As you know, it’s becoming tougher and tougher to compel our prospective clients to do business with us. There are several reasons for this, but one significant reason is because of all the ‘noise’ out there.
Everyday we are hit with 100’s of emails, web banners, and print adverts, etc. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to cut through this and be seen or heard. For small businesses in Fife this presents a big challenge, especially when we are trying to get new customers. How can you be perceived as a credible and trustworthy business? How do your prospective clients find you and then decide to do business with you? How do you become the go to business for what it is that you do?
In this article I will introduce Thought Leadership to you as a realistic solution for cutting through all the noise and becoming the ‘go to’ person/business in your niche.
What is Thought Leadership?
“Delivering content where and when it’s needed and, in the process, branding your organisation as a leader” (Source, Pg. 31)
By producing great content that’s relevant to your position in the market place (or the position you want to be in), you can establish yourself, and your business, as the go to authoritative source for your industry sector.
Imagine for a moment you are a marketer of a floristry, instead of just peddling flowers. You might create an eBook on 7 tips to make your flowers last longer, or a short educational video on how to prepare the perfect bouquet.
You are not selling your services directly, but establishing yourself as an expert or authoritative source, so that when the time comes, people buy from you instead of someone else.
In fact, you never mention your products. Think about the problems your consumers are facing and help them solve them.
The point of Thought Leadership is to show that you and your organisation are smart and worth doing business with.
Some examples of Thought Leadership
This article that you are reading now has been published on my blog, and I write a blog every week that’s relevant to small business marketing in Fife. I have also written several eBooks that I can give a way for free that further establishes my credibility. I have also written a few columns for other publications.
Another example is from a Director of a company I was chatting to a few weeks ago. They are really embracing ‘Thought Leadership’ and ‘Authoritative Writing’ to establish themselves as the ‘go to’ organisation for their services. They are putting themselves out there as the authoritative source of knowledge in their industry…and it’s working. They write a regular blog and they have invested a lot of time and money into producing content for other industry publications. This is now a significant part of their marketing plan.
We can all learn a lot from this organisation and this method of marketing. Here’a few quotes from our meeting:
This is an example of doing the hard work to make the selling easy:
“Producing all the content is a lot of hard work, but it’s completely worth it. We are starting to see the results.”
This a great example of how changing your marketing changes your results:
“We just had our best months ever and we’re not really sure why. We have been doing a lot more marketing recently, maybe it’s that?”
They realise that it’s not going to happen overnight, but you’ve got to start somewhere. It’s important to understand that doing something like this could differentiate you from your competition.
It’s amazing what’s actually going on out there. We can learn so much from other people.
Getting Started With Thought Leadership
You might be thinking that this is a great idea, but wondering what could you be doing to get started?
You have to get into the mindset of being a publisher. If you can do this you will be able to build a following through Thought Leadership. A lot of your activity will be based around writing and publishing content.
Thinking Like a Buyer
Every single activity that’s related to your communication with your audience must start with your customer avatar/buyer persona. You have to know who you are writing for before you start; you have to think like a buyer. We go through this in great depth on The Academy. What works is a focus on your buyers and their problems, for example:
- Who are your readers?
- How do you reach them?
- What are their motivations?
- What are the problems you can help them solve?
- How can you entertain them and inform them at the same time?
- What content will compel them to purchase what you have to offer?
You really need to get into your customers shoes and think like them.
How to get your content out there
There are many ways to get your content out there, again you have to think about your buyer and where they are. What media are they more likely to consume? Here are some example of the media you could be using to get your content out there:
- Audio & Video
- White Paper
- Photos & images
- Graphs & Statistics
- Email Newsletters
Become the ‘go to’ person/business in your niche
What do you want to be the go to person/business/organisation for? If you know what it is, start thinking about how to position yourself through creating and providing excellent content and information through a blog, eBooks, White Papers, Webinars, etc, and get it out there for people to consume.
Have a great week,