As a brand, you could do everything right: produce great content, optimize your website for SEO, and have a solid backlink-building strategy.
But even if you dot your Is and cross your Ts, you still might not see the results you want from your marketing efforts.
Why? Because in today’s digital landscape, it’s not enough to just have good SEO. You also need to position your brand as a thought leader.
The phrase “thought leader” might sound abstract at first, but Google’s recent algorithm changes make it clear that the search engine giant values authoritative content from respected sources.
If you want your brand to rank, you need to produce content that is not only keyword-optimized, but also informative, insightful, and persuasive.
We’ll talk more about that in a sec. But first, let’s go over the basics:
What is a Thought Leader?
A thought leader is an individual or organization that is recognized as an authority in their field and whose opinions and ideas are respected and followed by others. In order to be a thought leader, you need to be an expert on your topic and be able to provide insights and perspectives that are new and fresh.
Think of it this way: if you’re a doctor, you might be an expert on a particular disease or medical condition. But in order to be a thought leader, you need to offer insights and perspectives that are new and different from what other doctors are saying.
The same goes for businesses. If you want to be a thought leader in your industry, you need to produce content that is not only informative, but also innovative.
About Google’s August 2022 “Helpful Content Update”
As we mentioned before, Google’s recent algorithm changes have made it clear that the search engine values authoritative content from respected sources. In other words, if you want your brand to rank, you need to produce thought-leadership content.
Well, in our opinion, Google is attempting to combat AI content writing tools like Jasper and Copy.ai. These tools can generate articles that are eerily similar to human-written content, making it difficult for Google to distinguish between the two.
Google says its helpful content update is “part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”
In other words, Google is trying to push original, human-written content to the top of its search results in order to ensure that users are seeing the most helpful and relevant information possible.
Google praises sites that publish “people-first” content and condemns publishers that produce content solely for search engine rankings.
To sum up the changes: Google is now giving preference to original, human-written content over AI-generated content, and sites that publish this type of content are more likely to rank.
Why Google Loves Thought Leadership
Google’s helpful content update confirmed that positioning your brand as a thought leader is paramount for securing top search engine rankings going forward.
Since the update says it will prioritize content that demonstrates “first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge,” it’s clear that you will succeed by:
A. Proving you are a human
B. Showing that you know what you’re talking about
C. Offering a unique perspective on a given topic
In other words, you need to be an expert on your topic, and you need to offer insights and perspectives that are new and different from what other thought leaders in your industry are saying.
The best way to do this is to produce original research and case studies that show off your brand’s unique insights and expertise.
For example, if you’re a marketing agency, you could produce a case study that shows how your unique approach to marketing helped a particular client achieve their goals.
This type of original content will not only help you rank on Google, but it will also help you build trust and credibility with your target audience.
How to Make Your Brand a Thought Leader
This might sound intimidating at first, but it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Define Your Area of Expertise
What are you an expert on? What topics do you have a deep understanding of?
Start by making a list of the topics you feel confident writing about. Once you have your list, narrow it down to one or two areas that you can really focus on.
For example, if you’re a marketing agency, your areas of expertise might include social media marketing, content marketing, and lead generation.
You can’t be a thought leader on every topic under the sun. Niching down is the best way to hone your authoritative voice.
2. Research Your Competition
Ask yourself this:
- Who are the thought leaders in your industry?
- What kind of content are they producing?
Use Google and social media to find out. Once you’ve identified your competition, take a close look at their content and assess:
- What topics do they cover?
- What perspectives do they offer?
- How can you make your content different?
Remember, to position your brand as a thought leader, you need to offer insights and perspectives that are new and different from what other thought leaders in your industry are saying.
3. Start Producing Helpful, Original Content
Now it’s time to start creating content that will position your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Write blog posts that offer new perspectives on familiar topics.
- Conduct original research and share your findings in blog posts, infographics, or whitepapers.
- Interview other thought leaders in your industry and share your conversations on your blog or podcast.
Be Prepared for Backlash
Remember, the goal of thought leadership is not to make everyone agree with you. In fact, if everyone agrees with what you’re saying, you’re probably not being thought-provoking enough.
The goal is to start meaningful conversations and engage with your target audience on a deeper level.
If you can do that, you’ll not only build trust and credibility with your target audience, but you’ll also position your brand for success in the ever-changing SEO landscape.
Want to Produce Impactful SEO Content That Stays True to Your Brand?
If you’re looking for help producing SEO content that is both thought-provoking and on-brand, we can help.