You started with a novel idea, it has been fine-tuned after going through market research and now you are at the point where you want to tell the world about the discoveries. The time is right for your thought leadership to be noticed.
Okay, so maybe not ‘the world’, but certainly your marketplace. If you have gone through an advisory stage, you will have a properly defined target audience. That is a process we highly recommend you undertake before forming insights and a narrative. A ‘scattergun’ approach won’t bring out the full potential of your ideas.
Once you have formulated your thought leadership, and populated the content with compelling insights, infographics and an appealing storyline, it is time to take it to your target audience. There are several immediate options available to you, although these will be limited compared to a sustained, strategic approach.
Publish thought leadership on your website – in the right way
Uploading thought leadership content to your organization’s website may be a case of picking the low-hanging fruit, and is a necessary step, but one that needs careful planning – more than you might at first think. It is vital to speak with internal online marketing and digital colleagues about the best ways to publish on the site. These questions should come in useful:
- What content formats usually resonate with site visitors?
- Has the copy been proofread and fact-checked? Sources referenced?
- Has an SEO strategy been developed?
- Can links to this content appear in appropriate places elsewhere on the website?
- Will the content appear quickly and look good on users’ devices/computers?
- Are there any additional languages we need to consider?
- Do we have dedicated social media ‘cards’ that can attract clicks from users on LinkedIn and other platforms?
- Have all call-to-action links been thoroughly tested?
- Have accessibility issues been addressed for users with any visual, hearing, or other needs that require different display or audio?
- Is the content sufficiently branded to convey our organization’s name and values to new readers?
- Are we publishing all campaign content in one go or via a ‘drip-feed’ strategy?
- Is there a social media strategy in place to support this content?
- Is any or all of the content being ‘gated’? If so, is this necessary?
- How does the content tie in with other channels, for example, PR and Sales efforts?
We hope you reach satisfactory conclusions on the above, but here are some words of caution.
Everything, Everywhere, All at Once?
Publishing everything at once is a good idea if your site doesn’t have many visits from regular users. This is usually true for corporate websites that remain largely static. An upside of this approach is that pieces of content can be easily interlinked right from the start.
Conversely, the drip-feeding method is recommended if you have a site that gets regular visits. As you continue to publish your content in stages, remember to update previously published content with links pointing to your fresh pieces.
Enemy At the Gate?
There’s also a dilemma around gating. At our recent Thought Leadership for Tomorrow event, we hosted Scott Addison, Director and Head of Corporate at Infinite Global, who is not a fan of gating everything, particularly when it pertains to sustainability and societal issues, where information and ideas should be shared more widely and be more easily accessible.
“Are you arguably putting those ideas into the public domain then, if you’re gating those insights?”, asked Scott. Food for thought…
Putting the argument for gated content was Shabnam Gangar, Vice President of Marketing at iResearch Services. She opined that information collection is important for marketing, but conceded that for thought leadership to spread, it has to be public.
Addressing the grey area between these two contrasting views, Anders Erlandsson, the Head of IndustryLabs at Ericsson, is generally supportive of the gating of content, but only for one month, after which time, he believes it should be made public.
Gating for a limited time or only certain content is one way to address this conundrum and a sensible way to balance the online publishing approach. Another is to repurpose elements of that content to share in different ways – some gated and some publicly available via the company’s website and social media channels. This, too, is better served as a strategic decision that reflects the company’s overall brand, vision and values.
Build it and they will come?
The mere act of putting content on your website does not guarantee a torrent of leads coming your way and vast coverage across the media. Updates made to corporate websites barely make a ripple in the vast ocean of business news.
How do you get traffic to your newly published thought leadership content? The trick is to tackle it at the start of your thought leadership project.
When you are planning your thought leadership programs – from those first ideas and initial white space analysis – you also need to consider your activation strategy. Being clear on your activation approach from the outset makes it easier to draw out the most valuable insights throughout the research stages and tailor narratives to appeal to your different audiences and channels.
To maximize the impact and reach of your thought leadership, you will need a combination of content types and channels tailored to different departments in your organization as well as your target customers. We advise our clients to consider the following routes to market at that first idea stage:
- Strong, business-focused narratives to use in the report and campaign content
- A visual, research-led report
- Spin-off content from the report with visuals, focused on each key business challenge/opportunity and associated trend or theme, e.g., infographics and articles/mini reports, video snippets and soundbites
- Infographics and data visualizations using the research findings
- Articles from the subject matter experts on specific trends/themes from the thought leadership
- Headlines and talking points for PR/Communications teams and agencies – these can populate media releases and alerts
- Talking points/sales enablement tools for business development
Taking care of activation and measuring impact
Lead generation and demand generation strategies can be woven into thought leadership programs – again, it’s important to consider these at the outset.
iResearch Services has extensive experience in creating and implementing activation strategies for clients, plus we’re able to deliver vital post-activation reporting on your campaign.
TROI™, standing for Thought Leadership Return on Investment, is our proprietary software to analyze your organization’s campaign performance in these key areas:
- Commercial Effectiveness
If you’re looking to achieve a major impact from your campaign and the ability to comprehensively measure its results, get in contact with iResearch Services today. We have proven expertise in creating an abundance of leads from ideas and revelations.Back to Blogs