For years, most B2B marketing messaging was dominated primarily by product features and price. If you delivered a reliable, budget-friendly product, chances are you probably had a good measure of success just promoting those two benefits. However, the landscape has changed dramatically since the days of securing new business with a firm handshake.
Today, not only is the competition more fierce in nearly every category of every industry, but your customers have become more sophisticated, engaging and researching products beyond basic price points. Which is why we continue to hammer home the fact that your B2B content is king. You have to be consistently participating online, as well as using other media tactics, with fresh, relevant content that keeps your company top of mind with existing and prospective customers.
One way to help you produce meaningful content is through thought leadership. Establishing yourself as an expert in your field with your finger on the pulse of what’s next inspires confidence in your brand.
In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Edelman and LinkedIn, 90% of 1300 C-Level executives polled agreed that their respect and admiration for an organization increased after engaging with strong thought leadership. But, that’s not the only number that’s impressive regarding thought leadership content. Check out these stats*:
- 21% of decision-makers spend 4+ hours weekly reading thought leadership.
- 55% use thought leadership as an important way of vetting organizations they're considering working with.
- 47% shared their contact information.
- 60% bought a new product/service they weren't previously considering after reading an organization's thought leadership.
- Those are some seriously good percentages. Just take a moment to consider how those numbers stack up against your other B2B marketing efforts. Even from our vantage point on the other side of this article, we can see your wheels turning with excitement.
So, now that we know that it works, how do you best execute good thought leadership? Because, like with anything, if done poorly, it could possibly cause more damage than simply carrying on doing nothing.
And because we do a bunch of reading on thought leadership ourselves, we thought we’d throw in some notable gems we came across in an article on forbes.com that back up our own thinking on how to establish your voice and keep your messaging interesting.
First and foremost:
- Be someone people like to learn from. This is all about personality and making an emotional connection with your audience. Be inspired and inspiring.
- Create content that is informative and opinionated. Know what’s on your customers’ minds. Give them on-trend information as well as insights they might not even know they need. And by all means, have a clear point of view that borders on definitive.
- Keep them on their toes by keeping your deliverables interesting. In other words, mix things up. Thought leadership can be delivered in any number of ways. Maintain a consistently updated blog. Send out a monthly email (or two!) Produce and post informative videos on your social media channels. Tweet meaningful quotes.
While thought leadership is valuable on so many levels, if it’s going to be part of your marketing strategy—and it absolutely should be—you have to fully commit to it. No shrinking away because of time constraints or lack of subject matter. You carve out the time and create the topics. That’s part and parcel of being a thought leader. If it were easy, anyone could do it. But most don’t. That’s where you fill the void.
Now, go tell the world what’s what in your world.