Thought leadership is a marketing strategy that can help a company build a reputation and establish itself as an industry expert and authority. With an effective thought leadership strategy, experts can establish credibility for an issue, differentiate a business from the competition, and create positive brand interest.
Customers and clients often prefer companies that are recognized as thought leaders because these organizations are perceived as industry leaders. According to the 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study, 89% of B2B buyers said that thought leadership content increased their awareness of a brand.
Here are some key steps to consider when building a thought leadership program:
- Identify Issue and Influencer – The first step in creating a thought leadership program is to identify an issue to own that is insightful and persuasive, differentiates your organization and will resonate with target audiences. Concurrently, it’s important to select a spokesperson who is a savvy speaker and can connect his or her subject matter expertise to company goals and messages.
- Create Inspiring Content – Once the issue is established, it’s vital to craft valuable and pertinent content that speaks to a brand’s purpose. Consider investing in proprietary research that can serve as new news to pique the interest of the media and target audiences. Authoritative content from a trusted source is more likely to earn public approval and support.
- Make the Commitment – Conducting an effective thought leadership program doesn’t happen with a single whitepaper. It requires a long-term strategy and a willingness to share ideas and concepts in a meaningful way. Consider a variety of ongoing tactics to reach target audiences including the development of bylined articles, opinion pieces, videos, talking points, speeches, blog posts, media pitches, podcasts and more.
- Be Go-To Resource – Ensure that the spokesperson is media trained and fully
prepared for all types of interviews and speaking opportunities. Once a reporter or editor sees they can count on a spokesperson quickly for a story or expert comments,then you become a valuable resource to them.
- Partner with Thought Leaders – Collaboration can help boost a thought leadership program and help build momentum quickly. Consider partnering with another high-profile influencer, executive or speaker to expand your reach and platform in the industry.
- Review Strategy – Evaluation of a thought leadership program is essential. Be sure to improve and update the program strategy as you learn what types of materials and content resonate most with target audiences.
Thought leadership is a proven and powerful marketing tool to showcase and support ideas and viewpoints – and to build credibility and expertise for an organization. A long-term strategic thought leadership program can build trust over time and, most importantly, move target audiences to action.