The Role of Thought Leadership in Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy

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December 7, 2021 - In business-to-business (B2B) marketing, no content marketing strategy can reach its full potential without thought leadership. From building your brand authority to purchasing decisions being made more and more online rather than in-person, thought leadership is an essential piece of the content marketing puzzle.

Keep reading if you’re interested in taking your content strategy to the next level with thought leadership. Plus, we share insights on how you can get started with your thought leadership strategy.

But First, Who Is A Thought Leader?

A thought leader can be an individual within your organization or your organization as a whole that has demonstrated clear expertise in your industry. Either way, a thought leader’s goal is to be the go-to for expertise in your field.

Thought leadership gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in your field. By sharing insights that add value with your peers and by being active in your industry’s community, you can establish credibility and create a narrative about your brand being helpful while proving your value. Effective thought leadership will eventually build brand awareness and generate more leads.

How To Get Started

Before you begin to develop your own thought leadership, we recommend analyzing competitors that are publishing thought leadership pieces including blogs, social media content, videos, podcasts, and white papers. Consider who your target audience is currently going to for answers and see what those people and/or organizations are doing right.

Additionally, it’s important to have an established social media presence on the platforms where your audience is active. Start following and engaging with industry news content and experts in your field. This will prepare you to add your voice to the conversation.

Then, you can begin to brainstorm content ideas. Start by considering the pain points that your target audience is dealing with. Think about what your potential customers are searching for on social media. You can do this through keyword research. As you go through this process, create a list of pain points and questions that your target audience might have.

Next, it’s time to create your content. Whether you’re writing a blog or speaking on a podcast, determine your unique take on a trending topic you want to discuss. Make sure your voice has its own personality while aligning with your current brand. Don’t forget to be genuine and ensure that your content is valuable. Share insights on specific issues within your industry.

Back up your content with third-party research. According to the 2021 LinkedIn-Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report, 80% of decision-makers want thought leadership that includes 3rd party data from trusted sources rather than only proprietary insights from the company publishing. Read that last sentence again for an example of a way to do this.

When your content is finalized, publish it in multiple places. Consider sharing it on your blog, social media, and utilizing paid media depending on your content strategy. Make sure your content is where your target audience is. Use your relationships on social media to share your content and ask for their take on your ideas. Don’t forget to engage with their content as well.

Thought leadership – when done effectively – can be a successful way to build trust in your brand. Doing it right takes time, so it’s important to get leadership on board.

Need to justify your thought leadership efforts? A LinkedIn-Edelman 2021 survey with responses from 3,600 management-level professionals found that 54% of B2B decision-makers spend more than one hour per week reading and reviewing thought-leadership content.

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