If ‘go hard or go home’ is your motto when it comes to putting together your content marketing strategy, I’d like to wager a bet that you want to position yourself as one of the top players in your field. One of the best ways of doing this is by employing thought leadership content. But if this is a course of action you’ve set off on, are you sure you’re doing it right?
First off, let’s draw a line through the common misconception that to be a thought leader in your industry you need to be churning out revolutionary ideas and concepts at a rate of knots. Of course, in an ideal world, you would suddenly become a guru in your industry, firing out pioneering ideas like a content marketing Pez dispenser. But most people simply aren’t built that way.
Instead of sending your brain into a spin trying to consistently come up with cutting-edge ideas, focus your thought leadership content on positioning your brand as an authority to your target audience. In other words, feed regular content that actually adds value to the people you want to attract. Make it tailored, targeted, useful – and don’t be afraid of putting your own spin on an existing idea. Your audience doesn’t need brand new content all of the time. What they want is content that’s meaningful – there’s a difference.
We can’t all be leaders in our field – so make sure your brand is one of the ones that head up the pack and consider these points as you create your thought leadership content:
Audience is everything
Thought leadership content seeks to educate your audience and to address the pain-points and interests of that audience through a medium they know and enjoy. So, rule number one of getting thought leadership right is just the same as in any area of marketing – know your audience inside out. Only by fully understanding what your audience needs and wants, can you position your brand as the go-to experts that can deliver the goods. Believe us, your audience will thank you for it.
Keep up with your competitors
It’s also key to keep a watchful eye on what your competitors are up to and how they are moving their thought leadership efforts ahead. Monitor how audiences are responding, note what they are doing well and where they could try harder. This way you could plug the gaps they have left open and gain a little inspiration from where they are getting it right.
Draw on your resources
There’s no ‘i’ in team, so why not draw on the resources your team has at its disposal and look within your organisation for inspiration and creative solutions. If you’ve amassed a team with talent, experience and passion (and if you haven’t then you may have a problem beyond your content marketing efforts) then they may well have the answers to some of the biggest questions in your industry. Take the opportunity to humanise your brand too – show off the real people and real faces doling out the stellar advice to your prospects and present customers – and watch that trust begin to grow.
Watch the self-promotion
Don’t succumb to the sneaky self-promotion that often works its way into what, at first glance, appears to be an innocent bit of useful content. If you go in all guns blazing, crowing about your products and services, your audience are likely to become suspicious and tune out. And all that trust you’ve been trying so hard to build – one of the main reasons to try thought leadership – will vanish in a puff of promotion.
Thought leadership content needs to go deep. Be wary of click-bait headings that promise assistance and yet are vague and wishy-washy for customers. There’s nothing more annoying to think you’ve been caught hook, line and sinker when you were hoping for something helpful. Research your content thoroughly and, for the love of god, check your facts before pushing the ‘publish’ button.
If your audience is looking for a leader and you’re thinking you might be great for the job, drop us a line at M2 Bespoke and find out how we can help your thought leadership shine.Ben Hollom
March 24, 2017