In this episode of Thought Leader Life, Michael and I speak with thought leader Steve Farnsworth about content marketing and connecting with buyers through blogs and similar digital vehicles. Steve belongs to Forbes’ list of 50 Most Influential Bloggers (a “nice little badge,” as he puts it), which helps him promote his thought leadership. Steve believes a thought leader literally helps guide thought, and that originality does not particularly matter as long as you can curate thought and translate it to a language people understand. As a thought leader, you must be able to look at trends, understand the ups and downs in the curve, and articulate these changes.
In the interview, Michael cites his experience in content development when clients want to talk about themselves using as many superlatives as possible. Steve replies that most marketers don’t understand how to really connect with people. Blogs have become a sewer for press releases and self-congratulatory comments. I point out that the salesperson has been replaced by Google, to which buyers turn to when they have a question. A majority of buyers are more than 50 percent done with the sales process even before they actually contact the salesperson, with 75 percent of buyers in B2B and 90 percent in B2C making their decision prior to self-identification. As such, the marketer needs to provide the information to the buyer at the right time through all available channels. Commenting on the Thought Leadership Funnel, Steve believes that, while focusing on awareness and engagement is vital, it is also important to find ways for deeper engagement. A thought leader must always think about content holistically, and ask himself or herself, “Am I providing the right information to help people move to the next level of the funnel?”
Other interesting subjects discussed during the interview were Steve’s tips to B2B companies on how to engage potential advocates in digital platforms, and how to create blogs that people actually read and can relate to.
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Here are some “‘aha’ moments” from the episode. See more in the Aha Moments from Thought Leader Life books available in the Aha Amplifier and watch the interview below!
Every company needs to be able to understand what their buying ecosystem is. @steveology
Do you have content that gives the client a sense of knowledge? @steveology
Connect with buyers by speaking to them as human beings. Provide content that helps them make informed, smart decisions. @steveology
Marketers need to be aware that the salesperson has been replaced by Google search. @happyabout
People connect with people, not brands. @michaelprocopio