The B2B Marketer’s Roadmap to Trust and Credibility Building through Thought Leadership
Here’s how to use thought leadership for trust and credibility building.
B2B marketers, who inspires you professionally? You’re likely following them on LinkedIn, subscribed to their newsletter, and eagerly implement the tips they generously share.
Chances are, this inspiring person is a thought leader in their industry. They are among thousands who use thought leadership for trust and credibility building.
A report from Edelman and LinkedIn reveals that 64% of buyers say an organisation’s thought leadership content is more trustworthy for assessing its capabilities and competency than its marketing materials and product sheets.
Thought leadership isn’t about building a pedestal for self-promotion; it’s about rolling up your sleeves and delving deep into your industry’s challenges and opportunities while adding value to your audience.
Is thought leadership for you? Let’s find out.
What is Thought Leadership?
Thought leadership establishes your authority and expertise in a particular field by delivering valuable insights, guiding and influencing others.
Consider a B2B marketer who has developed unique strategies for leveraging data and technology to better understand and target customers. They regularly write insightful articles on emerging marketing trends and B2B marketing. They host webinars and speak at industry conferences, sharing their successes and learnings to help others.
This B2B marketer is not just proficient in their job; they are a thought leader. They are driving the conversation and shaping the future of B2B marketing through their expertise.
And guess what: they could be you!
9 Best Practices for Trust and Credibility Building Through Thought Leadership
Thought leadership has emerged as a strategy to elevate a company’s reputation and position individuals as experts in their respective fields. A 2021 Impact Study reports that 60% of buyers admit that thought leadership builds credibility when entering a new category where the brand is unknown.
Here’s how you can ensure trust and credibility building through thought leadership:
One: Partner with Industry Experts
By engaging in open dialogue and knowledge-sharing, you can position yourself as a thought leader who is genuinely invested in the growth of their industry and humble enough to learn from others.
You will also gain access to a wider audience and make a lasting impact through co-authored content, webinars, or joint ventures. Ultimately, it’s a dynamic relationship where both sides benefit from increased visibility.
Look for opportunities to network and partner with experts:
Two: Utilise Social Proof
You may be a marketing whizz, but it’ll take more than articles and social media marketing for your audience to believe you have what it takes to help them. That’s where social proof comes in.
Social proof validates your thought leadership by showcasing real-world evidence of your expertise and positive impact on others. It comes in various forms, such as customer testimonials, case studies, endorsements from industry influencers, and even positive reviews on social media platforms.
When potential clients see that others trust and admire your brand, they’ll gravitate towards you like bees to a rose.
Three: Get Personal
One of the reasons people are following you and not your company is because you’re human. But being a thought leader doesn’t mean you need to share photos of your children or deeply personal updates about your life, just like thought leadership doesn’t say you should only share flashy statistics and articles bloated with jargon.
“Getting personal” is about injecting your authentic voice and personality into your content. You’re not a robot – yet; the jury’s still out on the future of artificial intelligence – so peel back the curtain and show your audience who you are.
Here are several ways to get-personal-but-not-too-personal if you want to build trust and credibility:
- Tell professional stories.
- Share your thought process.
- Talk about your influences.
- Discuss broad personal philosophies.
- Use appropriate personal analogies.
- Show empathy and understanding.
Four: Share Your Knowledge
How can people trust you if you hide your knowledge and keep your insights close to your chest? Picture yourself as Gandalf, willingly imparting wisdom to those seeking guidance. That’s who you want to be.
And yes, there will always be people who know more than you. There will also always be people who know less than you. Don’t be afraid to share your opinions and knowledge, giving back more than you receive. Your audience will start to respect you and ultimately trust you.
Five: Create High-Quality, Valuable Content
A survey from Curiosity at Work revealed that 63% of consumers find generic thought content to reduce their interest in other thought leadership content. Thus, you need to make your content unmissable. Quality over quantity, always. Whether it’s in the form of blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, or videos, great thought leaders strive to deliver content that educates, inspires, and sparks meaningful conversations. That’s your mandate.
Create and distribute content that’s informative and engaging and offers practical solutions to the challenges faced by your audience. Above all, add value.
- Does this content address a relevant and current issue?
- Is the content insightful? Does it offer a fresh perspective beyond what’s already been said on the topic?
- Does the content provide actionable advice or practical takeaways?
- Does the content reflect my own expertise and unique viewpoint? Does it show my deep, firsthand understanding of the topic?
- Is the content credible and well-researched?
- Is the content original? Does it add something new to the conversation not found in other discussions on the same topic?
- Is the content clear and accessible? Have I explained complex ideas in an easy-to-understand manner and avoided unnecessary jargon?
- Does the content engage the reader? Does it invite responses, comments, shares, or other interactions?
- Is the content well-presented? Is it free of grammatical errors, formatted clearly, and reader-friendly?
- Does the content align with my personal or company brand?
Six: Be Consistent
Trust and credibility building takes time. If you post once on LinkedIn (a.k.a, a B2B marketer’s playground) and disappear for two weeks, you’re sabotaging yourself.
Consistently share valuable insights, innovative ideas, and reliable information. Like a loyal friend who’s always there to offer helpful advice, consistent thought leadership builds a strong bond with customers and prospects.
Seven: Engage With Your Audience
You don’t exist in a vacuum, nor do your ideas. Encouraging comments, feedback, and discussions around your content can spark valuable exchanges of ideas, allowing you to understand your audience’s needs and concerns better.
Moreover, responding to comments and participating in discussions shows that you genuinely value your audience’s input.
Eight: Optimise Your Online Presence
A study by Stanford University reports that 75% of users judge a company’s credibility based on its website design. Yikes. Thus, trust and credibility building as a thought leader demands a strategic approach to optimise your online presence.
Imagine a prospective customer visiting your website from your LinkedIn page only to find it’s an outdated eyesore in multiple flashy colours and fonts.
Take the time to craft a thought leadership online profile that oozes “I know what I’m talking about.” Everything – from your chosen colours to your grammar and spelling – impacts how your audience perceives you and whether they can trust you.
Nine: Test and Refine
How do you know if your thought leadership efforts are succeeding? Test and refine! Track engagement metrics, gather feedback from your audience, and be open to iterating on your content.
Like a chef perfecting their recipe, continuous improvement and fine-tuning are essential for delivering thought leadership that leaves a lasting impression on your audience. Do carousels perform well on LinkedIn? Post more! Do certain blog topics bring in greater traffic? Write more!
3 Lessons from Great Thought Leaders on Trust and Credibility Building
There are incredible thought leaders out there in the online realm. Follow them, be inspired by them, and dissect their content and persona to discover what they do well.
Learn from Neil Patel: Make Your Expertise Accessible and Practical
Neil Patel is a renowned expert in digital marketing (specifically search engine optimisation, SEO) and co-founder of several marketing tools like Crazy Egg and Ubersuggest. He has a knack for creating highly informative, practical, and actionable content while demonstrating the importance of data in content creation and marketing strategies.
With Neil, you get expertise without fluff. It’s readable, easy to understand, and you can start implementing his tips asap.
Learn from Ann Handley: Let Your Personality Shine
Ann Handley, a Wall Street Journal bestselling author and Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, is renowned for her fun, conversational, and personable writing style. Her approachable tone and wit make her stand out.
It’s a lesson to all aspiring thought leaders: add personality to your content to make it engaging and memorable, and true to who you are.
Learn from Gary Vee: Engage Your Audience
Gary Vaynerchuk (often known as Gary Vee) is a serial entrepreneur and CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency. He’s also a highly sought-after public speaker and a prolific author.
Gary actively engages with his audience. He constantly asks questions in his content and encourages people to comment and share their insights and experiences.
Aspiring Thought Leaders: Trust and Credibility Building Starts Now
Picture this: You’re a thought leader in your industry. Trust and credibility building happen effortlessly as you share your expertise and remain true to yourself. Your peers turn to your content when they need clarity, your clients value your insights, and your reputation grows not because of a sales pitch but because of your authentic content.
This path to trust and credibility building as a thought leader isn’t always easy. It asks for your expertise, sure, but also your authenticity, your empathy, and your time.
Yet, as you navigate this journey, the benefits reach beyond your brand. You’re helping shape your industry, inspire your peers, and build enduring relationships beyond the transactional.
Ready to get started? Contact us today to build trust and credibility as a thought leader.