If you own a B2B company, your most sought goal will be having a command in your industry. This goal of reaching that “authority status” becomes a reality only with careful planning and execution. Since the path towards glory is rocky, let us talk about what makes those steps easier.
All aspiring marketers have been eager about thought leadership. About 43% of these B2B marketers agree on the importance of thought leadership and market education. Through an all-round knowledge of your product or service, emphasizing its need and application becomes easier, so does getting customers on board.
What Is Thoughtful Leadership?
While the term “thought leadership” isn’t absolute, but you can get some clarity through a few instances. A study claims that thought leadership is any free deliverables that a company comes up with within their area of expertise intending to help their peers.
You can think of publishing your studies or results of your surveys for an example. For surviving the complicated marketplace, your idea should be unique, and the vision should be as relatable as possible. Also, it is wise to exclude any self-promotional content which serves an entirely different purpose.
Where Does Thought Leadership Come From?
Thought leadership can come from anyone who has the knowledge, experience, and, most importantly, a point of view. Your source can be someone as generic as your executives, salespeople, designers, or product managers. Customers or customer service representatives can also be of help.
The ultimate aim of these thought leaders should be providing your consumers with a thought to act upon. They should be ready to participate in your journey, and henceforth, both of you can benefit from each other.
Industry Trends And Challenges
Over the years, the industry landscape has changed, and so has the problems. Various studies have been conducted, which point to a few highlights among these problems.
- Complexity Of B2b Decision-making Process:
factors like multiple decision-makers, higher risk, and long sales-cycle result in a tedious decision-making process. The sales funnel takes up most of the time because of various pricing models. Sales and marketing executives have the responsibility of aligning and optimizing sales drive using innovative ways.
- Consumer Demand Of More Valuable Content:
Customers need specific material while doing content research when they want help with decision-making to buy a product. These days, buyers refer to online content instead of seeking help from a salesperson because they are more concerned with the value of the manufacturing organization.
- Consumers Distrust In Businesses:
Businesses flourish based on brand trust and consumer loyalty. But studies show that these two factors have been declining over the years. For tackling their position, businesses need to regain consumer trust with authentic measures.
- Increased Need For Corporate Differential:
for any business, the corporate differential is fundamental to establishing a foothold, which is any factor that sets you apart. It can even be related to your USP. This competitive advantage will form the foundation for your thought leadership.
Why Is Thoughtful Leadership Vital In Your Business?
Over the years, you have heard marketers talk about the relevance of thought leadership. Let us look at a study that will validate the fact.
Among a group of business decision-makers, 58% claimed that they view an organization’s leadership material to select which to do business with.
Also, among the C-suite executives, 61% gave priority to businesses that invested in building a thought leadership over their non-thought leadership counterparts.
Among decision-makers, 45% also invited organizations that they were not even considering earlier, for a bid. They did this based on their thought leadership material only.
What does this indicate? This means that the thought leadership material could bring the ball in your court. All decision-makers look at it as a document that adds much more substance to a businesses’ claim.
The Benefits Of Thoughtful Leadership
It is an important management tool, but on the ground level, it brings about numerous organizational changes like:
- Boosts Brand Awareness:
In a crowd, your businesses’ success rests on the visibility and credibility you garner. By offering regular and unique content for customer reference and enlightenment, your company can be among their priority while making a purchasing decision.
- Improves Credibility And Trust:
A piece of content that promotes action among prospects enhances trust and credibility. This makes your customers respect you, which then transforms to support, thus making you the prime choice.
- Establishes Competitive Advantage:
When you provide your customers and prospects with something valuable and unique, a strong relationship flourishes. Using thought leadership, sales teams can demonstrate the work they are doing and emphasize on your problem-solving skills.
- Aids Business Development Efforts:
Thought leadership can drive the sales cycle forward when used strategically by the sales team. Prospects can be convinced and transformed into actual customers far more effectively using this exceptional lead-generation tool.
When your company reaches the authority status, media starts seeking stories and insights from you. You become a part of the ongoing trends. This allows leaders to get chances to speak at leadership events.
- Boosts Content Marketing:
Thought leadership material makes up the most ideal and effective content marketing idea. An important point to keep in mind is that these materials cannot be the usual self-promoting materials.
When Should You Consider A Thoughtful Leadership Approach?
One way of proving yourself as the most deserving candidate is by showing the depth till which you go to bring out the best in your product or services. This can be done through comprehensive research material. It brings out your knowledge. Looking at this knowledge, your customers will start to believe that you understand their problems and are capable of solving them smoothly. When this opportunity comes your way, instead of practicing self-promotion, it is better to make your customers believe that you have more knowledge of their problem than your competitors.
Things To Keep In Mind While Developing A Thoughtful Leadership Strategy
- Characterizing Your Target:
It starts with identifying the group you want to focus on. This will streamline your efforts and strategies. The fast company released an article that among the many thought leaders in the market, only a few are useful. This is because most of them focus on a large group rather than a group whose needs they understand very well.
- Content Creation: The first step to building thought leadership is to express the knowledge you have and allow your prospects to utilize them. Various methods can be blogs, eBooks, webinars, etc.
- Blog: A blog can allow all your customers to access your insights using a single platform. This increases your audience and contributes to lead-generation and search engine rankings.
- Social Media: Social media acts as gasoline for your content. It helps you increase your reach rather efficiently. Also, it brings thought leaders together to contribute to each other’s work.
- Guest Writers: Working as or inviting guest writers enhances your profile as their audience becomes yours too. This adds to the search engine rankings.
- Media: Your content helps you stay connected to media houses. They, in return, help you by publicizing your work and insights.
- Speak At Leadership Events: Live events can promote your thought leadership on a real-time basis. You can start with small events, and gradually, you can build your path to bigger platforms. This helps you by allowing people to offer their feedback.
- Publish A Book: All the content published on your blog, whitepapers, speeches, etc. can be collectively published as a book.
How To Harness The Power Of Your Thought Leadership Strategy
Thought Leadership is about who emerges as a winner through the barrier of influence. This can be easily achieved when each content has been designed strategically.
Understand How To Build Trust:
Each customer knows about your agenda. But when you give them something in return of nothing i.e., you share your valuable insight with them for free, and they begin to trust you. So, focus on adding to the intellectual knowledge of your consumers like you can help them with the ways of solving a problem. This will make them look up to you in the future, and that is exactly what you want.
Create Content For The Journey:
Now, content needs to be designed to target and build a new audience. Apart from blogs, off-site content happens to be crucial too. Writing or publishing guest posts and any press mentions help to reach out to the next generation of your audience. The next step is to keep them engaged using highly-educational content. This will cause them to keep your brand on top of their mind.
Put Thought Content To Work:
Creating thought content is the first step, but putting it before people who can benefit the most from it is the way forward. Curating personalized content that boosts your online presence before a certain target audience is a goal. Only this strategy allows you to benefit from your thought leadership.
The Problems With Thought Leadership
Thought leadership might now be used as jargon, but when you speak about it, you only refer to the authentic version of it. It indeed is a driving force, but a point where most of them are wrong is associating your impact by the number of followers on social media. In reality, thought leadership is about how many of them are you educating successfully. The more you educate, the more trust you will garner.
This tool doesn’t work by itself, and it needs to be focused in a certain direction. All your content resources like blogs, speaking events, awards need to work in harmony to push you towards your goal of industry assertion. Strategies that haven’t been aligned property won’t do you much good.
Who Should Use Thought Leadership Content Marketing?
While both consumers and B2B companies can benefit from thought leadership, the latter requires more of it. The reason behind this is the actual participant in the decision-making process. The stages of a decision require huge time-investment. But especially marketers need this tool to establish a sense of purpose and solution in the minds of their customers. This will help you reach the position of authority you have been seeking, which happens to be your final goal in the industry.
How To Create A Thoughtful Leadership That Drive Results
You must begin by finding a topic that is closely associated with your brand. This will allow you to define the mind space you will be competing for. By competing with a specific group of companies, you will be conserving your efforts.
Then make a list of problems that your consumers require an answer to. Prioritize them and step forward to get them answered by people in your company and your customers. Obtain answers in multiple formats and design it in a way that your answer happens to be the best. Now that you have everything that goes into your content, you need to make the content engaging. Videos and listicles will do. You should try to cater to their needs but make the content light and insightful. This will make the content more convincing, as it will also showcase your perspective.
3 Companies That Are Using Thought Leadership
- Degreed: An Edutech company that provides corporate learning. It helps you discover and unlock your company’s potential. They provide you with well-written yet concise and well-designed whitepapers to aid learning. One of their whitepapers is Four ways to make learning a strategic advantage.
- Drew Mclellan: A well-known player in the digital marketing world that has put revolutionary approaches to practice. Their Build a better agency podcast can help you while structuring your thought leadership. This podcast explains how to appeal to the needs of your audience.
- Autodesk: Autodesk had conquered the CAD space long ago. The Autodesk Gallery is its museum. Its Reshift website is a digital magazine completely packed with resources for customers at each level of leadership.
An all-round implementation of these strategies will soon earn you an ROI better than your anticipation. Stronger the message that your content gives out, more will your audience get inclined towards you. It is all about how they see you if they believe you can answer their questions and solve their problems. So when they have to make the decision, they will choose the brand they trust.