In a crowded B2B market, it can be difficult to differentiate your brand and expertise. To set your B2B business apart, you need compelling, new ideas delivered through impactful content.
You might be considering thought leadership, a marketing strategy that focuses on creating expert-level content to showcase industry authority. This involves answering the industry’s biggest questions and offering unique perspectives through a broad range of content formats: blog posts, whitepapers, research reports, videos, and podcasts among them.
But as the B2B world becomes increasingly competitive, executives have become more selective in the content they consume. You might be wondering then, what does good thought leadership look like?
Great question! We’ll show you seven examples of thought leadership content and why they’re great for your B2B business. We’ve categorized them by types so you can find which format brings the most value to your audiences and business.
Audio and Video
Audiovisual content is an effective tool to meet decision makers as more B2B buyers are consuming media as part of their research. Here are two good examples of audiovisual content strategies.
Deloitte’s Audiovisual Blog
Deloitte, already widely known as a thought leader from their industry reports, analysis, and insights from leading subject-matter experts, makes their content even more engaging in the ‘Watch & Listen’ section of the ‘Deloitte Insights’ blog. This section is unique as they embed thought leadership into engaging media, namely podcasts and videos.
Why it’s great: The audiovisual content differentiates Deloitte from other blogs that focus more on conventional written content. Their videos are visually appealing, and the podcasts are both insightful and entertaining. Therefore, buyers might opt to consume the audiovisual content, rather than the ten other written articles on the same topic.
A notable feature of their podcast is that it includes transcripts. Not only does this show their consideration for the hearing impaired, it also maximizes their SEO reach. One episode’s transcript can contain ample keywords and backlinks, making it easier for audiences to find their content.
Gartner for Marketers Educates Through YouTube
Gartner for Marketers used to be L2 Inc, a subscription research and business intelligence firm that analyzes the digital competence of consumer brands. While they’re known for their Digital IQ Index benchmarks that offer in-depth, trend-specific reports, they’re also widely acclaimed for their resourceful YouTube channel.
Why it’s great: The channel is an enticing peek into what subscribers can expect. Their videos are a binge-worthy, compact punch of information that keeps audiences coming back.
As thought leadership content, their videos stand out. They’re short, casual, and have a distinct style of dry humour that is unlike most other B2B content out there. Videos by their founder, Scott Galloway are often profane, aggressively opinionated and confrontational, while also being persuasive and insightful. He truly provides unique perspectives which build him and also the company into thought leaders.
Reports and Analytics
Buyers need credible data to make an informed decision. And what’s more credible than numbers-driven reports? Let’s take a look at two companies that leverage this powerful type of thought leadership content.
Avontus Software’s Insightful Digital Report
The international scaffolding-software company Avontus has a website that includes a wealth of educational content, from industry news to demo videos. But we’re going to focus on their digital report – The State of Scaffolding Technologies 2020.
Why it’s great: Developed in partnership with an industry trade publication (ScaffMag), the report presents the findings of an international survey of scaffolding business leaders. It provides valuable insights into the industry’s technology maturity level, investment trends and digital solutions.
Through a combination of quantitative and qualitative research, the report demonstrates the industry’s transition from manual to digital solutions, gives readers a roadmap to successful transformation, and provides concrete examples of Avontus’s knowledge and experience in the scaffolding industry.
The digital report is also eye catching. Instead of long text, it has charts and graphs that readers can easily extract information from. This makes it suitable thought leadership content for busy B2B decision makers.
Burning Glass Utilizes High-Quality Analytics
Burning Glass Technologies is an analytics software company that delivers job market analytics for employers, workers, and educators. The company uses their strength in analytics to fuel its thought leadership strategy.
Why it’s great: Reports, case studies, white papers, and market analysis all provide data that people can trust and learn from. These reports present valuable industry insights on issues like the internship market, industry trends and skills gaps.
And since reports are still the preferred format for business insights, their reports are great tools to attract and win the trust of decision makers. They’re also effective in making Burning Glass stand out from the crowd as a credible source of information.
Sharing Knowledge with the Community
While credibility is important, so is authenticity. Sharing stories and knowledge with your community is a great way to be seen as genuine thought leaders. Let’s take a look at some examples.
First Round Creates a Community Sharing Space
Venture capital firm First Round Capital launched its blog, First Round Review, with the aim of sharing their extensive knowledge and experience with technology entrepreneurs. The blog features articles organized by different fields filled with ideas, best practices, and advice from the community to help technology entrepreneurs build better companies.
Why it’s great: This blog stands out from other venture capital blogs thanks to its authenticity. People value knowledge from real people. By focusing on interviews, advice, and real experiences from real companies, First Round is able to provide credible, authentic content that people appreciate.
Their blog is also favored for its communal feeling. Each of their articles focuses on the people and their story, so the blog becomes like a community sharing space. This is an effective way to gain a following. And it’s proven – they’ve gained a 5x increase in visitors since the blog’s launch.
GE’s Values Shine in Their Microsite
International energy conglomerate General Electric (GE) produces Txchnologist, a Tumblr-based microsite/online magazine filled with fascinating, short content about all things innovation.
Why it’s great: It reflects GE’s core interests and values. The microsite doesn’t tell you much about the services provided by GE. But its focus on technology, innovation, and renewable energy, reflects GE’s passion in these areas. It establishes the company’s reputation as researchers and innovators.
It’s also visually captivating, with intriguing pictures and gifs that will certainly interest the inquisitive mind. Since it’s on Tumblr, people can easily share the media across the platform. It’s an innovative way to connect with people within and outside of their community.
The best kind of thought leadership content genuinely educates buyers. This content is specifically designed to guide buyers based on their needs. Here’s a leading example.
Communardo Stands Out in a Crowded Ecosystem
Communardo is a leading Atlassian Solution Provider headquartered in Germany. The company needed a bold approach to stand out among hundreds of other solution partners and vendors within the crowded Atlassian ecosystem. Brighttail helped them develop a thought leadership strategy anchored by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Atlassian App Galaxy.
This guide elaborates on case studies from vendors across the Atlassian ecosystem, taking a deep dive into how real-world businesses have extended innovation and collaboration in their organizations.
Why it’s great: This book is a prime example of filling a knowledge gap. When Brighttail surveyed the industry, we found that buyers were overwhelmed with the vast possibilities in the Atlassian ecosystem and needed a guide to navigate their way. Therefore, the book gave buyers exactly what they needed.
Once published, it established Communardo as a trusted advisor in the Atlassian Marketplace. The company gained visibility in the crowded ecosystem, saw 3x increase in event leads, and created committed relationships with other Atlassian vendors.
Your Next Steps
Now that you’ve seen some examples of thought leadership content, here are some best practices to consider:
- Find opportunities and new angles within your market
- Research your customer’s needs to deliver relevant content
- Enhance credibility through partnerships and collaborations
- Make sure the content is concise, simple, and engaging for busy buyers
- Adopt and align measurement tools to track progress
To get the most out of thought leadership, you might want to consider professional assistance. Brighttail helps B2B companies to ignite brand engagement and increase market mind share through our carefully designed thought leadership campaigns.
Contact us to find out more!