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beyond the buzzword – 3 questions thought leaders should be asking themselves

In today’s virtual business environment, thought leadership is more than a marketing buzz word.   With face-to-face interactions and in-person meetings still paused, thought leadership is proving to be the lifeline keeping brands connected to their customers in a meaningful way. As customers continue to spend more time on digital channels throughout the buyer journey, there’s even more digital noise to cut through these days. According to research by Gartner, Inc., 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025.

From the CEO to sales managers, there’s never been a greater opportunity to establish a thought leadership program to build credibility and add real value to the people in your industry in a way that extends beyond the products or services you sell. How do you know your thought leadership strategy is delivering what your customers most need now? Start with self-reflection by asking yourself these three questions.

Am I authentic?

To be a thought leader, you must first position yourself as an expert on something you’re actually an expert on. What are those unique solutions you have for businesses in your industry? How can you help educate, inform or inspire your audience? What perspective can you offer? While certain topics may be trending in your industry, resist the urge to jump into the conversation if it is not in your wheelhouse. Your customers can spot the difference between someone who is trying to capitalize on a situation and someone who truly has expert insights to share.

Am I relatable? 

Potential and current customers want to hear real stories from real people more than they want to read industry jargon, crafted quotes and formal corporate statements. Look for opportunities to emphasize transparency in your message and promote the human element of the stories and examples you share. For example, if you focus on your company values, don’t just say what your values are. Talk about how you express or live your values in your day to day.

Am I consistent?

Regularly producing and publishing content creates a comfortable cadence that lets your audiences know that they can count on you to offer valuable insight on a regular basis. Staying consistent with your content frequency, as well as the topics you share and the tone and voice of your content, are all important components to building credibility. One or two published articles aren’t going to build an audience or create avid followers. Find opportunities to contribute to industry blogs, create bylined articles, participate in podcasts and engage in speaking opportunities. The more content you produce, the more likely you are to be noticed by others in your industry.

Thought leadership doesn’t offer a quick win. It takes both time and effort to build and a deep understanding of the needs of your customers. When done right, it can deliver amazing long-term results to help differentiate your brand and build customer loyalty. Ready to explore how thought leadership can connect you closer with your customers? Contact me at April.wonsick@akhia.com

Written By

april wonsick

executive vice president

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