Reputation is not built on advertising — the importance of thought leadership
Building a successful thought leadership marketing strategy can elevate your business and position you as an authoritative voice in your industry
Cultivating thought leadership takes time, and often, companies prefer advertising that can bring them immediate results.
However, even though it might take time to achieve fruitful results with thought leadership marketing, it is a perfect organic method that will create sticky memories associated with your brand and nurture your leads.
Remember — reputation is not built on advertising. It's built on your brand's authority. That's why thought leadership should be part of any solid content marketing strategy.
Thought leadership versus heavy sales pitch
Thought leadership is a method of marketing, which has the potential to position you as an expert, or better, an authoritative voice in your industry.
To build credibility for your brand, thought leadership moves away from heavy sales pitches and focuses on providing value to your audience by answering their most profound questions. By appearing knowledgeable and willing to help, you're adopting an approach that leads to brand awareness, positive word of mouth, engagement, and leads.
However, this does not mean that you cannot highlight your product. You can still do that in a subtle, non-intrusive way. Today's audiences are overwhelmed by the abundance of choice, and trust is not easy to earn, which means that merely "selling" your product won't do. As soon as you start "promoting" your brand in an aggressive manner, your audience will tune out, and you'll lose their trust. People today are so overwhelmed by the sales pitches that they prefer less intrusive methods when they consume information.
The non-intrusive approach, however, does not mean that thought leadership content cannot have a remarkable return on investment. In fact, by shaping a certain image associated with your brand, thought leadership can help you shorten your sales cycle.
But how do you achieve this?
When you're designing your thought leadership marketing strategy, the key to success is to identify your audience's "pain points" and use them as an opportunity to brand your business. In this way, your target audience will start noticing you and associating your brand with insight and authority.
Essentially, you simply need to answer the questions that your target audience is asking. There are plenty of resources that can help you identify these questions. There's Google search (simple as that) or websites such as "Answer the Public," which help you find the most common questions the audience asks about a specific topic.
By addressing these questions and creating valuable input, you'll transform yourself into a go-to source in the industry. However, it's not just about providing answers. For your thought leadership strategy to bring fruitful results, you'll have to give the best answers, and you will also have to offer them in the formats that your audience likes to consume.
A common trap that brands sometimes fall into is trying too hard to set themselves apart from their competitors and think that they can only compete when their content is entirely different and unique. The truth is — your audience is not looking for that at all. Your audience is looking for the best answers to their questions. So, even though it's essential to conduct a competitor's research and fill in the existing gaps, it's also crucial not to get trapped in the illusion that uniqueness will guarantee you success.
Repurposing your thought leadership content
A thought leadership campaign aims to engage your audience regularly and through multiple channels to establish meaningful relationships.
Utilise your social media platforms to spread your content. Your social media posts' reach can be much more impressive than that of a blog on your website. Overall, it is essential to display your thought leadership strategy beyond your blog. Even though your focus lies in bringing traffic to your website, you should always go one step further. Focusing your efforts on one platform limits your chances to be heard by the audience who has never landed on your website. A thought leadership campaign should be spread across various platforms to create a powerful thought leader effect for your brand.
Moreover, you have to think about the perfect medium to convey your message. Which format would best serve your purpose? Is it a written piece, an infographic, a video?
For us, at PlayAttack, video is the most prominent tool in our thought leadership strategy. According to a study by Wyzowl, 83% of video marketers say video has helped them generate leads. We make engaging video content covering industry news, where we address topics that matter most to our audience — affiliates in the gambling industry. We also cover news from the six gambling operators we represent to keep our affiliates informed about the latest changes, tournaments, and releases on our casinos.
Finally, video is a repurposable tool, which means you can distribute it across various channels. You can find our videos on our YouTube channel, our website, gambling news portal, and our PlayAttack LinkedIn page. LinkedIn, for instance, is where people go to read about developments in their professional sphere, which makes it an excellent fit for our educational thought leadership videos.
Stepping your toes into thought leadership marketing is not easy. Quite a few have attempted and fell short.
It's important to understand that thought leadership is not your social media following, and the amount of content produced does not reflect your influence. Thought leadership is a long process of building trust with your audience by providing them with content that answers their most prominent questions.
Your audience needs the best answers. And this is the reputation your business should wish for.
*This article was originally published on sigma.com