By Peter Springett | @PeterSpringett
Thought leadership. I know. It’s one of the most over used phrases in business, not least in marketing. But it deserves closer examination and in my opinion a better definition for 2017.
At Digital Leaders Associates, we believe thought leadership sits at the intersection of Innovation (original thinking, new discoveries); Insight (the experience you bring bear on existing concepts) and Influence (the ability to connect with marketing influencers and so reach large, targeted audiences online).
Where these three ideas overlap will also steer your content marketing towards a more sales-oriented strategy, especially around high value assets including video, long-form articles, white papers and graphics.
Let’s look at these thought leadership intersections in turn:
Innovation+Insight: The opportunity to take a well-established concept and push it in an original direction, earning attention from existing customers and motivating prospects to re-evaluate your offer. At a time where so-called ‘traditional’ industries are forced to compete with new-market entrants, this approach defends existing relationships, while capitalising on opportunities created by technological and market disruption.
Innovation+Influence: If you aren’t leading anyone, you can’t be a thought leader! It goes without saying that any business, from well-established brand, to thrusting start up, must be able to tap into an audience of millions of online businesses and consumers. Exponential growth awaits the winners, for those slow off the mark, stagnation or worse awaits.
Influence+Insight: Reinforces the long-term value of your brand, solidifying trust and reputation in the fluid worlds of social media and digital marketing. From a sales perspective, this is an opportunity to protect and grow business with existing customers, and attract an audience in new markets where new entrants need firm foundations and a rock-solid message.
The importance of influence
All of the above should inspire your marketing and sales teams to think again about the publishing cycle that underpins your content strategy. That means everything from repurposing white papers and re-editing videos for new channels, to seeking out better ways to connect with prospects on social.
But many businesses still fall down when it comes influence. The online promotion of thought-leadership is fraught with difficulty – and expensive mistakes. Paid online advertising and email campaigns are in decline. But the alternative – organic promotion of content to customers and prospects requires new online and communication skills.
It’s also important that you can identify thought-leaders in your own business. Some will be authors and inspirational thinkers, others will already be using social to promote the business and engage with leads. The trick is unlocking the potential of individuals to create, publish, engage and influence.
This is where Digital Leaders Associates excels. Including some of the biggest names in b2b social media and social selling, we identify, train and measure the performance of sales and other teams, enabling your business to connect with market influencers and online prospects.
Above all we bring our experience to bear on the business at large, working with senior executives and stakeholders to fully realise your social vision and communicate it throughout the organisation. If you’d like to find out more about how your organisation and your people can become thought-leaders with real influence, contact us today.
We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media Strategy,Social Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.