As soon as 2016 rolled in, customers and clients have shifted their reading interest from quick “How to” posts and 10-point listicles to content that introduces novel ideas, insightful opinions, and shaped perceptions.
The need of time is Thought Leadership, a term that most marketers have yet to fully comprehend and pay attention to. Most blogs and resources have explained the concept of Thought Leadership from a marketing point of view. It is ticked off as a business jargon used to represent influencers that introduce new concepts and life-changing philosophies.
While it is much broader in its scope and sometimes not even practiced with the thought of marketing mileage, Thought Leadership should address market challenges and answer questions that often don’t exist.
Why is Thought Leadership a Big Deal Now?
Thought Leadership has become the buzzword of content marketing circles because of the long term benefits it can generate. At its core, it is a type of content marketing where you tap into the talent, experience and passion inside your business, or from your community, to answer the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience on a particular topic.
The benefits of Thought leadership start with brand affinity. By communicating Thought Leadership, you become part of the conversation early in the consumer journey. You allow your audience to get to know you, earn their trust, and establish authority.
Ultimately, Thought Leadership is one of the outcomes of a solid content strategy. And content is bigger than marketing. Leaders are everywhere. Expose your thought leaders and you begin the process of becoming a social business—real people with real faces talking to real customers and buyers.
In today’s modern market, customers have become wiser that there is no marketing pitch they can see through. This is a crucial reason behind why companies are bent on having brand representatives to address customer queries and answer real questions instead of screaming out “Buy from me now!”
What makes a Thought Leader?
Thought leaders have a deep understanding of their industry and are consulted for their opinions on diverse matters. They are heard and followed for their vast experience, unique thoughts, and transparent approach to solutions.
Thought leaders can emerge from the lowest strata of a company or can be someone sitting behind the biggest mahogany table in the office. Customers, designers and sales professionals may also carry the potential to become thought leaders. Simply put, anyone can be thought leader.
How does you create Thought Leadership that drives results?
It takes more than insights and knowhow to create a Thought Leadership-focused content. Apart from in-depth knowledge and understanding, skills are also required of Thought Leader. These include credibility, or a proven expertise over the years; influence, or a vast following on multiple channels; also a unique perspective or forward and distinct opinion about a various industry matters.
While it’s important to have a unique perspective as mentioned, differentiation isn’t always important. What’s more crucial is for Thought Leaders to be able to provide the best answers to customers’ biggest questions in a format they would be able to understand and relate with.
Of course you want to differentiate your point of view when it’s appropriate. Differentiate with your visual design. But mostly, differentiate by becoming an authority and by helping your customers with different types of content, every single day.
Here are more tips and ideas to help you come up with a content strategy that will establish you as a thought leader.
1. Engage with followers.
Thought leaders should realize that their followers are the source of their influence. It is necessary thus that they spend time to interact with and know them well. He or she should use various social media platforms to reach out to followers to be able to share his or her opinion to build a strong, long-lasting relationship with the.
2. Always search for new audience.
Thought leaders should always be in search for new people to influence. Moreover, it is also important that they keep on extending their reach. Tought leaders should always seek new platforms—be it guest blogging or offline work—to help them grow their popularity and influence.
3. Generate new and relevant ideas.
Novelty is always appealing. When competing with thousands of content creators and marketers, thought leaders have to repackage their thoughts and not forget to give additional insights to their audience for retaining their authority.
Content Marketing that Builds Trust
Thought Leadership is indeed one of the best ways to establish authority and gain the trust of an audience in world that is inundated with marketing messages every day. The key is to keep in mind that sharing stories isn’t the sole purpose of content marketing. It is about building the image of a trustworthy brand.
Here are reasons why Thought Leadership builds that trust.
1. People look up to authority.
Because they know their job well, thought leaders ultimately become the field authorities who people seek when they hit road blocks. Creating content that aims at giving out information to customers helps build the brand’s rapport.
2. Helps build a loyal community.
By consistently providing relevant, customer-centric information, thought leaders automatically gain loyalty. When your people have faith in everything you say or share, there is no chance of them looking for alternatives.
3. Helps build a more approachable image.
Everyone out there want to have go-to-brands in times of dire needs—when they don’t know what to do with a product or how to go about to avail a service. Trust that they resist going to a search engine. A brand that believes in content more than advertisements easily comes across as approachable.
Thought Leadership has become bigger than Content Marketing but it is one of the outcomes of a solid Content Strategy. So, if you want to become a thought leader, take a closer look at your content strategy, amend it, and begin building customer trust, loyalty, and authority.