Thought leadership is a tool that many marketers do not take full advantage of. It can be described as a type of content marketing where the talent, expertise, and experience that your employees possess is utilized to provide the best and deepest answers to your customers’ biggest questions on a particular topic. Thought leadership can be observed by your audience through a variety of mediums, such as whitepapers, blogs, YouTube videos, LinkedIn posts, speaking engagements, and podcasts. Focus on producing whichever formats your audience consumes the most.
Who can be a thought leader?
Executives, designers, customer service reps, salespeople – anyone who is an industry expert and offers guidance to those around them can be considered a thought leader. Thought Leadership can come from any source as long as the information being provided is recognized as innovative and insightful by your target audience. Thought leaders are industry experts. They’re leaders. They’re facilitators.
Thought leadership helps increase your brand affinity
According to Brand Tool Box, brand affinity is defined as the most enduring and valuable level of customer relationship and is based on the mutual belief that the customer and the company share common values. It’s the highest kind of customer loyalty. By displaying thought leadership, you allow your audience to get to know you in the early stages of the customer journey. Having thought leaders sprinkled throughout your company helps position your brand as reliable and trustworthy. Customers who demonstrate a high affinity for a brand buy more and buy more often.
Thought leadership helps shorten your sales cycle
B2B prospects are searching online for answers, insights, comparisons, guidance, case studies, pricing and more as they look for and at potential solutions. The complexity of the decision-making process in B2B, the length of time it takes for decisions to be made, and the number of people involved, all point to thought leadership as an important component of B2B content marketing. As people are nearing the end of their decision-making process, more in-depth thought leadership pieces can help them to make up their mind. According to this 2019 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study, 58% of business decision-makers said that thought leadership directly lead to them awarding business to an organization.
How can I become a thought leader?
Establish expertise in a niche industry by sharing valuable, relevant ideas with your audience. Be sure that you are producing quality content that has a purpose. Build a following by sharing on social media, engaging with your audience and making sure it is easy to find your content. Thought leadership is not something you create overnight, but it is worth creating in the long run.