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How to Turn a B2B Company in a B2B Thought Leader

We’re lucky enough to be living through one of the greatest shifts in public relations and media as the virtual, interactive amplifier has been handed to us. Thanks to today’s digital kingdom, we all have the ability now to speak on the global digital stage–and to be heard, engage and create a dialogue. There’s just one little problem in this “all the world’s a stage” era. Many of us aren’t taking advantage of it. The buzzword these days in B2B PR and marketing circles is

We’re lucky enough to be living through one of the greatest
shifts in public relations and media as the virtual, interactive amplifier has
been handed to us. Thanks to today’s
digital kingdom, we all have the ability now to speak on the global digital stage–and to be heard, engage and create a dialogue.
There’s just one little problem in this “all the world’s a
stage” era. Many of us aren’t taking advantage of it.
The buzzword these days in B2B PR and marketing circles is
content marketing. And while a colossal amount has been written about it thanks
to the great folks at Junta42 http://www.junta42.com/,
among others, the message hasn’t yet filtered down to the average everyday
business. At least that’s our experience.
The businesses we talk to are so focused on what they do–and the doing of it–and not enough focused on who they are
and what they know.
It’s kind of the
difference between someone saying, “I make widgets,” and someone else saying “I
am transforming the way consumers experience advertising.” One is factual. The
other is image-building. Which would you
rather hear about?
Thinking about your B2B business in thought leadership
terms, changes the terms of the debate. You’re no longer only selling the best
widget or widget service but you suddenly have the power to be an authority in
your field and related fields.
Let me give you an example. A company we work with sells a
special type of insurance for small business. Instead of just being an insurance
company in the small business space, they are positioning themselves to become
experts in the overall small business financial space. That gives them a wide
enough platform to express issues of interest to their small business target
market without diminishing their message of risk-mitigation.
To be successful B2B marketers, companies need to move
beyond talking about themselves (and ultimately to themselves) to become
centers of discussion. To do that, a company needs to create content that
resonates with its audience and help them to engage. Here are 8 tips to doing
that. I’d love to make this list dynamic and have you add to it.
Create
case studies in both print and video formats that speak to some key audience
business issue, including among them ones your company can solve.
Survey
your audience to learn more about what keeps them up at night. Publish and
promote the results.
Create
social media outposts talking about these key issues on Twitter, Facebook
and Linked.
Blog
about them
Curate
content about these key issues
Write
and publish your own articles on the topic
Create
opportunities for your audience to share their own stories.Don’t
forget the great outdoors. Speak about your issues at industry events. Promote
your speaking in social media and on your Web site. Post videos of your
speaking gigs on your site and YouTube.
What do you do to turn a business into a thought leader? I’d
love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
Wendy Marx, B2B PR and Marketing Specialist, Marx Communications.

About the author

Wendy Marx is President of Marx Communications, an award-winning boutique B2B Public Relations agency known for turning companies and executives, including start-ups, into thought leaders. Follow her on Twitter @wendymarx and on Google+ @ plus.google.com/+wendymarx.

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