Content Marketing, Thought Leadership

How to Become a Thought Leader in Six Steps: Step 1 – Blog About It

I would like to revisit a previous discussion about TOFU. No not the food that we all love to hate, but rather top of funnel tactics and content and how marketers leverage them to drive awareness and engagement among your target audience. Of course one of the hardest parts about embarking on TOFU activities is creating that content that is compelling to your prospective reader but not self serving. As I’m sure you know by now, TOFU content usually tends to NOT be about your company or your company’s products or services. This content has to be about something of interest to your audience. So what is a marketer to do to attract subscribers to your content when your expertise lies in your intimate knowledge about your products?

A tactic that many B2B marketers have used to tackle this very issue is to first establish thought leadership in an area of interest to your audience. Once your audience begins to view you as an authority in the space, they are more likely to engage with you further through the process of “subscribing”. This is the thought process behind most B2B blogging. Find a subject of interest to the audience, research the topic extensively, create informative content paired with insightful commentary and then post these on a blog that your audience will read and then eventually subscribe to. Kind of like this blog you are reading now.

The nice thing abot blogs is that users are trained by past experiences to know that eventually, you will want to communicate to them about a product or service you provide. Once you have established the relationship, they are fine with that and actually welcome it. The other nice thing about blogs is that they increase your rank on search engines organically, provide easy connections back to your other online properties, and they are trackable.

But don’t just take my word for it. Blogging also falls into Step 1 of the HBR blog post entitled How to Become a Thought Leader in Six Steps (http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2010/11/how_to_become_a_thought_leader.html):

    1. Create a Robust Online Presence.Not everyone can immediately jump to international prominence (CNN probably won’t book you as a talking head if you’ve never been on local TV). But everyone can start here, with an online beachhead. Blogs are particularly good because they showcase your knowledge — and search engines prize the frequent stream of fresh content. Most blogs are unloved and unread — but yours can be different with a little time and elbow grease. Good content is key, of course, but so is making friends (online and off) with other bloggers to create a virtuous, networked circle.

New to blogging and still unclear as to how it can benefit a B2B marketer? Download the attached eBook on B2B Blogging from HubSpot here: An Introduction To Business Blogging – HubSpot.

Inbound Marketing, Thought Leadership

Peer To Peer Marketing – Applicable to Healthcare? (More on MOFU)

What is MOFU you ask? It’s a term I borrowed from HubSpot’s CEO Brian Halligan and it stands for Middle Of Funnel (where the funnel is defined as: Awareness > Consideration > Trial > Purchase > Loyalty). MOFU activities are all about driving prospects to trial and ultimately purchase.

Consider how you make purchase decisions in your day-to-day life; you typically research your options (usually online), narrow them down to a core set of products/services and then you research customer reviews on that product. The web makes this process fast and 24/7. We certainly see this trend accelerating in healthcare from a patient perspective (selecting a doctor or treatment) but what of this can be applied to the decision making process of HCPs (health care providers) and economic buyers?

I would argue that this is already happening. The Harvard Business Review article entitled Customer Reference Programs at The Tipping Point” the author posts these key questions to consider, the answers to which should help identify the state of peer-to-peer marketing programs:

  • Which of our customers would key buyers most like to learn from? How many are references and advocates for us? Do we have enough to make the launch a success?
  • Have we engaged our references and advocates in long-term relationships? Or do we just contact them when we need something — like a sales reference, blog post, testimonial, or media interview?
  • How long does it take our social media, PR or marketing people to find our customer advocates when they’re needed to rebut a critique or attack, or talk to a media interviewer?
  • How long does it take our sales people to find customer references when they’re needed to close deals? How often do they fail to find a suitable reference at all?
  • Are we taking advantage of new advocacy technologies that can do things like automate organization and packaging of customer testimonials and other customer content?

Read the full article here: Customer Reference Programs at The Tipping Point (MOFU) http://t.co/55GTB1cf