In the last few years, we have been finding that more and more businesses are building thought leadership strategies through content to show their expertise and knowledge.
There are plenty of misconceptions about what thought leadership is. We think it is all about unlocking knowledge and expertise from a trusted source to provide valuable perspectives for others to act upon.
But how do you create it? Based on our experience, it comes down to the following five factors:
1. Achieve clarity
Successful thought leadership comes from having clarity as a business and as a leader. It should appear in the way you talk about yourself in everything that you write, say, or do, and in the community of buyers, prospects, and applicants that you build.
Without clarity of thinking, you will not be able to drive your business forward.
2. Audit your content
The top-performing individuals and businesses have a high-quality, thought-through content strategy.
According to one report in 2020, 69% of the most successful B2B marketers had a documented content marketing strategy, whereas 16% who didn’t, were less successful.
If you want the best chance of success, assess where you are, think about what you are already doing and create a calendar for your content. Look at what is working in your current strategy.
This is not enough on its own, though; you need to move on quickly to focus on what else you could be doing. Is there knowledge and expertise that you’re not showcasing?
This is important because along with an audit, you also need a plan. Many people say what they’re going to do but don’t have a plan laid out to enforce it. An old general of the US Armed Forces (General Eisenhower) said, “plans are useless, but planning is essential”.
Not least because in the doing of planning, you get more ideas.
3. Identify your internal drivers
You first need to understand how best to use thought leadership within your business.
Clarity means having an understanding within your team around exactly what you are trying to do and achieve. The soul of a business is enhanced when teams get together to be clear on why they do what they do.
4. Act on the external drivers
Think about what the world is telling you right now. What are the external forces that are influencing the world or the areas that you are trying to sell into and impact?
See and listen to what other people are saying, then look at where you can add value to the debate. Be prepared and willing to be improved by the feedback you receive from your customers, prospects, and employees.
5. Consider the commercial drivers
Finally, think about knowledge and expertise through a commercial lens. How can you use it to get more for your business? Organisations underestimate the commercial value of their knowledge and expertise, and in creating valuable content from the knowledge that people already possess.
If you can make your purpose, knowledge, and expertise shine through great thought leadership you are taking the first step in creating a community of happy customers and prospects.