March 31, 2014

Why Your Thought Leadership Content is Failing

More companies are turning to content marketing – the creation and dissemination of custom content – to build thought leadership and differentiate themselves. In fact, according to CMI’s “B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends- North America” report, 68 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing to increase thought leadership. But is the content they are creating really considered thought leadership?

According to a recent report from Man Bites Dog, organizations are failing when it comes to developing intriguing content. In fact, three-quarters of thought leadership content is actually unoriginal. What’s more, 74 percent of marketing leaders admit to jumping on the thought leadership bandwagon rather than taking the time to do it right. While providing true thought leadership can be a valuable asset to a brand that wants to be heard and make a stand in its respected industry, with so many corporate voices sharing opinions it can be hard to stand out.

“The thing that makes professional services firms stand out from their competitors is the quality of their people and their expertise. But if everyone is saying the same thing, how can clients tell the difference between them?” said Claire Mason, managing director at Man Bites Dog.

So how can you develop thought leadership content that drives traffic and increases customer engagement? By following these three simple rules:

  1. Have a unique perspective: Thought leadership should intrigue, inspire and challenge the norm. It should help spark conversation with your readers and enhance existing relationships. Choose one topic and run with it. Focusing on too many things at once can seem disjointed or confusing to readers.
  2. Give it away for free: Thought leadership is supposed to ignite intrigue; it’s not meant to be a revenue stream. It should be given away freely. Leave the lead generation forms and hard sells to your whitepapers and case studies.
  3. Don’t be a know-it-all: Be humble. Admit to what don’t know. No one can be an expert on everything. After all, thought leadership isn’t about making a prediction early on and hoping you’re right; it’s about sharing enthusiasm with customers and partners about something you are passionate about.

Remember:  your content is direct extension of your brand’s image. Following these steps will ensure that your readers look to your company as more than just a solution, but also as an industry expert.

Edited by Gerald Baldino

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