In the digital marketing world, content is more precious than gold. The businesses that have lots of high-quality content are the ones with the most influence and reach. But if you’ve ever stopped and wondered why your content seems to fall flat, it could be that you’re missing the mark with what you write, where you publish, and how you share.
The most valuable content is that which helps your brand cultivate thought leadership in your industry or niche. Until you learn how to write, publish, and share thought leadership-quality content, you’ll fail to maximize your return.
What is Thought Leadership?
We’ve all heard the term before, but what exactly is thought leadership? Is it anything more than a buzzword thrown around at marketing conferences?
As content marketer Michael Brenner says, “I define thought leadership as a type of content marketing where you tap into the talent, experience, and passion inside your business, or from your community, to consistently answer the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience, on a particular topic.”
It’s also important to note that true thought leadership requires results. It’s one thing to say or write something – it’s something else entirely to apply those insights and achieve results. True thought leaders do both.
Establishing Thought Leadership Via Content
There are multiple ways to establish yourself/your brand as a thought leader in your industry, but content marketing is one of the best. It offers tremendous reach, enormous flexibility, and high visibility. But if you’re going to do it right, you’ll want to keep the following pointers in mind.
- Establish Credibility
Before you can engage your readers and move them to action, you have to give them a reason to believe. In other words, you need to establish authority.
Why are you worth listening to? Do you have experience? Are you on the cutting edge of new innovation? Do you do something different than the competition? Let these questions marinate.
The Jeffcoat Firm in Columbia, South Carolina is a good example of a business that understands the value in credibility. Whenever they publish content – such as this page on DUI defense – they incorporate trust signals and social proof in the form of videos, client testimonials, and past accolades. In doing so, they answer the reader’s question of, “Why should I listen to what you have to say?”
- Cut the Jargon
The irony of jargon and buzzwords is that experts don’t actually use them. If you know what you’re talking about, you don’t have to use generic terminology. Having said that, cut out the jargon and publish content that people can actually understand.
- Tell Memorable Stories
“Since childhood, we’re wired to want to hear great stories. Most every day conversations are heavy on data and light on stories; yet, you need the latter to reinforce your ideas and get people to want to listen,” marketing strategist Jennifer Zottola writes. “Incorporate anecdotes and don’t be afraid to appeal to emotions; we all connect with content that is genuine and relatable.”
Stories also make your content more impressionable, which means your audience will remember it for days, weeks, and maybe even years after they read your content. In this sense, it’s a highly effective branding tool.
- Empower Your Audience
Any brand worth their salt is creating content. The problem is that so much of the content being published today is shallow. It barely even scratches the surface of usefulness, which hurts engagement and prevents SEO results.
If you want your content to be engaging, it needs to empower your readers to act. It needs to provide them with the tools and knowledge to do something. HubSpot is a great example of a brand that does an outstanding job of empowering its audience with resourceful content. They do this in a variety of ways, but their free learning resources are particularly noteworthy.
Give Your Brand a Boost
It’s easy to create content. You simply throw some sentences into your favorite blogging platform, create a catchy headline, paste a picture, and hit the publish button. But if you want to create content that actually boosts your image and establishes your company as an authority in your niche, you need to invest in thought leadership content. It takes a little more time, effort, and strategy, but it’s worth it in the end.