Achieving expert status – is there anything more validating than that? In business-to-government (B2G) marketing, being considered an expert is not only validating but also establishes your reputation as a thought leader, and that has the power to make your brand soar.
The question is: How does one become a thought leader?
We’re going to look at what it takes to be a thought leader and how your expertise can bolster your B2G content marketing strategy.
What Is Thought Leadership?
Thought leaders are revolutionaries in their fields. They’re innovative thinkers who are passionate about sharing their knowledge as far and wide as possible. They’re so committed to sharing their innovative ideas that they don’t put a price tag on the data.
Their pioneering industry research is free to all interested parties, including decision-makers in the public sector, suppliers as well as buyers.
The best way to spread the word is through a thought leadership strategy that relies heavily on content creation, including academic white papers, video presentations (including webinars), articles in credible industry magazines, and speaking at conferences.
The more reputable channels you use, the greater your brand credibility, and the further your brand’s reach. However, if you want to position yourself as a thought leader and share your expertise with the world, you must use the right channels to build a loyal following, for example, social media platforms like a LinkedIn profile rather than Twitter (also known as X).
Know where your market is and aim your thought leadership strategy in their direction.
Is Becoming A Thought Leader Worthwhile?
It’s not easy to become a thought leader. It takes plenty of hard graft, research, flexibility, and creative thinking, not to mention a willingness to learn from other well-rounded professional thought leaders nationally and internationally.
It’s not uncommon for employees, especially small business employees to work collaboratively and share their niche knowledge on the road to thought leadership. Ongoing input from employees is necessary to ensure businesses retain their reputation as thought leaders in their industry.
The shared responsibility means there is no pressure on any one employee. It can even help employees gel, which continues to foster a reputation for industry innovation, insights, and thought leadership.
And yes, all the hard work to establish credibility as a thought leader and become a trusted figure in your field does pay off, as we’ll see below.
Feedback can make or break a thought leadership strategy
Feedback is beneficial for thought leaders and their successful thought leadership strategy. Thought leaders need to know how truly helpful, informative and valuable their content is. They can use this information to improve the content and the way the content is presented.
Feedback is important for influencers because they want to keep their reputation intact. They don’t want to share content that is going to alienate their followers.
In some instances, when thought leaders and influencers have a good (unbiased) relationship, they can even work together at certain points in the content creation process. Not so much when it’s time to create ideas for content, but more so when it comes to presentation and distribution channels.
The best B2G marketing and thought leadership strategies include both thought leaders and industry influencers.
Additional benefits for thought leaders include:
- Increased online presence
- Brand growth
- Access to a wider audience
- A culture of forward-thinking
- Pave the way for other innovative thinkers and their big ideas
How To Establish Your Expertise
Passion. That’s the first thing you need if you want to position yourself or your business as an expert in your field.
You know how you can hold forth on your favourite topic without losing focus or enthusiasm?
That’s the level of passion you should have for your particular niche area and business.
Passion feeds your desire to share your findings and inspire people in your target audience so that they want to know more about you, your leadership, and your unique insights.
Passion. You need it to share it.
6 additional tips to establish yourself as a thought leader
We’re going to look at six additional tips to plan your thought leadership strategy and become a reliable source of information and inspiration on your journey to becoming a successful thought leader.
1. Know your niche
It’s impossible to be a thought leader in every sector in your field (remember poor old Jack of all trades). Whittle away until you reach your area of specialisation or your think-tank agrees on a few topics that are worth exploring.
Then get your hands on a collection of resources to sink your teeth into and make notes of points of interest that you think will add value to the sector.
Use them as a launching pad to further explore and research the topic and devise your own studies to prove your ideas.
Don’t worry if research shows you made an error. Not only can you reassess the situation and take away valuable lessons, but you can also turn it into an interesting company blog.
This is quite a good idea because occasionally people like to see that experts don’t always get it right. It makes them more relatable. Just don’t make it a habit.
2. Protect your leadership status
The thing about being a leader is that you have to stay in front. Thought leadership strategies must include the time and resources necessary to keep up with the latest research, trends, and forecasts.
Once you’ve joined the ranks of true thought leaders, you might be able to contribute new ideas and research to the industry. You could even provide forecasts that are taken up by other informed opinion leaders and used as inspiration for fresh ideas that turn into industry trends.
3. Be open to learning
Thought leaders are also learners. Not only do they conduct research and keep up with trends, but they also learn from others in the industry.
Successful thought leadership entails listening, discussing, understanding, debating, and learning from engagement with all their peers, not just the ones who have thought leadership status.
It’s an excellent way to develop relationships and build a network of diverse public sector buyers and suppliers.
4. Put profit on the back burner
Thought leadership is about knowledge, not sales.
While your reputation for excellence may well spill over into qualified leads and give you a head start in public sector procurement, those are not the goals.
You’re aiming to add valuable information and insights into your niche, driving the industry forward and helping to create momentum that continues through technological developments and market changes.
Social media shares and mentions and meeting B2G marketing goals are a bonus.
5) Collaborate with other thought leaders
No man is an island.
This is why collaboration with other leaders and authority figures is such a good idea.
Collaboration among the best thought leaders provides different perspectives, opens new avenues of interest, and refines your thinking when someone challenges your ideas and conclusions.
Deeper thinking and investigation lead to deeper understanding and innovation, which elevates your standing as an influential thought leader and enhances the already positive reputation of your strong brand.
6. Stay in the public eye
White papers, webinars, and articles in reputable trade magazines are great online tools to spread your knowledge and earn acclaim from your peers. But they aren’t the be-all and end-all of a thought leadership campaign.
In-person engagement lets people see the person behind the ideas. The person who is chatty, friendly, and looks forward to speaking and networking at live events.
(Definitely not the person who is taciturn and wants to leave as soon as their role in the event is over.)
In-person conferences, seminars, and workshops are a great way to get to know other thought leaders on a personal level. International events are even better because you get to meet experts from around the world who can introduce you to an entirely new market.
Strike up the right conversation and you might be able to join forces on projects or studies that have global value.
How To Produce Content
This process has nothing to do with researching, writing, and distributing content produced by thought leaders. Instead, it’s got to do with how the content is presented.
For instance, a thought leader is a genius but has poor writing skills. Or you want to create a webinar to showcase a thought leader’s groundbreaking presentation but don’t know the technical nitty gritty.
You need a skilled writer to translate thought to paper and create a compelling white paper, for example. Or a webinar tech whiz with the expertise to boost the production value of the event.
The best thing to do under these circumstances is to engage the services of B2G content and digital marketing experts. Research the market until you find a B2G marketing agency that resonates with you and book a consultation.
(Many B2G marketing agencies offer free no-obligation consultations to potential customers.)
Modern communication channels for modern thought leaders
Back in the day, in-person consultations were the best (and only) way thought leaders could use to convey their valuable information. These days, thought leaders have plenty more options thanks to video conferencing via Skype, Google Chat, Zoom, and instant messaging apps.
The consultation lets you provide the background to the content and its purpose, for example, leading people to a new source of knowledge and encouraging them to come up with more ideas on the topic. A white paper, essentially.
Use the time to assess the agency and determine whether it has the expertise to produce the content in the required medium or format.
If you’re satisfied with their skills, you can arrange a follow-up meeting to go into more detail and begin planning the content calendar and distribution methods.
When and where you publish informative and valuable content
You need a plan that includes the best time and place for content publication.
For instance, debut the white paper in two weeks in a live webinar. Publish a summary in the following issue of a monthly trade magazine and invite interested parties to visit your website where they can download the paper in full. Let the announcement run for one month as part of a weekly industry email newsletter. Etc.
It’s important to meet the person who will be responsible for your content – the content writer who will work with you to create a white paper. You and the writer will have to work closely together to cover the many elements included in the content. Not to mention ensuring accuracy, alignment with brand voice, and correct structure.
Remember you aren’t bound to the agency. If, after several meetings, you feel like they’ve misunderstood your requirements or their resources are too limited to guarantee the quality of the work, you’re free to go elsewhere.
Cadence Marketing Provides Advertising Solutions For The Public and Private Sectors
Our B2G marketing consultants work with public sector clients to ensure their marketing messages and other valuable content reach their target audience, via email marketing and webinars, for example.
Part of our job is to provide B2G clients with up-to-date market intelligence so they can make more informed decisions about their marketing campaigns. This helps our clients gain the confidence and skills to apply for public sector contracts.
Contact Cadence Marketing for a free consultation and discuss how our expertise in the B2G marketing sector can drive your business forward.