The road to B2B thought leadership is littered with many failed attempts. Don’t be among the fallen. How can you truly distinguish yourself from your competitors and stand out as as an industry leader? Should you shy away from the forefront if your company focuses on behind-the-scenes work?
Absolutely not! You can succeed and become an outstanding thought leader in your industry, no matter how low-profile your company is.
Read on to discover ways to take your company center stage and get the visibility and credibility you rightly deserve.
Stand Out With Thought Leadership
1. Pick Your Niche Expertise
The biggest mistake some people make is trying to be an expert in everything within an industry. It’s just not possible. This is too big of a goal to reach in the beginning. If you want to succeed, pick a niche within your industry, and then show your expertise.
Stay away from broad topics. The more specific you are, the more attention you’ll have and the more distinction you will have from your competitors. For example, a marketing consultancy doesn't want to focus on all things marketing. It could end up talking about everything and anything. Instead, if it concentrated on marketing automation or marketing measurement, it could beam in one of those topics. Even better, if it could narrow its concentration down further say to marketing automation for small business or for large companies.
Other time, you can add other notches of niche expertise to your belt.
2. Start Your Own B2B Blog
This is your outlet to distribute your industry wisdom, and establish a loyal audience. Aim to create value for your audience in each post. Answer questions, provide insight, and start conversations -- all from the comfort of your blog!
Keep ahead of the curve by paying attention to what your competitors are publishing, and what posts are getting traction for them. Then, if you can add value and insight to what they’ve written, publish your own spin on it.
Once created, don’t miss the free and pivotal opportunity to promote your blog across your social networks. Also include share buttons to make it easy for your readers to spread your quality content to their own audience.
(Click here to learn about sure fire ways to promote your B2B content.)
Once your own B2B blog is firmly and safely established, it’s time to reach out to guest post on other blogs and industry publications. This expands your audience, and exposes people to your expertise (and leads them back to your blog as dedicated readers.)
You have to present a depth of knowledge that no one else has. -- Michael Brenner
3. Never Forget SEO
Now that you've created leadership-quality content in your B2B blog, don’t let it fall through the cracks. Consistency and quality are key if you want to maintain search engine rankings for particular keywords. You've worked hard to get traffic -- you don't want to idle your content machine and lose visibility. Once people find your high-quality content, they’ll no doubt return for more.
(To find out what SEO mistakes might be holding you back from successful search engine rankings, click here.)
4. Engage on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is different from other social media platforms. For starters, it has been ranked by 66% of B2B marketers as the most effective social media platform for their business. To ignore LinkedIn would be to leave behind a powerful resource in your journey to becoming a thought leader.
Right off the bat, put time and thought into your LinkedIn profile. This is the first thing people will see when they visit your page. It can make all the difference between a passing glance and a magnetic reaction. Show off your one-of-a-kind personality right from the start, but keep it professional.
(To learn what it takes to create a killer LinkedIn profile that incites people to follow you, click here.)
Don’t miss the opportunity to publish content on LinkedIn's platform. If possible, distinguish this from your B2B blog -- you want people to come specifically for information they can’t find anywhere else. Post unique content that positions you as ahead of the curve. This content will be prominently displayed on your LinkedIn homepage, and could be shared via the LinkedIn newsletter -- so it’s well worth the time and effort. If you do publish the same content, include a note at the bottom of your piece saying where the article was originally published and linking to it. ddThat lets Google know that you're not simply spamming by posting the same content everywhere.
5. Join Conversations
You’re not an island, so don’t keep to yourself. Engage with others across multiple platforms. Look for conversations that touch your area of expertise, and don’t shy away from adding to the conversation. This gets your name out there as an authority on the subject.
Communities like Quora are a great place to start. Here, you can answer questions, and, when appropriate, add links that direct back to your website for more information.
Whenever you see a forum or conversation where you can add value, do so unobtrusedly and politey -- you want to come across as an expert, not as a “know-it-all.”
6. Engage the Media
Just because you’re a low profile company does not mean you can’t improve your B2B PR and attract media coverage.
A helpful (and inexpensive) B2B PR tactic is to sign up for HARO (Help A Reporter Out). This free tool helps reporters collaborate with business owners who can provide a quote or insight into a story. Sign up for free and wait for a query to which you can add an insightful quote or your own industry expertise.
(For more cost-effective B2B PR tactics that will get your foot in the door and garner media attention, click here.)
These techniques will take your behind-the-scenes company from the shadows of anonymity to the spotlight of authority. You'll be in a successful B2B thought leadership position.