Target specific interests with a content plan
Companies are struggling with a market oversaturated with content. Cision’s B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study with Edelman and LinkedIn confirms: Out of some 3,600 senior-level professionals surveyed, 66% of B2B decision makers feel inundated with promotional messages. Yet the majority (87% of respondents) want content that is tailored to specific interests and demonstrates expertise. The results of the study show how thought leadership influences B2B decision makers’ perceptions and buying behavior.
What does thought leadership mean?
Thought leadership is the strategy of occupying and shaping a topic and continually making new contributions to it. The ultimate goal is to win new customers and, for example, to build up a community for a corporate or product brand that identifies with the brand and thus helps to achieve the brand’s goals. Ideally, this will give a brand cult status.
Thought leaders shape markets
Companies need to stand out from the crowd and gain the crucial attention of executives, their most important target group. With issue-based communication and innovation, trust and credibility are gained among decision-makers. As a result, business relationships are more likely to be considered and the willingness to pay higher prices for products also increases. “High-performing thought leadership strikes a balance between authority and provocation, but also a human tone and even fun,” the study says.
Reaching executives and scoring points with them as opinion leaders requires a trained thought leader who understands the market and the needs of their customers. Competence and expertise on a particular topic must be recognized in order to be persuasive as an expert.
Thought leaders not only follow the latest trends in their industry, they are also tasked with putting their topic into a political, scientific or social context and providing surprising solutions. Their content must create innovative viewpoints and perspectives. They don’t present new products, but visions that leave a lasting positive impression.
The art of content creation
“Content and thought leadership roles need to be stronger the less established a company or person is,” says the “B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. “Design your content plan to achieve specific strategic business objectives, such as changing brand perceptions, building trust, filling media blind spots and recruiting talent. To break through the noise, be engaging and entertaining as well as informative and educational.”
This is how thought leadership works in small ways: start-up founders attend industry-specific talk shows, do podcasts as well as interviews in YouTube formats, and reach their desired audience through niche formats.
A charismatic personality matters – whether a niche company or an established market leader. This personality can be consciously built, but ultimately the role as a thought leader comes from audience recognition.