Do you want to give a clearer direction to your content efforts and better establish yourself or your business as a thought leader in your niche?

It will definitely help – this week LinkedIn has its 2021 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study, created in collaboration with Edelman, which highlights the key challenges and issues in the modern content landscape, and the elements you need to focus on in your efforts.

The study contains responses from 3,593 global business people, from a wide range of industries and company sizes, providing important insights into B2B market shifts and how decision makers view the current landscape.

Which may be good for your planning – first, respondents indicated that the pandemic caused a flood of thought-leadership content, but much of it is … well, not good.

While 54% of decision makers say they spend more than an hour a week reading and reviewing thought leadership, many of them do not, 71% note that less than half of thought leadership consumes them giving them valuable insights.

LinkedIn Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Report

That means it’s not really leadership at all. To take the lead, you need to share your own, unique thoughts and offer a new way of looking at common problems or challenges, which you can then establish as a good voice in your niche.

In other words, many aspiring thought leaders are ‘doing things’, but they do not succeed in distinguishing themselves or their ideas, but rather choose to copy key elements and use common lines and mantras.

Which provides a significant opportunity. As always in the field of thought leadership, while everyone can write blog posts and spread them all over the world, very few people can actually communicate effectively and give a valuable perspective on the major shifts that are taking place in their industry. Being able to write is one element, but take the time to take a broader view, and consider what you personally think each trend means, and then have the courage to communicate it, is what really makes a real thought ‘leader’ ‘define in this respect.

And it can have real, immediate benefits.

LinkedIn Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Report

In addition, effective thought leadership can boost your brand efforts, with 63% of buyers saying that thought leadership ‘is important to provide evidence that an organization truly understands or can solve your business challenges’.

The benefits are clear, but the challenge clearly lies in effective communication. You can not only assign a junior staff member to compose a few posts on social media, nor can you expect your senior managers to be masters in written communication. Each element requires time and experience, and you need to invest in this endeavor, with a structured, defined process and approach, that will help you build your brand with each post and update.

And again, these would mean that you have to spend for these processes and if you have the skills you need.

LinkedIn Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Report

Same with research and expertise:

LinkedIn Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Report

In essence, the guide emphasizes the value of following a more dedicated, focused approach to your content marketing efforts, not just posting the latest news on your site and hoping to generate a response. You need to consider the purpose of each post, each article you create. What value will your audience derive from this? What unique perspective do you give that they can get nowhere else?

It’s not a strategy to fill out your content calendar to keep your social media profiles active; you need to consider how each update you share relates to your brand goals, and further emphasize your brand as a key leader in your niche.

It takes time and effort and dedicated investment for most organizations. But as shown in these answers, the process can pay off, especially as more low quality content is distributed across the internet.

You can read the full Edelman / LinkedIn 2021 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study here.

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