Being a thought leader means being an authority in your industry. Here’s why you should do it.
What is thought leadership?
A major objective of the inbound methodology is to become so well versed and respected in your industry that users flock to you. Being a thought leader means producing high quality content that is engaging and relevant to your most ideal buyers. You should strive to make your brand synonymous with success.
Thought leadership needs to be something on a practical, day-to-day level, consistent with reasonable and achievable goals. Thought leadership is establishing yourself as someone reliable—the last word on the subject in which you specialize.
At the end of the day, you want to see your marketing efforts turn into results: increased site traffic, lead generation, closed deals, etc. But that’s the destination—and it’s all about the journey!
Traits of Thought Leaders
Developing a community filled with engaging thought leaders should be the goal of any company. These communities improve the user experience. Thought leadership is not one specific strategy for converting leads. Instead, it aims to encourage and foster interaction and participation with your target audience. If your company is considered a thought leader, then that means you’re actively taking steps to:
- Attract customers who don't know about you. The more niche-specific your content is, the more impact your brand has in finding those who would most benefit from your product or service.
- Provide a place for engagement and user interaction. Although it can be harsh, customer feedback is an extremely effective way to help you find areas of your organization that could benefit from improvement.
- Obtain higher lifetime customer value. When you give value above and beyond expectation, you build customer loyalty.
Consistent Company Blog
Build a community around your business blog. Think of your blog as a personal liason between your business and your buyers. The blog should educate and inform readers with relevant content. But it should also be personable, approachable, and easy to digest. The best blogs are ones that are easily shared and discussed. You want to create a dialogue! To foster an impactful community, you must seek it out. A community of socially engaging users is not going to appear out of nowhere. You must first engage your community if you want them to engage with your brand. Reaching out to your community and reassuring them of your ever-present thought leadership will help create a trusting relationship. This trusting relationship will blossom over time with dedication and consistency in developing a solid online community and content to please them.
Pro Tip: Don’t blog just to blog. There should be impactful takeaways from the content that you produce.
Podcasts are a terrific way to diversify the mediums in which you communicate with your buyers. They serve as a great complementary audio pairing to the visual text of your blog. Consider discussing important industry-related topics or news to prove your trustworthiness and interest in the topics at hand. For an even deeper level of credibility, invite other industry experts to join you as guests. This not only broadens your network and audience, but fosters a collaborative environment of discussion and dialogue.
Social Media Presence
Thought leadership is all about being an authority in your industry. But if people never see, read, watch, or hear your content, then what’s the point? Connecting with people through social media is a great way to start an online relationship with potential customers as well as learning about them. Where do your ideal leads hang out online? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn? There are nuances to each social media platform, but navigating these different platforms will lead to increased user engagement and, ultimately, more converted leads.
Why Video Matters
Business decision makers LOVE online video because it gives them the most amount of information in the shortest amount of time.—Robert Weiss
Producing video content is the perfect way to engage your user base and foster a community of engagement. When you get people involved and get them talking, you will see that inevitably this translates into the results your company is looking for. Last year, 93% of B2C marketers reported that they use video for online marketing, sales, and communication. On the other hand, 96% of B2C companies have or plan on incorporating video into their content marketing soon. Clearly, incorporating video into your marketing campaign isn’t just a trend—it’s a necessity.
Every marketing campaign should have a well thought out content strategy plan, and this is especially true for video. In order for your videos to reach your target audience, they need to be both engaging and broadcasted to the right people.
More so now than ever, users view your videos prior to your first call or their first purchase. If they watch video content along their buyer’s journey, they are more likely to close as a customer.
Examples of Thought Leadership Video Marketing
Amy Schmittauer is a video practitioner who uses her YouTube channel to provide video and social media marketing tips for beginners and experts alike. Her posts are published on a consistent basis so viewers and subscribers can expect a steady flow of content. Moreover, she does an excellent job of reaching out to all levels of experience with vlogging. She tailors her posts to a multi-faceted audience yet makes the videos approachable and easy to understand.
One would expect a video hosting company to incorporate a lot of video in their marketing efforts, and Wistia is no exception. Wistia is a leader in the video marketing space. Their blog is always chock full of video clips which serve as auxiliary tidbits to enhance the content of the blog. The videos portray smiling, happy members of the Wistia team, usually explaining or showcasing product features. This portrays a fun, casual company culture and makes viewers feel as though they are engaging in a two-day dialogue instead of being preached at or sold to.
BuzzFeed has dominated viral content marketing in the past few years. But Tasty is a great example of carving out a niche market from their current userbase. This channel focuses on food, cooking, and recipes. The videos are always aesthetically pleasing as Tasty shows the cooking process (don’t watch on an empty stomach!), and encourage feedback through YouTube comments and links leading back to the main Buzzfeed site. Tasty is a prime example of how video can work in tandem with your current marketing efforts and allow you to target specific leads within your overall audience.
Becoming a thought leader doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a dedicated and persistent effort to define your brand and grow your online presence. But the effort will pay off. If people start to trust you and respect you as an industry thought leader, it will yield greater trust in the products and services you offer, and ultimately, more business! To get you started, here are 5 creative ideas to help you establish thought leadership marketing.
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