Building Authority: Don’t Shout To Be Heard, Become A Thought Leader

by | Apr 18, 2016

Become a Thought Leader

 

Back when thought leadership was widely regarded as little more than marketing puffery, a handful of farsighted firms saw it as an opportunity to build authority, establish expertise and capitalise on its profit potential. Since then, the term has exploded creating a new dilemma: is thought leadership really worth the investment if firms are unable to differentiate?

 

The Rise Of Thought Leadership…

Nuanced content marketing is in. Firms are discovering that thought leadership can connect them to their target audiences in ways typically interruptive marketing simply can’t. Accountancy practices are sitting on a treasure trove of readily available information – and as it turns out, expertise and insight drawn directly from accountants and senior partners is one of the few remaining cost-effective ways to build trust and authority.

It’s no surprise then, that it’s been a marketing objective for firms and a trend that’s seen a sharp uptick in popularity over the last half-decade – one which shows no signs of slowing down…

87% of professional service firms believe that thought leaders are also more likely to become market leaders (source: The Holmes Report 2015)

However, as demand has shifted, so too have the goal posts. Saturation of the trend has left many firms not knowing how to build their authority effectively. Looking for thought leadership now means having to sift through commentary on popular issues and topics that are packaged and delivered in the same way…

It’s devolved from thought leadership into thought followership.

This deluge of content that fails to differentiate is a consequence of firms jumping on the bandwagon and following the herd rather than investing resources into establishing their own thought leadership platforms (which is good news for the firms still on the fence, or those looking to improve their performance, as it means there’s still an opportunity to take the reins and do it right).

 

Help Your Clients Become Better Business People…

To be a true thought leader, you need to share content that benefits and serves your audience. Clients want educational, opinion-led mindshare that will help them run their business lives better – and it’s up to the specialists to delve into their niches and provide insight into the practice areas they know and do best.

To combat the effects of an industry that’s drowning in information, accountants need to meet the demands of their audience if they intend to cut through the clutter. In a nutshell, firms should be spending less time discussing self-promotional subject matter that interests accountants, and more time making their client and peer networks smarter, and tackling the biggest questions or pain points in the way they want it.

 

Use Your Expertise To Boost Profitability…

It’s no secret that long-term profitability is getting harder to achieve as competition mounts. Firms looking to secure growth need to engage their audiences by drawing on the knowledge of senior partners to create original, constructive content that influences, inspires and challenges thinking.

It’s a multi-pronged approach. The firms delivering this valuable mindshare become centres of expertise that drive their fields and clients forward. It’s also an opportunity to fix the leaky bucket—where clients are dropping off instead of being retained—and increases the likelihood of winning more word of mouth referrals, all of which go towards boosting that bottom line…

Recent research on over 1,000 professional services buyers found that 56.5% consider the recommendation of friends and colleagues as the most reliable way to discern a firm’s expertise. (source: Hinge)

 

Share Your Opinion, Not Commentary…

Content marketing is still a new concept for some accountancy practices, but with 2016 shaping up to be the year where a vast number take steps to put a strategy in place, it’s time for the growing firms to switch up their approach. Where things were once reactive–for instance, providing commentary on the Budget, or changes to tax law after the event—these firms need to proactively work on becoming the go-to resource for their immediate client networks and beyond if they’ve any hope of winning the lion’s share of new business enquiries and to cement their position as thought leaders.

 

Make thought leadership work for you…

At Propero Partners, we understand that time is a precious commodity for accounting firms and that busy industry professionals don’t always have the resources they need to invest into valuable business development exercises. That’s why we’ve made it easy for you to get your hands on the kind of information that will help you further the aims of your firm and make your growth goals a reality…

Download our essential 4-Point Checklist For Building Authority in the Accounting and Finance Industry.

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