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Which thought leadership trends are expected in 2020?

Being up-to-date with all the recent trends is a must for any thought leader. With an increasing number of companies implementing thought leadership in their content strategies, to stay afloat, one must always be a step ahead of the game by staying on top of new trends. As part of our series on thought leadership, we’ve looked deeper into the main forces shaping its current state. Here are some trends to take into account when devising your content strategy, especially if you’re a startup or scaleup new to the topic:

Brands will take a genuine approach to content creation

Before, many B2B and B2C companies believed that creating rational content that showcases was the way to go. Nowadays, we still see many companies applying the ‘inside-out’ approach to their content strategy with many internal stakeholders sharing content based on what they think their audiences want to hear, instead of what really matters for their clients and prospects. 

Faced with a huge load of fresh content daily, customers are progressively looking for identifiable brands that are willing to show their perks and flaws openly. With thought leadership on the rise, a trend we will be increasingly witnessing is the shift to a more genuine approach to content creation. Addressing human aspirations, fears, and struggles will not only be used to differentiate you from competitors but will also foster trustworthiness with your customers, who won’t see you purely as a rational decision-maker. 

While both B2B and B2C companies adopt more elaborate ways of listening to the needs of their audiences, many marketers will turn to the implementation of a variety of tools, ranging from social media sentiment to market research, to find the right content fit. Without shying away from emotions, the human touch will inherently set the ground for building a deeper relationship with your customers and a brand with long-term success. 

Marketers will adopt a more integrated approach to thought leadership

Before, many marketers considered that thought leadership should be restricted mainly to the top of the funnel. With content creation in silos, this would easily culminate in misaligned content difficult to connect with.

Increasingly aware of these issues, we will witness marketers applying a more integrated approach to thought leadership content, aiming to implement the strategy throughout the TOFU, MOFU and BOFU funnel. By making connections between the content and building links across different assets, marketers will use thought leadership as a way to guide their customers through content

Marketers will turn to technology to improve their thought leadership content

Contrary to the ‘inside-out’ approach to content strategies, marketers will progressively start using data to create the right type of content. Besides analyzing the KPIs of the previously published content, we will also see the implementation of AI and machine learning to reveal content preferences as the latter can gather large volumes of data at a fast-pace. From using techniques to analyze open text responses to AI algorithms that generate follow-up questions, possibilities of data analysis are growing. 

Being a thought leader does not only require creating high-quality content but also distributing it to the right audience. With this in mind, many companies will turn to new tools to analyze their audience, and share the right content, at the right time. Technology will further help marketers find the right topic that will resonate with their target, and helps them differentiate from competitors. 

Marketers will turn to new formats of content

With an attention span of only eight seconds, customers are becoming more open to experimenting with different formats of content. With audio on the rise, podcasts have become the new trend among audiences, with 40% of the population in the US regularly listening to them. Although only 17% of B2B marketers have been using it in their strategies so far, this will open doors to many new opportunities. 

Living in a fast-paced world, most consumers live for the ‘now’ and want to have the latest, most relevant content. With this in mind, live streaming as a way of sharing content will become even more present, giving the audience the chance to participate and get real-time updates on significant matters. 

Besides live streaming, adopting a more agile approach to content creation, a trend which has been present in the last year, is here to stay. Sharing an up-to-date view will resonate more with your audience and will also encourage engagement on relevant topics, positioning you as a knowledgeable thought leader.  In the past, thought leaders have been avoiding bringing politics in thought leadership, but in the last year, this has changed as well. Hence, mentioning Brexit, Trump, and trade wars will also be common references popping out on our LinkedIn feed in 2020. 

Being up-to-date as a thought leader will give you a competitive advantage and will help maintain positive relationships with your audience. When developing your content for thought leadership, make sure to keep the aforementioned trends in mind. 

In case you’re interested to learn more about this topic, get in touch with the PRLab team, who can help to position yourself as a relevant thought leader through an integrated PR approach. 

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