As the content specialist for a Chicago marketing firm, I worry when companies talk about “establishing thought leadership.” For some firms, the desired strategy for a thought leadership campaign includes every tactic in the book except one: thinking.
However, many small businesses* have big ideas, great ideas – but they struggle to communicate their tremendous expertise. They are frustrated because prospects read their content and just don’t “get” how good they are at what they do.
So, from a content marketing perspective, here are thought leadership suggestions to help you win over prospects and secure long-term customers.
Content designed to convey expertise is abundant on the web, but content that does the job properly is scarce. Consider your own thought leadership content – white papers, web pages, blog posts, etc. Does it have these characteristics?
Remember Socrates? Smart guy. He knew that how you say it is as important as what you say, so he cooked up the Socratic method. Socrates was ahead of his time by several centuries, in that his conversational approach is absolutely perfect for the social web. Beyond using an informal style, other techniques that enhance thought leadership include:
On the social web, thought leadership is judged not only by a company’s original content, but also by how well it shares the content of others. Lately this activity has been referred to as “content curation.” Some characteristics of great content sharers:
A Final Tip
Last night I was thinking about what I would do if I had been stranded on an island for two years and wanted to get caught up on content marketing developments. Which content marketing blog would I turn to first? What content marketing company would I want to talk to?
Think about that in terms of your own industry. Whomever you would turn to is your benchmark for thought leadership.
Do you have some other suggestions for how to be seen as a thought leader? Please share in the comments below.
*Our clients do things like high heat resistant gloves and merchant accounts for small business. Their prospects, like yours, are looking for expertise, though they would probably never think of it as “thought leadership.”