Thought leaders are seen as industry experts with valuable information to share. Becoming a thought leader is how you build credibility and trust for your brand. In order to do this effectively, you need to produce content that’s written well and is relevant to your audience.
The quality of your content can determine how potential customers view your brand. LinkedIn and Edelman, a global communications firm, partnered to study the impact of thought leadership in the B2B world. Their research found that 92% of decision-makers said thought leadership increased their respect for a brand, while 60% would stop following a writer or organization after reading poor thought leadership content.
Here are five things that will help you leverage content to become a thought leader.
Know your audience
Before you start creating content, you need to know who your audience is, what they want to watch or read, and where they go to get information. Ask yourself who you’re trying to target, and take some time to learn about their behaviors online.
Doing some research into key search terms can help you decide what topics to address based on what your target audience is looking for on Google.
Tell a good story
Stories help to humanize a brand. Storytelling that’s done well can captivate an audience and keep them coming back for more. It might even help them develop a connection to your brand.
Creating a case study that shares an example of how your brand was able to help a particular customer allows you to tell a story from that customer’s perspective. This is much more relatable to prospects than promotional materials or marketing copy.
Speak with authority
Convince readers and decision-makers that you’re a subject matter expert by speaking with confidence and authority. Explain how and why you can bring value, and offer them new information they might not get elsewhere.
White papers are a good format for establishing credibility and expertise. They allow you take an in-depth look at a certain problem and present a solution. Doing your own industry research in the form of surveys and analyzing the data can position you as a brand people like to learn from.
Help solve a problem
People are often searching the web for a solution—that goes for both B2B and B2C customers. If your content speaks to a problem they’re having and offers an actionable solution, they’re likely to come back to you for more.
Long-form blog posts on your website and guest articles in trade publications work well for highlighting pain points and offering ways to deal with them. Just make sure you go beyond a simple “how to” article, and provide the reader with specialized in-depth information.
Curate content your audience wants to read
If you don’t yet have the bandwidth to produce a lot of your own content, curating relevant content from other trusted industry sources can also help position you as a thought leader. It’s a way to show your audience that you understand them by knowing what they want to read.
Regular email newsletters and social media posts are two good ways to present helpful content to your audience. People don’t always have time to search for information from multiple sources, so they appreciate having it compiled in one place.