leadership content goals in mind.
How Do I Set Thought Leadership Goals?
Setting thought leadership goals begins with reflecting on where you are in the thought leadership content development process. Once you understand where you are, you can define the path forward and develop goals to keep you focused as you move forward.
It’s also important to recognize that developing recognition as a leader takes time. Creating a sense of trust and credibility is a strategic long game with great potential for exponential growth.
Imagine becoming the most well-known and well-respected company or individual in your field. Or the company that more people trust to solve the problem your product or service addresses. The results will allow you to reach more people.
But the goals you set will depend on where you are in your journey.
Depending on where you are in your process, you may need to:
- Explore how to begin your thought leadership approach
- Develop key messages to share with your audience that resonate most with them
- Define where your audience is and what they want or need to hear about what you can offer them
- Use SEO and other approaches to reach more people in searches
- Create a step-by-step plan for strategic thought leadership growth
- Develop relationships with PR, media, or platform-based resources your clients trust most as content distribution channels
- Fine-tune your strategy once you begin so that you continue to grow your reach
Each of these steps along the way will require different operatives and you’ll have to revisit your goals at each of those stages to keep you focused.
What Are Some Common Thought Leadership KPIs?
Some common Thought Leadership KPIs include tracking your backlinks, awards, speaking invitations, podcast guesting requests, followers, and even mentions in media publications.
Just as the goals you set for yourself relative to your thought leadership content will depend on where you are in your journey, so too will your KPIs. So, it’s important to reflect on what KPIs make the most sense for you and your organization. Strategically select those that will help you reach your goals so you can really track your progress.
If you’re not sure where to begin, or you’ve worked on your thought leadership content development in the past without reaching the goals you’ve set, it may be helpful to reach out to an agency partner for strategic support.
Want Support as You Incorporate Thought Leadership into Your Marketing Strategy?
If you’re interested in stepping into thought leadership and using thought leadership content in your business, we can help.
Connect with us on our contact form here to get started.
We can’t wait to help you share your message and meet your marketing goals!