Using Your Company Blog to Build Authority
Everyone is generating content. In every corner of the Internet, people are becoming famous thanks to their innovative and valuable creations. We’re living in an age where YouTubers are more popular than Hollywood A-listers, and this brings both opportunity and challenges for us all.
For B2B companies, it brings the opportunity to shine; to really sing about our specialisms and exemplify our expertise. But simply telling our audience that we’re awesome is no longer enough. People need us to prove it, and that means building authority and demonstrating true thought leadership to gain the trust we deserve.
Thought leadership is defined as an authority in a specialised field, who is often the go-to person or company for advice, knowledge and expertise in their specific industry. In a world of excess information, becoming a thought leader is one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd and build trust with a loyal following of engaged potential customers.
Why Should You Care About Building Authority?
In the B2B industry, your clients are looking to work with the best. No one is going to buy from a brand they don’t trust, so our challenge as B2B businesses is to create trust from a distance.
Research by CEB showed that more than half (57%) of B2B customers made a purchase decision before they even spoke to their supplier. Publishing insightful content can start to build that trust and can turn leads into sales before your client has even picked up the phone.
Further research into thought leadership has shown a huge range of benefits to businesses, including:
- Gaining trust from prospects and customers,
- Achieving greater sales as a result,
- Building respect from peers, leading to potential beneficial partnerships and opportunities,
- Growing into an industry information source, boosting website traffic and links,
- Attracting more referrals, both on and offline.
Building authority as a brand will make it so much easier to improve brand recognition, and can give many more opportunities for positive PR in the process. Being perceived as an authority on a particular topic is going to drive people to your site to get answers to their questions, and is going to lead to more followers, subscribers, fans, readers and enquiries.
As a CEO or business owner, you’ll be building your personal brand along the way too, positioning yourself as an expert in your industry and opening doors of opportunity well into the future.
How Can You Become A Thought Leader?
Becoming a thought leader is not something you can do overnight, but to the dedicated and tenacious it brings immense rewards. In order to become a thought leader, we need to actively disseminate information that is truly smart and valuable, and then work to get people to realise how smart and valuable these ideas are.
Key to the achievement of these goals are four crucial elements:
- Communication: Learn to communicate your ideas effectively and succinctly… or hire someone who can,
- Connection: Connecting with both influencers and followers is crucial to successful dissemination,
- Demonstration: Demonstrate achievements with case studies, talk about certifications, illuminate content with real life examples,
- Humanisation: Humanising your brand by injecting a bit of personality into your content is key to building trust and rapport with your audience.
If you’re truly an expert in your industry, then becoming a thought leader is the logical next step for your business. So what if your competitors are more established or bigger than you? Your customers are listening to the brand with the greatest trust and credibility, not the biggest bankroll.
How Can Blogging Help?
Already, running a blog is one of the most powerful and popular B2B marketing assets, and is the ideal platform to start building authority for your brand. It allows for the perfect mix of personal advice and persuasive thoughts that are so reflective of high quality thought leadership.
Key to being an authentic thought leader is to forget being promotional altogether. Even the slightest bit of promotion in your work can seriously undermine your authority and credibility, so leave the sales tactics at the door. Your audience want to take applicable, useful advice and input from your blog, so avoid talking about your products or services at all.
Running an active business blog helps in a number of ways:
- It’s regular: When you start an industry blog on your website, create a content schedule and stick to it. There’s no point in even starting this if you’re not going to be consistent with publishing, so be realistic about the amount of input you can provide. By maintaining a regular presence through your blogs, you’ll start to become recognised by both peers and clients more and more.
- It’s freestyle: You can make a blog on anything you want. Feel you would like to offer ten tips to people using your service? Go for it. Think you’ve got some ideas for a ‘how to’? That’s great content. And if something happens in your industry that makes the headlines or you feel you’d like to comment on, your blog is a great place for that too.
- It’s adaptable: When you’ve got some amazing blog content, it can work for you again and again. If you’ve got a popular post that gets a lot of clicks, maybe you can turn it into a SlideShare presentation too? Or if you know something you wrote gets several shares a day, maybe it could be extended into a downloadable whitepaper. For more on this read my post on repurposing content here.
- It gives awesome audience insight: Because your blog is hosted on your website, not only do you benefit from the increased traffic and clicks to your site, you get a whole sheaf of exciting data to use too. By monitoring what elicits the most attention and clicks, you’ll gain a greater understanding of what’s going on in your industry. This information can be used to inform product development, marketing strategies, investment opportunities and more.
Keeping all your thoughts and ideas in your head or somewhere else where the world can’t see them is never going to let you make your mark. Start building a reputation in your industry through sharing information and ideas in your blog, and soon you’ll be the one everyone thinks of when they need information and advice. More exposure means more leads, and ultimately greater profits for your business.
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