A passionate marketer, CEO at iResearch Services, TechInformed & GivingforGood.
According to an Arabic proverb, “Time is like a sword. If you don’t cut it, it cuts you.”
Suppose you, as a marketer, have just 24 hours to improve your thought leadership (TL). Perhaps a significant development has occurred in your industry, and you need to establish a business leader as an expert in that field. You don’t have enough time to conduct a thought leadership survey, write a white paper or organize a webinar. However, there are ways to create content within 24 hours that resonates with audiences and fulfills your organization’s thought leadership goals. Here are a few methods that can help you plan future TL marketing campaigns and set the ball rolling for success.
1. Create (and amplify) content with purpose.
A marketing-first agency might crank out multiple content pieces to capitalize on a recent development in the hopes of going viral in the next 24 hours. However, in my experience, this approach rarely pays off. That’s because content without a clear purpose can get lost in the mix and negatively impact your long-term thought leadership strategy.
Instead, focus on creating a creative content piece that establishes credibility and trust with your business leader’s target audience. For example, you might help them create a blog post about a hot topic with unique leader insights that readers can’t find anywhere else.
The next task is to promote this content across various channels. Use trending hashtags when posting a link to the content on social media, and create a great title that catches attention. Then you can use real-time analytical tools to track your content throughout the day to determine where the most traffic originates from or whether it resonates with your audience. Even if your content piece doesn’t create enormous buzz, you can learn how to improve future thought leadership marketing strategies in 24 hours.
2. Create a thought leadership podcast.
Depending on the schedule of the leader you market for, it’s often possible to plan, record and distribute a thought leadership podcast in less than 24 hours. If they’re responding to a recent event in their niche subject area, use that as the topic of the first broadcast. All you need is a microphone, headphones and podcast recording software. Editing your podcast may be a little more difficult, but you can access plenty of online resources to polish your recording and make it listenable. Alternatively, record the podcast and use a third-party company to edit your episode and upload it to streaming platforms. (Full disclosure: My company offers these services, as do others.)
You won’t have much time to plan your first podcast episode, so keep things simple. The leader you market for can provide insights about a topic by following a simple script written by one of your content marketers. Or your leader could interview another authority figure over the phone or in a video meeting. The key here is establishing your leader as a trustworthy, credible resource. You likely won’t generate thousands of subscribers overnight, but you can put the wheels in motion for successful TL campaigns in the future.
3. Plan a rapid development session.
Why not dedicate the next 24 hours to improving your long-term thought leadership marketing strategy? Consider assembling a roundtable with your marketing team in the morning to brainstorm ways to engage with target audiences through TL content, with presentations in the afternoon. Dissect all the ways you can establish credibility with an audience. For example:
• Commit to investing in data-driven marketing, research-based marketing, big data technology and other methods for more successful TL content.
• Consider the benefits of training your team to make them more effective marketers. The right training can help your team learn new skills that improve your organization’s thought leadership framework.
• Think about public relations when devising your TL marketing strategy. You might need to preserve the reputation of a leader if they say something damaging on social media or during a live webinar.
• Find ways to convince your CMO to spend more money on TL in the next fiscal year. An increased budget may help your team create better content and understand what consumers want from TL.
4. Dig deep to find inspiration.
You could also spend the next 24 hours analyzing the most successful TL content providers and applying their principles to your future campaigns. Here are some companies I recommend taking inspiration from.
• PWC: One of the pioneers of thought leadership in the professional services industry, PWC isn’t afraid to write about controversial topics in blog posts and other content types. Recently, the company has covered subject areas such as climate change, social revolution, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the corporate world. PWC understands its audience and isn’t afraid of alienating them.
• McKinsey & Company: This company invests heavily in research to establish itself as one of the go-to resources in the management consultancy space. The company creates in-depth reports and data-rich discussion papers that delve into subject areas popular with its audience. While research requires an outlay, it can help you build the credibility of the leader you market for and generate interest from audiences who crave facts as much as opinions.
• Harvard Business Review: HBR creates blog posts and research papers for audiences and regularly uses videos to communicate complicated topics that audiences love. These videos include discussions, whiteboard sessions and visual case studies that offer practical advice and insights for viewers. Studying thought leadership videos can help you learn how to further engage your audience and improve visibility among targets who don’t respond to written articles.
By following the tips above, you can quickly respond to a recent development in your leader’s niche or plan for future TL marketing campaigns. Moving fast to create purposeful content, such as a blog post or podcast, can help you connect with audiences after a recent development or news in your sector. Consider devoting 24 hours to planning future campaigns and thinking in a successful thought leader’s voice in order to support your long-term TL objectives.
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