If your B2B company isn’t drawing on the perspectives and experiences of executives and subject matter experts (SMEs) to create thought leadership content, you’re missing out on a major marketing opportunity.
Thought leaders command more attention in the B2B space than companies that just focus on traditional marketing. In fact, 64% of decision makers research a company’s industry perspective and insight before ever reaching out and making contact.
Here are the best ways to leverage your internal expertise throughout your B2B content marketing efforts in order to position your company as an authority in your industry.
What is Thought Leadership?
Thought leadership is a form of B2B content marketing that shares practical industry knowledge, success stories, and unique ideas and viewpoints. Thought leadership helps your company:
- Build credibility and authority
- Recruit and retain exceptional employees
- Expand into new markets
- Generate valuable leads
- Make more money
Leverage Organizational Expertise
Thought leadership articles are strongest when they’re attached to a byline. But where is the best place to look for an expert with deep industry knowledge? Try the C-suite.
Executive leaders should be your first choice when it comes to thought leadership in B2B marketing as their authority is well established. Plus, 67% of buyers and decision makers prefer content written from the perspective of an identifiable author instead of the brand itself.
However, it isn’t always realistic for companies to pull executives away from their important tasks to provide content. Thankfully, they aren’t the only group that can be effective thought leaders. Anyone in your company can be a thought leader if they have expertise in their field as well as a strong or unique perspective about important issues.
Looking beyond the C-suite makes thought leadership not only more interesting and well-rounded but also much easier to manage, coordinate, and publish consistently when your executives are juggling too many other projects. With some help — like writing support and direction from your B2B content marketing team — it’s possible to turn anyone with a strong grasp on a subject into a thought leader.
Build Systems to Capture Insight
Your SMEs will have an excellent understanding of the industry and the role your organization plays in it — but that doesn’t always mean they know what makes great content. That’s why they shouldn’t be tasked with actually coming up with content ideas, let alone writing or executing.
Put structures in place to collect their thoughts on a regular basis to help inform your content strategy, without disrupting their other important work. By scheduling a regular meeting, you can learn about current pain points, industry shifts, new products and services, and anything else on their minds.
This can help with everything from topic ideation, to nailing down talking points, to gathering quotes. Understandably, many SMEs develop tunnel vision and lose perspective about the level of outsider knowledge, so prepare questions ahead of time to draw out the best insights.
Encourage Ownership at Every Level
Many employees would be happy to contribute to thought leadership efforts, especially since writing marketing content could help them build their personal brand within the industry. But employees are often unaware of this opportunity to get involved.
Creating incentives for participation will help introduce the idea of a thought leadership program and drum up interest from team members. By taking time to recognize employees who participate during team meetings, offering additional compensation, or even building content creation directly into company roles, you can help employees take ownership of the process and the content they create.
And the best part? B2B content marketing done in-house with the input of SMEs and executives is both labor effective and time efficient.
The Path to Better B2B Content Marketing
You can’t position your organization as an authority in your field if you overlook the people who are working behind the scenes to make it successful. The trick to producing effective thought leadership is identifying knowledgeable voices in your company and pairing them with writers, editors, and strategists who can help them communicate that knowledge effectively. Doing so empowers your team (in the C-suite and beyond) to consider B2B content marketing a group effort and can help position you as an influential industry leader.
Don’t settle for content that is surface-level, irrelevant, too salesy, or inconsistent in messaging, which ultimately tarnishes your brand. By drawing on the roster of thought leaders who are already at your disposal, you can create engaging, successful B2B content.
Need help optimizing your current B2B content marketing strategy? Reach out to us.