What’s the most underrated strategy for bringing in new customers, keeping them loyal and turning them into advocates? Give them thought leadership that makes them love you.

Thought leadership tends to be seen as a way to position an individual or organization as an authority. While that is true, really effective thought leadership is about building trust and building a relationship. It’s about a relationship between the thought leader and his or her customer or audience that brings unexpected value to the customer.

Customer relationships are created and kept with conversation, engagement, interest and information – not with products.Click To Tweet

Many of the latest marketing trends and buzzwords – user experience, buyer persona, customer-centricity – point to the importance of putting your customer or buyer at the center of everything you do and seeing the world through your customer’s eyes. With your customer lens on, thought leadership becomes about being as useful and valuable as you possible. It’s about helping as opposed to hyping. Relationships are created and kept with conversation, engagement, interest and information – not with products.

Building trust and thought leadership

Thought leadership that builds trust and makes your customers love you:

  • Is meaningful and credible. Give your customers context for what’s happening in their world. Help them make sense of things. Through intelligent observation and perceptive, provide highly relevant insight. And, tell the truth even if it goes against the grain.
  • Gives tips and advice. It’s one thing for a customer to know he should do x, y or z to be more successful, but it’s another to have a guide or helping hand to actually do it. Help them figure out how to tackle their greatest challenges. Offer creative and actionable business thinking.
  • Is present. Be there. Be available. Be receptive. Do all that when and where it matters for them, before they need it.

As you build and assess your thought leadership plan throughout the year, remember the role it can play in building customer loyalty. Prospects and customers want to trust the organizations they do business with and to gain that trust you need communications strategies that engage your prospects to become customers, and enlighten and empower them to not only stick with you but ultimately to help promote you. It’s a long game, not a quick sale, but the pay off in business value is much bigger as it gets you into your customers’ inner circle of trust.

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For nearly 15 years, Jen Zottola has helped bring clients’ stories to life – through media opportunities, digital and marketing content, executive presentations, employee communications and more. Fusing creativity with strategy, she crafts compelling, award-winning copy proven to reach and resonate with the right audiences in the most impactful ways. As editorial director, Jen collaborates with clients and account teams to provide counsel on messaging and voice, as well as writing and editing support. Her creativity isn’t reserved only for writing; Jen also gets a kick out of party- and event planning.