Written by George Goss
In the world of B2B PR, “thought leadership” has grown to become a vital part of the PR practitioner’s toolkit.
Today, it is rare to find a strategy that does not use it as a core communications tactic. However, getting it wrong can undermine the effectiveness of an entire campaign.
Instead, when we explore the concept with our clients, our strategy lies in how we can work with them to generate insight-led content as the core tenet of our B2B messaging.
Insight-led content serves as a more tactical description of the spirit and rationale that was originally behind thought leadership when it came onto the corporate lexicon.
Taking this approach to B2B comms means clients, and their communications advisors, can broaden their horizons and develop messaging that aligns more closely with their industry’s needs, wants and goals.
Ultimately, our goal is to build and execute a B2B comms strategy based on meaningful and resonant intellectual pillars that support clients’ brand values and drive conversations with customers.
Don’t add to the noise
One of the areas where thought leadership can go wrong is if its basic principle of having meaningful insightful thoughts becomes lost.
Although this may sound obvious, it points to a fundamental component and a frequent trap that many leaders are at risk of falling into and why we adopt an insight-led approach with clients.
While it is important to identify trends, issues and challenges in your industry, simply regurgitating them runs the risk of producing noise which only dilutes B2B strategies.
Generating true insight-led content entails graduating from identifying these issues to examining how they will apply to a client’s sector and what they are doing to harness their impact to drive transformation.
From a comms and PR business partner’s perspective, this means identifying and asking key questions, continually honing our sector knowledge and ensuring we challenge where appropriate.
By taking this approach, clients will have started their journey to creating true intellectual capital that will be an attractive pillar supporting PR activities. This will also become a core asset for both owned and earned comms channels.
It also presents an opportunity that poses commercial benefits. With brand messaging grounded in authoritative insight-led content, clients can engage in sustained, meaningful conversations with their industry.
Put simply, insight-led content is an opportunity to listen and grow wise.
Data, data and more data
It’s a given that data is transforming the world we live in, and it is something that needs to be harnessed in insight-led content strategies.
By grounding data into strategies, clients can add academic and authoritative context to their messages. In doing so, this will enable them to stand apart and reinforce credibility amongst peers and customers.
When considering the data element, there are a handful of sources and tactics available. One of the most direct and useful ways is through customer surveys specifically curated for insight-led content.
This has the combined benefit of gathering valuable insights and demonstrating new levels of engagement that position clients as committed to supporting their industry to navigate change.
In addition, it is important to consider where data can be researched or purchased from credible third-party providers. If an initial insight-led content strategy is well crafted, this can present a significant ROI.
After sourcing the data, it is essential to interrogate it thoroughly in collaboration with comms and PR business partners. This will help your data tell a story by unlocking the trends patterns and, in some cases, hidden truths that form the central tenet of insight-led content.
With a strong data foundation, clients are well placed to deploy their messaging through comms channels to enhance their share of voice.
Data findings can also form the basis of an enticing press release, forming an attractive pull for journalists and improving credibility and coverage while perpetuating further earned and owned PR opportunities.
Driving ESG purpose, vision and comms
Insight-led content is a powerful complement to a client’s brand, its purpose, its core beliefs, its vision, its values, culture and commitment to its customers.
However, it is important to remember that it can motivate clients in other equally powerful ways.
One influential area is the increasingly critical ESG (environment, social and governance) agenda. This is driving clients to adapt and evolve their practices and operations to a more responsible footing.
It is important to remember that ESG is not just a passing trend but an area of acute commercial pressure. In time, many will see it as a core marker of progress and a competitive differentiator for clients as they attract and maintain a more socially responsible customer base.
ESG represents another area where insight-led content will be important. While considering how clients can support their customers, it provides the opportunity to also think about why and how they can be more environmentally friendly, diverse, equal, charitable and community-driven.
Learn to listen and you will grow wise
It’s an exciting time when a client starts their insight-led content journey. For a PR practitioner, it’s a valuable and rewarding opportunity to understand sectors, issues, challenges and solutions.
As well as being insightful for those who are naturally curious, at the end of the day, insight-led content is a powerful asset to a B2B communications strategy.
By identifying issues and challenges and avoiding cliché traps while building strong data foundations, clients can develop their insight-led content to articulate beliefs and commitment to change.
At Brand8 PR, we understand the critical role of insight-led content in enhancing your brand’s reputation. Our team of experienced professionals specialises in crafting traditional media content strategies that highlight your businesses strengths.
Start building your insight-led content strategy today; contact us to discuss how we can assist you in planning ahead to gain coverage. Your brand’s reputation is our priority, and we’re here to help you build it.