The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how easy it is to build – and destroy – a brand. Indeed, the very nature of how brands communicate is changing. Emotion has always been a key driver in decision making, but it is how brands connect with their audience that will determine success or failure in the post-Covid world.
Nearly half of decision-makers say an organisation’s thought leadership content directly contributes to their purchasing habits, yet 74% of companies have no thought leadership strategy in place.
In this blog, I’ll explore five top tips to build a winning thought leadership strategy:
Tip 1: Focus On What Stakeholders Want From Your Company
It may sound like a basic question but thought leadership is about demonstrating the expertise of your company, rather than promoting individuals. To do that effectively, you must figure out what problems your audience will face three, four, five years ahead. A thought leadership approach based around qualitative and quantitative research, offering strategic insight into the market, will ensure that communication activity is not done on a whim, but tailored for your audience with a data-driven approach to storytelling.
Tip 2: Have A Clear Vision For Where Thought Leadership Will Impact In The Sales Funnel
Particularly in a B2B environment, purchases can be complex and difficult. Thought leadership can play a crucial role in demonstrating why you are the best choice for the job. This is obviously a delicate balance because – unlike content marketing – thought leadership cannot promote products or services overtly. Industry research wins hearts and minds, creating a value proposition based on the things that are most important to your audience.
Tip 3: Learn What Makes You Most Credible
It takes time to earn credibility, particularly in saturated markets. As digital communication was really the only approach to reach audiences during the pandemic, people have been inundated with content, leading inevitably to fatigue. We encourage you to look at joining forces with industry influencers such as trade bodies, customers, and partners to take a shared view on thought leadership. This will help build an instant trust that could otherwise take years to build.
Tip 4: Don’t Let Your Content Strategy Suffer Fatigue
Coming up with fresh topics is a huge challenge for most thought leaders, but if you’re approaching it from a self-serving angle, then you’ll hit a wall far sooner. Journalists, for instance, never run out of things to say because they’re looking for something new happening within their area of expertise. And the news never stops. Think like a journalist, prioritise constant research that brings new and insightful commentary to topical ‘news’ that’s important to your stakeholders.
Tip 5: Authenticity Can Not Be Faked
In short: show your audience that you’re in it for the long-haul. Thought leadership isn’t about showing everyone how smart and successful you are. It’s not about being edgy for the sake of it either. Thought leadership is about demonstrating expertise and showing that you’re around to solve problems both today and in the future. Make sure your content themes, tone of voice and data points are authentic and truly represent what you stand for.
In the era of multichannel communications, it has never been more important to develop a thought leadership approach that is authentic to your company, adding value to customers and cutting through the noise. 2021 could be your year to step up and be heard.