In today’s digital world, we are constantly connected and continually exposed to thought leaders. As an individual who has proven themselves as a trusted expert in a specific field and generates engaging content, a thought leader is ultimately an expert on influence. Let’s look at thought leaders as they relate to a B2B organization. What best practices could benefit a company trying to develop internal thought leaders that showcase its expertise and support its branding message?
Map it Out
Setting a plan in place is the best starting point to any Marketing strategy and thought leadership is no different. Who are you targeting with this thought leadership, what are your goals, how will you achieve them and which platform is best suited to the overall plan? Determine whether the content will be led by the experts themselves or by corporate strategy, or both.
What’s at the core of this strategy?
The experts. A company might be proud of its employees’ ability to solve problems, innovate and think outside the box. Maybe these experts are already writing for industry publications or speaking at tradeshows. Are they the go-to support for sales calls and up to date on industry trends and competitors? Reputable, influential, and trusted, these employees can increase brand awareness and improve brand credibility. What are a few characteristics of a true Thought Leader? Let’s find out (Thought Leadership Leverage, 2013).
Now that your team is excited to share their expertise, what about content?
A few aspects worth considering are customers’ pain points and industry trends. Using research to determine both of these is essential. What issues are your customers facing that could impact their goals? Maybe trending topics or technology advancements exist that your experts know well. Joining specific Social Media groups or following targeted influential individuals, even competitors, could provide this essential intel. But, as stated by the Marketing Insider Group, avoid promoting your products and services as this can lead to your audience losing interest and breaking that trust you worked so hard to obtain (Brenner, 2017). Remember, the goal is to influence by choosing content wisely.
Having an engaging and influential message is key, but who are you targeting?
Determining the audience and who will be most influenced by your message is extremely important. Follow the segments of your existing Marketing strategy, or develop new ones based on the applicable content. Next, determine how to best reach this audience, be it blogging, email campaign, or Social Media, for example.
Support your Plan
To be successful, the best assurance is to have corporate support for all aspects of your plan. Prioritizing training and employee satisfaction is important, as is ensuring consistent and impressive branding across all mediums. For example, ensure your experts are motivated to maintain top profiles on LinkedIn.
If you follow these steps, you can ensure you’re on your way to successfully leveraging internal expertise for thought leadership and influence within your industry!
Brenner, M. (2017, 03 18). Content Marketing. Retrieved from Marketing Insider Group: https://marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/what-is-thought-leadership-and-when-you-should-use-it/
Thought Leadership Leverage. (2013, 12 01). Retrieved from YouTube: https://youtu.be/Nb6MXVWEYL8