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How much do your customers trust you? If you’ve never asked yourself this, then you should because it determines how likely they are to buy from you. These days, one of the best ways to build credibility and gain their trust is through thought leadership marketing. But what exactly does it mean, and how do you do it right?
You can find information on almost anything by simply googling it. That’s because most companies have created platforms where they can share their knowledge and showcase their expertise. With so much content available, it can be difficult to stand out and make yourself heard.
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You have to go beyond the same old blog posts with regurgitated ideas that everyone else is publishing. Only by putting in the time and effort to come up with original, high-quality content can you claim your spot as a leader rather than a follower.
Giving Your Audience What They’re Looking For
Thought leadership marketing is a content marketing strategy that seeks to enhance brand recognition and authority by creating content that addresses the target audience’s most pressing industry-related questions.
It’s important to focus on the audience. If your content sounds too self-promotional, people will simply tune it out. Thought leadership marketing might take longer than paid advertisement, but it has more long-term benefits. If you can get your audience to engage with your content, they will promote it for you, increasing your influence in the process. It’s a more sustainable way to build your brand.
Thought leadership means more than just scratching the surface. The goal is not to share what is already known. Research helps you identify thought leadership requirements. Then you can draw on your experience and knowledge to come up with novel ideas that reflect the biggest trends in your market sector. Thought leaders are individuals with unique perspectives who are committed to gaining a deeper understanding of their businesses.
Thought Leadership and Research
The relationship between thought leaders and market researchers is symbiotic. You want to address subjects that are meaningful to your target audience and provide them with a different point of view. But how do you do that? First of all, how do you know what your target audience considers meaningful? Secondly, how do you know that what you want to say hasn’t already been said?
This is where market researchers come in. Their findings can help you get to know your customers. They can help you understand customers’ perspective and empathize with the challenges they face. This will guide you when you’re choosing topics, approaches, and strategies. Market researchers will also provide you with the data points you’ll need to support your ideas. You’ll be empowered to create your own stories instead of waiting for them to happen and merely commenting from the sidelines.
Benefits of Thought Leadership Marketing
When you express your opinions through your content, you become part of the conversation. Over time, people will come to associate your brand with insight and expertise. In a 2020 study done by Edelman in collaboration with LinkedIn, almost 90% of respondents reported that thought leadership enhanced their perception of a company or organization. Moreover, almost half of them believed that it also influenced their purchasing decisions.
When people hold your brand in high regard, they’re more likely to want to do business with you. This shows that this is a long-term marketing strategy with a strong return on investment.
The best part is that internet users are actively looking for this type of content. They do, however, want it to be high-quality and engaging. This is where the problem lies. Despite the fact that in recent years thought leadership has become a priority for companies, many of them miss the mark.
Challenges to Surmount
The reason why so many companies fail to make the most of thought leadership marketing is that they create low-quality content that provides very little value to their target audience. What do we mean by low-quality content? Content that’s poorly researched, lacks originality, and is limited to only the company’s perspective.
In other cases, the content could be very well researched and offer unique and nuanced perspectives, but it’s dry and difficult for the audience to absorb. Instead of sparking their curiosity and entertaining them, it bores or confuses them.
There’s already more than enough low-quality content polluting the internet. What people want is in-depth and engaging information. If you want to reap the benefits of this marketing strategy, your content should:
- Be easy to understand, interesting, and entertaining.
- Challenge the mainstream assumptions.
- Include data to validate your statements.
- Express original and strong opinions.
In other words, your audience needs to get a sense that your content is meant to bring them value and wasn’t published just for the sake of it.
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There are two approaches to creating content. One is to focus on meeting search engine requirements. But when you’re writing for an algorithm rather than for people, you’re more likely to end up with bland, generic content that doesn’t really say anything. Such content does nothing to help you set yourself apart from competitors.
The second approach focuses on simply making yourself heard. And when your goal is to make yourself heard, you’re more likely to come up with things that are worth saying. Ultimately, what your audience wants from you is to help them understand complex issues that you are more knowledgeable about. Living during such fast-paced and unpredictable times isn’t easy.
With so many decisions to make, we all feel like we could use some guidance. In other words, nearly everyone is looking for some type of thought leadership. You can provide this guidance by staying current, finding out what your audience wants to know, and answering their questions through original content based on accurate research. This will help them have an easier time making sense of the world, and it will help you build credibility and trust. You win, they win, and everyone is happy.
Keeping Your Audience Engaged
Don’t shy away from controversy, and don’t be afraid to stand out. Your goal should be to lead the conversation, not follow it. As long as you can back up your opinions and are willing to stand by them, you’ll be able to attract your audience’s attention and keep them engaged.
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