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What It Is And How To Use It

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What It Is And How To Use It

Every brand wants to be considered a thought leader, but fewer can define what actually qualifies as thought leadership.

When done correctly, thought leadership marketing can help your business maintain authority in your industry.

But it is an earned strategy.

Your content marketing teams should only pursue thought leadership if your brand has the successes, perspectives, reputation, and innovations to back up your claims.

If your brand has earned your industry’s trust, then here is how to get started with this specific type of content.

What Is Thought Leadership?

When a brand or individual is considered a thought leader, others in the same industry consistently look to them for insights.

Thought leadership content may include research, opinions, personal anecdotes, or future predictions.

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It may reference current events, evaluate industry trends, or spark debate among other thought leaders.

It can also take on many forms, including:

  • Ebooks.
  • White Papers.
  • Infographics.
  • Webinars.
  • Podcasts.
  • Op-eds.
  • Original Research.
  • And more!

The reality is that most content on the internet is quite repetitive and doesn’t showcase original thoughts.

So, what distinguishes thought leadership content?

Brand-specific insights that shape the larger conversations happening in your industry.

When Should I Get Started With Thought Leadership Content?

New businesses or brands will not be ready to pursue this type of content marketing.

Why? Because others in your industry are less likely to trust your insight if a depth of experience doesn’t back it.

Successful thought leadership does require a strong foundation in content marketing.

It also requires public relations, social media, and reputation management.

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If your brand is actively engaging in the above efforts, you’re paving your way for a future as a thought leader.

Benefits Of Thought Leadership Content

Like all content marketing, creating high-quality thought leadership takes time and resources.

So, what are the benefits?

Earns Customer Loyalty

Thought leaders have already done the work of building credibility in their industry.

Because they have earned customers’ trust, they can use their thought leadership to gain customer loyalty.

In one Edelman and LinkedIn survey, almost 60% of respondents claimed that they found a brand’s thought leadership content more trustworthy than their traditional marketing materials.

And, thought leadership content doesn’t only influence customers.

It helps competitors, journalists, influencers – or anyone who has an interest in your space – see your brand as an authoritative industry voice.

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Brings SEO Value

Thought leadership content that lives permanently on your website can rank for relevant keywords and drive organic traffic.

Off-site thought leadership content that includes backlinks to your website, whether in the author byline or within the content, sends link equity to your web pages, improving your Domain Authority and your overall ranking potential.

Unlike traditional guest posting, thought leadership can help you acquire backlinks from authoritative domains that are otherwise somewhat difficult to acquire.

Lead Generation

For B2B brands, in particular, thought leadership can help secure qualified leads.

Most B2B customers are highly knowledgeable in their fields. Many engage with thought leadership regularly to stay abreast of industry trends and innovations.

If they discover that your brand is the source of thought leadership, they are more likely to pursue you as their service provider or solution.

How To Develop A Thought Leadership Marketing Strategy

Creating thought leadership is much different than simply contributing a guest post to an industry website or offering how-to blogs on your own domain.

Thought leaders leverage their vast expertise and knowledge to bring their audience exceptional value that no one else can.

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Identify Your Areas Of Expertise

When developing your thought leadership strategy, it’s important to consider what sets you apart from other thought leaders.

Think about the unique angles and perspectives that your brand can leverage:

  • Do you have a differentiated product or technology?
  • What do you do differently than other brands in your space?
  • Have you done original research or reporting on industry topics?
  • Have you found new solutions to well-known industry problems?
  • What challenges or setbacks has your brand overcome?

These are just a few questions to help you brainstorm, as many topics can be utilized for thought leadership.

Remember that your unique perspectives may not necessarily be limited to your products and services.

Your workplace culture, company mission or values, growth strategy, and more can all be leveraged to create impactful thought leadership.

Screenshot from Forbes.com taken by Author, August 2022

Choose Your Thought Leaders

The byline of your thought leadership content must be from an individual at your company with the knowledge, experience, and expertise to speak with authority.

That often means C-Suite executives, founders, directors, or key stakeholders at your organization or business.

Titles are important in the world of thought leadership.

Your audience should be confident that the speaker is intimately connected to the earned secrets of your brand.

Determine Where Your Thought Leadership Content Will Live

Thought leadership content can be valuable assets that live permanently on your website.

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You may want to leverage this content in email marketing, lead generation, or other parts of the customer journey.

Like a guest posting strategy, you can pitch thought leadership to other publications featuring commentary from expert voices.

Expert contributors section of builtinScreenshot from Expert Contributors Section of Builtin.com August 2022

To get started with off-site thought leadership, put together a list of publications that want to feature industry experts.

Google SheetsImage by author, August 2022

Then, reach out to the editors or content managers.

Ask if they are interested in publishing your brand’s original content.

Your outreach targets should have a higher Domain Authority score than your website and display strong SEO signals.

Create High-Quality Content

The most time-consuming part of any content marketing strategy is the time and effort to create high-quality content.

But unlike other content on your website, thought leadership must meet certain requirements to be categorized accordingly.

To create content that actually has the prestige and quality of thought leadership, you’ll need to meet the following standards.

Real World Examples

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Because thought leadership is all about earned secrets, the support for your claims should be drawn from real-world experience.

ProductHunt.com Maker StoriesScreenshot from ProductHunt.com Maker Stories, August 2022

Your audience should feel like it’s getting an inside look at your business and the strategies or approaches that made you successful.

Personable Expert Voices

Although your brand name can carry the weight of the byline, the best thought leadership content has a genuine, personable voice, name, and face behind it.

You want your audience to feel as though it’s getting personal access to key decision makers and stakeholders at your business or organization.

Short-Term And Long-Term Value

Thought leadership content should be actively engaging with the conversations that are happening right now in your industry.

But there should also be evergreen elements to your thought leadership content that help that content rank organically in search.

You want your marketing team to be able to leverage thought leadership content for more than just the week that other brands’ hot takes show up on social media.

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The best thought leadership will have long-term value, giving your team evergreen content for future inbound marketing efforts.

Informed By Your Products Or Services

Ultimately, thought leadership is still a content marketing strategy, and you can use it to earn new leads and customers.

Still, the actual products or services your brand provides are what inform the best thought leadership.

That doesn’t mean a front-and-center sales pitch. Your products and services should have a more subtle presence and be seen as a key source of where your expertise comes from.

Promote Your Content And Thought Leaders

Building a thought leadership presence means creating content and sharing it on social media sites with the loyal audience your organization has worked so hard to earn.

Most thought leaders are active (and verified!) on websites like Twitter, where real-time conversations take place in response to industry happenings.

Journalists also look at thought leaders to provide insights or expert sourcing when reporting on industry news and love to cite content that can serve as strong evidence in their reporting.

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You can use your thought leadership content to enhance your PR outreach, as journalists will prefer to feature prominent thought leaders over less reputable sources.

Conclusion

It will take time and proven success to reach the status of a thought leader.

But, once earned, thought leadership marketing has a fantastic way of enriching all other areas of your digital strategy.

Deploy this strategy consistently, and you’ll earn the loyalty of industry professionals who are always waiting to hear what your brand will say next.

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Featured Image: Andrii Zastrozhnov/Shutterstock

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SEO

LinkedIn Professionals Share Their Best Unusual LinkedIn Marketing Hack

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LinkedIn Professionals Share Their Best Unusual LinkedIn Marketing Hack

LinkedIn is a great place to grow your business.

In the last 12 months, 93% of B2B marketers have used the platform the most to distribute content organically. LinkedIn also topped the same survey for producing the best results.

The same study reveals content marketers are also spending more on paid content promotion. The top platform where they’re spending? Linkedin.

Businesses can also use the network for marketing to and reaching potential customers. In fact, there are more than 1 billion interactions on LinkedIn Pages every month.

With these figures, there’s no denying the power of this social media platform to drive engagement and boost brand awareness.

Are you ready to take your LinkedIn marketing game to the next level but unsure where to begin?

Here are clever LinkedIn tips from seven LinkedIn pros to boost your marketing efforts.

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Leverage LinkedIn Live

Thomas J. Armitage

Sales Executive, Site-Seeker

LinkedIn is the ultimate B2B playground. It’s like a professional conference that’s never-ending.

Live Streams, in particular, continue to be underutilized. That’s because people starve for valuable learning material.

With Live Streams, thought leaders can bypass the headaches typically involved in traditional webinar setups. No landing pages or sign-up forms are needed. You can easily promote the event through sharing and invitations, too.

Although you’ll need a third-party streaming software, most play nicely with LinkedIn.

And Live Streams are a great way to break the monotony of text posts and engage with your audience on a more personal level.

Make sure you identify a niche topic. Write a strong description that includes who the stream is for.

Invite users you know will find it worthwhile. And make sure to promote – both before the event, as well as after, since the full video will be available for playback.


Level Up Your Content Strategy

Adam Houlahan Adam Houlahan

LinkedIn Expert at Prominence Global, Author of “Influencer – The 9 Step Guide to Becoming Highly Influential in Any Industry”

The most effective strategy for LinkedIn lead generation that delivers consistent long-term results is Algorithmically Aligned Content.

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Only 1% of the 850+ million members of LinkedIn share content regularly (weekly). Less than 1% of that 1% truly understand and share content that LinkedIn sees as valuable to its membership and organically promotes for you.

Share content that creates conversations on the platform and shows you are the authority in your area of expertise without solving your audiences’ problems for them.

I call it “Know How,” with “No How” content.

Consistently implement this content strategy, and your ideal clients will gravitate to you to solve their problems.

Felipe Bazon Felipe Bazon

Chief SEO Officer, Hedgehog Digital

Back in 2017, I decided that the only social network that I would use professionally was going to be Linkedin.

Since then, I have been posting weekly (sometimes daily) posts related to SEO strategies, techniques, and insights.

This has helped build my network and reach decision makers who see my posts and get in contact through the platform or our website to fill in the contact form.

These leads that turned into clients have contributed to the exponential growth we have had since we opened up our office in Brazil.

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Being a well-known SEO down here, I’ve exploited these to our advantage; all leads came from my personal account, not the company’s.

We do have a business page for U.K. and Brazil and do some Linkedin ads to promote some stuff, but it is through the personal profile that the magic happens.

Since then, my posts are averaging:

  • 4,000 views
  • 100 interactions (likes and comments)
  • Five to seven organic leads per month

My tips are:

  • Consistency and frequency. Aim for at least a couple of posts each week.
  • Avoid sharing links on your posts; leave them in the comments. This increases the reach of your posts by at least 30%. For instance, if you want to share a new article from the blog, do a post talking about the subject and say, “We’ve written a complete guide about X, and you can find the link to it in the comments.
  • Don’t be shy in sharing insights, thoughts, and results. The community loves these types of posts. These tend to get loads of interactions.

Optimize Your Page

Virginie Cantin Virginie Cantin

LinkedIn Coach – VirginieCantin.com, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of “60 Days to LinkedIn Mastery”

My personal hack uses the experience section to highlight my services and activities. So instead of having a single job title such as “Founder,” I will have several job titles under my LinkedIn company page for each “hat” I’m wearing in my company.

I have a job title for my 1:1 coaching service, LinkedIn PEELING. Another job title is dedicated to my online course, LinkedIn BREAK-IN. Then, I use a separate job title to highlight that I’m a Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Last but not least, I have a fourth job title that aims at getting me found by people looking for speakers and podcast guests.

The beauty of having several job titles is that you can optimize every single one of them for the algorithm so that people looking for a specific service or author, or podcast guest can easily find you.

Andy Foote Andy Foote

Advanced LinkedIn Strategies Coach

LinkedIn makes it really difficult to know who your “Super Fans” and potential “Super Fans” are; it’s as if they don’t want you to build any kind of base.

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You can see this with how they treat followers; they’re not ‘following’ at all – because an algorithm inserts itself between you and folks who have voted to see your content.

Fortunately, there’s software on the market (peakAboo by Daniel Hall) that provides juicy data on everyone who has commented on your LinkedIn posts. This helps me to know who solidly supports me and, more importantly, people who commented only a few times.

It’s the latter category I want to target and figure out a way to convert them into persistent supporters, a.k.a. “Super Fans.”


Prioritize Human-Centric Approach

Sandra Long Sandra Long

LinkedIn Trainer & Speaker – Post Road Consulting, Author of “LinkedIn for Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide”

Activate your employee team. Make sure your team’s LinkedIn profiles are co-branded and focused on client problem-solving instead of recruiter oriented.

Encourage the team to search and connect with coworkers, clients, and prospects. Train your team to build relationships with thoughtful, helpful comments and personalized messages.

Say no to automation. Train them to engage, inspire, and motivate their professional networks with valuable comments, original posts, and shared or reposted company page content.

Develop a company hashtag and communicate how to use it on LinkedIn. Most importantly, build your team’s confidence and make it fun!

Josh Steimle Josh Steimle

Founder of the LinkedIn agency BlueMethod, Author of the WSJ & USA Today bestselling book “60 Days to LinkedIn Mastery”

LinkedIn helps me solve my biggest challenges as an entrepreneur, whether it’s sales, recruiting, or finding partners.

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LinkedIn has easily produced millions of dollars in value for me.

Even though I wrote a book on LinkedIn with 60 tips in it, everything I teach in my book can be summarized in two words: Be human. It’s the best LinkedIn hack.

Too many are trying to imitate robots on LinkedIn by sending out spam messages, posting content but never engaging with commenters, and avoiding the time-consuming, truly creative work of one-to-one communication. But that’s where LinkedIn performs best!

When you use LinkedIn to talk directly with others, like a normal human being, that’s the moment when LinkedIn becomes indispensable.

Takeaway

As the world’s largest online professional network, Linkedin makes a remarkable addition to your social media marketing strategy.

Remember to take advantage of LinkedIn features and be consistent – all while offering value and nurturing relationships.

Armed with these tips, you’re bound to thrive on the LinkedIn feed and reap the rewards.

More Resources:

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Featured Image: 1st footage/Shutterstock

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