Your guide to creating authoritative brand content.
While you may sell similar products or have a similar business model to your competitors, you can stand out from the crowd by producing authoritative, thought-leading content.
Today’s consumers crave real value from brands across sectors, so a generic approach to marketing or advertising will not do. People want to be enlightened, inspired, educated, and challenged, and thought-leading content ticks all of these boxes.
Here, we consider the power of thought-leading content and look at practical ways you can produce authoritative blog posts for your business.
Why is authoritative blog content important?
Seventy-two percent of successful businesses say content marketing increases engagement while significantly boosting lead generation.
Thought-leading blog content transcends marketing alone. By building a strong narrative and sharing content that showcases your deep knowledge of a specific subject, your content will become more authoritative to search engines, and you’ll become the go-to brand in your field.
Eighty-two percent of web users reported that thought leadership had cemented their trust in an organization. You can push yourself ahead of the pack by taking a bold stance to your content and focusing on sharing insights that cut through the noise.
Thought-leading blog content: The golden rules
Before you start cementing your ideas and creating blog content, it’s important to consider the golden rules of thought-leading content:
1) Focus on innovation over marketing
The fundamental rule of producing thought-leading blog content that builds credibility is to focus on offering something fresh and insightful rather than going for that big marketing push. Naturally, the idea is to grow your business, but creating authoritative content will attract more people to your business.
2) Use case examples and data
The best thought-leading content offers a fresh take on an existing topic or an idea that goes against the grain. In both cases, the most effective way of giving your content flow and credibility is by using relevant stats and real-world case examples.
3) Speak in simple language
When it comes to thought-leadership-style content, many brands overlook this simple rule: speak in plain, simple language that is accessible to all. If you use too much technical phrasing, you will dilute your messaging and alienate your readers.
4) Value your headline as much as body content
If you take measures to produce blog content that is insightful and authoritative, you must make sure that you produce a headline with equal impact. Here are some quick tips for crafting a powerful headline:
- Where appropriate, use numerics to represent numbers rather than words.
- Use active tense and bold messaging to summarize your key message.
- Add action words to your headline where you can.
- Tell the reader why they will benefit from reading your content.
5) Give readers the space to form their own ideas
While your main aim is to educate and offer fresh ideas, you should leave a little room for thought. Rather than creating full conclusions at every turn, add some ambiguity to your content or incorporate a few open-ended questions. Doing so will spark up a conversation and leave your blog post lingering in the minds of your readers long after they’ve shut their laptop or put their phone down.
Concepts for thought leadership blog content success
Now that you know how to shape the direction and form the foundations of your thought-leading blog content, let’s dig a little deeper into the creative journey.
Decide on your angle
While most effective blog content focuses on offering an answer to a specific problem based on your buyer personas, thought-leading posts often address a wider concept. You need to decide on a relevant theme or topic to drill down into an area that will offer value to your audience.
Instead of formulating ideas based on the question, “How can I help this type of customer do this,” think more along the lines of, “How can I make people think about this specific topic in a different way and start a conversation?”
For instance, if you’re an online retailer, rather than creating a blog post on “how to choose the best hat for your face type,” you might choose to create “the cultural evolution of hats and their influence in modern society.”
Choose your topic, look at what your competitors are doing, select an unexplored angle, and commit to it.
Set a time schedule
Before you start fleshing out your thought-leading blog post, you should set a cohesive time schedule for creation and publishing.
As you will put a great deal of time and effort into a piece of authoritative content, it’s important that you consult every department involved—from your copywriters to your visual designers—and set a creation timeline. This will ensure that your content is polished, proofread, aesthetically pleasing, and completed in a timely fashion.
Another scheduling aspect to consider is when you’re going to publish your content and where you’re going to share it. You should hit the publish button at a time you know your audience is most engaged or in conjunction with a relevant trend or event. This will give your content far more impact, offering a greater return on investment (ROI) in the process.
Jump on trends
Trend marketing and thought-leadership usually go hand in hand. If you’re thinking about producing something fresh and thought-provoking, jumping on an emerging trend can let you create a blog post that turns heads.
Sixty-seven percent of Americans consume at least one form of news through social media, and if your content touches on trending topics, you stand to gain some serious traction.
Take the US Ad Council, for instance. To tackle the issue of bias in its industry, the institution launched a series of intimate, provocative “Love Has No Labels” blog posts at a time when awareness was being spread across social media.
By focusing on fresh personal accounts of bias and inclusion, the council earned droves of emotional engagement, which led to the creation of a video-based docuseries. This inspirational thought-leading initiative earned over 1 billion social media hits or engagements.
Focus on research & leverage data
As you outline your blog post, it’s important that you conduct research and curate relevant data throughout the process.
To gain a curated list of insights and resources, you should look at official government statistic websites, relevant stat-based articles, industry publications and whitepapers, newspapers, documentaries, and more.
As you put together your library, organize it according to where you’re likely to place it within the post, along with a sentence that puts each stat or insight into context.
Armed with your organized library of data, your list of sources, and your nuggets of text, you will be able to formulate a story that will offer value, fortified by data, facts, and figures that will give your post a sense of authority.
In addition to topical data, your internal data can help shape thought-leading content. Here’s a guide to consumer data and metrics for your reference.
Bring your ideas and data to life
Not only is thought-leading blog content packed with incredible information and meaningful insight, but it is also presented in a way that inspires people to engage.
You can be as creative as you wish with content marketing of any form. Visuals or data visualizations are particularly valuable in thought-leading content.
Given the fact that 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual, using images or graphics makes a lot of sense if you’re looking to create a piece of data-rich content.
This authoritative post from Dundas BI explores the hidden relationships found within Netflix Original content. As a fresh take on a popular theme, the brand used detailed Netflix data to produce an inspiring graphic that is both entertaining and educational. Supported by an easy to follow and entertaining article, this post ranks high in Google search and has earned a wealth of engagement, which is a testament to the power of striking a balance between text and visuals.
“Disruptive innovation is entrepreneurs changing their industry with unique creativity.” – Onyi Anyado
Now that you know what to do, it’s time to start shaking things up and sharing your unique insights. To help you conjure up ideas for your thought-leadership content, we’ve put together a step-by-step content ideation guide (**link to content**)—check it out.