Knowledge-based content marketing is key as it shows that you understand the biggest problems and issues on the minds of your buyers – and helps educate them on how they can be solved. By communicating thought leadership – via real experts in your organisation, you become part of the conversation, early in the buying journey and can drive engagement and ultimately sales from larger numbers of potential customers.

Getting started

To ensure a successful start, it’s important to clarify what thought leadership involves – namely the ability to predict relevant trends, provide opinions on current issues within your industry and give a unique perspective. You may need to take a step back from the tactical elements of your content strategy and look at the brand, its mission and the content being created. Ask the question: Why do you exist? What do you offer? What is it your audience needs from the industry that you could be providing? This can then be woven into the narrative, as a trusted voice.

Also be aware that content topics shouldn’t always be dictated by you, but what your audience considers to be important too. So ensure that content is aligned as closely to your audiences’ needs as possible. To achieve this insight, understand that different audiences represent different personas, and different personas respond to varying content types in differing ways. Consider the demographic and psychographic market segmentation of your audiences. This involves assessing the different personality traits, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles of your audiences – so you can deliver tailored, relevant thought leadership content.

To build a compelling, consistent narrative, you also need to identify the right contributors within your organisation to generate content ideas and activities. All organisations have topics on which to educate, teach and provide advice – and this typically resides in heads of a pool of people. Remember that although some may not be the best writers – they could be highly effective at imparting knowledge – that can then be crafted into great content by wordsmiths.

The right narrative

The biggest challenge of creating content is generating an experience and narrative that people truly want to engage with. This means to capture an audience’s attention the quality of copywriting must dramatically increase and become strictly objective and educative in style. Great stories can also be combined with user-generated content, which is particularly helpful as prospects are more likely to be swayed by the word-of-mouth opinion of a micro-influencer – than solely by brand-owned content.

Focus on long-form, evergreen content – specifically articles around the 1,500-word mark or longer – that tackle themes or subjects, instead of short to mid-length blogs, featuring various iterations of a key search term. Although long-form pieces may not hit as many high-volume keywords, they should prove more helpful to audiences – which mean better engagement metrics and more shares.

Ideas for content

Provide original research – Conduct a poll on your website, send out a survey to customers or perform a more in-depth study with the help of a third party. Whatever type of research you conduct, this information can be especially useful for media and industry analysts. And the more often your research is picked up by these sources, the more likely prospects will view you as a trusted source.

Solve problems – If your finger is on the pulse of your industry, you’ll understand clearly what the pain points are for prospects. Taking the time to articulate solutions to timely problems will position you as a trusted source. When you are able to solve specific problems that people in your industry are actively seeking solutions for, you’ll be positioned well ahead of competitors.

Extend your reach From keynote speeches to panel discussions to breakout sessions, opportunities abound to provide insight-driven content for potential customers at industry events. Research the types of conferences, meetings and conventions that you prospects are likely to attend, and develop relationships with event organisers.

Use publishing technology  

To achieve great results from content marketing, consider using cutting-edge, fully integrated content and publishing platforms that enable faster, more audience-centric, brand communications. Cloud based platforms, which enable businesses to curate relevant thought leadership articles from the web and social alongside their own output, are best for flexibility and cost reduction to enable marketing teams to simplify their digital content production process and rapidly increase higher value output – all in one go.

Creating content is great but delivering it in the correct way makes a key difference to achieving successful outcomes. Therefore, platforms should be sought that help marketers create a meaningful and interactive dialogue with target audiences through highly targeted, personalised content, at the right time, anywhere – based on insight from analytics functions.

Final thoughts

Done well, generating thought leadership content helps you position and market your brand – by not hyping your product – but helping your audience. This will distinguish your organisation from the competition and enable you to build that all important trust with your audiences too.

Ashwin Saddul

Ashwin Saddul


Ashwin Saddul, managing director of Better Than Paper.