Most B2B organizations have an x-factor – i.e., something you know (or do) that others don’t (or can’t). Our job as marketing/PR professionals is to find that x-factor and put it on display. That’s what thought leadership – white papers, speeches, articles, videos, blogs, stories, analyses – is all about.
At its most basic, thought leadership PR involves five key steps: (1) identify the expertise that sets your company apart; (2) document it; (3) package it; (4) distribute it through all available channels; and (5) measure results.
Typically, the first three steps – i.e., content creation – are the hardest. To get started, ask yourself two simple questions: “What issues do your customers really care about?” and “What do you know that others don’t?” In most cases, the best topics for thought leadership PR reside in the common ground between your answers.
Additional questions to ask yourself:
- Outside-In: What are your customers’ unmet needs? What problems are they solving for? How can you help them meet their external, customer needs? Their internal needs?
- Niche Expertise: Sometimes, a company’s x-factor is deep, niche understanding of a market or function. When this is the case, consider showcasing your expertise with detailed commentary and/or analysis.
- Subject-Matter Expertise: One hallmark of B2B organizations is knowledge. Professional services firms typically have access to industry gurus. Financial services organizations have analysts and risk managers. Healthcare companies have scientific experts. If your company has a cadre of in-house experts, set up an interview session to capture insights. Package key findings as a report, video series or webinar.
- Data Transactions: Many B2B organizations are also rich in data and transactions. Are there aggregate trends and/or indicators that you have at your disposal?
- Relationships: Do you have access to third parties (individuals or organizations) whom you can tap for insights? If so, think about convening a discussion with them – in person or online.
Content is one of the key tools’ in the B2B marketer’s arsenal.
What are your tips for content creation?