What is thought leadership? In its most basic definition, it’s an expression of ideas showcasing your expertise within an industry or topic area.
Today, thought leadership is one of those corporate buzzwords. Everyone wants to do it, but few put in the necessary time to really produce thought leadership articles.
That’s because it requires immense time and effort, especially from your leadership team whose time is limited.
True thought leadership means getting ahead of the competition with insights and statistics others might not know about. And when done well, it can improve your authority both online and in the minds of your consumers.
We’ve put together some ideas for how to execute thought leadership well to earn more awareness for your organisation and demonstrate your authority on a topic.
Thought Leadership for Authority Example
Take a look at HubSpot, a leading marketing company whose authority on the topic has led it to the top of search results for many marketing-related topics. It didn’t get there by publishing the same concepts as what everyone else was publishing.
Instead, HubSpot coined the concept of inbound marketing – marketing where the customer comes to your organisation through research and content marketing instead of the old way of push advertising.
HubSpot’s authority comes from deep industry insights, compelling content and a simple way of explaining hard-to-understand concepts. The company didn’t necessarily innovate a new product but changed the way we think about how we use marketing tools to reach customers.
So how can you replicate that model within your company to increase your authority? Let’s look at some opportunities to build your company’s thought leadership.
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Research for Thought Leadership Authority
Conducting industry research and publishing your findings can do great things for your thought leadership authority. This content will encourage others to link to you and publish your graphs and charts. All those quality links will bolster your SEO value and demonstrate your unique insights into your industry.
Think about what unique research you could conduct that would demonstrate a deeper understanding of not just your customers, but an entire segment of people.
Deliver Content Differently
When the subject matter you cover is covered in the same way on 100s of other websites, you won’t stand out as a company with great authority. You need to look for a way to deliver your content differently.
For some brands, that means harnessing the power of video. Others might find value in starting a podcast. Consider how your target audience wants to consume your content and innovate on its delivery.
Ultimately, you can’t keep doing what everyone else is doing and call it thought leadership because it’s really not leading but following.
Anticipate Customer Needs
Listening to your customers carefully is another way to develop thought leadership. If you are better at anticipating their needs than anyone else in your industry, you’ll get the opportunity to be a thought leader.
Think about how Apple transformed music delivery with the MP3 player. Or how Netflix turned the movie rental game upside down with streaming. These companies knew their customers on such a deep level that they could anticipate their needs and develop content and products around those needs.
SEO Authority Impact
You might not see immediate results from developing thought leadership but with time it will pay you back in higher SEO rankings and more inbound customers.
The larger Google deems your authority really is, the higher you’ll rank in search results. One way of doing that is driving quality traffic to your website from customers who stay and read for a while.
Publish long-form, quality content with engaging graphics and you’ll show Google your worth. But it can’t be infrequent content. You need a clear thought leadership strategy that includes regular content publishing.
If you need help developing that strategy and the accompanying content, schedule a free consultation with New Light Digital. We’re a full-service digital marketing agency that helps brands increase their awareness, website traffic and sales through meaningful online interactions with prospects and customers.