Establishing trust and authority is paramount when you’re in the B2B space. Compared to end consumers, company decision-makers typically invest more resources — both time and money — in the solutions they buy. Their business’s success depends on whether products and services they purchase live up to their potential and deliver the maximum ROI.
In most cases, it’s going to take more than a few touchpoints to seal the deal. Luckily, a well-considered thought leadership strategy can get the ball rolling, creating a foundation of trust and credibility. By providing thought leadership, you can attract leads, build brand authority, and convert followers. Let’s look at four thought leadership strategies a B2B business owner can use to boost their company’s visibility.
Start a Podcast
It’s human nature to be skeptical of what’s unfamiliar to you. If a company you know nothing about tries to sell you the answer to your problems, you’ll question their sincerity. You’ll wonder whether you can or should trust what the organization is saying. Because there isn’t an established relationship, you’ll have to put more effort into convincing yourself it’s OK to move forward.
The opposite is generally true when you have a relationship and familiarity with a company. You’re comfortable with the people you’re dealing with. And you’re likely to be less resistant when you’re evaluating information and negotiating the terms of the contract. Since trust already exists in established relationships, people tend to rely on them, especially with B2B purchases. They don’t have to spend as much time investigating the offering and substantiating their decision.
So how do these relationships get formed? After all, it’s not as though business leaders spend every waking minute at networking events. Rather, they learn about other companies and thought leaders by consuming content. Podcasts are an example of digital content people listen to for advice and to stay current. More than that, they help establish a more personal connection because they allow prospects to hear your voice.
A podcast marketing strategy enables you to communicate your thought leadership while letting audience members get to know who’s behind your business. You build credibility, trust, and familiarity when like-minded people gravitate toward your expertise. When it’s time to pitch, there’s less hesitation, since your target audience already feels like they know you.
Provide Valuable, Diversified Content
Seventy-three percent of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach their audiences. While the size of this figure suggests marketers are onto something, it also highlights the importance of standing out from the crowd. While content consumption has surged by 207% since the pandemic, publishing content alone isn’t always impactful.
What can be is creating the kinds of digital resources your target audience finds valuable. For B2B audiences, beneficial content may include case studies and white papers. Gating these types of reading materials gives you an instant method of generating leads. Business blogs can do the same, but case studies and white papers let you go more in depth.
Diversified content allows you to demonstrate your expertise and reach a larger audience. Of course, you’ll have to identify what distinct knowledge your audience members are seeking. They must find your content’s details worthwhile enough to give up their contact information. Consider format as well. Some prospects will enjoy interactive tools and videos, while others will want to take a deeper dive.
Creating multiple resources for each stage of the buyer’s journey shows you’ll be attentive to your audience members’ needs. Even if they don’t make a purchase today, you’re willing to offer some of your expertise for free. By doing so, you’re building rapport and giving a preview of how your solutions can benefit them.
Join Online Community Conversations
Content isn’t the only way to demonstrate thought leadership. Participating in online communities, in real time or asynchronously, is another strategy B2B business owners can use. It enables you to get your company’s name in front of likely leads and demonstrate your expertise in a non-salesy manner. Plus, online discussions open peer support and mentoring opportunities.
Business decision-makers often join online communities to gain insights from people in similar situations. Besides peer support and mentoring, leaders seek experiential learning and knowledge-sharing opportunities. These virtual groups let business owners exchange ideas with industry peers they might not otherwise meet. You can offer advice, start or add to conversations, and build relationships.
Online communities are also places to share relevant content, including case studies. If your company is hosting an upcoming webinar on a hot topic, you can encourage your peers to attend. You’ll also learn about industry challenges, trends influencing decisions, and potential partnerships.
Attend In-Person Events
Virtual interactions and digital content can only go so far. Sometimes you need face-to-face conversations to build relationships. While live webinars and meetings count as face-to-face contact, in-person events can pack more power.
Well-known conferences in your industry are an example. Giving a presentation is a chance to lead the conversation, present case studies, and demonstrate thought leadership. You can do the same through roundtable discussions and informal networking hours. Attending these events gives you the advantage of assessing non-verbal cues and having a human-to-human conversation.
Your peers can see and feel your enthusiasm when you lead in-person roundtables and learning sessions. It’s more personal, allowing you to engage with immediate insights. In addition, in-person events are a chance to create a memorable impression. It’s sometimes easier to build trust with a live person than with words on a screen.
B2B Thought Leadership
When you’re marketing to other businesses, pitching what you can offer isn’t enough. You’ve got to give your peers reasons to trust your pitch. And this usually means trusting the people and information behind what you’re selling. B2B thought leadership strategies, including podcasting and in-person events, help form the relationships your prospects need to seal the deal.