"What I have seen in my work," Steven Van Yoder, author of Get Slightly Famous and president of Get The Word Out Communications, told me last week, "is that B2B publishers need to do a better job of positioning themselves as thought leaders in their space. It's a matter of bringing up to the fore their strongest competitive advantages, which is their knowledge and expertise of the subject."
On Wednesday morning, June 8, Van Yoder will deliver a keynote talk at the SIPA 2016 Conference titled Credibility Is King: Lead Your Sector by Embracing Authority Content. His premise is that with the rise of content marketers and blogging, it has become harder to get people to pay for content. He wants publishers to assume the status of authority that is rightfully theirs—even though what that takes might not come naturally.
Here are seven takeaways that he will expound upon Wednesday:
1. Encourage third-party validation. "What others say about you is more important (and credible) than what you say yourself, especially when it comes from highly credible sources in your sector," Van Yoder said. "Publishers should broadcast their expertise by contributing high-level thought leadership articles to leading publications in their niche, via public speaking and by creating association partnerships that lend third-party validation to their brands."
2. Cultivate your key writers and contributors as thought leaders in their space. Promote their columns. Have them speak at your events and perhaps at others in the industry. Arrange guest blogs for them in other spaces.
3. Produce your own proprietary research and put it out to the world. "I worked with the Institute of Management Consultants when they were struggling to attract new members," Van Yoder recalled. "I asked them, 'What are the key reasons people join your organization? Education? Networking? Events? Publications?' They weren't sure so we did a survey and polled members. That allowed them to focus their efforts on what was meaningful. We developed a best practices report, established a thought leadership website. We did proprietary research that members indicated they wanted and presented the results in a webinar. The idea was to re-establish their authority and attract many new members." And it worked.
4. Establish yourself as an authority website. Ask for inbound links from other websites in your field. Use your media identity to stand out in your niche. Speak on webinars and at conferences. Be more strategic to out-shine your competitors. You have the knowledge.
5. Take advantage of every opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition. Be the first to respond on big issues. While others may have just started, you've been doing good journalism for many years. It's time to tell people that again.
6. Self-promote. "Publishers and journalists may not be good at self-promotion," Van Yoder said. "But it's necessary and you should not be bashful about it at all. You're strong journalists putting out outstanding journalism, and you know your niche better than anyone. And most likely, you've been doing this a long time."
7. Deliver value. Show that the information, webinars, events, etc. that you deliver are bringing value to your audience. Relate success stories from readers. Position your company as the trusted sources of authority content.
"This talk will explore the challenges (and solutions) for getting (and keeping) attention in today's crowded marketplace," Van Yoder said, "by your providing valuable, proprietary content that can't be found anywhere else—content that you are probably already producing."