Positioning Your Building Materials Brand as a Thought Leader
Article Date: March 2, 2022
Why Leading the Pack Matters
As a manufacturer in the building materials industry, you have unique insight and perspective into what your customers want and the types of information that will help them satisfy their customers’ demands. By sharing your thoughts and experience via carefully crafted thought leadership-level content, you can successfully position your brand as a source of authority within the industry. From informative “How To” articles to Q&As with company executives on industry trends, dedicating time to developing purposeful thought leadership content can pay dividends. It will increase the affinity and trust your brand generates across its customer base.<
What Do Readers Want?
According to the 2021 LinkedIn-Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report, here are a few takeaways regarding what readers want in the thought leadership content they choose to read:
- 81% want provocative insights that challenge their assumptions rather than validation on their current thinking.
- 80% of decision-makers want thought leadership that includes 3rd-party data from trusted sources rather than only proprietary insights from the company publishing the material.
- 77% are interested in hearing from deep subject matter experts delving into specialized topics over senior executives speaking to high-level business issues.
- 64% of decision-makers favor a more human, less formal tone of voice rather than an even-toned intellectual voice.
- 67% prefer thought leadership to prominently feature the POV of an identifiable author, instead of being published by a faceless brand.
Your brand’s thought leadership marketing plan should aim to provide insights into a larger industry topic or concern. The reader should walk away with a deeper understanding of an issue to make smarter, more informed business decisions; stay abreast of the latest trends; or learn something completely new from a source of authority that has a strong command of the topic they are discussing.
As an example, if you are an insulation manufacturer, you might create an article titled: “How Proper Wall Insulation Makes Homes Safer and Healthier.” If your audience is comprised primarily of home builders and homeowners, this could help both segments make informed decisions about the types of insulation that will protect their homes from the elements and last for the intended lifespan of the structure. You may then choose to write additional articles about residential construction industry trends, key performance considerations when building a home, and the essential role that insulation plays in construction. These can come from experts at your company, or even a customer or partner you work closely with on a consistent basis. Either way, the goal should be to stay top-of-mind with your intended audience while offering key insights that only those in your network and the subject matter experts (SMEs) within your organization can offer.
You want to ensure you are reaching your target audience on their preferred platforms of consuming content, but don’t be afraid to experiment with various means of hosting or delivery.
Smart building products manufacturers choose to begin with a blog page on their website. Once a handful of thought leadership articles are written, this area of the site becomes a dedicated resource for B2B thought leadership content that users can refer back to on a regular basis.
All of these blog articles that you create should be hosted in one place to create an organized online collection of content and help readers find what they need when they need it. And by hosting your blog on your website, when you drive traffic back to the blog – via social media, email, and more – users have the option to navigate and explore other areas of your site. This could lead them to inquire directly with you through your contact form.
Thought leadership content can have additional impact via a podcast or YouTube series. These options may even give you more creative freedom for an innovative approach to content marketing and thought leadership. Depending on how your audience consumes content, these options could really resonate with them. Written content is often the first step in building and cultivating a thought leadership program. Your brand can always expand into other streams of delivery once your team is churning out high-quality, timely, relevant content for your target audiences.
Spreading the Word
Now that you have a collection of powerful thought leadership pieces on your website, it’s time to get interested readers to your site to read the stories your team and network of SMEs are working hard to develop.
Social media is an excellent place to start. Here, you already have a dedicated audience who has elected to stay in touch with your brand. Using social media to share the articles that you are developing is a great way to get more eyes on your content and also serves as yet another gateway for users to engage with your brand. When they read your thought leadership content, your organization is actively garnering more trust with them. You may be helping them solve a problem, think about an issue in a new way, or even providing an answer to questions they have yet to ask. People connect with other people, and putting the knowledge of your building materials experts on paper in a compelling fashion can help build trust for your brand and nurture the relationship between you and your customers.
Another effective means of sharing your content is via email marketing. Your carefully curated list of prospects is the perfect pool of people primed to want to read what you have written. Good thought leadership content will be welcomed in your recipients’ inboxes. In fact, interested readers will begin to expect and anticipate your regularly scheduled emails or quarterly eNewsletters that link back to full-length blog articles on your site. If the reader feels as if the information is valuable to them and their business, they’ll look forward to it, which will directly correlate to an increase in clicks and readership in your metrics reports.
Once your organization’s thought leadership program is off the ground, you’ll want to be tuned in to measuring its success. That includes understanding what types of content are resonating most with your audience.
It is important to understand the performance data available in your email marketing platform. Take time to dive into the data on each thought leadership email being sent, such as open rate, click-through rate, click-to-open ratio, and unsubscribes. This allows you to gauge what types of content your readers view as interesting, compelling, and informative. Monitoring email performance also allows you to establish benchmarks for quarter-over-quarter or year-over-year performance.
In addition, social media metrics such as number of likes, shares, and the overall level of engagement on a thought leadership post serve as additional indicators and give you insights into top-performing content.
On your website, site traffic and time-on-page metrics give an indication for the most popular articles on your blog.
Monitor and adjust on an ongoing basis to optimize your thought leadership program and the methods by which you are delivering content to your audience.
Making Your Content Count
Establishing thought leadership in your marketing strategy is important, and it should be a key pillar to your content program. With that being said, the content needs to achieve the desired goals you’ve set for the program.
Is it to engender trust amongst your audience? Adjust current perceptions of your brand? Spread the word about current trends or important issues within your industry? Attract new, talented employees?
Regardless of your goals or KPIs, your thought leadership content should leave the reader fulfilled, or perhaps they’ve simply learned something new that they can share with their people or apply to their operations.
BLD Marketing can help you identify thought leadership opportunities, incorporate them into a robust, integrated content marketing program, and position you as the expert when it comes to a variety of topics relevant to your business and the industry at large.
BLD Marketing is a results-based, digitally-focused, full-service strategic marketing firm exclusively serving the commercial and residential building materials category.