Not so long ago, creating educational content was enough to make a tech firm stand out from the competition. But things change quickly online, and what used to be exceptional becomes necessary – but not sufficient. As more and more tech firms develop sophisticated content marketing strategies, the demand for high quality content has risen to a new level.
Today, standing out means doing more than simply addressing your audience’s pain points. You have to establish your credibility as an industry leader, offering an authoritative perspective on important topics in your marketplace. The process of building that authority is sometimes called “thought leadership marketing.”
What is Thought Leadership Marketing?
While the term “thought leader” is a bit vague and often overused, the idea behind thought leadership marketing is crucial. That’s because when people talk about thought leaders, they’re really referring to high visibility experts – professionals who drive industry conversations. When you’re a trusted and respected authority on issues that affect folks in your industry, it helps you build your visibility and acquire new business. In fact, research shows that your expertise is prospective clients’ top concern when they seek you out.
Of course, you can’t expect to become an authority overnight. But with dedicated effort, you can utilize a proven strategy to achieve results. Here are five reasons technology firms should cultivate the visibility of their experts.
1) Business Development
Experts stand out in the marketplace – and that means more business. Our research has found that 66% of firms with in-house industry leaders – the folks we call Visible Experts℠ – see accelerated growth and development.
What does this acceleration look like in more detail?
Impacts range from generalized growth and increased leads to a heightened ability to close deals. To put it simply, high visibility experts have the ability to get a firm “on the map.”
2) Added Trust and Credibility
By definition, thought leadership marketing makes your content highly visible to the public. Regardless of whether your experts are publishing on your blog, in other publications, on social media, or elsewhere, their association with your firm makes you more visible to potential leads. The depth of content required to build your profile as a high visibility expert means that potential buyers have the opportunity to learn a lot about your firm before making initial contact.
This level of visibility and expertise increases the trust and credibility of your firm. Think of it this way: there’s a reason that popular brands at a grocery store sell better than store brands, despite typically coming with a higher price tag. People trust what they know.
3) Greater Access to Opportunities
To those looking to establish themselves as experts, it can seem like a frustrating cycle: as a trusted industry leader, you’ll find yourself with a steady stream of opportunities to showcase your expertise in the marketplace. Increased visibility creates a positive feedback loop for industry experts. Once you’ve established yourself as credible, you’re more likely to see opportunities for speaking engagements, conference appearances, and invitations to networking events. Each new opportunity allows you to advance your reputation in your industry.
4) The Halo Effect
The “halo effect” can provide big benefits to your firm’s brand. As your star rises, you raise more than your own profile – you also improve the reputations of the organizations with which you’re affiliated. Visible Experts tend to lend their glow to their firms as a whole.
In this sense, cultivating high visibility experts is a way to impress potential new clients before even mentioning your products or services. Even if all they know about your firm is that an industry leader endorses it, you’ll already have an advantage in gaining their trust and—eventually—their business.
5) Increased Revenue
Practicing thought leadership marketing doesn’t just increase the perceived value of your firm’s brand and services—it can also increase your revenue. Visible Experts command higher rates. How much higher?
We’ve identified five levels of high visibility expertise, from locally known rising experts at Level 1 to global superstars at Level 5. We asked over a thousand professional services buyers what they would pay for the services of experts at each level, relative to an average professional baselined at $100. The results were revealing.
We found that buyers are willing to pay over 13 times more for a Level 5 Visual Expert than for a regular professional. Even a Level 1 expert commands more than double the fee of the average professional. Over time, the cumulative benefits of these raised rates can increase can drive faster growth and generate significantly more revenue for your firm.
Where Do We Start?
With all the potential benefits thought leadership marketing could have for your business, you might wonder why each and every firm out there isn’t rushing to acquire or develop a Visible Expert. Unfortunately, these folks don’t grow on trees.
If your firm is simply looking to hire an expert, it might just be a matter of finding the right price and fit. On the other hand, if you’re looking to establish existing members of your firm as thought leaders, it might take time and dedication.
The good news is that there are proven tools and techniques to raise your profile as a Visible Expert. Content marketing and social media make it easier than ever to share your expertise with the world, creating powerful opportunities for rising leaders who are ready to step up to the plate.
Learn how to grow and share your expertise by downloading our free ebook, The Visible Expert.