Generally speaking, Professional Services companies use their networks to generate valuable leads. And, as we all know, in order to increase your leads, you need to expand your network, which takes on-going time and resources.
You can physically expand your network, by attending networking events, conferences and other relevant industry functions (pandemic permitting). However, as tried-and-tested as this tactic may be, there’s a bit of a glitch with it.
Historically, it’s always tended to fall to just one, or maybe two, people within an organisation (usually the MD, Partner, Director or Sales Director) to generate leads, which is fine, but….there’s only one of them, and there’s only so much they can physically do. And if they’re the Business Owner or MD, most of their time is taken up with actually running the business. Sound familiar?
But there’s also another way to expand your networks that’s less resource-intense – it involves digitally expanding your presence by tapping into the power of thought leadership.
What do we mean by thought leadership marketing?
So how do we define thought leadership marketing? It’s what the name suggests, a form of marketing that positions you or somebody within your company as a specialist within their field, be it VAT, business advice, bookkeeping, commercial, family or employment law or debt recovery, or another area of expertise.
And while more traditional ‘physical’ lead generation methods may be heavily dependent on word of mouth recommendations and referrals, thought leadership marketing is capable of generating leads without relying on just one or two key people.
Thought leadership marketing enables you to use experience as marketing collateral. You can leverage the wealth of skills, insight and expertise that exist within your organisation and use them to stand out from your competitors.
When you implement thought leadership marketing regularly and get it right, it enables you to effortlessly increase brand followers on a widespread scale. And that wider following will increase awareness, which is ultimately low cost marketing at its very best.
What does thought leadership marketing look like?
There are lots of ways you can position yourself as a thought leader. But first, it’s important you identify what subject matter or discipline you want to be recognised as being a thought leader for.
Take inspiration from what your competitors provide thought leadership on and look to see if you can provide insight from a different angle or on an area that they may have overlooked. The key is to make sure you aren’t saying the same thing as everybody else because that won’t get you noticed, it’ll just add to all of the noise that’s already out there.
Once you’ve clarified your area of expertise, decided on your key messages and then created a thought leadership marketing strategy that gets your voice and expertise out there. For instance, you can:
- Write regular insight-based blogs for your website
- Share your expertise on your social media channels
- Instigate and contribute to credible digital conversations
- Host webinars or forums about certain subject matters
- Produce insight articles for trade or wider media titles and share your coverage on social and online
- Post commentary videos online and on social
- The list is endless…
You can even use aspects of the content you create as a lead generation tool. For example, the webinars you host can turn into downloadable and on demand videos that you can continuously promote to a specific target audience, or even white papers that you have put together. By gating the content on your website (asking for people to fill out a form before they can access it), you are able to generate leads, and know specifically what information they are after, to be able to offer them more insight around that topic, adding value.
Over time, if you carry out thought leadership activities like these regularly, you will become to be known as an expert within your field, which should open the door to more-and-more thought leadership opportunities.
What does thought leadership marketing look like in reality?
We’re glad you’ve asked because we’ve got lots of great examples of thought leadership marketing in practice, which includes Midven, who are established venture capital thought leaders.
As well as positioning themselves as go-to investors for early stage, technology and SME businesses, Midven’s work is closely connected with the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), which is delivered by the British Business Bank (BBB).
We’ve been working with Midven since 2018, which involves providing them with dedicated PR support to help cement their status as venture capital experts within the Midlands and throughout their industry. Our work involves helping get the word out there about MEIF investments made through Midven, using a combination of thought leadership activities, ranging from media announcements, blogs and case studies, to newsletters and wider media features.
So far, we’ve secured more than 160 pieces of coverage for Midven that’s reaped more than 1.25million in estimated coverage views. These pieces of coverage have been published in high quality, regional, industry specific and business media outlets, including Midlands Today, The Business Desk and Business Live. And with each piece of coverage that’s generated, it’s another opportunity to reinforce Midven’s thought leader status. (For more details on our work with Midven, check out the full case study).
All Professional Services companies have the potential to raise their profile and generate widespread brand awareness through thought leadership marketing. What’s more, with every thought leadership piece you put out there, the greater your presence will become, providing you are sharing insight that will get you noticed for all the right reasons and differentiates you from your competitors. What would you like to be recognised as being a thought leader for?
Got any queries or want to find out more about how thought leadership marketing can boost your lead generation? Contact us by eMail or call 0121 399 0065.
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