Three reasons why B2B thought leadership matters
While most business-to-business players appreciate the value PR drives, there is sometimes confusion about what sets B2B thought leadership apart.
For those used to the traditional industry focus on brand and product promotion, it can be easy to assume that ‘thought leadership’ is just a buzzword or updated label for the standard PR approaches — but in reality, it represents a completely different tactic.
At the wider level, all PR activity revolves around one shared purpose: amplifying client success by cultivating and sustaining strong brand reputations. But where conventional programmes tend to showcase specific products, services, and achievements, thought leadership is more closely tied to highlighting company purpose and expertise.
Specifically, thought leadership champions a spokesperson by illuminating and expanding on their specialised perspectives, experiences, and skills in relation to relevant professional topics.
For many B2B firms, however, questions still remain: why exactly is thought leadership relevant and what tangible benefits can they harness through this approach?
1. Elevates individual profiles to new heights
Thought leadership forms an indispensable component of any tech PR strategy, enabling company spokespeople to establish their professional authority and expertise within the wider industry.
Organically spotlighting their distinctive credibility, this connects them with highly valuable audiences and sets them apart from a sea of ever-growing competition.
Clearly written, nuanced and in-depth content from spokespeople helps to cement their position as industry leaders. Furthermore, it can help to educate their wider industry on emergent or complex topics.
Ultimately this positions them as the go-to specialist in their field, capable of leading and steering vital conversations.
B2B decision-makers are always actively assessing the level of problem-solving expertise of others. Insights that can drive success, or a clearer understanding of in-market pain points, can verify to these decision-makers the sophistication of a company’s solutions and offerings – as evidenced by Edelman and LinkedIn.
When done well, thought leadership not only elevates an individual’s own profile, but also creates a halo effect that bolsters positive perceptions of their company.
2. Promotes brand awareness and favourability
Thought leadership can be a powerful method of building trust within the B2B landscape; enhancing top of the funnel marketing goals such as brand awareness, favourability, and equity.
Gaining the trust of target audiences is a crucial step for brands wishing to receive their customers’ loyalty in return. Many B2B businesses looking for partnerships require certainty that they are working with top-of-the-field experts who can guarantee their prosperity.
Putting members of your team forward for keynote speaking and panel discussion opportunities is one way to stand out and prove the expertise of your spokespeople.
Such appearances place the company at the forefront of their industry; displaying active involvement in the latest developments of the sector. These appearances provide another platform for thought leadership.
Businesses following a holistic approach to PR — combining media coverage in leading publications with dynamic thought leadership activities — improve brand awareness and favourability even further; ensuring a strong, authoritative position as industry leaders, which can in turn lead to them winning and retaining customers more successfully.
3. Thought leadership drives new business
By strengthening brand awareness, companies can stimulate long-term demand for their products and services through thought leadership.
When new and existing customers recognise that a company thoroughly understands their pain points, and has solutions to offer in return, they are more likely to choose it when they come to making a purchase or signing up for a service. This is especially beneficial in the B2B sector where sales cycles are often longer and sustaining positive brand connections is important.
They are also then more likely to recommend the brand. Nine in 10 B2B decision-makers consider referrals from respected associates as a key factor in making a purchase.
Additionally, smart thought leadership strategies can also play a useful part in enhancing SEO. Insightful commentary on relevant topics by high-authority individuals and brands can attract great interest across the industry, in turn boosting the content’s ranking by search engine algorithms.
The more avenues of thought leadership are effectively implemented, the higher the chances of garnering valuable attention, and the better SEO ranking the brand can receive — ultimately growing the business.
An effective thought leadership strategy can act as a robust bridge between a B2B business and its customers; promoting the brand in a natural, non-advertorial way.
The communication of critical insights — be it a success story, specialised knowledge, or expert advice — spotlights the unique contributions of individuals and brands to inquiring stakeholders; cultivating a trustworthy knowledge hub providing insights and inspiration.
Moreover, by maintaining relationships with clients, industry peers, and journalists through consistent thought leadership, spokespeople can create a virtuous circle of success; where useful and insightful content continually fuels favourability that attracts more new business, keeps strategically valuable PR opportunities coming in, and reinforces the company position.
Want to know more about how you can elevate your business with a well-crafted thought leadership programme? Get in touch here.