Thought leadership

When it comes to your content, if done right, it can lead to the development of material which attracts your target audience and inspires them to take action. Does it mean that people will read your content and instantly turn into a hot lead or sale? No. The goal of your content is to educate and inspire them to trust you, to reinforce your reputation and establish yourself as a thought leader. All of these allow you to build relationships that are nurtured towards your sales and growth.

In essence, this is what we call thought leadership.

The purpose and end goal of thought leadership is to become a recognised expert within your industry, a go-to resource, a trusted advisor, someone who knows what they’re talking about. You want to be that person they turn to for advice, or to find a solution to their problem.

I remember when I first started to post native content in 2015 which was focused around ABM. I was consistent and produced a range of content from blogs, guides and vlogs. My visibility and awareness increased over time, and I can say that after 6 months my network not only grew but so did my reputation. I got approached about my ABM services via LinkedIn. It was after an online conversation that I understood the power of content and thought leadership. The prospect at the time hadn’t been on my radar, but had been considering implementing an ABM approach in their SaaS business based in Manchester. After searching on Google and reading various resources, they found me and started to follow me on LinkedIn. They reached out to me for an initial discussion, which led to a face-to-face meeting. It was there they told me they had been following me for months and consuming my content, and went on to add that he agreed to a face-to-face meeting after the dialogue because he realised I was as genuine as my posts and I didn’t try to sell to him in the first instance, instead keeping the conversation consultative, taking the time to really listen to him and his problems.

You see how you need to be truly authentic, it’s not something you can fake. This leads me on nicely to my next point, which is all about being you. 

Be you, be authentic 

This is exactly what my marketing does, and I practice what I preach to my clients, too. I’m not going to push people into buying things; for me, it’s about drawing them in to listen. 

I focus first. I focus on my purpose, my ‘why’ (thank you Simon Sinek), and once I have this focus, I can start to focus (I said it again) on pulling the right people towards me. How? By providing value. Don’t focus on your product or its features but more about your experience, the emotion, the empathy, how you make them feel about your offering and themselves.

Ok, so you might be thinking that’s a bit too deep and it’s going down the fluffy marketing route, but we’re far from it. I’m no salesman. I’m a transparent and honest marketer and I love what I do. When I speak to my audience about their businesses, pain points and goals, I don’t go down the route of selling them the dream or telling them why our agency is better than the next. I listen and offer them a solution that I feel is right for them, which is based on our rationale.

I speak to them on their terms, jargon-free and give them the insight they need. I don’t do death by PowerPoint or offer an off-the-shelf solution. I will map out a solution on a white- board and make it a collaborative process, keeping the client involved every step of the way. This approach allows me to get my personality across which builds trust. Plus, I love what I do, so the way I work is fun, exciting and methodical, which is reflected in my body language. What draws people to you is your personality from the way you talk, what you believe in and even the way you dress.

When’s the last time someone commented on you rather than your products or services? For example, "Loved your recent vlog, it had some great insights" or "Your guide was a great help, it helped me understand how to do X." What does that have to do with selling? Nothing, yet they are ‘why’ people buy.

When I produce content in whatever format I always stick to these rules: 

  1. Be myself
  2. Offer value
  3. Be authentic
  4. Create content for a purpose 

Always be helping

I don’t just simply write blogs and guides, I go one step further and create short vlogs on subject matters I feel are relevant to my audience. Why? Because this builds authenticity and trust.

People get to put a face to a name. If how I speak and come across on camera is the same as when they meet me or speak to me on the phone, that builds trust, and trust builds connections. If you want to have any foundation in your career or business, trust is a solid one.

Take Gary Vaynerchuk. We’ve all heard of him, and no doubt digested some of his content. But what else stands out about him? His energy, his body language, his personality, the way he stands out against the status quo. These are all factors which have contributed to his success.

Muhammad Ali, in my eyes, was ahead of his time in terms of his thinking. He will always be remembered for his boxing first as the ‘greatest of all time’ but what else do you remember about him? His energy, his body language, his personality, the way he dressed, the way he talked. Can you see how he built his own personal brand? It still has appeal today, which is why Under Armour released a clothing line dedicated to him.

In a nutshell, that’s my approach to marketing. Be authentic, build trust and be yourself. As Simon Sinek says, "people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it."

Being Human - Marketing & Social Selling in a Digital World

This is a snippet from my book, “Being Human: How to Sell in a Digital World”, which is available via Amazon. I hope you found this of use.

Still need some guidance? That’s what I’m here for. I’m always happy to have virtual coffees to offer my advice and support.

Sud Kumar

Marketing Director

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