Many B2B marketers look to content marketing as a key part of establishing thought leadership. However, companies frequently expect the same content marketing program to capture contacts or leads as well.
The problem is, registration and thought leadership are at odds with each other. Thought leadership requires your point of view to be broadly distributed and recognized across a peer group, where it can drive discussion and shape opinions.
Requiring registration limits distribution and recognition of the content that is supposed to position your company as a thought leader.
Instead, thought leadership should be your door opener. As companies gain recognition for their perspectives or thought leadership, expectations of the quality of their content increase, and more people are willing to register for access.
Consider the lead generation activities of the following three types of marketers.
An Average Market Participant
Your company is known to a few, but the audience doesn’t recognize you for your research or perspective. Capturing registrations is an uphill battle, requiring you to establish the credibility and relevancy of every piece of content you offer in your lead generation program.
A Company Recognized for its Research or Insight
You have a distinct advantage if your company is already recognized for its research or content. The content you are using for lead generation is expected to be valuable, you only need to establish the information’s relevance to the audience.
The Category Thought Leader
Companies who are recognized as thought leaders have a sizable advantage. Not only do people trust the information will be valuable, they believe it is information they need to have to stay on top of their category. There is significant demand for access to their content and perspectives, and this demand translates directly into lead generation volume.
One of the best examples of this is Hubspot and the incredibly successful webcasts with Dan Zarella. Rather than receiving the hundreds or a couple thousand registrations that many publishers and marketers get for successful webcasts, Dan has done webcasts with more than 30,000 people. That’s bigger than a sold-out crowd at the largest NBA stadium!
Dan’s recognition as a thought leader allows Hubspot to run lead generation programs that are the envy of many marketers. But this success isn’t the result of their lead generation prowess, it is the result of the foundation of thought leadership they have developed.
If Hubspot had directly measured their initial thought leadership on lead generation, they would have missed the real long term lead generation benefits of their thought leadership efforts.
If you are willing to share, how do you measure the thought leadership impact of your content marketing? Share your view in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).