Blaze a Trail: The Strategy of Thought Leadership
There’s no questioning it anymore: the media landscape has changed dramatically in the last few years.
Your local newspaper used to have real clout; now, nearly everyone you know gets their breaking news from Facebook and Twitter. Even appearing on television seems to have lost its lustrous appeal as more individuals and families cancel their cable subscriptions in favor of streaming services and online news. Getting attention in this media environment can be complicated - and expensive.
In the world of business-to-business communications, it used to be enough to attend networking and trade-specific events, have a sharp company website, and if you’re really tech-savvy, to have Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles set up for your brand, as if to say, “If people need us, they’ll simply go online and find us.” These tactics are no longer enough if you want to seriously market your product or services to other businesses - and for such a complex problem, the reason why is rather basic.
Think about what marketing, advertising and public relations are, at their core. You and your company have a basic message to get out: “buy our product/service.” However, there is always a classier and more thoughtful way to persuade your audience, and that’s by telling a real, genuine story.
People are hardly ever interested in buying the first product they see; trust needs to be built first, especially in B2B sales where each party wants to be absolutely sure they’re getting the best deal or partnership, a company whose views align with theirs, and with no messy strings attached.
What better way to build trust than by introducing yourself and offering up useful information about your industry, or even a dose of entertainment? When it comes down to it, another businessperson considering your website doesn’t really want to know more about the products. They want to know about you and what makes the company special, in your words.
This is “thought leadership.” The most sought-after speakers for national trade shows and conferences, the most buzzed-about companies and innovative products, all have one thing in common: they unabashedly put themselves out there. Knowing what makes you different from the competition is one thing, but being able to communicate that takes courage, and a little strategy.
Creating content on a company blog is a great start. Leadership can impart their expertise in the field, and even company interns can share what they’ve learned by working there. This, however, takes time and money to keep up and promote on the right social media channels, and your team will have to be ready with new content monthly or even weekly.
Investing money into a PR or marketing agency is still a popular (and ever-evolving) strategy, but in an industry like ours, where regulations are grey and stigma still runs deep, there are myriad obstacles to getting media attention. Print or online news coverage in your local daily is nice, but not effective for getting in-depth about your cannabis products and services - it can make mainstream readers uncomfortable. In Colorado, where cannabis is recreationally legal, network cable TV is resisting any marijuana advertising on the airwaves. Even online, it’s no free-for-all. You may have already noticed that Facebook rarely accepts cannabis-related pages or ads for promotion, and the same is true with Google and search engine optimization (SEO) methods.
When putting a marketing plan together, maximum return on investment should be the ultimate goal. As a business owner and thought leader in your field, making the decision of what type of media you will invest in is one of the most important choices you can make for your brand.
Why is Forbes considered by many as the pinnacle of business reporting? They were the first to really go in-depth and interview CEOs and other powerful businesspeople, telling the unheard story behind the world’s powerhouse companies. Hence, why Forbes is still a reputable print and online publication today, even while other news outlets are crumbling under the pressure to go digital. Forbes created more than just business stories - it created thought leaders.
Cashinbis provides this same service for the cannabis industry specifically. We want to help elevate your business - not because it benefits us, but because it lifts up the entire cannabis movement when we all share stories of our success.
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