Blogging does so much good from the point of view of SEO, traffic, and conversion that it’s easy to take a utilitarian position on blogging for your company, your organization, or your practice. You might very well hire a blogger for the same reasons that you brush your teeth and eat salads: it’s good for you (or in this case for your website). But blogging can also be the foundation for a larger outcome: thought leadership.
We were talking yesterday about some smaller clients. What, Rosie asked me, did they have in common? “I know you like working with them,” she said.
All of them, I told her after giving it some thought, worked for a larger goal, a bigger idea than just getting eyeballs on the page or products in the basket. The people she listed were leading organizations that do something their supporters consider important.
When we work with them, we help them to take the position of online thought leadership that they want and deserve.
So what’s thought leadership?
Thought leaders provide authoritative answers to the big questions on the minds of people in their field. That might not be other people working in their field. It might be their clients, fans, or even people they disagree with.
The questions might be big on the world stage, like how to help patients take medications correctly. Or it might be something with a more limited range, like the relative health value (or damage) of various soft drinks. The big questions for a manufacturer will be different than the big questions for a nonprofit, but every organization faces bigger questions.
When you focus on those bigger questions, using your expertise to facilitate discussions and share facts that help people make decisions, you’re a thought leader.
How does thought leadership connect with marketing?
Thought leadership takes place in the real world, as you empower your patients to make healthy lifestyle choices or help your customers make informed purchasing decisions. Thought leadership also happens digitally. It’s a form of content marketing. When you provide the same kinds of valuable answers to your web visitors, you’re using thought leadership in your content marketing.
That’s our focus at Haden Interactive. We believe in creating the best possible answers to those big questions, and making sure that your answers show up when your target audience looks for those answers. We leverage our own expertise, developed over a decade of writing and research. We listen to our clients and work with their experts. And we are excellent at research and writing.
Like all content marketing, thought leadership for marketing relies on valuable content, not aggressive sales. Ideally, your target audience will encounter your helpful, generous content in the course of their research about the goods and services you provide. That requires SEO skills. When it happens, you can be top of mind for that audience when they’re ready to make the investment in those goods and services.
How can you be a digital thought leader?
We shared a case study of a website designed specifically for thought leadership a few years ago. The owners of the website had some very specific goals for thought leadership. They wanted to talk so that Congress would listen. They wanted to change the terms of the discussion going on in mainstream media. In their third year online, they crossed the one million pageviews mark, increased visits from Congress every month, and saw the changes they wanted in the words of major journalists.
Last year, they saw their two millionth pageview and captured a prestigious award. They gained links from some of the biggest names in American publishing. Visits from government offices continue to climb.
We reached these results with the same kind of services we provide for clients with less lofty goals: top quality, highly strategic content.
We know that content is king when you’re online.
- The most important element in Google’s algorithm is content.
- The second most important element, high quality links, relies on content.
- The third most important element in the algorithm, RankBrain, is about user experience, which is generally defined by content.
- Conversion rates depend on content.
- Social media relies on awesome content.
- People share content with one another.
Yet we find that business owners sometimes resist the importance of content. We think it’s because content production is ongoing work. If only changing your permalinks would give you lasting improvements in SEO and conversion optimization! It would be so much easier.
Like people who diligently seek a weight loss secret that doesn’t involve exercise and eating right, website owners look for an online marketing secret that doesn’t require content.
But modern marketing requires all website owners to be publishers.
We can help
There are some things that we at Haden Interactive are good at:
- Explaining big ideas in simple ways
- Communicating with search engines and human beings at the same time
- Providing magazine-quality content on a consistent schedule
We make it easy on you. You can be involved as much or as little as you want. Some of our clients send us topics, news scoops, and tidbits from their organizations’ backstage lives. Others get on with their mission-critical tasks, secure in the knowledge that we will create and implement the content that reinforces their thought leadership.
We’re writers. But we are also good at strategy. Digging into analytics and transforming data into actionable insights is one of our favorite things.
The combination of these two areas of expertise allows us to get impressive results for our clients. If you’re ready to use thought leadership to reach your goals, we’re ready to help. Contact us to discuss your needs.