Producing content is one of the many ways in which businesses attempt to connect to their audience in order to get the message about the brand out there. For the most part, this is still written content which appears on various forums such as company blogs, LinkedIn and other social networks and as guest posts on industry-specific sites. For many businesses, content marketing also means that they can position an executive in the company as a thought leader.
However, it’s not a simple thing to do and there’s a lot of work involved, especially if you’re aiming to be published in tier one publications within your niche. Thought leadership is about ideas. They should be fresh and provoke further thought and discussion and allow the executive the opportunity to showcase their knowledge.
Whilst some companies do often publish webinars online, inviting relevant people within the industry to attend, many still dismiss the huge potential that’s offered by video. Thanks to mobile, video consumption around the world has increased massively in recent years. Video consumers are engaged, interested and ripe for the reception of ideas, yet video as a marketing medium remains woefully underexploited.
What Is Thought Leadership
Briefly, thought leadership involves a person or company that is recognised as having a certain amount of influence in their niche. To build this, they produce content that is innovative and covers trends and topics that challenge and inform others within the industry.
According to Forbes, it’s also a person or company that’s not only recognised as an authoritative voice within the industry niche, but one that also profits from that recognition. The thought leader seeks to address the questions that their audience has and further cement the business relationship.
Thought Leadership and Virility
To some extent, developing thought leadership depends to a certain extent on the content’s virility. Just as posts, images and videos go viral in the world of social media memes and suchlike, so does great content from a thought leader. For example, if you post on LinkedIn a lot and the work is considered good enough, you’ll eventually get picked up by LinkedIn Pulse and this will lead to the post going viral as the audience is hugely extended.
Video presents the greatest opportunity quite simply because it’s being underused and because people love it. Every month alone, YouTube processes more than 3bn searches each month and one-third of all online activity is spent consuming video. Further to that, 80% of people online watch a video in its entirety, whilst only 20% read written content right through. Add mobile into the mix and it’s a no brainer, video consumption on mobile is huge and it means that you have the opportunity to connect with your audience wherever they are.
B2B and Thought Leadership
Whilst thought leadership is important to B2C companies, it’s thought that “it’s especially important in B2B (Business-to-Business). This is because of the complexity and length of the decision-making process in B2B environments and the large number of people involved,” say Forbes. Consider then how vital video could prove to the mix – it can be consumed by more than one person at a time, who can discuss instantly and even during the video itself.
Video appears to boost all marketing activities if you consider the following statistics from Invodo in the Video Statistics: The Marketers Summary 2014:
- Video in email can boost open rates by 20% and click-through by 2-3X
- The use of the word video ups open rates by 18.5%, click-through by 64.8%, click to open rates by 39% and reduces unsubscribe rates by 26%
According to Vidyard, ‘visible experts’ use video to gain further reach and connect with their audience by creating educational or tutorial videos such as those given by Moz’s Rand Fishkin in his regular Whiteboard Friday feature. The company carried out a survey to see which mediums had the highest impact and it was found that video not only had great reach and a high impact, but was also relatively low effort, making it one of the top tools for return on effort.
Thought leaders do of course use other tools in order to get themselves heard, such as the email examples given above, but also through social media channels. Of course YouTube is the first social channel that spring to mind, but there’s no reason why video can’t be shared and marketed through the other social networks in order to further increase reach.
Tips for Effective Video Thought Leadership
Developing thought leadership and authority takes times and whilst video can increase reach and boost the process, it’s important that you also consider the following:
- Know your target audience, you want to reach those in positions of authority and influence them so tailor what you want to say toward the buying executive.
- Commit to producing content and getting it out there. You can repurpose written content from articles blogs and whitepapers in order to make a great video.
- Know your stuff, but don’t be a know it all. Despite the fact that you’re an industry authority, nobody likes to be patronised so ensure content reflects this.
- Use social channels and email marketing to augment your video campaigns and ensure the best reach.
- Get involved with discussions on various forums such as LinkedIn discussion groups in order to get your name out there and in the consciousness of those you’d like to reach. Research groups and identify other leaders within your niche for discussion.
- Optimise video content with keywords in order for it to be found more easily.
Video allows you to express yourself in such a way that’s not really possible in the written word. Use this to get across your passion for your subject and back this up with facts and evidence that your ideas and thoughts are worthwhile. Your audience are much more likely to connect with you if your love of the industry shines through.
Video is, to some extent, still an untapped market in thought leadership. With that in mind, ensure that you utilise it now, using the tips above and ensuring that your content is fresh and not seen elsewhere. Whilst it’s not easy to ‘go viral’ on platforms such as YouTube, business videos do well so it’s up to you to make the most of it if you want to cement your position as a thought leader.
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