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How to Build Your Marketing Agency Brand Through Thought Leadership

By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Content Marketing Director on Jun 28, 2024

When you’re running a marketing agency, you need to set yourself apart and develop a strong brand presence. Building thought leadership is one of the most effective ways to do that.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how as a marketing agency owner, you can build your brand through thought leadership content, enabling you to increase trust, present yourself as an expert, be top of mind in your market and better connect with your clients and prospects.

Understanding Thought Leadership

Thought leadership goes beyond giving your opinion now and then or writing the occasional blog posts. To be a thought leader, you must use your expertise to offer original insights in your industry, help others by providing them with valuable information, and in the best of worlds, driving change in your industry.

As a marketing agency owner, you can offer expertise on marketing as a whole, or in a specific niche. For example, if one of your core areas of expertise is real estate marketing, you can create a lot of buzz quickly by putting special focus on that vertical.

You can present your innovative ideas any number of ways, and the more channels you use, the more effective you are likely to be. These could be creating white papers, blog posts, email campaigns, webinars, podcasts, social media blasts, speaking at live seminars and writing books. Those last two are particularly effective.

Semrush surveyed over 300 marketers and industry experts. They asked “What does thought leadership content mean for you?” Here’s the answered they received. These are not mutually exclusive:

  • 9%: Inspirational content that drives change
  • 6%: Educational content
  • 4%: Content exploring industry trends
  • 9%: Industry research
  • 7%: Commentary and opinions

What Are the Benefits of Achieving Thought Leadership?

  1. Credibility and Leads: Becoming a thought leader that others look to for your expertise gives you credibility that attracts clients. Everyone wants the services of an expert! When prospects see a marketing consultant or agency owner as an expert, they are more likely to seek their services. 48% of thought leadership content generates leads and sales!
  2. Visibility and Reach: If you create valuable content and become known in your niche, your content is more likely to be shared, reposted and cited (generating backlinks). Engaging content often gets picked up by industry publications (with your permission), amplifying reach.
  3. Trust and Relationships: By providing valuable insights, you can build trust for your marketing agency with your audience. 65% of customers say thought leadership appreciably changed their view of a company for the better.

Be the marketers who puts your clients first, providing them with valuable information rather than constantly pitching them. Remember, when you are selling, you are not bonding. But once you bond with your clients, it becomes much, much easier to sell to them.

How Can I Become an Influential Thought Leader?

1. Create a Plan

You are not going to become a thought leader by doing things off the cuff. Create a calendar and a plan that includes the various actions you are going to take to further your goal and when you are going to take them. We’ve already mentioned various possibilities such as writing a book, speaking at an industry seminar, writing valuable blog posts and white papers, developing a podcast and more.

2. Identify Your Niche

Focus on specific areas where your agency has deep expertise. This could be digital marketing trends, SEO strategies, social media marketing or any other relevant topic. Specializing allows you to provide more in-depth and valuable content.

Also decide if there are specific verticals in which you are strong. When you target a vertical, it is easier to create buzz, because you are addressing a smaller community.

3. Understand Your Audience

Know who you are speaking to. Identify their pain points, interests and needs. Tailor your content to address these aspects, ensuring it resonates and provides real value.

If you just start talking about how great your agency is rather than focusing on your audience’s challenges and desires, you are not going to get much traction. 63% of customers say that thought leadership is evidence that the thought leader can solve their specific business challenges.

4. Create High-Quality Content

Take the time to produce content that is truly valuable to your audience. More isn’t always better. Churning out a lot of content that’s like everybody else’s is not going to make you a thought leader. Use data, case studies and real-world examples to back up your claims.

5. Use Multiple Channels

Different channels will appeal to different segments of your audience. Not only that, but if you are using different channels, it gives people the appearance they are seeing your name a lot, which increases top of mind recognition and respect.

Be sure to promote the same message across channels to an audience segment. you use your channels to promote the same message. For example, if you are holding an educational webinar, promote it on your website, in email campaigns, on social media and through partners.

6. Be Consistent and Timely

If you aspire to thought leadership, you can’t just publish some thoughtful content every now and then. You need to publish content regularly. But keep in mind that even though you will have a well-planned content calendar, if something newsworthy happens in your industry, don’t be afraid to change up your calendar in order to address hotter, trending topics.

7. Promote Your Content

If you are going to be a thought leader, you need to get your ideas out there. Use all the marketing channels at your disposal.  Engage with industry influencers and consider guest posting on reputable sites to broaden your reach. Pitch your press releases to journalists. Partner with non-competing companies in the same industry so you can reach their audience (and they can reach yours). Encourage discussions, respond to comments and engage with your audience on social media. Building a community around your content enhances its impact.

Do You Want to Pursue Thought Leadership?

If you want to be a thought leader, Umbrella can help. We provide extensive training to our members to increase their expertise, leads, marketing technology and an internationally recognized name. Of course, you can also leverage Umbrella’s expert white label marketing services to set your marketing agency apart. To schedule a free consultation, contact Umbrella through our website or call (866) 760-2638.


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