The world of digital marketing is becoming more and more competitive and requires content marketers to produce more thought leadership content.

After countless hours of planning, crafting, optimizing, and hoping for the best, you are still behind the competition. This is a tough reality that most content marketers grapple with when they first venture into new territory.

It can be very annoying…

So what’s the secret to leading the pack when it comes to content?

How do you create content that stands out?

How do you adopt an unusual approach that takes your content on top of the game?

Many people think that one has to be an expert in content marketing to create authoritative thought leadership content. While they may have a point, there’s another side of the coin. Learning is the key to figuring out everything you need to create a formidable content marketing business.

If you leverage on information, you become an influencer that consistently generates impeccable content that goes viral and leaves your competition miles behind.

How to Create Authoritative Thought Leadership Content and Win the Content Battle

Whether you’re a local content marketing agency, a digital marketer, blog writer, or a DIY entrepreneur, learning how to incorporate thought leadership throughout your content can set you apart from the competition.

We will take a look at the six ultimate tips that can help create thought leadership content and win the battle, even if you are a beginner.

Also, be sure to check out the two critical bonus tips at the end of the article.

  1. Understand Your Audience

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou, poet, and civil rights activist

Award-winning marketers take most of their time studying their target audience’s goals, preferences, and the language they resonate with. They know the vitality of knowing their audience as it’s the first win in creating authoritative thought leadership content.

If your content doesn’t hit their pain points, your competition’s content will do just that and you will be pushed off the industry.

It will help you set questions and shape the content that you want to come up with. Besides, it makes your audience feel important and connected as you are speaking what is connected to them.

Get to know your audience better by doing the following

  • Monitoring their comments on your content. How often do they respond? How many people respond? And what do they say about your brand?
  • Make a survey and ask them questions to know what they think about your brand.
  • Study your competition by evaluating their brand, their digital marketing strategy, and their brand voice, and ask yourself why it’s effective.
  • Do a lot of research to determine the demographic, the related niches, the age group, and find out the reason why your brand is popular with them.

  1. Create Something New and Insightful Every Time

Over 2.75 million posts are made each day on WordPress alone. What are the chances that your article is unique?

Most of the articles you read every day are common ideas that have been rewritten. If your content marketing strategy follows the same road, it’s the beginning of your downfall.

Thought leadership content should show raw talent and breathe fresh ideas to the readers. You must make the readers go “oh! I didn’t know that.” But this doesn’t mean that you have to fetch your information from outer space.

If you’re writing about a common topic, tackle it from an interesting perspective. This fresh perspective can only come from the extensive insights you’ve unearthed from the deepest parts of the web. Time is thus critical when you want to craft content that stands out.

  1. Showcase Your Work Using Case Studies

Have a look at this article; results for the 2018 Freelance Writers Survey. This research contains actual data on the industry and provides real examples. The article arouses curiosity and after going through it, you will probably asking yourself questions like;

  • How much do freelance writers earn?
  • How do they work?
  • How do they manage their businesses?

When you take some time to brush through the article. You will notice that it’s decorated with results, data, and statistics to show the readers that it’s a credible source.

Numbers are powerful, and everyone will believe them. Generating results in a real-life situation is the essential recipe for producing authoritative content. Readers are more compelled to read an article full of statistics and findings as opposed to reading a plain article.

Coming up with an article backed up with case studies may take a long time depending on your targets. Remember though that you are looking for trends that take time before you can pick something from it.

It took HuffPost over 15 years to create a community of 115 million readers. However, it took them a shorter time to get thousands of subscribers after promoting their best content through social shares.

Crafting articles using case studies is not the same as writing case studies. Case studies are a bit intricate and not that much audience-targeted but fact-oriented. With a good strategy, you can mix the two and come up with something that will help your readers a great deal.

  1. Write Like an Expert

How do you write like an expert? Who is an expert writer? Is it writing with flare and error-free grammar? Is it writing unique content that is not found anywhere else on the web? Probably. You need to put your competitors into perspective and write excellent content that distinguishes you from them.

There are many ways you can write like a pro and provide your audience with authoritative content. Some of the techniques include:

Doing your homework

This involves providing content that is highly researched not Google alone but also for the readers. You provide this information in a way that it’s easy to understand and assimilate. Your page quality rating is determined by how your content is useful to the readers.

Structuring the content in the right way

The way you structure your article is enough to show how you are an expert in your niche. You can include a broad industry overview or history of the topic you’re writing. This hints to the reader that you love what you are doing and never mind going the extra mile.

Use of industry jargon (but not too much that readers need to arm themselves with dictionaries)

Using the key terminologies used technically in your realm is a sure way to show readers that you are a gem in the industry. Besides, other experts in the same niche will give you a thumbs up if you are speaking their language. However, too much use of technical terms will harm you. Just go by the fine line and let everyone benefit from your content.

  1. Write on New Trends

New ideas pop up while others fade out with time. While it’s important to publish evergreen content, writing on new trends that affect your industry is a good way to make your audience engaged.

Your content strategy should revolve around what’s current. There is always a way you can craft your content to showcase the current trends in your industry without sounding like a journalist.

Take the SEO industry, for instance. Frequent changes to search engine ranking algorithms have defined this industry to be constantly evolving. SEO experts nowadays have to be more up-to-date than ever. In fact, not following an updated SEO guide can be detrimental to the smaller local SEO professional.

Whenever Google comes up with an abrupt change, write about it. You will be amazed by the number of shares your content will get. A good example is Neil Patel, who is always the first to break the news concerning a change taking place on Google. You can see how all of his articles on Google go viral within a short time.

In a nutshell, let your content reflect the current position of your industry. It gives you a step ahead of your competitors who might still be churning articles on topics that have long been forgotten. It also brings a fresh perspective that nobody has talked about.

  1. Encourage Readers to Give You Feedback on Your Work

Did you know that 20% of readers opt to spend their time on the comment section rather than on the article? This shows that readers prefer getting feedback about what they are about to read. At least, it gives them a glimpse of what is in the article. Readers trust the views of other readers more than you can imagine.

Giving your audience the chance to share their opinions concerning your work strengthens user interaction. It also hints to them that you take all kinds of feedback well and you care about what they think.

You should encourage them to write reviews about you either directly to your site or via any other platforms online. Encouraging readers to provide feedback also makes it easy for them to share your work which increases its performance.

Bonus Tip 1: Use Your Unique Voice

Every writer has a unique voice. While others may be making great spoils in their unique voices while you don’t, it doesn’t mean that your voice is inferior.

Let’s take an example of Jorden Ropper of Creative Revolt and John Morrow of Smart Blogger. All of them are killing it in their content marketing careers, but their voice of writing is very different.

Jorden Ropper’s voice is a bit strict and no-nonsense but still informative and can pummel hefty words of knowledge to her audience. On the other hand, John Morrow’s voice is simple, straight forward but still very engaging.

While their styles are different, they’ve leveraged on them to create communities of thousands of readers. What if John wanted to copy Jorden’s voice or vice versa? There’s a 100% chance that neither of them would be where they are today.

The first step to establishing yourself as an expert in content creation is getting to know your voice and start practicing to be perfect. Don’t try to replicate what others are doing. Instead, delve into the scene with fresh ideas, your own voice; and you will attract a massive following.

Bonus Tip 2: Use Videos to Boost Your Content Marketing

A research done by Oberlo found out the following concerning video for content marketing:

  • Video marketers get 66% more qualified leads every year.
  • 88% of readers spend more time on a website with videos.
  • 85% of all internet users in the USA watch videos every month.
  • 54% of consumers want to see more videos from businesses.

With these stats in mind, it’s not a surprise that content marketers are making video marketing their go-to strategy to record the highest ROI. And what’s the secret? Videos allow you to connect with your target audience on a personal level.

Videos speak louder than other forms of content as they visually demonstrate ideas that make it easy for the reader to understand the issues. After watching a video, making a decision is easy as they can still relate to what they have seen and heard.

Many marketers shy from video marketing as they think it’s technical and time-consuming, but it’s not. You only need a few skills, a camera, a microphone, and editing software, and you are good to go.

Pivoting Between the Available Data and Creativity

It’s vital that you take your time to study metrics that affect the performance of your brand. Some of these include your page SEO ranking, conversion rates, and page views. After all, content marketing is all about science more than art.

However, leveraging on data only may hurt your audiences’ personal side. Indeed, the content may have all that data they need to know about your brand but still sound “robotic”. You have to experiment on new ideas and uncover new ways that gives you an edge over competitors.

Publishing content that ignores the hard metrics altogether doesn’t make any impact. While it’s difficult to find content marketers that can make a balance in this, you can learn. With practice, you can become an authority in your niche.

Here’s an example of what to do to achieve content that balances the data and creativity.

First of all, begin by researching keywords that will rank high and beat your competition. You then come up with topics that are engaging, concise, authentic and captures the reader’s attention.

At the same time, learn the types of content formats that record better performance. Something that resonates with the readers and the unique ways it brings the ideas across. If you can successfully nail it here, you will join marketers that can balance the art and science of creating killer content.

Thought Leadership Requires Real Effort

As they say, Rome was not built in a day. Some of the biggest content blogs around have invested time and resources to be where they are. They had to take the right roadmap that landed them on the coveted title as the providers of authoritative thought leadership content.

For them to reach there, they had to define their strategy, create a playbook, and establish a surefire process. You can also be like them, and better. With the tips we have given you, making your content stand out will be easier than you think.

Links to resources used

WordPress Statistics
ContentWonk Survey
Huffington Post Story
QZ on readers comments
Oberlo on video content