8 Excellent Tips to Become Successful in Thought Leadership Marketing (With Examples!)

Adding a pinch of thought leadership marketing into the recipe can boost your brand’s influence and credibility.

In the cutthroat arena of today’s market, leveraging thought leadership marketing is crucial for business leaders. Why? Because buyers are not just on the hunt for products or services but trustworthy insights from the pioneers of the industry. 

According to the 2022 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report, 61% of business leaders believe that thought leadership is more effective than traditional product-oriented marketing. The report also says that 55% of buyers move on within the first minute if a thought leadership piece doesn’t pique their interest, and 47% of users believe that thought leader contents help them make purchasing decisions. 

Here lies the crux of thought leadership marketing: it boosts brand value and unlocks future opportunities. However, capturing the fleeting attention of customers is no small feat. 

Now, let’s understand what thought leadership marketing is before we share with you eight tips to excel in thought leadership marketing.

What is thought leadership marketing?

Thought leadership marketing is the online and offline promotion of a brand (company or personal) to establish a reputation as an industry expert. Thought leadership marketing’s goal is to deliver credibility, authentic knowledge and expert insights with subject matter expertise. As thought leaders, you aim to educate, enlighten and captivate your audience.

To dish out your expertise, you can dabble in a variety of content forms. Notably, 91.4% of companies write thought leadership articles. Another 44.1% of thought leaders produce video content, 33.2% create research papers and 21.7% of companies turned to producing podcasts.     

8 tips to excel in thought leadership marketing

Thought leadership marketing has a lot of potential benefits for companies—if the content resonates and oozes unique perspectives and digestibility. It must contain robust research and solid supporting data to back up any claims and insights. 

    1. Carve your niche of expertise

    The first step of an effective B2C or B2B thought leadership marketing strategy is to define what makes your company the talk of the town. As a starting point, you can look at your company’s unique selling propositions (USPs). This ensures your thought leadership content is focused, relevant and specific to an industry and audience. 

    2. Scout for subject-matter experts

      Creating compelling content is a team sport. It’s advisable to gather inputs from multiple sources while creating thought leadership content. If you have a dynamic team with different levels of education and experience, leverage their expertise to expand content strategy. 

      For example, reach out to sales, product and marketing teams to draw insights and contribute to the content plan. Build clear guidelines on how to produce, edit and publish content to create a unified brand voice that echoes across all content.

      3. Know your target audience

        Thought leadership marketing content answers all customer questions and enhances your brand image. Crafting content without knowing who it’s for is like shooting arrows in the dark. To avoid this, you can try creating a buyer persona. 

        Some tips for creating a buyer person are:

        • Interview loyal customers and prospects (i.e. potential customers) for insights on product features, ease of use, UI/UX, customer support, etc. 
        • Consider feedback the sales team receives from leads and prospects.
        • Use tools like Google Trends to zero in on industry-specific needs.
        • List information like demographics, pain points and preferences about your potential customer.

        4. Evaluate the competition

          Paying attention to your competitors is a key strategy to accelerate growth and gather inspiration for your content. Spending significant time watching competitors also helps in identifying “content gaps” that your thought leader content can fill.

          Yet, instead of just producing the same content as your competitors, you should offer insights that have a unique yet informative thought leadership voice. 

          Some tips for evaluating your competitors are:

          • Analyze marketing channels to pinpoint gaps and opportunities.
          • Consider the time and frequency of publication.
          • Use marketing and SEO tools like Ahrefs and Wincher to track keywords.

          5. Create valuable content with a strong voice

            Particularly for B2B, audiences want valuable insights and educational content about industries. This necessity drives thought leadership marketing strategies. Think about offering insights to your audiences that they won’t get anywhere else. This opens the door for content like surveys, statistics, different POVs of a trending topic, case studies, customer experiences, etc.  

            And remember, a dash of humor or an informal tone can turn dry content into a delightful read, with 87% of buyers preferring to consume fun and thought-provoking thought leadership content. 

            6. Develop a social media presence

              In 2024, thought leaders must not only have blog pages and video content. They must also focus on growing their social media presence by informing themselves about top social media marketing trends and engaging with their followers. Social media presence boosts brand awareness while fostering customer trust and brand loyalty.

              Select the best social media that aligns with your brand ethos and consistently interact with your audience with a mix of thought leadership content such as photos, videos, interactive content, etc. 

              7. Go beyond your blog

                Blogs are the easiest form of thought leadership content. Most B2B thought leaders believe blogging is the most valuable content tool. However, many audiences want different forms of content too, like videos and podcasts.  

                Not only does experimenting with different content styles and formats cater to the evolving tastes of your audience, but it also helps widen your reach. For example, case studies, white papers and eBooks are fantastic for delivering insightful and educational content. Tracking analytics and engagement of various content forms can open doors to insights that can help you refine your content calendars and navigate audience interests.

                8. Regularly revise and update

                  A successful thought leader is up-to-date with industry news, trends, audience preferences and expectations. That’s why it is paramount to review and revise your content strategies and calendar regularly to stay relevant. Also, keep an eye on your website, engagement analytics and changing competitors’ tactics to refine your approach.   

                  4 best examples of thought leadership mastery

                  1. The Forecast by the cloud computing giant Nutanix is an online magazine on industry news, trends and technologies and new ideas that are shaping the cloud computing environment.  
                  2. First Round Review is a thought leader blog by the venture capital firm First Round Capital. They focus on interviews, business insights, best practices from industry experts, etc. 
                  3. Design & Make by Autodesk publishes thought leadership content on design, architecture, manufacturing, industry insights, etc. 
                  4. Stories by Microsoft focus on storytelling. From Microsoft events and initiatives to employee profiles and stories, this thought leader covers extensive insights into the technology space.

                  End note

                  Thought leadership marketing is an essential toolkit for any company. It builds brand awareness, forges strong customer relationships and sets you apart in a noisy digital landscape. An impactful thought leadership strategy not only showcases your expertise but also opens doors to new opportunities and clients. Ready to lead with your thoughts?

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