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Thought leadership is a great way for organizations to separate themselves from the pack. By publicly directing a conversation on a given topic, you, as well as other leaders within your organization, can establish yourself as an expert in your field and a resource for potential customers looking for answers.
Like most leadership positions — someone cannot become a thought leader overnight. Thought leadership isn’t about hocking products or pushing marketing messaging. It’s about generating awareness by providing value to potential customers and it takes careful consideration to develop ideas, stories, and angles in order to craft a message that will resonate with that target audience.
So, how do you generate those ideas? Start by asking these five questions to create campaigns that will help shape you and your business as a thought leader in your industry:
1. Why do our customers ultimately buy our product/solution? What problem are we solving?
When do prospects have that “a-ha” moment? Having a clear sense of your strengths as an organization is essential to thought leadership. Identify the problem you are solving for prospects, then create content to highlight and emphasize those advantages – focus on the problem/solution vs. your product specifically.
2. Why don’t prospects buy? Where does our competition excel?
A clear understanding of your weaknesses will provide direction. You can build a thought leadership campaign around these areas in an effort to influence and educate prospects. If you have a solid understanding of potential hangups for prospects, develop campaigns that directly respond to those issues. As a result, you’ll be able to answer questions before they are even asked. For example, if you’re losing deals because prospects don’t understand how your solution can save time, you may want to create thought leadership content addressing the ROI of increased productivity.
3. What research do we have? Do we have any available data?
The ability to support your claims with data is a game changer. A particularly relevant and illuminating statistic changes your perception from someone spouting opinions to an expert citing well-researched facts. Bonus points if the data is your own: case studies, customer surveys, and industry research are all useful sources of information for thought leaders.
4. What’s the last thing you read about your industry that got you really fired up?
Your team should already be keeping a finger on the pulse of your industry, so address the trends about which your team is passionate. Get the details: what’s driving the new trend? Do they have a contrarian or supporting view? Use this as an opportunity to react to similar stories with new perspective from your company.
5. What does your industry look like a year from now? Five years? Ten years?
Make bold predictions for the future. These are opinions, but based on facts you are seeing today that are driving the predictions. Having your company included in prediction pieces positions your thought leaders as someone who is thinking about the bigger picture.
These questions will create discussion and deliver answers that will shape your possibilities for thought leadership moving forward. The stories generated from these discussions can be used in various ways in order to maximize their impact: contributed content for media outlets, posts on your company blog, videos, social media posts, and more.
Interested in learning more about how to develop stories that position your company as a leader?
Download our Guide to Storytelling to learn how you develop ideas for stories that earn press coverage (no press release needed).
About the Author
Drew Tharp is an Account Executive at BLASTmedia, a national B2B technology PR agency specializing in media relations, content creation and thought leadership.
These articles have been curated by our friends at BLASTmedia, a national PR agency focusing on media relations for B2B technology companies.