Let's talk... PR and outreach
Promoting your thought leadership pieces: 7 top tips
As a brand, you always want to be known as one of the best in your industry. An excellent reputation will bring continued consumer trust, and a loyal customer base. Thought leadership is a great way of leveraging your position at the top, using your depth of knowledge and experience to help inform audiences and in some cases, convert them into buyers.
What is thought leadership? Put simply it is a way to use your expertise and insight through the production of high value content such as blogs, podcasts, white papers, research and videos, that will bring value to your target audience – usually in offering well-formed opinion, industry insight, answering questions and helping to navigate challenges that they face. Such content will resonate with your target audience and used well can help to influence a purchase decision, and potentially long-lasting customer relationships.
One good example of a brand that regularly utilises thought leadership is HubSpot. On their website, they host a range of e-books, guides and templates for businesses to download and learn more about marketing. By covering several topics in detail and turning them into educational resources, the platform presents itself as a marketing leader who can teach others. More potential leads are therefore likely to turn to the brand for assistance, building their reputation as an industry authority. Those same leads might even consider signing up to HubSpot as a marketing tool, showing how thought leadership can also translate to sales.
An alternative example for a B2C audience can be seen in MAC’s Artistry page. Here, the brand hosts various make-up tutorials that help people recreate looks at home. Again, the focus here is teaching others how to improve their own knowledge and skill, which positions MAC as a leader. If viewers find value in each video, they are more likely to watch more, helping to create brand trust and increase engagement. The added bonus is that most tutorials will feature MAC products, so it doubles as a sales tool.
Information and education can be incredibly influential, and combined with a good brand reputation you can help shape the decisions made during their customer journey.
Additionally, through publishing compelling content that highlights your expertise, you will further set your brand apart from your competitors, leading to increased opportunities and further cementing your reputation as an industry leader.
To ensure that you reap the full results, you will need to promote your thought leadership content to ensure that it reaches your target audience.
In this guide, we have listed our top tips for promoting your thought leadership content to get the exposure it deserves.
Social media is a simple but effective way to share your content. By sharing links to your thought leadership pieces via your social media profiles, you can promote it to all your followers who may choose to share it further with their contacts.
If you share your content on social media, it’s worth offering additional commentary that compels users to click the link and find out more about what you have to say. You may even consider using paid social promotion to expand your reach and target more feeds. However, you should be aware that this may not always bring authentic results unless you can effectively target people interested in your business and won’t ignore your post.
However, with social media platforms becoming increasingly saturated with brand marketing, it often takes more than just sharing your content to get attention. This is where building online relationships can help.
Using social listening, you can identify individuals who will be genuinely invested in your expertise and actively looking for the solutions you have to offer. Once you have found them, you can use social media commenting and direct messaging to give them a tailored referral to your thought leadership, showcasing the personal value you can offer and making them more likely to engage.
Email is a tried-and-tested way of promoting content. Simply put, you send out an email or newsletter that links readers to your thought leadership pieces, delivering it directly into their inboxes.
If you are utilising email, it’s essential to be smart. Most of us regularly delete emails without even opening them – so you need to make sure your email is opened, read and clicked. Experiment with subject lines until you find one that compels your readers, making it clear what the receiver should expect when they open the email and highlighting the value they can gain.
It’s also worth segmenting your email database to provide information to those it will resonate with most if you have the appropriate information about them. This may include those at a certain stage of their journey (for example, existing customers or those who have yet to purchase from you), interests and demographics. By targeting the right people at the right time, you will likely witness more favourable open and click-through rates, as well as offer people insight when they need it most.
Repurpose long-form content
While long-form content, such as blogs, can be useful in providing comprehensive detail on a topic, it is not always the most engaging. Many of us are guilty of skim-reading large sections of text, so breaking longer articles into bite-sized chunks can be a great way to grab people’s attention when time is scarce. This type of content also suits social media, so it’s a handy way to share your content and engage users on those channels.
Utilise concepts you have explored in your longer content and consider how they can break down into more minimalistic pieces. Popular forms of short content include videos, infographics and images. Video, in particular, has been proven to increase engagement, with 54% of consumers wanting to see more of it from brands.
The aim of your content should be to draw people in even as they scroll swiftly through their feed. You also need to make a clear point about the topic you are discussing and demonstrate your expertise in the field.
You can then link to the longer content you might host on your website so that interested parties can find out more about what you have to say. This helps you promote your longer thought leadership pieces while making it easier for readers to consume them and more likely to pay attention.
Link-building has two purposes. Firstly, it helps to enhance SEO by improving your domain authority, meaning people find you more easily through organic search. Secondly, it allows external domains to act as a referral tool for your content, leading traffic from their website to yours. By getting someone to link to your thought leadership pieces, you can encourage their readers to come to you if they want to explore the topic further.
There are many methods to build links. If you create excellent content, you may find it happens naturally. Alternatively, you can research websites related to the topic you are pursuing and reach out to ask if they will be willing to link to your website. They may expect something in return, so be prepared to return the favour in your own content.
Another option is to seek any broken links in external content related to yours. Then, reach out to the owner to alert them that their link is broken, which could interrupt the user experience, and offer yours as a solution.
You must focus on relevancy here. Getting your content linked to anywhere can have negative consequences for your SEO, which is part of the reason that Google opposes paying for backlinks. It’ll also mean that the people who come through to you probably won’t be interested in what you have to offer. So, aim to get links in place that directly align with your target audience.
Explore different platforms
Another great way to gain exposure as a thought leader is by using your reputation to access wider PR opportunities. In the digital era that we’re in, especially post-pandemic, there are more forms of media to experiment with than ever. These include webinars, podcasts, online expos and so on. There are also still possibilities in the physical world, such as conferences and other panel-based events.
If you effectively highlight your expertise through thought leadership, you may find yourself getting an increasing number of invites to talk at events or on podcasts. You can even host your own.
The benefit of such activity is that it lets you discuss topics in more detail, debate with others, and provide commentary. In doing this, you can highlight your expertise to anyone attending or listening and position yourself as an authority in the area. You will also usually get a mention of your business or social media handles, which can help people to come to you afterwards.
By exploring opportunities that use different kinds of media and environment, including webinars, podcasts and physical events alongside traditional written thought leadership content, you can identify new ways to showcase your knowledge to relevant audiences and build upon your credibility in the field.
Find forums and communities
Forums and online communities are incredibly popular, particularly the likes of Reddit. Often, these communities bring people together who are interested in a subject, whether it be gardening, dogs or Harry Potter.
There are several forums available now to cater to almost every interest. As such, you should be able to find some associated with your business. By identifying these communities, you will find groups of people who could be actively interested in your expertise and opinion.
Once you have found forums and communities related to your brand, you need to become an active member. This will help you gain insight into users’ views and needs so that you can determine how to add value. You can then provide input to showcase your authority and even link to your published content when it is appropriate.
Avoid just promoting your brand, as this will likely cause mistrust among users. Instead, focus on how you can provide interesting commentary on the topics discussed and join the conversations with fellow users, only introducing your business when it comes up naturally.
Focus on who needs to see your content
Finally, regardless of how you promote your thought leadership, you need to ensure you are putting it in front of the right people. Not everyone will be interested in your business and what it has to say, so refine your efforts to those who are more likely to engage with you and convert into customers.
When considering your promotion strategy for thought leadership, ask where those people might be and ensure the relevant platforms are embedded into your plans.
For example, if you share your content on a specific social media channel, think about what users tend to be present there. Their demographics should map onto those you expect to see in your target audience. Similarly, think about why the user is there – do they want to engage with thought leadership, or are they there for another purpose? By answering these questions, you can ensure you are in the right places and target people they want to be targeted.
By being clever in where you promote your thought leadership, you can captivate people who are genuinely invested in that area – helping you improve your engagement metrics, get better results for your efforts and increase the likelihood of them becoming customers.
Thought leadership can be an incredibly effective tool in carving out your reputation as a leader and authority in the market, increasing brand awareness and targeting customers at the start of their buyer journey. However, promotion of your thought leadership content is essential to get the right exposure and engage with like-minded audiences.
Remember to craft an approach that works for your brand. Consider carefully what type of audience you want to attract and decide which platforms you can use for the best exposure and engagement. This will help you to refine your strategy to optimise results and get more mileage out of your thought leadership.