It’s been said that SEO is the cornerstone of any successful digital marketing strategy. While this may be true, SEO encompasses many factors, and one of the most challenging to manage is linkbuilding.
Linkbuilding requires third-party entities to provide links in exchange for your content. While your team can control content and technical edits, linkbuilding means you have little control over how content looks or what it says. It also means that those who are providing these links might not understand your business as well as you do or exactly what it is your audience wants to read.
However, there is another, stronger way to build links that require less work from you but still offer high-quality content to your audience while still adhering to your brand values.
It’s called Thought Leadership, and in this short guide, we’re going to break down what it is, how you can do it, and the benefits.
What Is Thought Leadership?
Thought Leadership is when entrepreneurs or executives of organizations use their expertise in order to shape prevailing ideas or influence customer behavior. Thought leaders are often experts in a specific industry or field of study who provide insights through contributor articles, podcast appearances, or interviews.
One of the most organic, holistic ways to create links is by providing Thought Leadership. This means your business can build its credibility while increasing the number of quality and relevant external URLs pointing to it.
So rather than rely on third-party websites to drive traffic to your site, you can generate a significant number of links by providing Thought Leadership yourself. This is because by sharing insights on the latest industry trends or giving advice for certain areas within your field of expertise, you’re also increasing the likelihood that these external sources will link back to either your site.
In doing so, you’re providing free content to your audience while simultaneously creating a way for them to get back on the site and see what else you have available.
Getting Started With Thought Leadership
Now there are not many businesses or people who willingly want to avoid Thought Leadership.
Actually, it’s quite the opposite.
Everyone would love to build thought leadership, but most people feel they don’t have enough expertise or skill to do so. They feel inadequate, and so, they stop themselves from sharing.
But what most people don’t realize is that building Thought Leadership is just sharing what you know. You don’t need a Ph.D. or years of wisdom under your belt. You just need to be willing to share honest and real information.
You can start local at community events, speak at your alma mater, do small-time interviews for niche websites or local publications. Contributor articles are one of the most popular forms of Thought Leadership. Publishing these pieces with sites that already share content in your niche or area of expertise provides an additional benefit: more links from authoritative external sources.
For example, a content marketing expert could publish a contributor article on Forbes about how “content marketing is king.” This particular topic not only aligns nicely with Forbes’ target demographic’s needs but also gives their website a link to an authoritative site, which helps with SEO.
Whatever methods of Thought Leadership you pursue, make sure that you’re also publishing content on your blog. The more quality posts you have available on your site, the better chances of ranking higher on search engine results pages (SERPS).
Plus, for every Thought Leadership activity you engage in, you can think of a high-quality and relevant post to link back to, which drives traffic to your website and increases your brand’s overall visibility.
Bridging Thought Leadership & SEO
Ultimately, the more and more you put yourself out there and start talking about things you know, the more people will start to associate you with those topics. And as your Thought Leadership skills build, more people will want to know about you and what you have to say.
This is where SEO comes in and why it’s integral to a successful digital marketing strategy.
By combining Thought Leadership with an SEO-driven digital marketing campaign, you can create high-value content that will attract readership not only from people who are looking for your service or product but also those who are interested in the topics and ideas you’re discussing online.
Not only will this lead to more traffic to your site and higher rankings, but it’ll also lead to a boost in customer conversions.
So if you’re thinking about including Thought Leadership in your strategy, here are some of the best ways to do it:
- Contributor articles: this is an excellent way to link build because you can offer high-quality content that’s relevant to your product or industry and help other businesses by providing advice. This type of article will be shared on social media and often linked out from websites as well which means a boost in customer conversions while also increasing SEO rankings.
- Podcast appearances: these present another opportunity for thought leadership where contributors share their knowledge with an audience through storytelling. These links are also generally more natural than buying backlinks so they tend not to affect search engine rank negatively.
- Interviews: although similar in nature, interviews provide even more opportunities for Thought Leadership, especially when they are published in online magazines.
- Social media: providing content to your followers, such as blog posts or articles is a great way of building links and garnering the interest of potential customers.
One of the biggest SEO difficulties is linkbuilding because content can be controlled by your team, but links have to come from other sources like search engines or websites that are linking out to you.
Link building needs third-party entities providing links which leads many businesses towards spammy techniques such as buying backlinks on sites like Fiverr.
That’s why Thought Leadership is so powerful for both boosting SEO efforts and having an effective digital marketing campaign—it offers business owners the opportunity to build their brand while also building high-quality links at the same time.
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