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Blog Posts Alone Aren’t Enough To Build Trust Anymore—But True Thought Leadership Can

Published: February 2, 2021       Updated: July 14, 2024

4 min read

Did you know there are more than 600 million blogs on the web, and nearly 32 million active bloggers in the United States alone? Marketers that publish roughly four posts a week get 3.5 times the traffic of those who don’t. Yet we shouldn’t interpret those numbers to mean that simply pushing out more posts leads to better results. In fact, the sheer volume of blog posts only makes an ever-present content glut worse. Which means readers have to wade through more pages of low-quality, quickly generated “content” than ever to find something meaningful.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with blogs; in fact, they can still be quite effective. Despite the apparent content glut, posts presenting thought leadership—that is, those offering truly unique points of view or new takes on well-trodden topics—can, indeed, break through the noise and garner readers’ trust. Sadly, in their rush to keep up the pace, companies usually don’t publish this level of quality content, which means their voices aren’t heard above the din.

Frantic blogging doesn’t build trust in your brand, but content that expresses true thought leadership does. Thought leadership content means telling stories in unique ways. Delivering uncommon points of view. Making prospects consider other aspects, avenues, and approaches to their problems. Focusing on building affinity as opposed to just pushing products and driving conversions. Thought leadership shows off your experience, expertise, and empathy to your customers—and that builds trust in your brand.

Considering the competitive media landscape and the content glut that increasingly defines it, how do you make your thought leadership stand out?

  • First and foremost, recognize (and admit) that customers have lost patience and trust with strong, salesy messages. Content that is little more than a thinly a disguised sales pitch doesn’t work. Ditch that approach and save the sales pitch for a more appropriate time in the customer journey. Customers want authenticity.
  • Forbes Councils and other paid-earned media programs are an effective forum for thought leadership, but are similarly challenged by the content glut. As more and more authors join these programs, the result can be greater volume but less actual thought leadership. The only way to rise above, be heard, and earn trust is to ensure your bylined articles are unique -- wherever it may appear.
  • Besides an earned and sponsored media strategy, build an owned media program that prioritizes thought leadership over the “me, too” topics so prevalent in today’s content glut. Focus on the problems faced by prospects in your industry, problems that your organization can solve with its unique approach—but not on the products you sell. This will establish your authority with decision-makers and build trust and affinity for your brand.
  • Consider incorporating video, animation and interactivity into your owned media portfolio. We process visual information up to 60,000 times faster than plain text. Not only do these formats capture more attention, they allow you to tell an in-depth story that creates a deeper connection to viewers. For example, create video versions of customer success stories, interactive graphical eBooks, or simply embed video within online versions of these and other “traditional” content formats.
  • Want to really stand apart and build trust? There’s never been a better time to build a separate editorial-style news site covering emerging industry trends, customer successes, and provocative viewpoints. Your organization can become known as a thought leader in your industry, simply by helping to broaden the industry’s understanding of a budding field of interest, a new technology, or area of research. Just plant the seed and then invite other experts to participate—and watch you brand trust grow.
  • Don’t forget to promote your earned, sponsored, and owned thought leadership assets via social media—you don’t want to miss any opportunity to point prospects and customers to your heightened thought leadership messages.

As marketers, we know that audiences respond positively when brands share educational content and compelling points of view. With the battle for attention in a growing glut of mediocre content, it’s obvious that quickly throwing a blog post on your site is no longer sufficient. Readers want to be engaged with authentic stories, entertained with compelling visuals, and inspired with challenging concepts. Now, with these tips, you can get out there and make your voice heard above the noise.

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