2018 – The Year of Thought Leadership
The term “fake news” has gained notoriety over the last 12 months thanks to its continual usage by a certain Mr Trump. So much so in fact that it was recently named as Collins’ Word of the Year for 2017.
While its addition to the English lexicon might seem like a harmless piece of fun, it’s also representative of the growing scepticism in which the public view the media.
The reasoning behind such a shift in perception can partly be attributed to the coming of age of the millennial generation.
Socially informed and with a wealth of information at their fingertips, millennials are looking beyond what’s presented in front of them. They’re searching, comparing, discussing and scrutinising every last detail. And that’s bad news for brands.
A recent consumer study found that just one percent of millennials respond to traditional advertising. In other words, advertising as we know it is dead.
That’s causing marketers to rethink their tactics. With push-advertising no longer working – a fact further compounded by the increased usage of ad-blocking software – marketers are turning to thought leadership as a way of reconnecting with their customers.
Honesty is Key
As a generation, Millennials now lead the way in annual consumer spending, making them arguably the most powerful consumer sector.
Multiple studies have shown that brand authenticity is an integral factor in driving millennial loyalty. In simpler terms, they respond well to companies that stand for more than just their bottom line.
Since its inception as a concept, thought leadership has always been one of the most logical ways to respond to this increasing need for authenticity. When done well, it gives customers an insight into how a company works and what it stands for. This, in turn, lets the customer decide whether those brand values tie back into their own social beliefs.
In 2018, however, thought leadership is about to become even more powerful. Through greater integration with content marketing, it’s set to become a key lead generation tool.
Some companies are already reaping the benefits of such an approach.
Law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has seen a 400% increase in their vetted leads thanks to their decision to create personalised reports for senior financial executives. This involved addressing key regulatory issues that were relevant to each individual business.
Trelleborg Marine Systems had been struggling due to their exploitation of industry guidelines by its competitors. Rather than focussing on its itself, Trelleborg decided to try to change industry thinking in the hope of influencing the industry body, PIANC, to alter its rules.
Through the creation of a new website, along with informative articles, whitepapers and offline seminars, Trelleborg was able to not only change industry guidelines but to also create a partnership with PIANC that continues to this day.
By working to establish themselves as thought leaders in their industries, both of these companies applied content marketing techniques to help deliver successful commercial outcomes.
Making Yourself Heard
Self-proclaimed gurus are everywhere you turn on the internet. You often find, however, that much of their content is made up of vague self-help tips that lack any sort of key performance indicator. Don’t fall into the same trap.
By coming up with a content marketing plan that combines your status as a thought leader, 2018 could be the year you turn millennials into millions.