How to create thought leadership content that builds trust in your brand
In 1996, when Bill Gates published an essay titled ‘Content is King’ on the Microsoft website, he predicted that content would be a highly saleable, profitable asset on the Internet and boy, was he right. The Internet, particularly social media, enables everyone to create and publish content, giving anyone with access to a computer the opportunity to have a voice and build an audience. But not everyone who publishes content online is a thought leader, so who is?
What is thought leadership content?
Thought leaders tend to be individuals who are recognised as successful and an authority in their field of work – often a businessowner or someone in a senior role. From this positioning, thought leaders can increase their own profile and that of their business in the hope of attracting more clients. They do this by sharing their expertise with an eager, often dedicated, audience through blogs, white papers, webinars, podcasts and events, such as conferences and TED Talks – this is thought leadership content. The key to thought leadership is the ability to monetise this content, driving financial value for your business through leads and sales – and this starts with earning trust.
Any good marketer knows that if your prospects and clients trust your brand, they’re more likely to buy from you. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, a global study released earlier this year, consumers ranked ‘brand trust’ in the top five when they were asked to rank 11 buying considerations in order of importance. 81% of those surveyed stated “I must be able to trust the brand to do what is right.” Thought leadership is one of the most effective strategies for attaining brand trust. If a prospect trusts you and your opinion, they’re likely to trust your brand too. Let’s now look at the essentials to creating thought leadership content that builds trust in your brand.
Be committed and consistent
You’ve decided to take the plunge and start creating valuable content, but establishing yourself as a thought leader requires commitment, effort and diligence. With these three mastered, you’ll have no problem creating content on a regular basis, which helps maintain visibility for you and your brand. Once you hook a reader, they’ll expect your weekly jargon buster blog or monthly Q&A podcast – you don’t want to disappoint.
Use your own voice
As a thought leader, your personal brand is as valuable as your company brand. Your audience trusts in you as an individual and, for that reason, they want to hear your voice. Don’t worry if you’re not a wordsmith or a perfect speller – you don’t have to be Dickens. You know your area of expertise and that’s enough to create good, honest and insightful content. If you’re authentic, your audience is more likely to see authenticity in your brand.
Don’t over promote
In the era of fake news, data scandals and highly targeted ads, people are less willing than ever to trust what they read online. That’s why it’s important to be genuine in your content. Rather than using it as an opportunity to constantly promote your business, focus on educating and bringing value to your audience instead. After all, prospects are reading your article or watching your webinar because they want to access useful, insightful content – and if they’re doing so, they’re more likely to revisit your website or sign up to your mailing list. Today’s savvy surfers can spot an advert disguised as something else a mile off – and if you’re caught out, it’s only going to be detrimental to your brand.
Show your face
If content is king, video is the emperor. Over 50% of consumers (not just Millennials!) prefer video to other forms of content, such as blogs, social and emails. Video is a highly effective marketing tool, enabling you to convey a message in as little as a few seconds, while directly engaging your viewers. It also allows your audience to get to know you a bit better. You know the point we made about authenticity? Well, this is your opportunity to show who you really are, showcase your personality and humanise your brand.
Thought leadership content should always be informative, but don’t be afraid to share your opinion too. After all, the opinions of thought leaders are valued. By sharing your opinion, you’re being open and honest – and provocative content always has readers coming back for more.
Thought leadership isn’t just about you – it’s a great opportunity to collaborate with other influencers too. Collaboration enables you to build credibility, embrace different perspectives and reach a whole new audience. The important bit is getting the collaboration right – do your research, find someone whose content is relevant and valuable to your audience (likewise yours to theirs) and make sure the relationship is mutually beneficial.
Once you’ve established yourself as a thought leader, you’ll get asked to speak at lots of industry events. Of course, it’ll be tempting to accept every invitation, but you should choose your speaking gigs carefully. Is the event and its organiser credible? Are the attendees your potential clients? What kind of exposure will you get? Appearing at too many events can saturate your value as an expert and that of your brand, so ask yourself these questions and don’t be afraid to say no.
So, there you have it. Earning trust isn’t easy, but that’s what makes it so valuable. If you follow these golden rules, you’ll be well on your way to creating honest, insightful content that builds trust in your brand.
If you’d like to know more about content creation and brand strategy, get in touch – we’re always happy to help!
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