As of January 2019 there were over 1.94 billion websites on the Internet – and 4.4 billion users!
Marketing. Positioning. Branding. Differentiation. Storytelling. Authority. Influence. Thought Leadership! It doesn’t matter what you call it. The challenge is to become the #1 choice for your target audience so you can make more sales!
But content is everywhere. You can no longer merely produce more content. You must create the right content for the right audience in an already overcrowded B2B (business-to-business) marketplace.
The best way to stand out is by offering helpful advice, original ideas, unique points of view and authentic stories. In other words, be a thought leader. Thought leadership builds authority which leads to trust. It lets you connect with more customers, possibly charge higher prices and create sustained growth.
If you’re a Marketing Manager or small business owner, you know you can’t afford to let your brand get lost in the noise. But what exactly is thought leadership? How can you use it to you strengthen your brand? And how can you create it when you have little time to spare?
"It's surprising what insights exist in people's heads that they don't know about. That's what Derek does - help pull out those nuggets of wisdom that, when you hear them repeated back to you make you think, 'Wow. I do know what I'm talking about after all!'. That wouldn't be possible without his humble, curious approach and good interview questions.
Gina BalarinFounder and CEO, Verballistics
"Derek's interview process was professional, well executed and his knowledge contributed to the results. It was more of a conversation with an experienced colleague than a typical podcast interview."
Ed BardwellPresident, Rainmaker Digital Services (RMDS)™ and Nimble Worldwide
"Derek's subject matter expertise, high professionalism and pleasant, relatable style make for an outstanding conversational interview. Nothing like knowing what you are talking about, in order to ask the right questions."
German RamirezCo-Founder and Chief Relevance Officer of The Relevance House.
"It was a pleasure to be interviewed by Derek. He made the process go smooth and was a consummate professional. And he did a wonderful job of teasing out my key ideas so they're useful to readers and listeners."
Laura PattersonCo-founder and President of VisionEdge Marketing
"Had a fun chat. Nicely edited down."
Ian TruscottFounder and Executive Strategy Director, APPropingo
Thought Leadership Content
If you’re an expert on a topic of interest, you could become a thought leader. But to be successful at B2B thought leadership, you must focus on what interests your target market.
B2B thought leadership is an exploration of the trends, situations, problems, issues, frequently asked questions, concerns, needs, wants, interests, goals, objections or motivations of your buyers. It examines the larger issues or details they must know about.
Traditional thought leadership takes the form of written materials such as White Papers, e-Books, articles and speeches. In recent years, videos, podcasts, and live panels have become more popular. Being interviewed can provide a platform for your ideas.
Thought Leadership Branding
If you’re like most leaders, you want to use thought leadership to generate more demand for your products and services. You may have the expertise and vision, but not necessarily the writing skills or spare time to create content. Here are 4 time-saving options that also build your brand.
1. Hire a Ghostwriter The most effective thought leadership for a small business or consulting firm typically comes from the leader. When a leader is time-constrained, a ghostwriter can do most of the work behind the scenes. This may include conducting interviews, gathering research, developing outlines, writing, revising and proofreading.
2. Coach Your Team to Become Better Writers Another approach to creating thought leadership is to designate individual team members as thought leaders. If they don’t possess enough writing skill, some coaching may be needed. The challenge is that when they leave your company they’ll be taking some of the thought leadership brand value associated with their name. 3. Create a Brand Avatar (Pen name) Larger firms may want to consider creating a fictional brand avatar to publish content. Such a pen name or pseudonym would let you hire more than one writer and scale up your content production. Your pen name may eventually become a valuable brand asset.
4. Create Your Own Publishing Platform The logical extension of a thought leadership campaign is to create your own publishing platform. This lets you publish content from anyone including guest posters. An example of a publishing platform I’ve created is BlockchainTrailblazers.com, my magazine for enterprise blockchain. Another is my news site for Marketing Managers, The Marketing Results Club. Here, the focus is on helping my customers become thought leaders, rather than myself.
Unfortunately there’s no quick and easy way to create great thought leadership. It takes a dedicated effort of research, critical thinking, planning and writing. Perhaps the greatest challenge is time. A professional writer can help. Get started by learning about my proven 6-step writing process for creating results driven copy.