Woman thought leader having idea with a lit bulb by her head.

Want to improve your content marketing? Use thought leadership

Using thought leadership in your content marketing is a great idea.

Why? Because it sets you apart from competitors and helps close sales, research from Edelman shows:

Graph showing that 58% of business decision makers say thought leadership led directly to a sale.
Using thought leadership in your content marketing can lead to new business.

If thought-proving content from thought leaders increases sales, why don’t more companies use it in their content marketing?

The number one reason I hear from my clients is that it’s too difficult to engage their thought leaders in marketing. Their thought leaders often tell them they don’t have time.

With some time and creativity, you can engage your thought leaders in your content marketing. Here are 5 tips:

1. Persuade them with facts.

First, thought leadership boosts sales. Second, the Edelman research found, 89% of decision-makers say thought leadership improves their perception of your company.

Socialize this research with thought leaders and your executive leadership team. Once you drive home these two facts, your executives will emphasize it. That will help you persuade thought leaders to play ball.

2. Involve thought leaders in your content marketing strategy and messaging.

When you co-create content with thought leaders, they are more likely to buy in to your marketing plan and give you more of their time.

Invite them to participate when you develop your content marketing strategy and your Message Map.

Most thought leaders want to be invited to participate, so they feel like their opinions matter. By including them from the beginning, you show them that you respect their opinions and trust their judgment.

3. Appeal to their egos.

Thought leaders are smart and have great ideas. That’s what makes them thought leaders. I’ve never met a thought leader who didn’t want to share his or her ideas with others.

Explain to your thought leaders that you will help them become better known in your industry. Tell them that marketing will help them showcase their ideas through bylined articles, speaking opportunities, and media interviews.

Woman at podium smiling.
Improve company perception with speaking opportunities for thought leaders.

Pick one thought leader to work with first. Once that person starts getting some   traction, other thought leaders will notice and may even seek your help to get their ideas promoted externally.

I’ve used this tactic at several companies, and it works like a charm. Thought leaders can be competitive, and once one of their peers starts getting noticed, they will all want in on the action.

4. Use their time wisely.

Ask your thought leaders to give you one hour per month on their calendars. It’s not a lot of their time, so use it well.

Act like a journalist and interview them on all of their ideas. Ask them how they see your organization as different from your competition:

Do they have an idea for a new way to solve your client’s challenges? Do they see what the future for your industry could be like?

Draw out every idea you can, and then use the information to create several content marketing pieces.

You can take one idea and publish it in many forms, including blogs, contributed articles, videos, and web copy.

Your thought leaders will thank you for saving them time. You will have true thought leadership content to help meet sales needs.

5. Help your thought leaders succeed.

Sometimes the reason a thought leader doesn’t want to take the time to help marketing is because she or he is nervous about being in the limelight.

If you suspect this might be the case, spend some time to find out how you can help.What’s making your thought leader nervous? Would he or she benefit from media interview training or presentation coaching?

Offer to rehearse with thought leaders and to proofread any presentations or materials they create.

Thought leadership in content marketing

Using thought leadership in your content marketing can help improve your company’s reputation and even lead directly to sales. But it can be difficult to persuade thought leaders to help marketing efforts.

Give your organization’s thought leaders a little attention and involve them in your strategy, so you can increase the thought leadership in your content marketing.

Need to coach your SMEs on how to conduct presentations and media interviews effectively? We can help. Email us today.

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