Not all digital content is created equal. With the wrong strategies, digital content can underwhelm. With the right ones, it can educate, entertain, convince, distinguish, inspire and more. Whatever goal you set for a piece of content should drive its composition and mode of delivery.
If your goal is to use content to make your brand an industry leader, be intentional. It won’t happen just by putting out fresh content regularly, using the right keywords. What you say, how you say it and how you deliver it are all necessary components.
If you want to use content to boost your brand’s industry leadership, you’ll need the right layering of content strategies to get there. One strategy in isolation may perform acceptably, but aligning the full range of them will provide the biggest bang for your content buck.
Here’s what you need to line up when choosing the right digital content strategies to boost your industry leadership.
Begin With a Thought Leadership Strategy
You can’t own your industry unless your audience is looking to you as a critical source of information. Winning that role requires research and planning.
When was the last time you inventoried thought leaders within your company? If it’s been a while or you’ve never done it, start now. Your brand has invested in a lot of talent besides your CEO, so leverage it.
Your head of IT is keeping up on tech developments that will shape your industry. Your HR lead is keeping tabs on workforce trends. They probably have some prescient thoughts to share about how IT and HR affect your industry niche.
Research the existing chatter in your industry, then marshall your internal thought leadership and get ahead of it. Your stakeholders, competitors, prospective customers and the media want to hear what your company has to say. So give them what they want.
Instead of overthinking thought leadership, start delivering informed and inspirational content in consumable portions. And do so using a layered strategy that incorporates PR, SEO and influencer marketing, topped off with a little paid amplification. Here’s how.
Use PR to Highlight Your Brand
Public relations has been a tried-and-true way of promoting companies for a very long time. It is, as they say, the best publicity money can’t buy. PR can be a highly effective layer in your industry leadership digital content strategy.
There’s a tendency in thought leadership content to use search engine–friendly “suitcase words”—words that mean little in themselves but can contain a multitude of meanings that need to be unpacked. In your content, go ahead and unpack these words for readers and listeners. Use concrete examples from your own company or its products and services.
If your content sounds like a sales brochure to media outlets, they won’t give it any play. So make sure you serve a healthy portion of vision with just a bit of brand sprinkled on top. Publications in search of lead-worthy content will eat it up.
Understand That SEO Is Both Chicken and Egg
Which comes first? The thought leadership content or the SEO that allows it to gain traction? Regardless of which side of the chicken-or-egg debate you land on, understand that some things may be both. That’s especially true in the case of industry leadership and SEO.
Of course, you will want your content to include keywords that are hitting on all cylinders right now. Remember, though, that your goal is to become an industry leader, and that means creating tomorrow’s hot keywords in your space. Search for semantic gaps and focus on filling them with inspiring educational content.
Content that fills these gaps will emerge organically from the crowded jumble of ubiquitous keywords. That will attract not only others in your industry, but backlinks to media and other content as well. You’ll be using SEO-savvy content to firmly establish your brand as an authority to be reckoned with.
Operate Under the Influence
It’s not only what you know, it’s who you know—or who knows you. I’m talking about influencers, another valuable layer in your digital content strategy.
Trust is the key element in influencer marketing. Find an influencer who has their followers’ trust and whom your brand can trust, and their followers will trust your brand. Partnering with the right influencer can help your company take a leadership role.
Although you should always create content that’s relevant to your target audience, influencers will help keep it that way. They’ll make sure your content emerges from the chaos for their followers. In turn, that will extend the life and magnify the impact of every piece of content you produce.
Choose your influencer partner carefully. One who loses the trust of their followers will take you down with them. The right one, however, will elevate your brand and make it shine.
Pay to Play
Once you begin reaping the rewards of aligning these layers, lock in your leadership position. Amplify your content with well-placed paid advertising designed to increase the number of eyes on it.
Naturally, you’ll use social media to get your forward-thinking piece into broad circulation. The paid ad link on the right will make it even more visible. That, in turn, makes it more clickable, reactionable, likeable and shareable.
Don’t neglect to measure your paid advertising ROI. Metrics like referrals, organic queries and impressions can indicate growing leadership recognition. You might find your brand a pay-per-click away from turning up the volume on your content.
Get Your Ducks in a Row
Thought leadership content shouldn’t end conversations; it should start them. Aligning key digital content strategies from concept to delivery keeps those conversations going.
If you want your content to earn your brand an industry leadership role, don’t let it languish on your website. Get your ducks — and your strategies — in a row. They’ll look calm on the surface while there’s strategic paddling going on underneath.