A 2021 study by Edelman and LinkedIn, found that 63% of buyers feel that thought leadership content is evidence that an organization is capable of solving unique business challenges. However, 71% of global decision-makers felt that less than half of the thought leadership content actually provides them with valuable insights. There is an excellent opportunity for thought leaders to create a meaningful impact in their industry.
Thought leadership has become a critical factor in establishing an individual or an organization’s presence in their chosen industry as a leader instead of a follower. But who really is a thought leader? A thought leader has been defined as someone who has a lot of knowledge and expertise on a specific topic or field. They keep themselves updated on their niche, identify new trends, and are willing to explore alternative ways of thinking. They willingly share their knowledge and provide valuable, actionable solutions, so their audience can benefit from their expertise.
Content marketing is defined as a strategic approach through which valuable and relevant information is created and distributed to an audience without selling or pitching to them. Given the similarities in the definitions, thought leadership lends itself well to becoming part of an organization’s content marketing strategy.
While content marketers use thought leadership as a way to provide differentiated and engaging content, they must remember that the strategy for thought leadership will differ as they have different time frames, modes of delivery, and KPIs compared to other types of content. Also, thought leadership is more resource intensive and requires orchestration. For it to be sustainable, somebody should be responsible for leading it.
Below are some reasons why thought leadership should be a part of your content marketing strategy.
1. Improved credibility
With an abundant amount of information available online, buyers conduct a lot of research before contacting sales teams. They want to speak to someone they can trust and respect. Thought leadership, therefore, becomes the organic route through which trust and credibility can be established. When audiences trust the content given by the thought leader, they are likely to engage with them and trust their advice. Providing value to your audience demonstrates your brand’s willingness to be helpful. This results in top-of-memory recall and can result in lead generation in the future.
2. Unique content and solutions from experts
With audiences consuming more content through multiple channels, the need for authentic and unique content that stands out has become necessary. A great way to provide that is through thought leadership. Thought leaders could be individuals or organizations who are subject matter experts whose knowledge and unique perspectives are based on personal and professional experiences. This makes the content and their solutions distinct as they are based on real-life stories. This could be one way by which marketers can cut through the noise.
3. Excellent marketing tool for B2B companies
According to the study by Edelman and LinkedIn, 54% of decision-makers spend more than an hour per week reading and reviewing thought leadership content. In another study, McKinsey confirmed that 70-80% of decision-makers prefer to make their decisions digitally. Also, while thought leadership is essential for B2C and B2B companies, B2B companies have many stakeholders involved in the decision-making process, and the length of time it takes for decisions to be made is much higher. Content marketers, therefore, use thought leadership, which fits at the top of the funnel, to shorten the sales cycle and gain the trust of decision-makers.
4. Great avenue for new opportunities
While you may be initially pushing content into the market, over a period of time and with visibility, pull starts to happen, and people start to approach the thought leader or organization with business opportunities. These could be speaking engagements, interviews, collaborations, alliances, strategic partnerships, consultations, and various other propositions. These then become another revenue source that further accelerates growth for the organization.
Share your perspective with thought leadership
Thought leadership can be considered a subset of content marketing. However, as individuals and organizations build their thought leadership over time, it can take an independent stand and even require the help of a public relations team. Nevertheless, thought leadership will still need content and marketing to build brand awareness and be successful. Including it in your content marketing strategy is one way to get ahead and stay ahead.
Advertisements create hype. Content teaches. Thought leadership inspires!
Click here to learn how Vajra Global can help you with your thought leadership strategy.