Thought leadership is an important part of a business's content marketing strategy. It's about having the answers to the biggest questions that are on the mind of a company's customers.
Thought leadership also gives an organization's unique perspective to the public so that prospects can think of the company when they get ready to buy. Marketing can become powerful when the passionate expertise of a thought leader matches the interests of the audience they are trying to reach.
Often business owners are positioned as the only source of thought leadership in their organization. But it doesn't have to rest solely on them—every employee in a company can be a thought leader.
Creating a Company of Thought Leaders...
Every company is made up of people who create their own unique community of interconnected perspectives and insights. This type of thought leadership can be a competitive advantage.
Some team members will balk at the idea that they can be part of any thought leadership initiative. They might say they have plenty of their own work to do and besides, isn't this the marketing department's job?
What needs to be explained is that in today's world of social media and user-generated content, everyone is part of marketing the company. Remind them that they make important decisions that influence the business every day. They already practice thought leadership—now they just need to document their point of view.
A company can identify people they think are a good fit, but also should let anyone participate who is excited about this opportunity.
Team members may feel they lack the credibility to speak on behalf of the company. They may be worried that their words will get turned around to fit the business' message or changed so that it does not reflect their point of view. These new thought leaders need to be assured that there is plenty of room for a variety of approaches that can supplement the company's marketing message.
...and Creating Content From Your New Thought Leaders
To help generate marketing content from their viewpoint, you can start by developing some core ideas. For example, who is their writing targeting? How is the company trying to help customers? What differentiates this business from others in the marketplace?
Encourage your new thought leaders to bring their unique flavor when answering these questions. They can look at emails where they have answered these types of tough questions for customers or others in the organization for inspiration.
Help team members understand that they are not writing a novel each time they submit content. The company mostly wants their insights and ideas, so let them write in a stream of consciousness style. It is like they are telling a story. An internal or external marketing resource can then turn it into something that customers can read.
The content should be a match between what thought leaders are comfortable producing and what customers want to consume. It can be blog posts, magazine articles, videos or even a podcast.
There also needs to be a consistent schedule. Typically a content marketing strategy using thought leadership is only effective if the company publishes new information on at least a weekly basis. This may mean that one team member is responsible for ideas monthly.
Be patient and have a set process that people are willing to follow. Building a team of thought leaders takes time and needs to be cultivated.
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