Grow with TRUST

Thought Leadership


Your customers spend far more time online seeking to learn than looking to buy.

That’s why if you only publish content about your products—or content that invariably leads people straight into a product pitch—you'll miss out on the vast majority of opportunities to connect with buyers.

Remember, there are two types of buyers: “now buyers” and “future buyers.” A thought leadership marketing strategy builds trust with future buyers so when they are ready to buy, they’ll think of you first.


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Our Thought Leadership Marketing Solution

  1. First, we help you identify your niche and purpose. You don't want to create content about your product, but you do want to create content that will be of real interest to your buyers.

  2. Next, develop your unique perspective or value. Maybe you have a counterintuitive stance on data privacy. Or helpful tips on new AI use cases in your target verticals. We help you stand out.

  3. Finally, we help you create and publish content where it will be seen by the right people—on your website, in social media, in industry publications and blogs, and elsewhere. 


What would you like to know?

Your Questions Answered

Why is having a thought leadership marketing strategy important?

Think of thought leadership marketing, whether B2B or B2C thought leadership, as building credibility for your brand and its executives at scale. Sharing interesting and useful information with those who come across your brand online is one of the best ways to establish rapport and build trust. It shows that you have more to offer the world than a product to sell. For top-of-the-funnel audiences, talking about your ideas more and your products less (or not at all) is the way to impress.


What if I don't have "big ideas" or anything unique to say?

You may have heard that every snowflake is different and it's true—no matter how many billions of them fall from the sky, no two are ever the same.

It's similar with thought leadership. Yes, you can create "me too" content that sounds like everyone else's—but there's no reason to settle for that. We help your company and its executives find their own voice and to share perspectives and advice that come from experience—and from the heart. Once you get the hang of it, you'll realize you have a lot more to say than you thought.

And don't worry about having "big ideas," either. Small ideas, and even just practical how-to advice, may be just what your buyer is looking for.

What makes a thought leadership marketing program successful?

The most successful programs focus on quality over quantity. An Edelman study recently found that while more than half of the business decision-makers it surveyed spent over an hour each week reading thought leadership content, only 15% percent considered the content they consumed to be of "high quality." That's a formula for a lot of disappointment for your customers and prospects — and a lot of wasted time for you.

How do you stand out with thought leadership? Not by posting more content than everyone else, but by seeming smarter than everyone else. Your content will be deemed high quality if it is highly attuned to the needs, desires, interests and predispositions of your target audience. The more you've researched your audience, the better you will know them and the smarter your content will seem to them. That's the key to success.

What are the fundamentals—the "ABCs"—of thought leadership marketing?

The term "thought leadership" gets thrown around a lot, but so much of what people consider thought leadership isn’t. At best, it’s barely disguised product collateral, and if you’re looking to use content to build trust with an audience that’s not what you need. High-quality thought leadership isn’t about you or what your products can do for those who use them. It’s about something bigger. It’s about building trust with the reader and creating affinity for your brand. How do you know if you’re creating high-quality thought leadership? It’s going to have most or all of these 26 traits—what we at Idea Grove call the ABCs of thought leadership.

What is a bylined article strategy?

Whether you call them guest posts, contributed articles or bylined articles, creating articles under your name for third-party publications is an important tool in building visibility and trust. Viewing guest posts through the Grow With TRUST framework, we specifically use this tool to generate trust for our clients in three ways:

  1. Bylines bring visibility to our clients’ thought leadership, and thought leadership builds trust;
  2. Publishing a byline in a well-known publication, like Fast Company, the Harvard Business Review or top industry outlets, delivers the benefit of third-party validation, because that outlet confers trust on our clients by choosing to publish their content;
  3. Guest posts -- especially those with links to our clients’ websites -- can yield important benefits for search presence, and high visibility in Google also builds trust.

For this reason, we think of bylined article strategy as a three-legged stool. Without ensuring that each of these legs is in place, your guest post program will likely collapse -- or at least not achieve the results you are hoping for. Your best course is to focus on creating quality articles, placing them in the right outlets, and only including links that are clearly designed to help the reader.

Why is a Forbes Councils membership a no-brainer for thought leadership?

Because the modest annual investment earns you the opportunity to publish as many as 10 to 12 articles per year with your byline on the Forbes website. These articles appear in Google News results and in LinkedIn's Mentioned in the News, bringing the authority and trust that come with those placements. There is also the opportunity to appear as often as several times per month in "expert panels" -- roundup stories on topics relevant to your field.

The Forbes Councils model has been so successful that its creator, the Community Company, has launched similar programs with Newsweek, Rolling Stone and local business journals.

Forbes Councils and programs like it are very different from the advertorial approaches of days gone by. For this reason, we prefer to call Forbes Councils "special-access media" or even "earned media plus" rather than "sponsored content."

Why should I choose Idea Grove to be my thought leadership content firm?

From our earliest days, Idea Grove has set itself apart through the quality of our content. Our experienced team knows how to tell even the most complex stories in compelling ways. Our content team includes writers and creators with backgrounds in information technology, journalism and marketing—the perfect combination for B2B tech storytelling that stands out from the crowd.

What movie inspires Idea Grove's thought leadership strategy?

Two decades ago, sisters Jenniphr and Greer Goodman created a wonderful indie film called The Tao of Steve about a slovenly, underachieving kindergarten teacher named Dex who, despite his imperfections, had developed a surefire strategy for wooing women who most assumed were out of his league. As he explained to one of his astonished friends, the strategy — inspired by Dex's idol, '70s movie star Steve McQueen — was simple. It included three steps:

  1. Be desireless. Focus on getting to know the person; don't make it about romance right away.
  2. Be excellent. Prove your worthiness by showing off something you're really good at — juggling, card tricks, art history — whatever.
  3. Be gone. Because, as Dex puts it, "We pursue that which retreats from us."

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