Position your brand as an authority with the right content

OPINION: In my previous article, I discussed what kind of website content gets the best return on investment. In this one, I look one of my favourite content types for B2B and professional services brands – thought leadership articles.

The most successful businesses solve deep client needs and articulate this clearly and frequently to the market. Clients seek trusted advisors, so to be known as an expert in your niche – and ideally become the default choice – you need to educate, entertain, engage and / or inspire.

Thought leadership is nothing new, but how we do it in 2020 is quite different to how we practised authority building in 2009.

It requires a strategic choice of topics based on content for the customer journey and a targeted content promotion strategy.

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Let’s quickly take a few steps back before looking at how to roll out your programme …

What is thought leadership content?

It’s no surprise that thought leadership content is content published by you or your brand based on topics you are an authority on. Topics are usually inspired by your products, services and/or purpose as they relate to your customers.

You are not trying to teach clients how to do what you do. The aim is to enlighten them. Show them how, for example, they can be more efficient, make more money, save money, solve a problem, have a better quality of life.

An agritech company, for instance, might show farmers how to optimise farm management with drones.

Whether you publish an article or give a presentation, your tone needs to be editorial, not advertorial, and backed up with data, evidence and examples.

Here are my five tips to help you do this effectively.

Tip 1: Every company is a media company

Tom Foremski popularised the idea that ‘every company is a media company’ and most companies today have taken control of their direct public relations – publishing via their ‘owned’ channels as well as via a media company or third-party website. But the challenge I see for businesses is how to maintain consistency and quality, and get the highest return on investment.

For the small-to-medium-sized businesses I work with, I recommend the following:

  1. Be realistic about your resources so you create a publishing calendar you can actually maintain.

  2. Publish quality over quantity.

  3. Maintain a blog on your website to engage existing and potential clients. Seed this content out through social media, email and even Google Ads.

  4. Publish thought-leadership articles in industry journals (print and online) or wherever your ideal clients are consuming media.

  5. Grow your email database to keep in touch with clients. Quarterly updates can be…

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