When it comes to crafting and sharing your ideas with your audience, becoming a thought leader in your industry necessitates thinking outside the box.
You must take the time to thoroughly and intentionally compose each message, whether you’re distributing it digitally or via online or in-person presentations.
Like any other content creation, coming up with thought leadership ideas can be difficult, especially if you want to stand out. You must first comprehend the process of becoming a thought leader and all that it entails before you can concentrate on producing ideas for thought leadership.
This entails responding to the industry’s most pressing problems and providing fresh viewpoints using a variety of content formats, including blog entries, whitepapers, research reports, videos, and podcasts.
But the market is saturated with tips and ideas; how can you come up with original insight and thought to set yourself apart?
1. Connecting With Your Audience
Starting a discussion with your audience is one of the most effective strategies to generate fresh, inventive ideas. Whether you organize a live or virtual event, send out a questionnaire to your email subscribers, or publish a poll on your social media presence, your audience is a source of information.
So, take the time to determine what your audience wants or needs. You can then ask for feedback on what they’d like to see from you, how you should go with sharing information, etc.
They are an excellent resource for coming up with content ideas for thought leadership pieces.
“In my businesses, one particularly unique thing I have is my customers, and they are a great resource when it comes to coming up with content ideas for thought leadership pieces. Staying connected with my customers and target audience has been key for me when it comes to coming up with new ideas for takes on topics that have already been covered to death.
The ideas can come from sales calls – hearing their pain points, unique experiences, and challenges they are dealing with. It can also be during trainings, support inquiries, or webinars – getting their feedback and insights. Or, it could also be from feedback we get on our social platforms. All of these channels of communication with customers and users can provide a ton of perspectives, and in the aggregate, it can spark some new ideas and takes.”
Andy Cabasso – Co-Founder at Postaga
2. Knowledge Gap Analysis
One of the best ways to develop new ideas is to question what confuses you after reading a particular article or what you wish to learn about.
Is it a lack of a specific skill or broad information that keeps you from coming up with new ideas? Consider the difference between your present and ideal performance and the steps you may take to close the gap.
If you don’t know the answer, the chances are others don’t, either, which is the perfect opportunity to learn and share insight.
“I start with my own knowledge gap. What do I have questions about? What still confuses me after reading other articles, or what do I want to learn more about? If I don’t know an answer, the chances are others don’t, either, which is the perfect opportunity to learn and share insight.”
– Katie Lewis, SaaS and B2B content marketer
According to a new McKinsey survey, 43% of respondents believe their company is experiencing skill and knowledge gaps, with another 44% expecting similar gaps to arise during the next five years.
You can close knowledge gaps inside your business and start working toward a more productive (and profitable) future by detecting knowledge gaps. Gap assessments enable you to undertake strategic workforce planning, gain a broad perspective of your business, identify improvement areas, and make necessary changes.
3. Conduct Surveys & Interviews
As B2B marketing tactics evolve, surveys become a more valuable and convincing resource. Combining insightful research with astute marketing strategies can help you attain B2B thought leadership.
“When it comes to generating new insights, the first step is to gather data from a variety of sources. This could include primary research, such as surveys and interviews, as well as secondary sources, such as news articles and academic papers. Once you have collected this information, the next step is to analyze it carefully.
Look for patterns and trends, and try to identify any areas that have been under-explored. Finally, it’s time to start generating ideas. Brainstorm with your team, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. By following these steps, you should be able to develop original insights that will help you stand out from your competitors.”
– Max Benz; Founder and CEO at BankingGeek
4. Examining Industry Experts & Utilize Social Media
Look at what industry experts and opinionated professionals are saying about the subject. You can also source quotes from people in the trenches working in the area you wish to cover by reviewing these posts.
“We have a three step process for this. And it’s a part of our regular brief creation tasks list.
1. Once you know what you’ll write about, use LinkedIn as a search engine. Look at what industry experts and opinionated professionals are saying about the subject. By reviewing these posts, you can also source quotes from people who are in the trenches, working in the area you wish to cover.
2. Next jump to YouTube. B2B companies are embracing the trend of being “media companies”. So you’ll find lots of shows for your topic.. lined up with additional insights and comments to mine.
3. The last layer of differentiation for us is the company narrative. What’s your brand’s take on the subject? How will people know that this is your content? For example, at Convert, every piece has a conscious business or privacy angle because these values are in our DNA.”
– Trina Moitra, Head Of Marketing @ Convert
In the B2B world, LinkedIn is a vital medium for sharing valuable insights and engaging with prospective clients. It plays a significant role in just about any effective thought leadership approach.
LinkedIn is a great way to build professional credibility because of its large following and reputation as a “business-first” social media platform.
LinkedIn’s simplicity of use for connecting with high-level decision-makers is one of its most vital advantages. Learning from others in your industry is an excellent method to keep connected while broadening your knowledge on a subject.
Attending virtual and in-person events hosted by people in your sector and your audience has expressed interest is another excellent technique to discover new ideas for thought leadership.
This might help you see what others are doing and how they tackle controversial or current themes in your business, similar to competitive analysis.
You’ll be able to comprehend your audience’s reaction better and develop new approaches to satisfy their specific demands, needs, and desires.
Next, jump to YouTube because B2B companies are embracing the trend of being “media companies.” So you’ll find lots of videos for your topic filled with additional insights and comments.
After you have gathered the information, dive deep into what’s your brand’s take on the subject?
Start by doing content research; use a platform like Ahrefs or SEMrush in addition to going straight to the source: Google. Try to find topics with a high search volume but low competition. Look for items that your competitors are talking about and related keywords.
Many of your clients will be on social media networks already, providing you with a platform to promote your content.
Furthermore, because social media allows for immediate customer and company contact via comments and messaging, it’s the ideal platform for you to assess the effectiveness of your content creation.
Social media material that is effective talks directly to your target audience. Likewise, the high level of involvement provides you with immediate and meaningful feedback on the success of your B2B thought leadership campaign.
5. Using Company Data To Create Content
Data storytelling may breathe fresh life into your material. Here’s how to do it.
Content marketers are all about finding innovative ways to engage with clients. That implies looking for issues linked to your company’s products or services but aren’t directly about them.
Data storytelling can play an important role in demonstrating the mission’s broader applications. People are always drawn to stuff that they can’t get anywhere else.
Exclusive material will help you stand out in a congested market, something that reams and reams of cat listicles on the internet can’t claim.
And that’s the thing with your company’s information: no one else owns it. It’s just you.
“In my experience at AdEspresso what worked really well was leveraging company data to produce content with a strong data-driven angle. Most companies are not willing to go the extra-mile and consume development resources to produce content. We did and the results were awesome. Our content was extremely unique and by releasing data we acquired a huge amount of backlinks. All the blogs that didn’t have original insights were linking to our data to prove their points.
Also: It’s extremely challenging to get a unique POV with content written by external content writers. Your top content, the one that is really unique and strongly opinionated should come from the founders. This is extremely important especially in the early days of the company were you really need to push out great, sharable content to have a chance to rank.”
– Massimo Chieruzzi, Former CEO & Co-Founder of AdEspresso
As previously stated, audiences gravitate to stuff they can’t obtain anywhere else. Ask yourself, “What kinds of data sets do I have that no one else has?” when seeking to make data the focal point of your work. This will enable you to give your audience greater value.
The key is to consider what kind of data you have to provide you with exclusive insights that no one else has. Of course, you don’t want to reveal any state secrets or, even worse, infringe on your consumers’ privacy.
However, businesses of various sizes have managed to make proprietary data sets the focus of blog articles, videos, and case studies without revealing anything too sensitive.
6. Use Your Experiences
While new “hacks” are fun and exciting, people need the basics.
Being a thought leader is often about “reinventing” the basics to be communicated in a new way. The easiest shortcut is to use your authentic voice – write how you talk, and your content will always be uniquely new.
“One way that we come up with original insights is through original research. Instead of quoting other people’s survives and findings, we think it is important to stay topical and responsive in marketing to do our own research.
We recently launched the Influencer Consumer Trust Report based on our original research of both consumers and marketing/communications professionals.”
– Bernadette Butler
You never know what will land and who you’ll be able to reach. You might be describing something hashed out one hundred times before; it usually has been! But there are always people who need to hear how you tell it.
By sharing your experiences with your readers, you can provide them with insight into your company and your tools, steps, and resources.
“While new “hacks” are fun and exciting, what people really need is the basics. Being a thought leader is often about “reinventing” the basics to be communicated in a new way. The easiest shortcut is to use your authentic voice – write how you talk and your content will always be uniquely new.
You might be describing something that’s been hashed out one hundred times before, it usually has been! But there are always people out there who need to hear it the way that you tell it. You never know what will land and who you’ll be able to reach.”
Founder, Paperbell Coaching Software
You must be clear and consistent in your ideas within your area of expertise. By creating a niche market or a specific area of expertise, you can aid in developing your brand and establishing a reputation in your sector.
Instead of attempting to be a thought leader in every aspect of your industry, concentrate on what you know best. Going deep on a few themes is more successful than sprinkling too many complementary topics.
7. Competitor Research
It’s likely that your primary competitors are pursuing their own B2B thought leadership approach, so keeping track of their recent actions is always beneficial.
Make a list of essential characteristics of your competitor’s content, such as the frequency, timing, and efficacy of their blog entries, website material, and social media output.
“I start out by doing content research. I use a platform like Ahrefs or SEMrush in addition to going straight to the source: Google. I look for items that our competitors are talking about, and then I look for related keywords. I try to kind topics that have a high search volume but a low competition.”
– Eliza Morrison Nimmich , Founder Learnt
To beat the competition, you must first recognize who they are and what they are up against. Identify a core set of competitors (3-5) as you construct your thought leadership content roadmap.
You can accomplish this by examining the frequency with which content is created, the types of content used, the themes addressed, the publications/audiences targeted, etc.
To view competition information quickly and easily, combine all of this information into a presentation. Compare the tactics to your own, and then start mapping out the areas where your company can get ahead of the competition.
Your brand must establish its reputation as a valuable, innovative, and ultimately distinctive destination for people to stand out in the highly competitive business world.
The sky’s the limit for what your business may achieve if you follow these suggestions and take the time to fine-tune your B2B thought leadership strategy. You’ll quickly improve your organization’s trustworthiness and knowledge, making it a desirable company for customers and industry leaders alike.