Thanks to the internet, 24 hour news cycles and social media, everyone thinks they are experts. Now more than ever having knowledgeable voices influence and speak truth into industry direction is critical. Your years of experience and perspective have uniquely positioned you as an expert in your field. What you do with that knowledge is how you position yourself as a thought leader.
Using that expertise to create and share valuable content in conjunction with a solid Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy will enable you to connect with a broader audience, attract potential clients, and establish your company as a thought leader in the industry.
What Is Thought Leadership and Why Does it Matter?
Before we go any further, let’s first agree on what a thought leader is. Russ Alan Prince and Bruce Rogers of Forbes defined it as follows:
“A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.”
According to this definition, thought leaders are:
- Externally recognized
- Part of an exclusive group
- Foremost in specialized knowledge
Do you and your organization fall into this category? Yes, great job. Keep reading. No, great, no big deal. Keep reading.
Professional’s value experts. They tend to mistrust people who offer advice with no solid track record in the industry. That is why thought leaders in the professional service fields are so highly valued. According to studies, B2B marketers believe that thought leadership results in 17% more requests for proposals. In the same study, 37% of business decision-makers and 41% of C-Suite executives have RFP’d (Request for Proposal) a vendor because of their thought leadership.
Ways SEO Benefits Thought Leadership
Ok, so we have established the value it brings to be positioned as a thought leader in your industry. Now what?
Now its time to take that knowledge and implement a thorough SEO strategy so people can find you and all your brilliant ideas. Here are some other benefits that SEO brings to thought leadership:
- Increased Visibility: By optimizing thought leadership content for relevant keywords and searches, you can improve search engine rankings which means increased visibility, making it more likely for your customers to find you.
- Enhanced Credibility and Trust: Perception is reality. Ranking high in search results is perceived as credibility and trustworthiness. When thought leadership content appears high on search engines, it reinforces the perception that you are a reputable source of information and an industry expert.
- Improved Content Engagement: Thoughtful SEO keyword strategies drive you to topics and questions that your audience already has. A well-optimized piece of thought leadership content is more likely to engage readers, encouraging them to spend more time on the website, and increasing the likelihood of conversion.
- Establishment as a Niche Expert: SEO allows an professional service or B2B company to target specific niches or specialized areas within the industry. If you manufacture plastics for food service youdon’t want to talk just about manufacturing or food service. You want to talk about your specific product from an expert point of view.
- Competitive Advantage: When potential clients search for information related to industry challenges or solutions, the company’s optimized thought leadership content is more likely to stand out among competitors.
- Long-Term Value: Unlike paid advertising, SEO-driven thought leadership provides long-term value and sustainable benefits because it attracts organic traffic and generates leads over an extended period.
Ways Thought Leadership Benefits SEO
SEO and thought leadership truly is a reciprocal relationship. On their own they are good, but together, they are great. Here are some ways that thought leadership benefits SEO.
- High-Quality Content: Thought leadership involves creating in-depth, informative, and valuable content, which positively impacts SEO rankings.
- Long-Form Content Benefits: Many thought leadership pieces are long-form content, such as whitepapers, case studies, and comprehensive articles which search engines love.
- Engaged Audience: Thought leadership content often attracts a highly engaged audience interested in industry insights and expertise. Engaged users are more likely to spend more time on the website and explore your other content.
- Social Signals: When thought leadership content resonates with the target audience, it is more likely to be shared organically on social media platforms.
- Brand Authority and Trust: Consistent and high-quality thought leadership establishes you as an authoritative and trustworthy source in the industry.
Examples of Strong Thought Leadership
Timberlake & League is a well-established personal injury law firm located in Huntsville, Alabama. As industry leaders, they are aware of the competitive nature of their field and the importance of consistently attracting new clients. One piece of their digital strategy is to provide highly informative blogs that address the real questions and concerns of clients and potential clients. This valuable content not only positions them as thought leaders in the personal injury law field, it is a major driver of their SEO.
Bliley Technologies is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacturing of low noise frequency control products. Their thought leader content is extremely niche and positions them as experts in a very specialized industry.
Perkins & Will is a global design practice, founded in Chicago, IL. Their “Insights” tackle some of the architecture and design industries greatest challenges and trends. They are utilizing their 80+ years of experience to position themselves as the premier thought leader in the design space.
Being a thought leader with actual influence takes more than just years of experience and education – it takes a fully-realized marketing strategy to make sure you reach an engaged audience. By creating content that is optimized for search engines and addresses your clients’ and your peers pain points, you establish yourself as a prominent industry voice capable of making a significant impact.