Tag Archives: content strategy

Thought Leadership: Worth the Challenge to Achieve It

Thought leadership is worth it – but it’s hard to achieve, explains Aden Andruswriting in Disrupting Advertising.  He explains that thought leadership is much more than simply social shares or backlinks.  “True thought leadership”, he details, “makes people want to work with you and [it] has a huge impact on your bottom line.” “People respond best”, he explains, “when you create real value for them.”

In the case of his own efforts to generate a thought leadership position for his client company – excellent content produced significantly higher organic traffic and 32 times more organic lead volume – over a two-year period of committed thought leadership efforts.

He explains, however, that “any good blog editor knows that more organic ‘leads’ is not the same thing as more organic sales.”  Two years after his thought leadership efforts began, he noted, his company generated 64 times more revenue

“So, does thought leadership generate meaningful business results?”, he asks. “Absolutely. In fact, if you do it right, becoming a thought leader in your industry is one of the most effective ways to build your business.”

Practical Advice on How to Achieve Thought Leadership Status

Julie Schwartz writes in ITSMA blog that “marketing can’t do thought leadership alone… if it does, the output will be promotion, not thought leadership.” Marketing, she explains, “must get the buy-in, support, and commitment of executives and subject matter experts to become part of the idea-generating and dissemination process.”  She further notes that the success of any thought leadership effort “requires a deep commitment not just from marketing but from the entire company”.

Schwartz details 4 key elements for any organization to successfully achieve thought leadership status:

  1. Thought leadership efforts must connect deeply with target audiences need and goals
  2. Fact-based research is essential to establishing a more credible thought leadership
  3. Organizations must develop engines for idea development as well as dissemination (often, but not exclusively, social media based). “McKinsey and Bain have had these [initiatives] for decades, [and] more mainstream B2B companies are now making the same kind of thought leadership marketing transformation”, she noted.
  4. Concrete metrics used to judge success are required, and they are: Reputation Relationships and Revenue.

Further Considerations if You’re Contemplating Thought Leadership 

Julie Schwartz and Aden Andrus explain with precision the reasons why thought leadership works to increase revenue and can be achieved via specific steps taken by an organization (not only marketing).  They both also cite the need to measure the effort as against revenue.  I’d note that when considering who might be appointed to undertake responsibility for the editorial process of such an effort – consider appointing someone who understands the intersection of business development and content marketing.  Too, that this person has deep experience in researching and writing thought leadership publications.  And finally, that this person also understands fully the mechanisms by which inbound marketing and content production fit in the mix between outbound sales and business development.

Thought leadership, as is explained above – is not easy to achieve.  It takes time, patience, and the work of both marketing professionals, writers and subject matter experts.  Working together, however, these professionals can help an organization achieve substantial revenue growth.  Which begs the question:  If you’re not focused on building a thought leadership effort – shouldn’t you be considering it?

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How social media is being used to successfully promote international trade and investment

Organizations supporting international trade and investment facilitation are “exploring new platforms and showing greater confidence in their abilities to use social media effectively”, according to a recent Holmes Report, citing a study by Kellen and ComRes.

International Social Media Brings Unique Challenges

And as Business Wales explains: “Social media can be a great way to connect with customers abroad, building your brand, providing services and reducing the distance between your company and its markets.”  But they also caution that as in any form of international business — “conducting conversations around the globe on Facebook, Twitter and the like brings new challenges. The good news [is] – as [is] so often [the case] with social media…most of these primarily need thought, rather than investment.”

As they detail, the prime steps in establishing a presence include defining your goals and how your social presence can help you achieve them, choosing the right channels, planning a content strategy, choosing people to manage day-to-day operations and regular updates – and importantly, constant monitoring.

Seek to emulate the World Economic Forum

Perhaps the most successful example of social media use by an organization seeking to facilitate international trade and investment is the World Economic Forum (WEF).  As Andy Vale (@AndyValedetailed in an extensive article for the Content Marketing Institute — the WEF has established a robust social media presence in an effort to promote its’ work on a global scale.  

As a part of his article, Vale interviewed Henry Taylor (@henryctaylor), the social media producer for the WEF.  Taylor explained to Vale how WEF’s prime social media activity is content from their blog.  Too, WEF has several large meetings per year, which Taylor and the WEF social media team actively promote across their branded social networks – marshalling support from a range of influencers across a variety of platforms all helping to amplify the message of each event.  They also support conversations online by direct mail and direct engagement with journalists via Twitter’s direct messaging system.  The social media success of it’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland is a prime example of the fantastic success the WEF social media team have helped the organization achieve on a global scale.

As one of the world’s pre-eminent trade and investment facilitation organizations that’s also successfully leveraged social media to amplify its’ message and achieve its’ goals — the WEF is well worth emulating.

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