a man leading the crowd with thought leadership

While attending the Momentum ITSMA Marketing Vision 2022 event in Cambridge MA, I was very fortunate to attend an excellent pre-conference workshop “What Buyers Want from your Thought Leadership: Understanding Changing Executive Preferences” led by Robert Hollier, Partner,  and Jeanne Browne, Senior Strategist,  Momentum ITSMA.

The workshop was a presentation of recent research with interactive group discussions and was the perfect “prequel” for a great conference I discussed in “Momentum ITSMA Marketing Vision 2022: Next-Generation B2B Marketing in an Age of Convergence“.  As Thought Leadership is an essential element of this next-generation B2B marketing convergence of required skills and competencies, let’s expand further on the topic, and highlight key lessons learned and best practices.

The workshop started with a definition of Thought Leadership.  As basic as it sounds, it’s important to set a baseline.

Research has shown that during the pandemic the quantity of content described as Thought Leadership went up significantly, while the quality went down, resulting in much of it being simply ignored.  Hence quality has never been more important!

Momentum ITSMA defines Thought Leadership as “Ideas that educate client and prospects about important business and technology issues and help them solve those issues – without selling.”

As a veteran B2B marketer who has led thought leadership initiatives at several organizations, my reaction was a solid “amen.” We must deliver value, deliver the right information at the right time, and deliver an outside-in point of view (POV) without selling.

Frameworks for Effective Thought Leadership, Increased Maturity, and Engagement:

Momentum ITSMA research shows that Thought Leadership is one of the top 3 most effective tactics for Account-Based Marketing (ABM).  This is hardly surprising as quality content delivering insights is critical for engagement.  The type of content executives consume is literally a must-have list shaping an effective Thought Leadership program’s content, including being:

  • Strategic, directly tied to the need for greater insights for improved decision-making
  • Evidence-based with research/data to back up claims – with validation from trusted, objective sources
  • Innovative with new ways to solve business problems, tied to the need for insights on new trends
  • Practical showing real-world use cases, examples and best practices, and results
  • Business-focused and not just on technology; content has evolved far beyond the traditional “white paper” that some still feel defines Thought Leadership

Not surprisingly, Thought Leadership content contributes across the entire buyer’s journey.  It is a mix of both digital and in-person interactions and must accommodate both on-line and off-line consumption.

Overall Thought Leadership maturity is directly related to overall marketing maturity.  These four stages of Thought Leadership maturity – ad-hoc, enabled, managed, and optimized – are driven by multiple categories of “Thought Leadership mastery” – from the organization’s strategic focus, their culture and organization; resources and investment, processes, and governance; content development, ideation; and distribution and communication both internally and externally.

The model reminds me of an epiphany years ago: effective Thought Leadership isn’t a single individual, an organizational chart, or an isolated stovepipe of activity.  Success requires the classic “orchestration as an art form” and full collaboration with top-down executive leadership and support.  Momentum ITSMA has a great framework for Thought Leadership program management.  At the heart is an established, well-supported Program Management Office (PMO), with a formal process for Thought Leadership development:

  • Defining the Thought Leadership Issues and Agenda: tie this to the overall marketing strategy and support key business objectives
  • Developing Thought Leadership Points of View (POVs):  the best Thought Leadership is driven by research and analysis of markets and customers, delivering real-time insights and value
  • Production of the Thought Leadership Assets: too many organizations start here (the classic “let’s produce a white paper”); considerations include the format of the assets, channels of consumption, the target audience (and customer persona), and the specific stage(s) of the buyer’s journey.

Once we have a means to produce Thought Leadership content and assets, we must drive Thought Leadership engagement, the route to market with a connection to our target audience:

  • Internal Engagement: across our executive team, sales and marketing, and our team of subject matter experts (SMEs) and the extended team that delivers Thought Leadership.  Marketing is a team sport and so is Thought Leadership!
  • External Engagement:  across prospects and customers, and don’t forget key influencers.  Tying Thought Leadership to a network of influencers including an Influencer Marketing program is a key ingredient in the “secret sauce” of B2B marketing and great amplification.
  • Measurement of Results:  any program needs measurement, beyond merely activity.  Momentum ITSMA uses the “3R’s of ABM” — Reputation, Relationships, and Revenue, further showcasing both B2B marketing convergence and the importance of Thought Leadership to ABM.

The Thought Leadership PMO provides not only the strategy and planning, but active and regular governance.  And an overall editorial calendar for production, distribution, promotion, and synchronization with overall marketing.  Classic “orchestration as an art form” indeed!

Robert Holier and Jeanne Brown concluded the Momentum ITSMA Thought Leadership Workshop with a short list of key success factors, including:

  • Link Thought Leadership to strategy – both your own and that of the customer, especially if tied to ABM and account-centric programs.
  • Get senior leadership support for your Thought Leadership efforts.
  • Build a Thought Leadership team and support model.
  • Support Thought Leadership with innovative research (both primary and secondary).
  • Ensure your overall quality of Thought Leadership assets.
  • Link Thought Leadership to your organizations sales processes and enablement.
  • Have a Thought Leadership calendar and link to your overall Marketing Calendar and agenda.
  • Make your Thought Leadership SMEs visible internally and externally.
  • Make a commitment to tracking/measuring – the “3R’s of ABM” as well as “measuring what matters”.

Marketing Excellence Thought Leadership Awards:

Momentum ITSMA Marketing Vision 2022 included the annual Marketing Excellence Awards.  I was very proud to again be a judge for the “Deepening Engagement Through Thought Leadership “category.  All the entrants presented a strong case for excellence in Thought Leadership showcasing innovation, collaboration, impressive results, and integration with other elements of their marketing leadership.

The three winners at Marketing Vision 2022 were:

  • ServiceNow (Diamond award): In their award-winning “ABM beyond the 3 Rs”, ServiceNow built a focused program with global telecom giant BT that included a co-created value manifesto (impacting reputation), cross-functional engagement with Customer Experience, IT, and Operations decision makers in the account (affecting relationships), and revenue impact including a $4.7M closed deal and a nearly doubled pipeline.  ServiceNow has gone beyond the 3 Rs to include retention, significantly boosting annual contract value and platform adoption in the BT account.
  • Tata Communications (Gold award):  An innovative “Leading in a Digital-First World Global Thought Leadership Campaign” emerged during the global pandemic, recognizing that organizations were in a wide variance of readiness as digital transformation accelerated. An innovative Secure, Connected Digital Experience (SCDx) proposition to help organizations advance on their own digital-first journey was created, built upon an outside-in global perspectives including survey-based insights.  Tata Communications combined benchmarking elements with a broad communications program, while also building pipeline value of more than $5M in under a year.
  • Tech Mahindra (Gold award):  Even before the global pandemic accelerated digital transformation, Tech Mahindra saw an urgency for organizations to navigate digital disruption and embrace new technologies.  Leveraging a longstanding partnership with The Trust (The Wall Street Journal), they created a new “In the Future” platform for executive engagement.  Their Thought Leadership portfolio included new benchmarks and indexes, innovative and original “Future Shapers” content driving deep insightful executive conversations around emerging trends, topics, and technologies.  A mix of in-person and virtual events provided interactive forums for executive engagement.

Like many other 2022 Marketing Excellence Award Winners, these “Deepening Engagement Through Thought Leadership” winners showcased both the convergence of B2B marketing as well as outstanding collaboration across their organizations, customers, and ecosystems.

Be sure to review my overall recommendations in “Momentum ITSMA Marketing Vision 2022: Next-Generation B2B Marketing in an Age of Convergence“.  Specific to Thought Leadership, be sure to:

  • Develop strong outside-in Thought Leadership delivering value.
  • Leverage multiple points of view for experts delivering value across the buyers’ journey.
  • Establish solid Thought Leadership executive support backed by a solid plan (and sticking to it, driven by an editorial calendar, supported by resources).
  • Leverage the synergy across B2B marketing (especially ABM) and make Thought Leadership a key component of your quest for increased Marketing Maturity.

And of course – measurement – and the Momentum ITSMA 3 Rs are a great place to start and optimize by consistently measuring what matters.

My real-time “event ambassadorship” of Marketing Vision 2022 included tweeting during the keynotes, sessions, and workshops resulted in curated into several “tweetdeck collections” – capturing the amazing insights and learnings across Momentum ITSMA Marketing Vision 2022.  Be sure to check them out and I am looking forward to seeing everyone at Marketing Vision 2023!

  • Marketing Vision 2022 Keynotes and Sessions
  • Marketing Vision 2022 Thought Leadership Workshop

The post Momentum ITSMA Marketing Vision 2022: The Journey to Thought Leadership Marketing Excellence appeared first on Marketing Insider Group.

Did you miss our previous article…

example results from blog writing service

In today’s digital world, your website is the lifeblood of your business. And blog articles are the heartbeat, providing a regular rhythm of education, thought leadership and storytelling that addresses your customers’ needs.

A weekly blog service allows you to keep a healthy and steady heartbeat. They provide regular mini-appointments with your audience. A Blog Service also helps you to rank for the important topics and keywords in search engines. And, best of all, they are the most cost-effective way to get leads and revenue from your website.

And yet, only about half of Fortune 500 companies maintain an active blogging presence. So even if you think that everyone is doing it (they are not), there is still tremendous opportunity to make your website stand out among the competition.

By adding consistent blog articles to your website and, better yet, hiring a blog service, you’ll get better ROI than any other marketing activity. Read on to learn why.

Quick Takeaways:

  • The more frequently you blog, the more visitors, leads and conversions you get. Study after study has proved this.
  • High quality content helps you build up brand authority and gain visibility in search rankings.
  • When you outsource blog content creation, you don’t have to worry about frequency, meeting timelines, niche expertise, or ROI.
  • Having a blog is essential to wooing today’s information-hungry customers. But most businesses don’t have the time, expertise, or budget to hire an in-house writing team.
  • A blog writing service can turn your subject matter expertise into expertly written content.

The Case for Having a Blog

First, let’s just get one important matter out of the way: You have a blog, right? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. Some new businesses get too caught up in their day-to-day basic functions to start one. Others think blogging isn’t for them – it’s the purview of foodies, mommies, and health gurus. But nothing could be further from the truth.

If you’re shelling out big bucks for advertising, consulting, data analytics, and email nurture campaigns, plus the aforementioned website, the cost of running a blog is negligible by comparison. It’s the lowest hanging fruit on the tree, and you should be grabbing it as often as possible.

Think about these apples, ripe for plucking:

  • Content marketing gives you three times the number of leads compared to paid search ads for every dollar you spend.
  • You can boost your website traffic by up to 2,000% with high-quality blog content.
  • When you blog, you’ll get 97% more links to your website than sites that don’t.
  • Blogging is 13x more likely to yield a positive ROI than numerous other marketing activities, according to data from HubSpot.
  • Companies who publish consistent blogs show 6x the revenue from traffic and leads attributed to their website.
  • B2B companies will generate 88% more leads, while their B2C cousins will generate 67% more revenue through publishing blog posts consistently.

That’s a lot of value to leave on the table if you’re not blogging. Further, the leads you generate will cost 62% less than ones you generate through advertising, cold calls, brochures, or other outbound marketing methods.

Isn’t that enough reason for any company to jump on to the blogging train? Imagine what could happen if you missed out and your competitors get –

  • 97% more traffic
  • 88% more leads
  • 67% lower cost

You’d have a heart attack, wouldn’t you?

I thought so. Bottom line, you need a blog to stay ahead of your competitors.

Converting More Customers

With a blog, you can engage directly with consumers better and more cheaply than with advertising. And, a blog gives you more control and focus over that dialogue than social media, for example. You get multiple opportunities and stages to convert readers to customers and to make existing customers repeat ones.

Think about your current marketing activities. They probably entail chasing customers in some way, such as by trying to get them to open emails or hoping they see your carefully placed (and expensive!) online ads. But, with a blog, consumers come to you. If they like what you post, they’ll come back, so you’ve just created a source of repeat traffic to your website and turned it into a dynamic and personalized face for your company.

Much of your blog content can easily be evergreen, meaning it is relevant for at least for several years, which means once you’ve done the work, it keeps working for you. You can update popular posts with new data as needed with a minimum of extra time.

Why is your content so compelling? Because it’s not poorly disguised advertising or pushy sales material. Instead, the bulk of your posts should be value-added content for readers, such as:

  • Tips, how-tos, and tutorials for things that stymie most people but at which your business excels
  • Aggregated industry trends, information and studies that save readers time by not having to hunt it down
  • Interviews with thought leaders or guest posters, including round tables
  • Questions and exercises to generate positive change
  • White papers and case studies
  • Videos and infographics
  • Samples from upcoming long-form content, such as books

Another good use for your blog is to solicit feedback on your products or services. You may uncover and then be able to answer common objections during the selling process in ways you cannot elsewhere. Additionally, you can offer solutions to common customer service issues.

You can also utilize your blog to introduce new products and services or to announce events, although you want to sprinkle these posts in with the value-added material to avoid sounding too salesy.

Industry Authority and Search Rankings

Having a popular blog can quickly promote you to a position of industry authority, a desirable spot to be in. You’ll find it easier to network with others in your field, and you’ll develop a reputation as the one to turn to for expert advice.

With influence often comes that sweet number-one search ranking that companies covet. When potential customers search for terms related to your business, your name will appear at the top, increasing traffic to your website, where you can get people interested in your product or service and eventually sell them on it.

What are the best ways to reach that coveted top spot in Google?

  • Always post high-quality, original content. Don’t “stuff” (overuse) keywords and use a post length that favors your topic and your audience, rather than what you’ve heard you must use.
  • Include keywords in your blog post URLs.
  • Do your SEO homework and make sure your keywords are what people are using in common online searches.
  • Include a meta description for each post.
  • Make your website easy to navigate and designed for the user. It must be fast loading and responsive to all types of computers and devices.
  • Use available digital marketing tools, such as Buzzsumo or Google Trends, to help with your search engine optimization research.
  • Promote your content well with connections and industry influencers.
  • Consider paid promotion to boost your ranking. Sometimes organic promotion doesn’t cut it at first.

Why You Should Hire a Blog Service

“But,” you say, “I’m busy just running my business. I don’t have any time to write a blog. Besides, I practically got through English Composition 101 by the skin of my teeth. I’m an engineer/doctor/web developer/financial services professional, not a writer.”

So, if you’re convinced now that you should have a blog, or if you already have one but it’s been getting lackluster attention, how do you make it work?

For most businesses, especially those on the smaller side, the answer is to outsource blog writing. There are many benefits to hiring a blogging service and almost no disadvantages, and we’ll discuss how to overcome those later in this article.

What Is A Blog Writing Service?

A blog writing service is an outsourced marketing program that provides frequent blog articles for you to publish on your business website with the goal of gaining organic traffic and leads. 

Some blog services like ours include keyword strategy, topic development, image and SEO optimization (meta descriptions, alt tags, etc), and reporting along with the weekly blog articles themselves

Leveraging ROI

First, from a strictly financial point of view, outsourcing your blog nearly always lets you leverage that ROI in your marketing plan. Many companies are not sufficiently staffed to add blog writing to their list of duties. If you think about your own employees, they’re likely already up to their limit with their current job descriptions. Do you really want to add more to that? Significantly more?

Blog writing, when it’s done well, isn’t simply an hour tossed off here or there; it involves careful planning and integrating your blog posts into a comprehensive 12-month campaign within your overall marketing scheme. You need to develop a marketing calendar around goals and timelines and then spend manpower on content ideation before a single word is penned.

You need to schedule posts often enough to see a return on your blogging investment, which means posting at least several times per week to accumulate a regular following. New studies point to frequency as a key way to get desired ROI:

  • The more often you blog, the more traffic you get.
  • With 11 or more posts per month, you’ll see a considerable increase in website traffic, whether you are a B2B or B2C business.
  • The more posts you accumulate on your blog, the more traffic you’ll get, which in turn means more leads.

To accomplish this in-house usually requires hiring a full-time writer, which means not only paying a competitive salary but perks as well. And, there is a time investment in the interviewing and onboarding process, too.

Our standard weekly blogging package is less than nearly every number on that table above! And we provide Keyword research, competitive reviews, headline creation, monthly reporting – in addition to the writing.

You can get around all of this cost just for the writing part by outsourcing your blog writing and save tens of thousands in your marketing budget in the process.

It’s worth noting that cheaper blog writing and cheap SEO aren’t always better. While you don’t have to break the bank outsourcing your content, which would defeat its entire purpose, you often get what you pay for. Better services hire more in-demand, experienced writers and vet their people carefully. In turn, they charge more to their clients, but it’s often worth it in the end.

Professional Writing Skills and Scalability

One of the best advantages of working with outsourced blog writers is the professional writing skills they bring to the table. While many business owners and CMOs fancy themselves good writers, writing a blog isn’t the same as writing ad copy, venture capital proposals, or even sales nurture emails.

Best Practice Blog writing today follows certain standard formats that make content easily consumed by readers, such as headings for “scan-ability” and bullet lists for easy summaries. There are stylistic conventions and other elements that most executives don’t employ on a regular basis. Professional blog writers know how to use all these tactics to make your posts attract and keep readers, as well as how to generate discussion in the comments section.

Blog services also come with proofreading and editing, so your copy is free of errors and is presented in a well-organized fashion. If you’ve ever read a blog that looked horribly unprofessional, you’ll understand how valuable this polishing is. It will also be run through a plagiarism algorithm. Reputable blog services don’t have writers that copy other work, but it is possible to accidentally include phrases that mimic others’ posts, which can mess with your SEO.

With a professional service, you also get assistance with SEO research and developing content topics. This can be a boon when it comes to getting more eyes on your website. Need matching social media posts, images, or infographics along with your blog content? Many agencies can provide that as well.

Do you have multiple businesses under one corporate umbrella, which entails maintaining many websites? This is no problem for a professional blog service because they’ll have multiple writers available to handle large volumes of content. You can scale larger as your business grows, too, and your blogging service will grow with you. Likewise, you can handle multiple tiers of the buying process and dedicate posts to different sales stages, just as you would with email nurturing.

The Best Writers for Your Business

Professional writers are all good, but how do you know they’d be able to passionately create content that’s just right for your business? Here are some things to look for when selecting the right blog writers for your needs:

  • A reputable agency or service that can provide examples of work and/or names of clients they have worked with, preferably similar to your business
  • Experienced, well-vetted writers who can commit to at least a year or two of work with you, so you don’t have to retrain new bloggers every few months
  • Bloggers with experience in your niche – the more specialized your area, the more expertise the writers should have
  • Ability to turn around content on a reasonable schedule that works for you
  • In-house editing and project management, if your needs are complex or your volume is high
  • A price that nets you solid talent while still allowing you to maintain high ROI
  • Excellent communication so you can work as a team

In turn, your business should be able to reciprocate in places where it makes sense to do so. Your people should be equally accessible for questions and clarification. While you want timely responses to your messages, you need to understand most writing services are juggling multiple clients like you. The more you can schedule in advance, the easier it will be for your bloggers to accommodate your needs. Create reasonable turnaround schedules and leave time for edits, especially early on in the process.

Most CEOs and CMOs spend enormous segments of time trying to get the best return on investment from their marketing activities, when the highest ROI solution is literally at their fingertips. Outsourcing your blog and blogging frequently have virtually no downsides and are proven to increase profitability considerably. It can take a bit of time and energy to get the ball rolling, but once you set up a system with a blogging service, you’ll never want to go back to writing your own content again.

What Can A Blogging Service Do for Your Business?

Content marketing – of which blogs are a huge component – is one of the most effective lead generation strategies in the marketing world. An agency that writes your blogs for you will combine their industry knowledge with keen research abilities to create regular blog posts that leverage the blog writers’ abilities to communicate with your audience, and propose solutions that can help your customers solve the problems that keep them up at night.

Build Industry Authority and Customer Visibility

And you are good at what you do. Only problem – not enough of the right people know just how good you are. Blogging helps you showcase that expertise without spending a moment of your time.

Having a blog writing service builds your authority in your industry in the minds of people who might not even have heard of your company before you launch your blog. When you couple that exposure with your social media reach by posting links to each post on your social media pages, it’s sheer marketing magic.

Furthermore, with every blog post you publish, your visibility on your target customers’ searches rises. A blog writing service will know how to leverage the right keywords and metadata to get both search engines’ and your target audience’s attention.

Create Newsletter and Other Gated Content

Your blog writing team can also create extra content that you can send to your email newsletter subscriber list. These articles can take a deeper dive into material that you covered in your blog posts or provide insight into topics you haven’t yet covered in your blog posts.

As a vital component of your content marketing strategy, your email newsletter can serve as the next step along the customer journey for those people interested enough in your blog content to subscribe. Providing expertly written, highly informative information in every newsletter will spark even more interest in your company, positioning you as a thought leader in your industry.

An email newsletter works equally well for B2C companies as well as B2B businesses. Statistics show that email marketing yields a whopping 4,400 percent ROI, yielding $44 for every dollar spent.

In addition, you can expand these newsletter articles into new content, such as white papers and e-books, that delve even deeper into the subject matter for those considering a purchase. Here’s an example from Zillow:

Craft Account-Based Marketing Messages

For B2B companies, you can even repurpose your blog post into personalized content in one of today’s hottest marketing strategies – account-based marketing. With a blog writing service, you’ll have a team of writers who know your company and its work – and can craft content tailored to each decision-maker’s interest.

For example, you could send a manufacturing company’s head engineer an article about how your new widget can shave hours off the manufacturing process, while the chief financial officer would appreciate an infographic about how much money the company would save by putting your widget to work in the process. Their developer, though, would love an article about the way you put Agile methodology to use as your team created the device.

ABM improvement

When B2B companies align their blog writing service with their sales team to leverage the power of account-based marketing, they’re likely to boost their ROI. Forty-two percent of all companies that do so experienced significantly higher ROI, while 42 percent of the companies experienced somewhat higher ROI.

Turn Your Expertise into Compelling Content

You and your teams have a ton of expertise in your field. A blog writing service can work closely with your teams to turn raw facts into compelling copy.

Let’s say that you’re a pharmaceutical company, and you’ve come up with a new cure for an emerging disease. Your blog writing team can work with your researchers to turn their latest study into easily understandable content that busy physicians and nurses can scan quickly.

Your blog writing service can take testimonials from physicians that have tried your new drug successfully and craft blog posts that patients can understand. With more information, patients can be more informed when they have conversations with their own physicians.

For startups, whose lean budget doesn’t leave much room for marketing, let alone a dedicated content writing team, having a blog writing service at their disposal can be a game-changer.

Repurpose Existing Content

Just like your other assets, your blog content can do double duty when you repurpose it in other formats. Use your blogging team to transform blog posts to how-to video scripts, to create catchy product and service descriptions for Instagram and Pinterest, and to rephrase the content as compelling personal stories on Medium. Take a video and turn it into a LinkedIn article that showcases your thought leadership.

A blog writing service has experienced content writers that can adapt your existing content into practically any written form you want. They can even rewrite past content to make it more search-engine friendly. That way, you can reach even more people who need your expertise.

repurpose blog post

Finally, when you hire a blog writing service, you won’t have the added expense of an in-house writing team, nor will you need to spend your time recruiting and onboarding each team member. With an outsourced blog writing subscription service, you’ll have a team of writers that someone whose expertise is content creation has recruited, tested, onboarded, and proven through project after project.

Overcoming Obstacles When Outsourcing Blog Writing

Naturally, there are a few downsides to using a blog writing service, but they’re fairly easy to overcome. These may be your own concerns, or they may come from colleagues or leadership from whom you need buy-in to continue.

Giving Up Control

For some CEOs or CMOS, hiring a professional blogger feels like ceding control over their blog. Yes, it’s true you don’t get to decide on every word of every post. But, the benefits you get, as outlined above, certainly outweigh any negatives.

Further, using a blog service frees up executives and managers to do jobs where they are probably already overloaded with work. They can travel, take meetings, and tend to other business while still knowing they’ll hit their blogging goals and calendar milestones. Leaders who feel the need to have greater control over their company blog may struggle with delegating in general and can use the blog as a way to play with that.

Using a pro blogger comes with built-in safeguards. As well as in-house editing, you, as the client, can ask for revisions, too. Ideally, you want to meet with your blogger first, so they are on board with your overall vision for the blog and changes after the first draft will be minimal. If you have ideas, an outline, or even a rough first draft in your own words, a professional blogging service can accommodate them and flesh out the material for you.

Diversity… or Continuity

Another common hesitation about using a blogging service comes from wondering if the blog will sound diverse enough. This is easily remedied by asking for several different writers to work on your team and rotating the work among them.

Similarly, if you have multiple blogs on various topics, you can request writers who bring their own personal expertise to those respective subjects. Many seasoned bloggers started out in other careers before turning to writing, and you’ll find writers with impressive CVs in finance, law, healthcare, technology, real estate, and many other areas.

Some businesses find a hybrid model works for them. They have their own employees write a few posts here and there, while paid outside bloggers do the rest.

But what if, conversely, you want your blog to have continuity of voice and vibe? Simple – either ask to have one writer work on your blog consistently or put together a detailed style guide with a few examples, so multiple writers adhere to the same framework, rules, and tone. Professional bloggers, just like authors who write fiction dialogue, know how to make a blog post sound like it’s emanating from a particular voice for brand recognition.

The hybrid system just mentioned also works for creating a unifying voice for your blog. You can always outsource your content and have your in-house staff edit it or smooth it out to give it your unique brand feel.

Blog Writing Service Case Study Examples

Oberer Homes, a builder in Dayton, Ohio saw increases in traffic, rankings and leads from their blog writing service.

Marketing Outsourcing leader Televerde saw 65% more leads and a 17% increase in lead conversion rate from our blogging service.

And finally, we use our own service to grow Marketing Insider Group. 75% of our leads come from blog page conversions. And while we are small, we are mighty when it comes to organic search traffic and rankings. We get more than a million visitors to our site each year and rank #1 for hundreds of relevant industry keywords

Sign Up Today For Your Blog Writing Service

If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content that’s consistently published, check out our weekly blog content service or schedule a free consultation.

The post What Is A Blog Writing Service? (And Why Your Business Needs One) appeared first on Marketing Insider Group.

thought leadership in tech

Research in both the B2B and B2C sectors has widely found that most buyers prioritize brand trust more than any other factor in a purchase decision — even price. So how do you establish that all-important trust to win customers? One effective way is through thought leadership.

Thought leadership in tech is even more critical because of the pace at which the industry changes and its extended reach into every company. There’s no doubt about it: technology is just part of the way we all do business.

Tech companies often choose their CIO as the face and voice behind their thought leadership content, and for good reason. CIOs oversee the people, processes, and technologies that determine their outcomes.

In the sections that follow, we’ll cover everything you need to know about thought leadership, its benefits, and specific ways CIOs can establish their thought leader reputations with great content.

Quick Takeaways

  • Thought leadership content establishes the expert reputation of individual professionals and companies.
  • Thought leadership is especially important in fast-changing, technical industries like tech.
  • B2B buyers find thought leadership content to be more valuable in assessing companies than marketing materials.
  • Since the pandemic, there has been a significant increase in thought leadership content.
  • CIOs can share thought leadership content through blog posts, expert interviews, guest appearances, and social media.
  • CIOs must balance their own unique perspective with their company’s priorities and messaging.

What is thought leadership?

Thought leadership is the continual sharing of ideas that demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in a particular industry or topic.

For as long as companies have marketed products and services, thought leadership has played an important role in establishing authority and creating “go-to” brands. But the arrival of the internet and search engines has made it an even more critical marketing strategy for companies of all sizes and in every industry.

Today — and especially in the B2B world — buyers control the buying process more than ever before. They conduct 83% of their research before ever reaching out to a company. Over time, B2B decision makers learn through their research who the top voices in their industry are. They eventually begin to turn to them first without even having to research alternatives.

Thought leadership content is what puts you on the map as one of those top voices companies look for when they need a solution or plan to make a purchase. In fact, 64% of recently surveyed B2B decision makers reported that for them, thought leadership is a more trustworthy basis for evaluating a company than marketing materials. Similarly, 63% said thought leadership provides proof that an organization truly understands their business challenges.

Thought leadership content is a more trustworthy basis for evaluating companies than its marketing materials.

Image Source: LinkedIn

One of the first steps for companies who want to leverage thought leadership is to choose the right person in their organization to be its voice. Company thought leaders balance sharing their own unique perspectives and aligning them with larger company messages and priorities. They aim to share novel ideas and provide value to their audience by helping them solve problems and find innovative solutions.

In tech, this person is often the CIO. Let’s explore why thought leadership is so important in the tech world specifically, plus X ways that CIOs can build their reputation as a thought leader.

Benefits of Thought Leadership in Tech

Tech is the fastest-changing industry in the world. New innovations, tools, and capabilities are continuously reshaping the way every company does business. At the same time, it’s transforming the way companies and customers communicate at every stage of the customer journey.

Companies of all types, then, turn to tech thought leadership to understand emerging trends and potential disruptions.

For CIOs and other tech thought leaders, this presents a huge opportunity. Establishing yourself as a tech thought leader gives you a wide audience and a platform for increasing your brand’s (and your own) visibility.

The thing is, the increased importance of thought leadership also means that there’s more competition for space. Research has found that the pandemic spawned a significant increase in thought leadership content. According to B2B decision makers, the market is oversaturated with thought leadership content. They say there is more content available now than they can even manage to read.

Thought leadership content has increased since the pandemic, and many B2B buyers feel the market is oversaturated.

Image Source: LinkedIn

This means your thought leadership content has to truly stand out. The best way to do that is by remaining value-focused. Nothing engages buyers more than content that truly helps them address their problems and implement successful solutions. In the next section, we’ll cover 4 specific ways you can provide high-value thought leadership content your audience will love.

4 Ways CIOs Can Grow Their Thought Leadership in Tech

Regular blog posts

Blogs are the cornerstone of every good content marketing strategy. Consistent, high-value blog content drives organic traffic to your website and increases your search engine rankings for topics important to your audience. In short: it makes it easier for your potential customers to find you.

Publishing thought leadership content to your blog is a sure way to make it visible and easily accessible. It does, however, take significant time to develop topic ideas and write blogs on a regular basis. Many company thought leaders work with their marketing department to find someone who can ghostwrite their blogs.

Ghostwriters can collaborate with thought leaders to uncover their most important ideas and perspectives. Then, they can draft something for review before each blog is published.

Expert interviews

Expert interviews are becoming an increasingly common way for B2B buyers and other business professionals to conduct research on a particular topic or company. There are even expert network firms who specialize in finding experts and conducting interviews with them to share with clients.

Tech is a heavily specialized field. As such, CIOs can absolutely participate in expert interviews to share knowledge and establish their reputation. Below is an expert interview example from Boston Consulting Group featuring former HSBC CIO, Darryl West.

Another route, however, is to work with your internal teams to conduct interviews and create engaging content around them. Content like video interviews, Q&As on social media stories, interviews published in blog articles, and feature interviews in publications or email campaigns can all be great ways to establish your expert reputation, especially as you begin your thought leadership efforts.

The biggest advantage of working on expert interviews internally is that you can cover topics most relevant to your unique audience at any given time. These topics can be industry trends and developments, but they can also include current events and news that your CIO provides commentary on.

Guest appearances

Content generated by guest appearances can be a huge indicator of authority. After all, why would other brands feature your CIO if they were not truly an expert? Guest appearances can come in written form (like guest blog posts), video form (like webinars), or even in-person events. The main consideration for guest appearances is to ensure the companies you partner with have a strong reputation themselves and will reflect positively on your brand.

Guest appearances extend your reach to new audiences and create new partnership opportunities.

Social media

Social media is a massive platform for thought leaders. Nowhere do CIOs have more control over the thoughts, content, and messages they share than on their own social media pages.

Social media can be a valuable tool for amplifying content (like blog posts). CIOs can also use it to share interesting industry content that you find valuable or want to discuss.

Most of all, it gives CIOs a direct channel for engaging with peers and potential customers. An active social media presence can help you build a true following. That following can extends to other channels (like your blog, email newsletter, or company website) and makes you more relatable to the customers you serve.

LinkedIn and Twitter are two of the most powerful platforms for B2B brands.

The Risks (and How to Handle Them)

CIOs who take on the role of thought leader do have some risks and challenges to consider as their visibility grows.

With visibility comes the potential for public scrutiny, and it’s important to remember that what you say and share will be seen and assessed by a large audience. Of course, no thought leader will go without criticism. Part of thought leadership is inspiring discourse. But CIOs should take care to vet the articles they share, review content published under their name, and be generally prepared for all types of feedback.

From an internal perspective, CIOs have to balance their own thought leadership agenda with their company’s priorities. No one wants to read thought leadership content that just restates the company line — for that, we can go to company websites and brochures. It’s important that thought leaders have a unique perspective and develop their own voice.

At the same time, CIOs represent their companies. Marketing departments often want to harness thought leadership content for their own purposes. They may want to have a hand in how it’s developed, too.

CIO leaders need to confidently toe this line, creating content that both reflects their unique voice and represents their brand well.

Over to You

Ready to grow your thought leadership presence? The first step is to have a library of great content. The team of writers and SEO experts at Marketing Insider Group can work with you to develop and deliver optimized content every single week for one year (or more).

Learn more about our SEO Blog Writing Service or schedule a quick consultation with me to get started.

The post The Smart CIO’s Guide to Thought Leadership in Tech appeared first on Marketing Insider Group.