18 Jan 2010
This is the final post of a series across how to take your thought leadership position to market. The last one was on the 14/1/2010.
I spoke about six critical actions I believe need to be engaged in order to achieve this. I have covered the first five (1. Make it a strategic business imperative; 2. Know your audience; 3. Share openly; 4. Cultivate the media; 5. Write and speak about your campaign) and today I will cover the sixth and last:
- Pump up your content online
Action 6: Pump up your online content
By maximising the use of the online world for your thought leadership material, you are making your point of view easily accessible to your identified audiences and sharing it with anyone in the online world who might be interested in the topic. This could be via a blog, twitter, your website, pod cast or vlog – you name it! There are many options open to you and more are becoming mainstream every year.
The objective is to inject your brand’s/company’s personality into the debate by using social media tools to give a human face to your company’s point of view.
Importantly the web gives you the right to engage with your online audience – it is a forum where you can ask questions, your audience can ask you questions and you can have discussions with other interested parties through discussion forums, chat rooms and the ‘ask us’ facilities available on most websites.
Traditional marketing tools for campaigns have changed
The traditional levers which we have pulled as marketers, advertisers or PR practitioners to sell products and services or change behaviours, advocate causes or build brands have changed.
Word-of-mouth is by far the most powerful form of marketing a company can access, and its greatest ally is the internet.
Brands today need either to be part of or to create their own conversations online. It is becoming just as important as driving media coverage. Why? Because the internet has accelerated and amplified public opinion – rumours start and spread online.
Moreover, while newspapers, magazines, TV and radio are here today and gone tomorrow, online coverage can potentially remain filed and accessible for a long time.
Online is the domain of new, powerful content created by consumers for consumers. It is competing for our attention and trust against traditional media sources, and in some cases it is winning.
This is well illustrated in a Media Centre Global Trust Poll conducted in the US in 2006 which found that 228,000 Americans think companies do not tell the truth in advertising while 276,000 think that word-of-mouth is the best source for purchasing decisions.
Word of mouth can be powerful for your thought leadership campaign
Word-of-mouth is enshrined in social media and is now commonly recognized as the most powerful form of consumerism in the marketing mix.
If you are looking at driving a thought leadership campaign for your brand or company you need to be aware of the tools available to you online in order for you to take part in and influence this powerful medium.
Your aim should be to supercharge your thought leadership content and, in so doing, engage the company with relevant online communities and help facilitate conversations in the digital world.
A digital influence strategy should deliver four key things:
· Knowledge about what is being said about your brand/company in the digital space and the ability to track it and take part in it.
· Productive engagement with customers, stakeholders and influencers in the digital space.
· Optimised content, in order to attract the search engines and increase your ranking.
· Measurement of your digital influence campaign’s return on investment.
There are a few key things you need to consider before embarking on an online campaign:
· Senior management buy-in is critical, as they need to understand the importance of the task. This point cannot be over emphasized
· Engagement online is done in a collaborative community: it is about marketing with rather than marketing to an audience.
· Commitment – there has to be a commitment to communicating on an ongoing basis.
· Honesty and integrity are also vital. Untruths, half truths and misrepresentations are cruelly exposed online and can be damaging to your brand.
That’s the last in a series of six posts on how to take your thought leadership campaign to market, however, I know there are a lot of people out there who know an awful lot about how to do this really well. I would love to hear from you if you have any new or fresh ideas or if you merely want to add to what I’ve said already.
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