Thought leadership is more than just a buzzword. It is important in the modern B2B marketing environment, because people want to do business with companies they trust. Trust is developed through credibility, expertise and authenticity.
The term first coined in 1994 by Joel Kurtzman, editor-in-chief of strategy+business magazine, a thought leader is an influential person with innovative thinking, unique viewpoints and new insights. Within their professional network, a thought leader is recognized as someone who deeply understands the business they are in — including their customers’ needs and the broader marketplace in which they operate. To be a thought leader, you have to be ready to share your insights with an authentic tone.
The foundation of a successful thought-leadership marketing plan is built on five pillars:
- Fill the gaps. Analyze the industry, and find opportunities to provide a unique perspective in uncharted territory.
- Be relevant. Understand your customers’ needs and interests, and utilize that information to create timely content.
- Build trust. Share quality content, not just something you put together without value and substance, with insights from real employees and not just existing research.
- Be concise. Create short, to-the-point content that can be easily consumed in newsletters and on social media.
- Don’t promote. Provide value to your audience through personal expertise and useful information — don’t use thought leadership as a way to promote yourself but, rather, bigger ideas.
The foundations of content marketing, outlined above, should serve as a compass in developing your content-marketing plan. Your plan should start with your brand’s perspective and include your thought-leadership goals (i.e., strengthening trust and increasing revenue). The plan should also outline your tactics and channels, such as blog posts, social media posts, videos, white papers and speaking opportunities. Finally, it should include the individual voices within a company that will build a personal brand.
Every company has under-the-radar thought leaders who should be utilized. Companies should empower their employees to talk about their knowledge, share their industry insights and spark conversations with other industry influencers. It introduces potential customers to the faces behind your organization to create a unique and personal brand image, because people want to do business with companies they know and trust.
If you’re looking for additional help in developing a thought-leadership strategy, THE rAVe Agency has proven success in creating unique, engaging content for the AV industry.