Demand from social media
Thought leadership is now central to marketing and promotion. Social media demands a flow of cogent, expert commentary to create and maintain brand awareness and generate leads. This coincides with a decline in the effectiveness of mechanistic search engine optimisation where Google’s algorithms aim to rank expert content above keyword-stuffed web copy.
Many organisations expect their frontline staff to be updating their own social media profiles with relevant corporate material. For staff to look effective in forums such as Twitter and LinkedIn, the company must have good quality material to share. It must be useful and interesting.
Adding to corporate value through credible narratives
But effective thought leadership goes beyond a marketing imperative and the domain of the chief marketing officer or marketing director. Credible thought leadership reflects the firm’s ability to create a strong narrative around its activities. That cuts across its fund-raising activities and ultimate valuation and so is just as important to the chief financial officer and chief executive as to the sales and marketing organisation.
All the same, there can be a risk in using thought leadership too aggressively to promote the corporate product or service. It has been shown that engagement drops significantly if a piece of content is seen as little more than a piece of marketing promotion. So tone of voice is particularly important. Establishing an authoritative tone for your executive may be a better marketing strategy rather than focusing too hard on the marketing message itself. Many marketers feel uncomfortable if there is no overt marketing pitch, but in content marketing a subtler approach which establishes corporate expertise is the secret of success.
Making your executives stand out
The habit of regular article writing is not one that many executives can practise, so working with a freelance copywriter or editor may be the best solution. Authoritative writing can be achieved by the effective arrangement of clear factual information. This is part of the journalistic pedigree but not necessarily part of the marketing skill-set.
Thought leadership helps form a robust shared corporate narrative through strong language, reinforcing each prospect, client or partner interaction. Ultimately, this also communicates to investors in higher corporate valuation and preferential access to funds.
Because Google strives to provide search results that identify deeply expert content, coherent, rich, long-form writing must be a regular part of the content marketing mix. As experienced business and financial journalists, we will make the author-executive look their best to each audience or algorithm with elegantly argued and engaging prose.