WHY SURVEY-BASED THOUGHT LEADERSHIP IS AN ESSENTIAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT TOOL
Your clients want to learn something from your business—they just don’t know it yet.
The crowded worlds of marketing and sponsored content have created a deafening cacophony of messages—‘buy this’, ‘we’re different’, ‘we want to know what you think’, ‘listen to our story’. What do most potential clients do when confronted with this wall of sound and images? They disconnect and their brains send back a mental ‘out of office’ reply. Who could blame them…?
So how does your business smash through this apathy and find a true way to connect and communicate with current and future clients? How do you make them want to consume your content rather than convince (and in some instances, beg) them to?
The answer is to educate and inform and make learning an integral part of your thought leadership content.
‘Knowledge is power’—this is trite but true. The true power in this context is finding a way to provide information to a client that helps them learn how to do their job better, helping you connect and engage with clients more effectively. If you are able to find the right information for the right audience that speaks to them in their language and to their problems, you have found the golden content solution.
The best part? You will be seen as a reliable partner for learning and information—placing you at the centre of your clients' needs.
Right. So how can your business start doing this?
You start with what people think—build from the bottom up rather than the top down. In short, market research-driven reports can be the tool that turns the speed dating that is content consumption into an actual relationship.
Survey-driven reports help you gain empirical evidence on what your potential clients think about a subject and offer a timely snapshot of their views, which helps you target them with relevant information. Furthermore, if you conduct more than one survey on similar or related topics, you can offer even more value in showing how opinions on a topic have evolved over a given time period.
There are a few essential things to bear in mind when conducting this type of research and writing thought leadership reports:
W is the best letter of the alphabet: Ask Why? Where? When? Who?
Always, always, always start with your audience and what you a) want them to learn, and b) want them to do next (for instance, are you just trying to build brand awareness, or do you want them to buy your product?). Validate this with actual people in the industry—nothing is a given and guessing what they want is not a winning strategy. Why do they want to know something? Where are they located? When do they want to know something? Who do they want to hear from?
Make your information indispensable to make your business indispensable
By engaging with thought leaders in your industry, you can find out what matters most to your readers and what they need to know to be better at their jobs. After this, engage with thought leaders in other industries—analogous inspiration is invaluable and shows them you don’t have industry tunnel vision. This can help you expand your ideas and make your readers realise your business is one to follow. If you build it, they will (likely) come.
Ask a few really good questions from the right people and be realistic about the response rate
Long surveys will bore people and they will drop off, failing to complete the entire questionnaire. A survey with 5-10 insightful questions will spark interest and genuinely only take a few minutes of someone’s time. Very importantly, don’t assume you can get 200 responses just because you have come up with some original questions. CEOs and other high-profile targets are busy and don't always have time to participate. A sample of 50 responses can frequently tell you the same thing as 200.
Data is great, but insightful commentators make it even more interesting
Stats are fantastic for illustrating some points, but they can be dry and send your readers to their WhatsApp for respite. Finding well-known commentators within an industry can give your report a launchpad to generate wider press coverage.
Make your data come alive
One word: infographics. Seeing is believing.
Brevity is divine, War and Peace-sized reports will not shine
Remember your readers are busy people who have at least one device blinking in front of them at all times. Your content needs to pop, be insightful, and get to the (interesting) points quickly.
That’s it. Easy? Definitely not, but it will offer you a sustainable payoff in terms of business development and reputation. Who doesn’t want to be known for being smart and interesting?
Pensar Media has years of experience conducting cross-industry, global and national market research reports. Let us help you help your business. Get in touch now.