B2B Growth is a daily podcast dedicated to helping B2B marketing leaders achieve explosive growth. Each episode features an interview with a B2B marketing executive or thought leader, discussing topics like B2B marketing strategy, account-based marketing (ABM), content marketing, marketing technology (MarTech), B2B strategic partnerships, aligning marketing with sales, social media, content creation, and promotion, leadership, buyer personas, agile marketing, and more.
It seems like everyone wants to be a thought leader in their industry these days.
It’s becoming difficult to identify someone who is authentically offering you information with no strings attached. How can you trust that they won’t bombard you with product pitches or guilt you into buying something?
It’s for these reasons that creating a thought leadership discipline within your organization can be so valuable.
We had the opportunity to discuss authentic thought leadership with the VP of Thought Leadership at Diligent Corporation, Dottie Schindlinger. She reveals three main reasons why you should consider building a thought leadership discipline within your own company:
- You possess unique knowledge and insight
- Your brand recognition will flourish
- Customer and industry trust will thrive
Let’s take a look at these reasons a little closer.
1. You have unique knowledge and insight
Dottie emphasizes that every business in any industry has some sort of uncommon knowledge. If you really ponder it, you can uncover a unique perspective towards your industry that no one else has taken advantage of.
Once you tap into your original insight, it’s time to turn that knowledge into content that interests other industry players. This is where an intentional thought leadership discipline will prove to be valuable.
While your thought leadership team should work closely with sales and marketing, it should have a couple differentiating objectives:
- You’re not trying to sell a product. You’re trying to help others in your industry.
- Your overall goal is not to generate demand. Again, it’s to provide helpful insight into issues other industry players are encountering.
Moreover, the key to generating meaningful content is not to just write a single blog post and pray that it goes viral. Creating an immersive experience around your knowledge will help it to gain traction before another thought leader jumps on the chance.
Your immersive experience can consist of:
- News articles
- Case studies
- Social media presence
- Speaking events
- Conference presence
Harness your original knowledge and make it into something people genuinely care about. With your access to influencers and relevant information, it shouldn’t be difficult to find an opening in the market.
2. Your brand recognition will soar
The second reason to implement a thought leadership discipline is that your brand recognition will advance within your industry and beyond.
Carving out a category in an industry isn’t historically easy. There is a substantial amount of promoting and advocating that will go into making your unique insight relatable to other people’s experiences.
Yet, if your solution to an industry problem is relevant and repeatable, it won’t be hard for your team to get excited about it.
Having a dedicated thought leadership team will result in better ideas, better solutions, and increased brand recognition to top it all off.
3. Strong customer and industry trust
A positive outcome of your unique insight and increased brand recognition is customer and industry trust.
By dedicating your team to providing authentic, no-strings-attached thought leadership…
… customers will see you as a trusted brand.
… your industry peers will know your intentions are good and will want to follow your lead.
Dottie points out that to gain customer and industry trust, your content can’t be fluff. With your access to industry leaders and unique insight, it shouldn’t be hard to generate data-driven substance.
It’s important to note that your audience will know when you’re producing vacant content. This kind of inauthenticity will not result in the trusting partnerships you need to be a true thought leader.
The focal point of thought leadership is to be a brand that customers want to partner with. Thought leadership doesn’t seek out one-to-one sales, but looks to offer information on issues others are having in the industry.
Keep in mind that you need customers that want to partner with you; not shallow one-off sales.
Use your insight to build relationships
Thought leadership is more than a one-to-one sale. It’s an immersive experience that you want others to care about and learn from.
The key to great thought leadership is authenticity and earnestness. If your unique knowledge is something other industry players can get behind, don’t hide it. Let it drive meaningful connections and partnerships.
Building a genuine thought leadership discipline within your organization will generate strong brand recognition and trusting relationships throughout your industry and beyond.