Nike is one of the most trusted brands in sports apparel. When they put out a new shoe design or develop a new sporting technology, consumers are instantly interested because they trust Nike’s quality and commitment.
Consumers trust Tylenol to handle pain relief, Kellogg’s to make delicious cereal, and MasterCard to handle credit card payments. Why? Because they perceive these companies as knowing a thing or two about their respective industries.
It is also interesting to note that certain customers will buy specific brands because of their reputation. Do you ever wonder why some consumers only buy Apple, Nike, or Starbucks, while others swear by Samsung, Adidas, and Dunkin?
One journal sought to uncover why consumers preferred certain brand names over other when the quality was relatively equal. The answer lies in perception. These brands reflect something about the person who is buying from them, and whatever was associated with the business was something that the consumer wanted to be associated with also.
Standing out as a brand that really knows what it’s talking about and is an expert in a specific industry can help you stay competitive and connect with your customers. So how can you establish your brand as a leading expert in your industry?
Publish your own authoritative content with research reports
A solid content marketing strategy can help to boost your website traffic numbers and influence conversions. But it can also determine how consumers perceive your brand. If the content on your website is generic and offers little information, consumers will not necessarily go looking for answers on your website or trust your brand to have any specialized knowledge in your domain.
However, if your business is publishing high-level content, it could help to establish an authoritative reputation. You need to be publishing the right type of content in order to found this kind of brand perception. Case studies and industry reports that are based on research and analysis are highly authoritative and can ensure that your business becomes a powerful resource used by others.
Also note that content resources like this are incredibly influential on the purchasing decision, especially for B2B organizations. A survey from Demand Gen Report found that 71% of B2B buyers actively consume content during the buying process, and 49% use credible content sources to help them make an informed purchasing decision. The most preferred forms of content were informative blog posts, case studies, infographics, and white papers.
In order to create truly insightful content that is based on facts rather than opinions, your content marketing team will need to have access to loads of reliable data sources. Tools like Sketchdeck are designed to help teams create original case studies by collecting and analyzing key data points based off of new research and internal data.
For example, your team could focus on the direct impact that your SaaS product had on your client’s lead generation or how much customers lost after using your business’s weight loss supplement.
This allows your brand to create a truly data-driven content strategy that portrays your brand as a leading expert.
Brand yourself through thought leadership
We as consumers might trust CEOs like Jeff Bezos or Tim Cook when they speak on topics in their respective areas of expertise, because they have been branded as experts due to their success stories and past experiences. If your CEO or founder is known for their expertise and thought leadership, then customers will be more willing to trust their business and opinions.
So, in addition to building your brand’s perception as an industry expert, you should also help leaders to do the same through personal thought leadership branding.
Thankfully, social media makes it much easier for business leaders to take control of their personal branding and share noteworthy content consistently. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook are obviously important, but Twitter and Instagram can also be incredibly powerful sites to utilize as well. Many of today’s business “influencers” like Gary Vaynerchuk and Arianna Huffington use these platforms to share short-form content and interact directly with their followers.
Another great way that business leaders can share their expertise and build a name for themselves as an industry leader is through teaching.
Speaking at business engagements and conferences is one option, as well as partnering with industry podcasts for interviews to share this knowledge. Guest posting on authoritative blogs can also help to build a strong online presence. Perhaps the best way to build your personal brand as a niche expert who teaches is to offer online courses.
For solo entrepreneurs, platforms like Kajabi let you build a start-to-end sales and thought leadership workflow, from building your website to designing and creating industry-specific courses, from running interactive marketing campaigns to managing audience touchpoints, with consistent branding across various content formats.
Create unique content customers cannot get anywhere else
Great content can set your brand apart, but unique and original content that is unlike any other is what makes customers really respect your business. This is what will make your company truly stand out as a leader when consumers consider it a valuable resource for trustworthy information.
It is important that you also offer a wide array of content sources to really connect with your customers through the methods that they find most engaging. For example, some customers prefer to watch informative videos that explain concepts or show product tutorials. Other may want to read informational blog posts or listen to podcasts on various subjects related to the industry.
Social Media Examiner does an excellent job of varying their content in order to engage consumers through different platforms. Their blog focuses on the latest trends and concepts in social media marketing, such as new Instagram features or how to optimize YouTube channels.
They also host a weekly podcast talking about various digital strategies along with a Facebook “Talk Show.” To top it all, they offer an Alexa Flash Briefing for consumers that want a quick recap through their voice-enabled Alexa device.
Over to you
Trust plays a major role in business. When consumers trust that your brand really knows what it is talking about, they are going to be more likely to purchase from you. In order to create this perception as an industry leader, your marketing and PR team should focus heavily on thought leadership and creative informative content.
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