Thought leadership is a term that is becoming more and more common in the manufacturing industry. When I think of “thought leadership” many concepts come in mind that create this visual representation of someone who is an expert in their industry, but there is so much more to it than that. So I plugged the term “what is thought leadership” into a little known search engine called Google, this was its response:
Sounds pretty awesome if you ask me. People anticipating your next bit of knowledge, coming to you for advice, admiring you for all of your accomplishments, how do you become this “thought leader” they speak of? Here are a few ideas to get the job started!
Why Is Thought Leadership Important?
Thought leadership is important for all aspects of business; whether you are B2C or B2B it is important to have a thought leadership strategy in place. Becoming a thought leader in B2B I think is a tad more crucial because as we all know our products/service can be a bit complex, which means more education, which then leads to longer sales cycles. Having a content strategy around thought leadership can help educate prospects and gain the trust of decision makers. First you need to define your target audience and also pay attention to the questions your current customers are asking. From there you can start to build out your thought leadership strategies from the answers you’ve received.
Telling a story.
My son is always up for a good story, even when it’s a book that we have read 100 times in a seven day stretch. He is always all ears and still anticipates the element of surprise as many stories. Do the same for your audience, paint them a picture of how your expertise revolutionized the industry or solved a client’s complex problem. Pull in multiple sources to help create the story. Sales reps, managers, executives, and the creative team all have a story to tell. Utilize their insights and build a story of thought leadership that will inspire others.
Social media is a friend of mine!
Okay, so social media has been around for quite some time and it has proved to be more than just a fad, so make sure you are using this to your advantage. Drive people to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or any other social media platform you use and share engaging content with them. Keywords of that last sentence “SHARE CONTENT.” They are following you for a reason, social media isn’t just a popularity contest anymore. Give them some content they can share, that they can engage with and relate to, you are the expert inform them of that.
Second First Impressions Don’t Exist
You don’t get a second chance to impress someone, so make your first chance hard for them to forget you. This can be achieved by the type of content that is being developed and displayed, if you can spin creativity into the mix you’ll be in good shape. Creating engaging content such as blog post, infographics and video not only help build brand awareness but it demonstrates how well you know your B2B customers and their needs. When you are creating new content always keep in mind how you want your company to be perceived and identified in the industry. Remember this is your chance to make a good first impression, don’t blow it.
Recappin’ Thought Leadership
I’ve only tapped the surface of a good thought leadership strategy; there are a ton of things that you can do to build on this. Let’s take a look back at what we’ve covered:
- Know your audience: Ask questions to better understand what your audience wants.
- Tell A Story: A good story is worth sharing. Take hold of that.
- Social Media: Used for more than just cat and dog pictures, make social media your friend and share useful content.
- First Impressions: They are called first impressions for a reason, make sure it’s a good one and show your identity.