If your company is working towards exit, your marketing efforts need to focus on building brand value because it directly equates to company worth:
🧁The Economist: brand accounts for more than 30% of the stock market value.
🧁World Economic Forum: brand and reputation represent 40% of a company’s value.
🧁McKinsey: brands with strong reputations generate 31% more return to shareholders.
Day-to-day, key performance indicators (KPIs), like website views, social likes, and content downloads matter. But when you’re heading for exit, it’s the end goal that matters: what your brand is worth.
Therefore, thought leadership should be the focus for your content strategy, because it gives you the platform you need to establish:
🧁Who you are: your value proposition and differentiators.
🧁What qualifies you to have an opinion: your credentials.
🧁The value you have to offer: the skills, knowledge, and experience of your subject matter experts.
What to find out more?
|The Little Book of…Thought Leadership Content|
|Download your copy…|
Getting started with your content strategy
Before you put pen to paper and start writing your thought leadership content, you need to be clear on what’s going to create the most value for your brand:
🧁What products/services deliver the most value to your business?
🧁What intellectual property (IP) do you own?
🧁Who are your most valuable subject matter experts?
We need to make your business appear as attractive as possible to investors by demonstrating the value you have to offer. Therefore, when creating your content strategy for exit, the focus and blend of content will be different than what’s needed for lead generation or to maintain business-as-usual.
The best content mix to deliver great thought leadership
When planning and executing your thought leadership strategy there are 4 types of content to focus your efforts on:
The following sections explore each content type in more detail.
Webinars are a great marketing tactic to build campaigns around. Before the event you have the opportunity to make a noise in the market – especially if you can tie in partners to cast your promotional net wider. And then afterwards you have some high-value content to share with a new audience and attract more people towards your brand.
Think about using webinars to:
🧁Explore a market trend your audience can leverage for competitive gain.
🧁Explain how your target audience can overcome a problem.
🧁Q&A session with your subject matter experts.
🧁Progress product development through user forums.
🧁Host a roundtable discussion to ask the audience’s opinions.
Top tips for your webinar:
🧁Record your webinar and use it for on-demand content. Additionally, think about carving up your webinar into snippets that can be used on your social channels, or as inserts for your landing pages.
🧁Repurpose your webinar into a white paper to prolong the life of your campaign. White papers are a highly sharable form of content so it’s a great way to reach and engage a wider audience.
🧁Mix it up! As well as hosting online webinars, think about hosting similar face-to-face sessions in the form of breakfast briefings, user groups, and lunch clubs.
|TEMPLATE: white papers|
|Download your copy…|
Guides and reports
Longer-form copy affords you the opportunity to perform a deep-dive into a topic to showcase your company’s skills, knowledge, and expertise. Use your guides/reports to focus on:
🧁How to overcome a problem.
🧁How to leverage an opportunity.
Your content should flow to draw the reader through:
🧁Context: essentially ‘setting the scene’ to demonstrate you understand their current situation.
🧁Problem/opportunity: explore the theme and the potential business impact in incurs.
🧁Anticipated outcome: ‘the promised land’ – what life could be like if the audience addresses the problem/opportunity.
🧁Solution overview: the bridge that will take the audience from ‘as-it’, ‘to-be’ – along with ‘evidence’ to prove you can do what you say you can do.
🧁Call-to-action: what the audience should do once they have finished reading.
When you’re writing your guide/report:
🧁DON’T make it a presentation of facts because it will only leave your audience questioning, “So what?”.
🧁DO think about sharing practical advice your audience can take back to their desks and use today.
|TEMPLATE: guides & reports|
|Download your copy…|
Unlike tactical blogs, which are designed to support your SEO efforts, which ensure your company is found when your audience is searching online, thought leadership articles provide the opportunity to show your expertise in action. Use each one as an opportunity to comment on topical issues, market conditions, and current trends – and demonstrate the value you have to offer.
🧁DON’T ask your executives or subject matter experts to write their own articles – they’re too busy, which means your article will always be pushed down their ‘to-do’ list.
🧁DO think about using the services of an executive ghostwriter who will take the wisdom of your top talent and craft it into compelling content – no-one will know they didn’t write it!
Once you’ve written your thought leadership article, think about posting it on your website, on LinkedIn, and repurposing it for editorial – which brings us nicely to…
PR is an effective tactic for building your profile and controlling the narrative about how the media talks about your brand. There’s a common misconception that PR is just about broadcasting press releases where organisations are “proud to announce” their latest product launch.
In reality, PR encompasses several avenues to get your company placed in the publications your audience are reading. For example:
🧁Pitching editorial where you are the subject matter expert to secure a by-lined article.
🧁Providing commentary by responding to journalist requests.
🧁(if you have a brave spokesperson!) Securing speaking engagements at important events and conferences.
🧁DON’T try to pitch to 101 publications. Simply choose 3-5 that your target audience reads and build good relationships with the editors.
🧁DO take note of what they cover and where your words fit best – for example, can you hook into a specific section or offer an alternative view on a current trend.
And ALWAYS offer something exclusive and of value – the last thing an editor wants it to read a promotional pitch for your company.
Also, be sure to prepare your media kit before you start your PR activities:
|TEMPLATE: editorial planner|
|Download your copy…|
Remember to make your brand distinct
Through your content you can ensure your brand stands out for all the right reasons, so you’re distinctive in the market. There are 3 ways to do this:
Be the first
To be clear, I had nothing to do with this asset (although I wish I did!).
When the GDPR came into effect, every organisation went into panic mode because the legislation transformed the obligations they had around data protection. OneTrust capitalised on this in the best possible way. It created a guide to simplify the legislation and make it clear what organisations needed to do to comply. It quickly became a bible in the world of corporate governance, and you’d see the distinct green guide EVERYWHERE.
Again, I had nothing to do with the look and feel of this brand – just the words.
Exonar was a brand going for exit after creating an incredible tool to aid data discovery. It knew that to stand out and catch the eye of investors, its brand needed to be different from the usual ‘IT blue’ with stock images of cheesy people pointing at white boards or computer screens. So, it looked to B2C industries and applied the lessons learned to its brand. The result: elephants on bicycles, frogs driving cars, rubber ducks, dinosaurs, and dogs – and a successful exit after 3 years.
Tone of voice
SureCloud also succeeded in its drive to exit within 3 years. Working in the domain of governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) it was important their communications were professional and authoritative to position them as an industry leader.
Additionally, its company values focused on operating with integrity, seeking improvement, and bringing positive energy. All this was reflected in its content because subject matter experts distilled complex concepts into simple outcomes, shared practical guidance on how to address challenges, like third-party risk, and avoided the usual scaremongering with clear explanations and simple guidance.
Still have a question?
I’ve been a professional copywriter since 2014, and before that I spent nearly a decade working as a B2B tech marketer – in that time I’ve worked on content strategies for several entrepreneurial businesses with ambition to exit and move on to the next exciting challenge.
I’m genuinely an open book so you are more than welcome to ask me anything. All you need to do is…