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What Is Thought Leadership and Why Do B2B Companies Need It?
Creating and sharing content that contributes to thought leadership is an invaluable tool for building your business and drawing in potential buyers. As marketers serving B2B professional service firms, we often find ourselves explaining the importance of establishing thought leadership to our clients. So what exactly is thought leadership and why do you need it?
Thought leadership is simply providing content that your potential buyers and prospects will find useful and informative. Thought leadership can also draw on your expertise in a particular subject matter in order to help your audience learn something they are interested in or solve a problem. Let’s be clear about what thought leadership is not though. Thought leadership is not a podium for you to hard-sell yourself or your business. Rather its sole purpose is to help others by creating and sharing useful content. Thought leadership may involve creating and sharing your own content, such as blog posts, white papers, E-books, videos, etc., or it could be sharing useful content that has been created by other experts in your field. Either way, as you begin to create and share helpful content with your audience, they will start to view you as a leader and expert on these topics and this will help generate credibility with your audience.
In addition to helping you establish credibility in your field, sharing thought leadership internally with your team can help your workforce become more well-informed on relevant industry news and can even spur great strategic business ideas. For example, thought leadership could lead to an idea for a new article, a new business service, or a new tool to create more efficient processes. Be sure the news your share is timely; so, share this information as you come across it. Share it with you coworkers so that they can leverage it to improve business, or share it with your buying audience via social media.
This advice, of course, hinges on the idea that you are either creating or reading valuable content on a regular basis. We generally recommend that our clients spend at least one hour a week reading for thought leadership, whether it’s a book, a blog post, or a trade magazine. You’d be surprised at what you can learn in just an hour and the ideas that can be generated from such a small time commitment. Unsure where to begin? One great way to stay on top of your reading is to create a Google Reader, which allows you to organize your favorite Web sites, blogs and news topics in one easy to use place. Check out our tutorial below for how to set one up. Give it a test and let us know what you think. Happy reading to you!