Strategic planning for thought leadership content

In the B2B realm, companies are making a paradigm shift towards leveraging thought leadership as a significant means to establish their authority and engage their target audience. This move is pushing boundaries, encouraging companies to think beyond traditional content marketing strategies. However, creating thought leadership content, particularly video content that not only resonates with your audience but also inspires them, is no cakewalk. It demands strategic planning, a clear understanding of your audience, the judicious choice of experts, and flawless execution. In this article, we aim to help you navigate this effectively by providing a detailed roadmap for creating impactful thought leadership video content.

Our goal is to equip your B2B company with the knowledge and tools required to take charge of its narrative, stand out amid a cluttered market, and establish a genuine connection with your audience.

1. Identifying your target audience(s)

In any content marketing strategy, the identification of the target audience is pivotal. Understandably, defining an audience may not be the easiest of tasks for many businesses. But to initiate a project, we suggest categorizing your audience into four broad, easy segments: potential talent, prospective customers, existing customers, and internal audiences. Probably within your company exists already an intuitive understanding who fits in these segments.

The focus here is to shift away from over-investment in complex concepts, like personas, and towards the creation of robust, meaningful content. Essentially, the aim is to produce a significant volume of quality content that sends out a substantial signal, rather than wasting time and resources on non-viable concepts

2. Defining themes around your company’s business goals

The next step is to identify key themes and messages that are aligned with your company’s objectives and resonate with your target audience. To achieve this, we propose conducting a min-max-spec workshop using the liberating structure approach.

The process involves collecting a vast list of potential themes and messages and then narrowing down those of strategic significance. These could be themes that appeal to your target audience or specific messages that your company’s leadership is keen on communicating. Striking a balance between what the audience wants to hear and what the company would like to communicate is critical to this step.

3. Selecting your experts

Having a diverse team of experts is always beneficial for companies. A single expert may be a vulnerability considering unforeseen circumstances such as them leaving the company or becoming unavailable when needed. Hence, having multiple experts provides a safety net and offers a broader range of knowledge and expertise.

Furthermore, it’s worth considering the perspective from which each expert can and should speak about various topics. It is essential to have experts with comprehensive understanding of the subject-matter, but remember that each topic can be communicated from various perspectives—visionary, strategic, or operational.

4. Creating the matrix

Once your themes and experts are in place, create a matrix using Excel, Notion, Google Spreadsheet, or any other intranet tool. The vertical axis should contain all the themes and topics, and the horizontal axis should include your experts and their level of communication on the matrix.

5. Plotting your existing content

Your next move should be organizing your existing video content on the content marketing matrix to identify content gaps and areas that need enhancement. This planning tool is instrumental in generating ideas for engaging content for your audience.

6. Generating ideas for engaging content

Once your existing content is plotted on the matrix, use it to brainstorm ideas for video content that would appeal to your target audience and address the identified gaps. The aim here is to consider diverse video types, such as how-tos, best-practices, inspirational or your expert’s personal unique point of view.

During this phase, encourage your experts to propose their own topics, but ensure that their direction aligns with the pre-defined themes and topics.

7. Script creation by experts

To ensure that each expert’s video is authentic and well-prepared, we suggest creating script templates and guiding the experts through the process of developing their own scripts. This process may include brainstorming sessions, outlining key points, and assigning tasks to ensure that the script is well-rounded and comprehensive.

Help your experts to consider the audience when developing the script. Experts may be knowledgeable in their field but may not have experience in communicating complex concepts to a general audience. Therefore, your facilitation process should also include guidance on how to simplify language and structure the content in a way that is understandable to a wider audience. For complex B2B offerings, we tell experts to focus their writing on a level that an intern could understand.

Often experts underestimate the complexity of developing a script, our experience has shown that an active facilitation process is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. This not only ensures that the video content is of high quality but also helps build the expert’s confidence in delivering the message effectively.

8. Creation and distribution of your videos

After the script has been created, the next step is to produce high-quality videos of your experts. This involves carefully selecting the recording location – we recommend in your office, as well as considering factors such as lighting, sound quality, and pacing.

Once the video has been created, you need to distribute it through the appropriate channels to ensure it reaches your target audience. This could include uploading the video to your website, posting it on social media platforms such as YouTube and LinkedIn, including it in email marketing campaigns, or publishing it on your company’s intranet.

9. Monitoring and analyzing performance

Track the performance of your videos, using metrics such as views, engagement, and conversion rates to determine their effectiveness. This data should be the cornerstone for steering future video creation and distribution strategies, helping to ensure continued success in your marketing efforts.

By following these steps and utilizing a content marketing matrix, you can create exceptional thought leadership videos that not only engage your target audience effectively but also drive your content marketing goals. In an era where content is king, thought leadership is the crown jewel, and strategic planning is the path to securing it. Harness the power of thought leadership content and carve out a distinct voice for your B2B company in the marketplace.