Think of any company today; chances are they’re probably allocating a hefty budget to content marketing. But as anyone who’s ever written an article about their own company knows, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to get a piece of content published. Content marketing is one of the most challenging marketing strategies to get right. That’s because producing high-quality content requires a lot of research, planning, and working with tight word limits.
Content marketers tackle this challenge in lots of different ways – but one step that nearly every successful content marketer takes is focusing on thought leadership. So what exactly is thought leadership? And how can you use it to make your content marketing efforts much more effective?
Let’s start by looking at the numbers. According to a recent report, the average B2B customer purchases $87,000 worth of products per year. That’s a pretty staggering number – but it gets even more impressive when you consider that, in the same report, only 36% of customers are “delighted” with those purchases.
Ideally, thought leadership will make your customers see you as the sole go-to resource for whatever difficulties they face in their professional lives. This is much more effective than branding yourself as simply a “product provider” because it’s much more sustainable. As long as you provide helpful content, your customers won’t run out of reasons to stay loyal to you. But if you’re simply a product provider, you lose your customers forever the second you stop producing valuable products.
In other words, most customers don’t get what they want from the products they buy. And the reason for this is that these customers don’t know exactly what they want until they’re at the moment of purchase. That’s why B2B customers only buy when they’re in pain and have no other choice. That’s also why, when they do buy, they’re “only somewhat satisfied with the outcome.”
If you want to achieve thought leadership in your industry, you’ll need to start by digging deep into the pain points of your target customers. To do this, you can use a variety of methods, including:
– Talking to your customers: To get the most out of your customer interviews, ask open-ended questions about their professional pains, not just the products they buy from you.
– Reading customer surveys and reviews: Make sure to read these critically, though – customers are often more critical when they have to put their money where their mouth is.
– Reading blogs and industry publications: Pay close attention to what your customers are reading and talking about – you’ll often find they’re still talking about the same problems they’ve always had.
– Conducting internal research: You might want to consider surveying your employees or organizing a focus group to see what problems your organization is facing.
– Observing your competitors: Compare and contrast your competitors’ products and marketing strategies with your customers. You’ll often find that you’re solving the same problems.
This is to say that becoming a thought leader in your field is a compelling marketing strategy. If you can get your customers to see you as the authority on their problems, you’ll have a loyal customer base for years to come. That’s why every successful business is investing in content marketing these days. The question is – are you doing the same? If not, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to attract customers and increase brand loyalty. Now that you know what thought leadership is and why it’s essential, you’re well-equipped to become a thought leader in your industry and reap the rewards. Reach out to us with any questions- always happy to assist.