How to Use Thought Leadership Content to Build Your Business

Updated

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Content serves many purposes in marketing—it can convey your brand’s story and purpose, extol the benefits of your products or services, and give customers more information about your company. But if a potential customer isn’t familiar with your brand, why should they believe what your content has to say? That’s where thought leadership comes in.

What is Thought Leadership?

Thought leadership is a type of marketing that uses content such as blog posts, videos, research reports, presentations, and webinars to establish the authority of your brand. Thought leadership shows your deep understanding, experience and passion for a specific topic, industry or area of interest to your specific target audience.

According to the 2021 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study conducted by Edelman and LinkedIn, 48% of decision-makers said they were more likely to award business to an organization after engaging with a piece of thought leadership from that organization, and 65% said a piece of thought leadership significantly improved their perception of a company.

The best part about thought leadership is that it should be fairly easy to accomplish. All you have to do is show what you know by translating your existing expertise into a piece of content.

Why do People Read Thought Leadership Content?

According to the Edelman-LinkedIn report, these are the top reasons decision-makers consume thought leadership:

  • 71% Keep up to date with the latest thinking in my industry or sector
  • 71% Stimulate my thinking and help me generate new ideas for my organization
  • 68% Gain insight into future trends poised to impact my business/organization
  • 65% Understand the key trends currently affecting my business/organization
  • 47% Discover new products and offerings that might help my organization

5 Tips to Create Great Thought Leadership Content

  1. Don’t underestimate yourself. If you’re good at what you do, chances are you know more than you think you do. A piece of content doesn’t have to be a Nobel-prize worthy revelation in order to qualify as thought leadership, all it has to do is impart valuable information and show your innovative thinking.
  2. Focus on your expertise. The easiest way to create great thought leadership content is to focus on your unique perspective, knowledge, or skillset. Think about the things you know that could be helpful to others, and use anecdotes from your past experience to reinforce your expertise.
  3. Explore different types of content. Thought leadership doesn’t have to take the form of a 50-page whitepaper—you can just as easily demonstrate thought leadership in a video, a short blog post, or a social media post. It’s the quality that matters, not the length or the medium.
  4. Have a point of view. While informational content tends to have an objective tone, thought leadership works well when you express a clear opinion. The internet makes it easy to find any kind of information, so it’s not so much the facts that make thought leadership compelling, it’s the facts as explained through your unique perspective and expert-level knowledge.
  5. Put the emphasis on education, not sales. The direct goal of thought leadership is not to make people reach for their wallets to buy your product, but to think, “Wow, this person really knows what they’re talking about.” Think about the issues affecting your customers, what they care about, and what their pain points are, and create thought leadership pieces that provide expert insight into those topics. By providing valuable content to your audience, you build the authority and credibility of your brand, and win the confidence and trust of your audience, all of which makes people more likely to become customers.