This may not come as a big surprise to you, but people buy from people. Yes, even though we’ve never been so technologically advanced and inundated with indications that artificial intelligence is taking over, when it's all said and done, people buy from people.
So why then, do you not leverage the incredibly smart visionaries on your team and create content for your company blog that showcases their thought leadership? This is one of the easiest ways to elevate the quality and frequency of your content strategy and you just might find that it helps your sales team shorten the sales cycle.
See, when your prospects are searching for answers to their questions, who better for them to have access to than experts within your own company? Your digital marketing strategy is begging for the human connection to make your content stand out from all the marketing "noise." People connect with people.
Making your content real...
What if you approached your next content planning session as if you were your own news center where you identified the "story" that you want to write about that's aligned with your prospects biggest pain point and then identified whom within your organization was best equipped to answer that question? (So often, companies contain their content creation strategies to the marketing department when there is a wealth of knowledge that exists throughout the entire organization!) We have a saying at StoryTeller, that none of us is smarter than all of us, so seek out your subject matter expert (SME) even if it's your busy CEO or President.
Here are some ways you can showcase thought leadership throughout the organization by thinking more like a roaming reporter on the hunt for the next best story.
- Have a Plan: By creating a monthly roadmap, or "editorial calendar," you won't be left scrambling and trying to figure out what to write about. Your content calendar should be aligned with your marketing plan, current events, and industry news, and it should consistently be addressing relevant pain points or challenges that your target audience is searching for. (Haven't created formalized buyer personas yet? Check out this template for inspiration. Don't create any content until you know who it's intended for and what they care most about.) Now that you know what and when you are going to write, you can identify your internal experts.
- Find Your Internal Subject Matter Experts (SMEs): Not sure who to engage in your company blog? This is not always the easiest answer, but chances are that many of your key leaders or stakeholders will be willing to fill this role. But proceed with caution, because top down company speak can be dry and impersonal. Be sure to engage your leadership team in a way that makes them "real" and "accessible" and most of all, authentic. As an influential leader, this is their chance to make a unique connection with the reader.
- Put Them on Camera: If you have a dynamic thought leader (and I am sure you do) video can be the most efficient way to showcase their thought leadership. If done correctly, you can create the most powerful form of content that can connect with your audience in ways no other form of content can. Remember when you consider your video spokesperson, think about the target audience you are trying to reach. Is this the right person to deliver the message and create the connection. Video is a visual medium and you will want to give this some thought. If you would like some pointers on how to make a memorable video blog click here.
- Can the "Sales-Speak": Remember, your blog exists not to "sell" people on your company, but to solve problems, answer questions, educate, and inspire. Take the time to research what your prospects are talking about and searching for. Forums, LinkedIn groups, and customer surveys are all great places to find topic inspiration. Thought leadership is something that should offer direct value to the reader and be a gateway into your organization by being helpful. Helpful has become the new viral. When is the last time you read a blog or watched a video that you shared with someone that was a sales pitch?
- Content is Meant to be Shared: Just like the television news business promoting an upcoming featured story they want you to tune in for, promoting your blog is an essential and expected part of getting it in the right hands of those you are hoping to connect with. Do you have your executives and sales team share your company blog (not just the one they are featured in) on their LinkedIn pages? Do you have a subscribe button on your company blog? This is the easiest way for your interested readers to automatically receive your updated posts in their email inbox. Don't forget to post updated content on other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and if you have a company newsletter, this can be a perfect addition. Finally, make sure you include blog subscription CTA's in other forms of content offers like webinars, ebooks, or other downloads.
Remember, your company blog is a platform that is a reflection on your company and ideally has a point of view. Ideally, your influential featured thought leader should share a point of view in the post that encourages a discussion. If you want some inspiration of some outstanding company blogs, check out this blog post from Impact Branding, or if you want help getting your team on the same page, consider having a content marketing workshop.