I am a huge fan of online thought leadership.
Rather than the old crap about "branding" with slick and expensive advertising that people ignore anyway or being being "on message" with the media hoping some journalist throws you a bone, thought leadership based marketing delivers valuable information that people want to consume, reaching your buyers directly and branding your organization as one to do business with.
Alert readers of this blog may recall that six months ago I published thought leadership content of my own called "The Gobbledygook Manifesto". You may recall that I worked with Dow Jones Factiva to analyze 9 months worth of press releases (380,000 of them!) for meaningless, overused, hype-laden words like "mission-critical" and "cutting-edge."
Now that six months have passed, I want to report back with some interesting metrics:
> 8 bloggers tracked back to my original post
> 18 comments were left on my original post
> As of this writing, there are 753 hits on Google for the exact phrase “gobbledygook manifesto” (which I made up). There were zero hits the day before my original post so I can safely say that I introduced this phrase to the Web and those hits are a result of my work. The many bloggers and media people who have written about my original work created all of the hits.
> I am particularly intrigued that The Gobbledygook Manifesto secured a mention on Wikipedia under the entry for "mission-critical." It is not only cool that someone mentioned my stuff in this entry, but excellent marketing for me too. Each day I receive traffic to my blog from this Wikipedia entry.
OK, what about ROI? I can definitely track inquiries from companies and conference organizers back to my thought leadership content and I have booked many a bunch of speaking gigs, new consulting clients, and corporate seminars as a result. I do absolutely no "traditional marketing" for my business—it is all thought leadership based in the form of my blog, my books, my magazine articles, and my site.
The best way to reach your buyers directly is through online thought leadership strategies including blogs, Web news releases, ebooks, and viral marketing. Imagine if people learn about you on the Web first, so when they to contact you, the sale is already partly done.
Here is a post I wrote from several months ago on thought leadership including eight tips on how to develop thoughtful content.