Memorable brands have a voice – and mind – of their own that are unique, engaging, and thought-provoking. Especially in today’s often cynical marketplace, leading brands offer prospects and buyers more than just detailed information on their products and services; they have opinions on what is happening in their industries and the world around them, they speak directly to their audience through interesting and inspirational content, and they create a brand culture that attracts attention, followers, and sales.
All of these characteristics help to separate the brands you know and love from the faceless, dull, and uninspired entities that buyers, at best, ignore and quickly forget or, at worst, never even notice. In a recent client meeting, we proposed a healthy and consistent dose of thought leadership content for a growing brand and everyone was nodding in agreement . . . except one lone dissenter. He had tried this approach before at a previous company, but it had failed miserably.
This led to a highly insightful discussion about the merits of thought leadership, but more importantly, the right way of conveying it. After discussing our approach to this type of valuable messaging and content, it became apparent that our one objector had possibly seen less than favorable results with his former organization because of an approach that did not include key elements – the kind of important things that can mean the difference between just garbled words on a page and intriguing content that leaves lasting and positive impressions.
Do These Things to Create Impactful Thought Leadership Content
Think in terms of a campaign.
Too often, companies have a one-and-done approach to blogs, podcasts, videos, and other content that seems to be a mishmash of ideas that are disjointed and unfocused. Create a content calendar that allows you to map out what you want to communicate during various times of the year or their stage of the buyer’s journey. This increases your opportunities for timely content that can be scheduled for maximum exposure and attention. Support your core content with email announcements and social media that attract added attention. When all of these elements work and move in tandem, your messaging begins to take the shape of a memorable campaign.
Nearly 90% of decision makers say thought-leadership content can enhance their perception of an organization (per @SpokeMarketing).
Address your audience’s pain with actionable steps.
Speak directly to your prospects and buyers with meaningful content that gets to the heart of what they are feeling and experiencing. What problems can you solve for them? Give them solutions and a step-by-step guide to accomplishing this with your brand front and center as the clear answer. When you create this type of content, you are talking to your brand followers, not at them. Remember, you want to have pleasant and memorable brand conversations – and here’s where it begins.
Tell your story.
Every brand has a great story, and your job is to make people interested in hearing it. This is your chance to stand out from the masses in an interesting, unique, and (where appropriate) fun way that prospects and buyers will relate to. Tell your followers what inspired you to start the company, or convey how your brand helped a client overcome a recent challenge. People love to read about other people that work for your brand or use your brand to overcome their problems. No one has your exact perspective – use this to your advantage.
Keep a focus on SEO keywords.
Keywords are the words and phrases that people use in Google, Bing, and other online search engines to find your website. Including these keywords in your website content drives search engine optimization (SEO), which can help you attract more customers and sales. How can you easily determine what keywords to use? Search intent services can provide you with words and phrases that customers commonly use to find products and services in your industry. Other online tools such as SEMrush, Algolia, and MOZ can also provide you with applicable SEO keywords.
When writing or producing new content, keep backlink possibilities in mind. Also known as “inbound links,” these are links from one website to a page on another website. For instance, another website may have content with a link to your website as reference or as a mention. Search engines notice backlinks and recognize your web page as “valuable,” and this helps to raise your search rankings. In addition, sites that have greater influence, or “domain authority,” are more heavily-weighted by search engines and are more likely to send traffic to your website. Creating interesting and timely content – dynamic blogs, videos, and podcasts – increases your chances of people wanting to link to your web page and site.
Include a call to action.
When creating content, be sure to include what you want your audience to do after experiencing it. Include a free download with more information about the topic and your brand. Capture prospect data and use this information to create a targeted marketing automation campaign. Give prospects and customers a hashtag and ask them to respond on social media about the article they have just read. Provide a clear link to your contact information so that they can ask questions and learn more about your products and services. Keep the conversation going by giving website visitors reasons to keep coming back for more.
Stay the course.
One of the great things about content marketing is that it is measurable. But often, companies get frustrated by the early metrics. Like most things in life, it takes time to build momentum, and a consistent plan for posting your content is key to your ongoing and long-term success. Also, plan ahead but be flexible. Monitor what is going on in your industry and with your audience and respond appropriately with timely content that provokes thought, inspires action, and, most importantly, shows you are listening. That’s what thought leadership is all about.
At Spoke, we specialize in helping brands get from where they are to where they want to be.™ Ready to start creating thought leadership content of your own? Let’s discuss; then we’ll get started on content campaigns that lead to conversations with your brand followers.