CEO of Institute of Agency Managementserving over 250 marketing agencies to help their owners build profitable agencies that evolve and scale.
It takes time and effort to become an established marketing agency. Through dedication and high quality work, you can earn a high profile client list and the privilege of being sought after by the right clients. And while it can be tempting to hold your nose and stay focused on doing more good work, it’s also essential to take the time to develop your agency’s thought leadership strategy.
The truth is that each of you reading this has a depth of expertise and knowledge that your audience—whoever your prospects are—either doesn’t know or needs to be reminded. You are so close to your subject matter expertise that you can assume, “What do I know? This is clear; everybody knows these things.” But this is simply not true. It’s easy to forget that you also have knowledge, context and personal experience to share.
By establishing your thought leadership, you’re not only helping to educate your customers on important topics, but you’re also positioning yourself as an expert in your industry. This ratio and leading position will help you maintain a steady stream of new business over time. And that’s why failing to position yourself as a thought leader can be detrimental: If your competitors are constantly churning out fresh and useful content, potential customers may think of them first instead of you.
You’ll be relieved to hear that thought leadership doesn’t have to be intimidating. You can start small and grow over time. The most critical step is to start – right now. Here are some tips to kick start your thought leadership strategy:
Pick the brains of your account managers.
Your account executives are customer-facing, so they’re the perfect people to help inform your content strategy. What questions do they hear most often from customers? What resources do they typically share with clients? Use these responses to inform your content. You may also conduct additional industry research at your discretion.
Do some soul searching.
Where do your passions align with the themes you identified in step one? It’s easy to tell when an author is passionate and knowledgeable about their subject. Authentic enthusiasm and passion is contagious. So choose topics that excite you (or the writer, if that’s not you), and readers will be more likely to keep reading.
Develop a simple editorial calendar.
Design a simple editorial calendar. If you can only write one or two articles a month, that’s fine, but commit to that schedule. Even if it’s just in an Excel grid, set publication dates, channels you’ll share content on (eg blog and social media pages), job titles, who’s responsible, etc. Next, coordinate with your marketing or communications team to make sure someone is responsible for follow-up and execution.
Thought leadership is a straightforward strategy with a significant return on investment. By following the steps listed above, you’ll be well on your way to establishing your agency’s expertise in your industry, retaining clients and inviting even more new clients through your doors.
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