You’re doing everything right.  Your marketing and web teams are in constant communication and your website is consistently refreshed with thought leadership content.  Your social team is crafting updates for all of your key platforms, sharing them and engaging on an ongoing basis.  Yet, somehow the ROI still isn’t there. Whether you’re using website visits, content shares or other engagement metrics as your key performance indicators, the numbers are moving too slowly – or won’t budge at all.

So what’s your digital strategy lacking?

At the center of the problem is the fact that creating content that nobody consumes is like producing anything else that no one wants to buy – a waste of time, energy and valuable resources.  Think about it this way: the market for skis in the Caribbean probably isn’t booming like it is in Switzerland. Being a successful thought leader isn’t just about having the right things to say at the right time – it’s just as much about being in the right place.

Corporate and personal blogs are standard operating procedure for many today, yet relying on this channel for distribution is fundamentally flawed.  Of course, it’s important to have thought leadership content present and accessible on your website in some form, but when it comes to getting it in front of the right audiences, you must think beyond the blog because despite search engine optimization and other strategic and data-informed efforts, we can no longer expect customers to come knocking on our door.

Instead, consider leveraging emerging thought leadership platforms such as Medium, a new collaborative community that cultivates a captive audience around certain themes and topics.  Medium provides the outlet in which your voice will be heard and echoed many more times than on your own(ed) blog and other similar channels.

LinkedIn recently announced that they would expand their publishing platform beyond just “influencers” (the 500 or so members that have exclusively had the right to publish on LinkedIn until now), in a move to become the definitive professional portfolio and content network in one.  Capitalize on these changes by tapping into your personal networks to greatly increase the distribution of thought leadership content.

Another buzzword swarming around this year is “native advertising.”  Online advertising platforms can include search and display advertising (i.e. Google AdWords), social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and even top-tier publications like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.  Most of these outlets have significantly advanced their capabilities for advertisers, especially with regard to targeting users on mobile devices.  Native ads appear sprinkled in amongst organic content, and have become so specific and targeted that it’s increasingly hard to distinguish them from other content.  Native allows advertisers the opportunity to reach well beyond their own networks and tap into an audience who is receptive to what they are selling.

No matter which channel, or ideally, channels, you decide to use to distribute your content, the one thing we know for certain is that great content that lives within a bubble doesn’t get very far – and it costs a lot in terms of wasted time, energy and budget.  Thought leaders should all have one thing in common – an audience who is listening.

Justin is responsible for leading overall direction on all digital programs and projects as well as overseeing and advancing the agency's digital competency and teams. He works alongside our senior management team to provide strategic and tactical client counsel; help set client expectations; and collaborate with account teams on project implementation and competency training. Justin holds a Masters in Business Administration with a dual concentration in Marketing and Management Information Systems, and a Bachelor of Arts in English, General Literature and Rhetoric from Binghamton University.