10 Principles for a Successful B2B Thought Leadership Strategy

Jul 6, 2020 | B2B PR Blog, Thought Leadership

If you’re considering a B2B thought leadership strategy, you will understand the value of being acknowledged as a credible and authoritative industry spokesperson. You will also appreciate the competitive advantage of being at the top of the tender list because of the inherent leverage of being the recognised industry authority.

The benefits and influence that a successful B2B thought leadership strategy delivers will be appealing across your entire business. After all, it’s not just marketers who see its importance, 60% of C-Suite Executives believe that thought leadership is a critical element in their decision-making criteria.

So, how do you become a successful thought leader?  Here are 10 guiding principles to help you become the go-to authority in your industry:

1. Authenticity:

Let your personality and passion shine through.  Don’t talk about issues or challenges that you don’t care about. Be genuine and authentic.

2. Data:

Include robust data from a reliable and credible source.  This was cited in Coleman Parkes research as the most valuable quality of thought leadership.

10 Principles for a Successful Thought Leadership Strategy
3. Fresh thinking:

Explore issues or challenges from new and different perspectives.  It’s not enough to simply regurgitate issues and challenges that have already been discussed at length.  What new thinking are you going to offer?

4. Own it:

Have an opinion.  Don’t sit on the fence or give a woolly response.  Or worse, give a Politician’s answer.

5. Messages:

What are you trying to say? Do you have a communication strategy?  If not, what elements do you have and what needs to be developed? Share any research that you have regarding message validation.

“Thought leadership is not about being known.  It’s about being known for making a difference.”

(Denise Brosseau, CEO of Thought Leadership Lab)


6. To the point:

No one wants to read a version of ‘War and Peace’.  Research has highlighted that the number one most engaging format for reading thought leadership is blog posts of around 300-500 words.

7. Use your network:

Don’t let your LinkedIn simply become your business Facebook.  Proactively engage with your network and ask them direct questions in relation to your thought leadership.

8. Avoid a narrow approach:

Don’t disregard those whitepapers or research reports as they do still have a role to play.  And, do not forget podcasts and video, but don’t do them unless you can make the content compelling.

9. Win-Win:

Remember, not only does thought leadership provide you with an opportunity to be a credible and insightful leader, it also enables people reading it to make better business decisions.  They are better informed after reading it.

10. Brand awareness:

An engaged leader who provides insight and opinion will improve brand awareness.  Leading Insurtech, Concirrus are only too aware of the benefits having gone from an industry outsider to part of the insurance community.  Read more here about their story.

Our Insight 2020 report revealed that 60% of UK Chief Marketing Officers believe thought leadership to be one of their top 3 marketing priorities. 

Leaders need to take the time to think about the issues and challenges they want to champion.  Don’t hide behind your Marketing or PR team and expect them to write it.  Brief the team, yes, but don’t leave it to them to formulate your thoughts and insights.  Remember: it’s your thinking that can help to deliver a better future.

How to develop a thought leadership strategy for your B2B business

If your B2B business would benefit from successful thought leaders – and we’ve identified nine compelling reasons why it would – the next step is to reach out to our specialists.

If you’d like to read more about thought leadership, download our PR guide for business leaders “How to Become a Thought Leader”; read how EC-PR helped position Socura executives as thought leaders in the cybersecurity market; and print out this infographic: “10 Principles for a Successful B2B Thought Leadership Strategy”.

Or, if you’d just like to stay in touch – sign up here to receive regular insights on how to make your PR work harder.

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