3 Steps to Establish Thought Leadership with Your B2B Blog


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It’s great to be back after the break. There is something about an end of the year holiday that makes it unique and extra special. Yes, we eat too much, drink too much, sleep too little, party hard and indulge in all those typical holiday season activities. Yet, amidst all the frenzy is a time to bond with family and friends. Above all, I personally find that it is a very powerful time for reflection. Looking back on an entire year of events both at a personal and professional level allows for deep thinking about many important matters. I come back bursting with new ideas, new found energy, relaxed, refreshed and raring to go!

In the course of my frequent travels, I meet many interesting individuals from all walks of life. Many of these are leaders—in different ways, leading a variety of people, sharing their knowledge and expertise on a broad range of important subjects. From the farm-to-table cuisine expert and renowned master chef, Michael Stadtländer at Eigensinn Farm, to my nephew, Miguel Chan who is a Certified Sommelier (wine expert), to the local Samaritan who brought us safely down the mountain in Sacred Valley, Peru, (after our guide abandoned us in the dark!), to heads of organizations and associates I work with—I consider myself blessed to encounter these personalities who enlighten me with their thoughts. It gives me a steady infusion of motivation and inspiration to think differently. That, in my opinion, is the key to establishing thought leadership.

Below are 3 fundamental steps to use your B2B blog and present your organization as a thought leader in the industry:

1. Define value creation. It’s all very well to profess that your blog aims to lead and inspire. However, unless your customers and prospects are able to take your innovative ideas and put them into practice for better organizational performance, you have not quite hit the mark for value creation. How do you define value? In order to judge the value quotient of what you deliver, you need to have in place good measurement metrics and feedback mechanisms to actually gauge how customers rate your offering on various parameters.

2. Encourage interactivity and drive engagement. When I go into a restaurant for the first time, I always like to get the maître d’s recommendation on the food. Depending on how that conversation progresses, I either make my own choices entirely or go along with some of the interesting suggestions. My mind rapidly processes my comfort level and confidence in the host, his or her passion (or lack of it) about the food, the overall ambiance of the place and how engaged I feel in the dining experience even before the food has arrived. B2B buyers process their experience with a seller in much the same way. Trust, comfort, positive interaction, confidence and interest are all necessary ingredients to building engagement. Your business blog must incorporate these essentials; and it is not difficult to do so today. The technology and blogging platforms available are inherently very powerful in themselves. Interesting, relevant content presented in an engaging manner will then ensure good readership. As you start to get increased readers and your posts get shared across other blogs and forums, you will be steadily on your way to establishing thought leadership. Have questions? Need more ideas? Join this exclusive, B2B LinkedIn Group and exchange notes with some great minds in the industry.

3. Be creative and think ‘new’. The pressure to generate high volumes of content puts bloggers and organizations into the rut of recycle-repurpose-republish. The problem is, due to the ease and speed with which your audience can access multiple content platforms simultaneously, you need to be careful not to bore them. If they see the same “old wine in a new bottle” type of content over and over again, you are likely to lose their following very quickly.

As Seth Godin says in his book, Poke the Box, the “fear of doing things differently” is fed and nurtured through years of conformity and mediocrity. You need to start something “important, frightening and new.”

I don’t say that it is easy to be creative and offer up fresh, new content all the time. I know how hard it is with my blog! But as I’ve said in a previous piece about marketing innovation, you have to ask different questions—to your peers, business associates, your staff and your customers. Who knows, your accounting folks may share an inspiring story about an innovative cost-saving idea before the close of the year. Would your customers be able to implement a similar idea? Then why not share it on your blog? Talk to IT—what are they doing that is new and exciting? Are the results going to make your bottom line look better this year? Maybe your customers will love to hear about that. Ask your customers what they are finding most challenging as the new year unfolds. Do you have a recommended solution—now, be careful not to “sell” it! But go ahead and throw some light on the subject to make things easier for your clients. They will come back to your blog more often and be happy to share your valuable content within their circle of influence.

As you plan your B2B blogging strategy for 2014, take care to ensure these fundamental measures are in place. Then blog your way to thought leadership! I look forward to your continued support and feedback in 2014 and beyond. Please leave me a comment.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.


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