Technological mobility and social media platforms have forever altered what once was an unchanged marketing horizon. In the modern world we share, businesses need to stop applying antiquated ideologies to their marketing strategies. Today’s fast-paced businesses don’t have the time or the resources to drop hard-earned dollars in an effort to spread mediocre messages to a complacent target demographic. The days of “spend and spread” are over.
In today’s market, businesses need to start thinking of themselves as perpetual presenters—eternally onstage to satisfy their network of voyeuristic viewers. Luckily, many of history’s greatest presentations continue to be memorable for their delivery… and so should your content marketing.
You may have overheard some savvy, young adults talk about something being “the business.” As in, “those boots are ‘the business’,” or “that game is ‘the business’.” It can often be interchanged for “awesome” or “cool.” Well, in today’s corporate atmosphere, thought leadership in content marketing is “the business”…and it can make or break yours. Thought leaders invigorate employees, excite customers, and inspire action.
Instead of making you read the entire thought leadership book, we’ll give you the crib notes for this new marketing model. In this interpretation, there are three hard-and-fast rules when it comes to thought leadership in social content marketing:
1. Your Services/Goods Are No Longer the Product… Your Business Is
Thought leaders no longer expect to spend inordinate amounts of time pitching their services or goods. That job is reserved for people at the mall who follow you around with a clipboard. Annoying, right? If you have to bend over backwards to sell someone on your services or goods, the services or goods need more attention. Today’s customers expect quality, and they will seek it on their own. Through social media and word of mouth, your entire business has become your product.
Today’s thought leaders brand it and protect its reputation with ongoing content creation, resilient outreach and proven expertise. Check out Tim Parker’s blog from The Bloom Group, which provides excellent examples of why thought leadership is important in today’s business environment.
2. While Your Business Builds Relationships, Your Brand Builds Trust
Thought leaders no longer expect to end their customer transactions by handing them a receipt along with a polite smile. That’s why the old-school neighborhood mom and pop businesses—despite their altruistic intentions—are losing traction in today’s corporate climate. Guess which neighborhood mom and pop businesses are doing well in? Maria Barr will let you know with her guest blog post for socialmediaweek.com. Here’s a hint: They’re the same businesses that Pennypacker & Associates would put in at least the third level of their “Where do you stand” pyramid.
The more contact your business has with its clients, the more they’re likely they are to remember that relationship when it’s convenient for them. Thought leaders explore innovative ways to stay in touch with potential clients when they’re not needed. This helps their business avoid being a random, stumbled-on solution and position it as a reliable, trustworthy, go-to expert in a customer’s unending and fast-paced social media stream.
3. Persistently Place Promotion in the Public’s Purview
With so many free tools available for social networking, thought leaders have every reason to let customer-to-customer relationships build a no-cost grassroots ad campaign for their business. Check out Jordan Kasteler’s New Marketing Strategy model on Search Engine Journal, where he outlines why making your online presence fun, interactive, visible and shareable is the new paradigm in content marketing. Mount Rushmore only had to be built once, and initially, the sculpting of those faces was hard work. Now, more than 75 years later, the project still pays dividends to South Dakota, attracting two million people (and their tourist dollars) to the region annually.
Content marketing and social networking can be looked at the same way—it only needs to be built once, and then routinely maintained. While thought leaders don’t put a literal face on their business, they do manage the symbolic face of their business…and more importantly, they know how to reap the ongoing rewards of a strategic social network presence and identity.
Hopefully, this information helped to wet your feet. When it comes to content marketing, you can find an “expert” in almost any dark corner of the Web. Locating and following the steps of today’s marketing thought leaders will help keep your business performing at its best. Eventually, it may even help you to become a marketing thought leader in your own industry.