The best thought leadership campaigns can build awareness, trust and quality leads for B2B firms. But poor planning and topic selection can undermine your chances of success.
According to Forbes, ill-conceived thought leadership and poor topic selection can lead to a waste of resource, a negative perception of your understanding of critical issues, and a diminishing of the firm in the eyes of clients and prospects.
The right idea, however, will connect what you want with what your clients want, and bring tangible benefits.
"A true thought leader knows a topic inside and out, has formed a clear, unique and defensible point of view about it, and freely shares that perspective."
So how do you select the right topics? Here we reveal four sources of inspiration to guide your decision-making.
No-one should understand your clients better than you. After all, you are working with them now to solve their business problems and realise their opportunities.
But are you thinking far enough ahead? Yesterday’s B2B firms were reactive, today’s firms are proactive, but tomorrow’s firms need to be predictive. The best thought leadership is forward-looking, anticipating change that your clients lack time to or dare not think about.
And while your clients and prospects should be your single most important source of ideas, they are often ill-defined and rarely consulted in the planning stages of a thought leadership campaign.
Map out the specific personas you want to reach and be prepared to invest in regular and robust research such as surveys or focus groups to find out what is, or should be, keeping each group awake at night.
Planning targeted campaigns in this way is much more likely to prompt a response than if your themes are too wide.
Now it’s time to put your own firm under the microscope. What do you do that is different from your competitors or, more likely, how do you do it? Focusing on your strengths, and the insights derived from first-hand experience of a particular business problem, will make your ideas more compelling and trustworthy.