Would you rather listen to a talk given by Oprah Winfrey or another random business leader you’ve never heard of and probably won’t again? Easy answer, right? This preference is precisely why thought leadership has become such a prominent marketing strategy. Target audiences pay attention to what thought leaders have to say.
What is thought leadership marketing?
Thought leadership isn’t about celebrity status, but it is about drawing attention. While it now describes a marketing strategy, the term was coined almost 30 years ago when economist Joel Kurtzman used it to describe a series of interviews he conducted for a popular business magazine. According to Kurtzman, a thought leader is a person whose ideas “merited attention.”
Today, thought leadership is an often-used term describing a marketing tactic in which brands showcase the experience, passion and ideas of recognized subject matter experts to boost their authority and credibility on a theme. The thought leader might represent the company directly, such as an executive or an employee, or they might partner with the brand to promote their ideas.
Promoting products through heavy sales tactics is not the goal of thought leadership. Instead, the strategy allows a business to brand itself as an expert on a topic related to the product or service it is selling.
Why does thought leadership matter?
Why does thought leadership matter? Why is it such a popular marketing strategy? The proof is in the pudding. In other words, according to data, thought leadership marketing works.
When LinkedIn and Edelman surveyed 1,200 professionals, 55% said they read at least one hour of thought leadership content every week, and 55% said they rely on thought leadership to vet brands before they hire. Even more impressive, almost two-thirds of decision-makers have been convinced to make a purchase they weren’t previously considering based on thought leadership content.
While the most recent survey suggests a flood of low-quality content is diluting the value of thought leadership, the strategy remains critical to customer engagement if brands break “through the noise” by earning trust and credibility,
How can thought leadership impact your business?
Producing content with thoughts from industry leaders and subject matter authorities benefits brands in a variety of ways. Unique thought leadership content can differentiate a brand, offering it a competitive advantage in its niche. Increased visibility, credibility and authority resulting from thought leadership marketing leads to boosts in sales and increased profits.
Unsure if thought leadership marketing can boost your business? Consider the following benefits of a thought leadership strategy:
- Thought leadership builds trust – Trust in a brand is crucial in most consumers’ buying decisions. Publishing content from thought leaders is an effective way to earn that trust and forge a connection with a target market.
- Thought leadership signals expertise – Expertise in a subject can set one brand apart from its competition. Consumers who believe a brand represents greater talent, skill and experience are more likely to choose it.
- Thought leadership boosts exposure – Not only is content from thought leaders more likely to be shared on social media platforms, but thought leaders are often approached by media outlets, resulting in free publicity for the brands they represent.
How can you craft a thought leadership marketing strategy?
Done properly, an effective thought leadership marketing strategy can send a small business into the stratosphere. But how can you craft a thought leadership marketing strategy that gets positive results? The following tips can serve as a guide:
- Choose a niche. Nobody can be an expert on everything. Thought leaders are known for their ideas on a specific subject, not for their general knowledge of all the world’s information. Demonstrate your experience and expertise in just one or two key areas to avoid diluting your reputation.
- Create high-quality content. Speaking of diluting expertise, you can definitely numb audiences to your ideas by overproducing content. Quality is far superior to quantity, and readers’ discernity grows every day. In fact, only 18% of content was rated as very good or excellent by Edelman-LinkedIn survey respondents.
- Engage with your audience. Thought leaders gain traction when their ideas are shared, and readers are more likely to share content from those with whom they connect. Engaging with audiences makes a thought leader more human to them, and the engagement boosts visibility keeping your ideas on the forefront of their minds.
Presentation software is a key tool used by thought leaders when they share their thoughts with audiences at conferences, on webinars and in videos, as well as on social media. Beautiful.ai enables thought leaders to quickly and easily craft professional-quality multimedia presentations that engage their audiences. Just add your content and watch as artificial intelligence adjusts each slide based on professional principles of good design.