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Why is Quality Thought Leadership Important?

     -     Nov 15th, 2019   -     Content Development, Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

Answer: Thought leadership has a significant influence on the purchasing process.

In a recent survey study by Edelman Business Marketing, it was discovered that most decision-makers engage with thought leadership at least one hour per week. In addition, it was found that 60% of decision-makers are willing to pay a premium because the thought leadership demonstrates deep thinking on a topic and demonstrates the virtues important to them. These findings reveal the importance of creating and promoting high quality thought leadership and the effect it has on prospects. The findings contained in the 2020 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study, provide important insights into why thought leadership is important for SEO and digital marketing programs.

About the Survey

The survey includes responses from 1,164 B2B business executives across a variety of industries from company sizes ranging from 1-200 up to 10,000+ employees. The seniority level included Manager, Director, Vice President, CXO, Partner and Owners. It was conducted online between September and October 2019 and was administered using the LinkedIn platform.

Key Survey Findings

Thought Leadership Impact

Understanding how thought leadership impacts perception and trust in a prospect’s mind is essential. Below are key findings with very interesting results.

  • Meaningful Engagement – This was evaluated by identifying the percentage of respondents that spend more than 1 hour per week reading thought leadership. According to the survey, 33% spend between 1-3 hours per week, while 20% spend more than 4 hours per week consuming the content.
  • Brand Impact – This was evaluated by measuring how effective thought leadership is in enhancing the prospect’s perceptions. According to the survey, there was a 90% increase in respect levels, 88% increase in the perception of a firm’s capabilities and 86% in the amount of trust a decision-maker has in a firm. These findings point to an important “soft metric” making it clear that thought leadership goes a long way to enhance brand impact.
  • Vetting a Firm’s Capabilities – To understand the role of thought leadership in vetting a firm’s capabilities there were questions about this topic. According to the survey, 59% of decision-makers believe that thought leadership is a more trustworthy way to assess a firm’s capabilities and competencies over other methods. It also found that 71% believe that reading thought leadership is one of the best ways to understand competencies and capabilities.
  • Impact of Low-Quality Content – It stands to reason if high-quality content has a positive impact than the converse is also true. The survey discovered that 38% of decision-makers have lost respect for an organization after reading low quality thought leadership. In addition, 25% indicated poor thought leadership has directly led them not to award business to an organization. This finding is stunning and shows that having low-quality content can harm the firm.
What Makes Successful Thought Leadership?

Given the importance of quality thought leadership, firms need to understand what makes it appealing to prospects.

  • Timeliness & Brevity – According to the study, 90% of respondents indicated that thought leadership addressing a topic they are currently working or thinking about makes it very compelling. In addition, 72% of respondents indicated that thought leadership which is short and easy to absorb makes it more compelling.
  • Effective Distribution – It’s not enough to have high-quality content on a firm’s website, but there must be established methods of distribution for it to be found. The survey asked how decision-makers find quality content. According to the survey, 47% found it when researching a specific topic, 32% indicated it was shared with them by someone else, and 19% found it through promotion on a paid or earned channel.

 

What can CPA Firms Learn?

The results of this survey make it clear that accounting and CPA firms need to produce high-quality content. Executives look at this information as one way to assess the competency and how well a provider can meet their needs. Just because a firm has a high level of technical experience or knowledge, if it is not properly demonstrated in thought leadership, there is a risk it will have an impact on prospect buying decisions.

One of the biggest challenges faced by firms is making the time to tackle the task of writing high-value content. These findings make it clear the “canned content” approach may be good for maintaining a basic tax newsletter, but it won’t go very far in winning over decision-makers. It’s imperative for marketers and partners to take the extra time to follow the tips outlined below.

 

Your Perspective

What do you think about the findings? Where has your firm had success, or struggled, with producing high quality thought leadership?

Share your insights in the comment section below.


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