The difference between thought leadership and blog articles

Using content to build your business online is smart. You can build relationships, solve problems and amass a loyal following for the product or service you provide. You likely have a blog article, on which you publish great content. But, exactly what kind of content are you sharing with the world?
If you’re looking for content ideas, you’ve probably heard the term “thought leadership.” Becoming a thought leader and influencing the decisions of people in your industry are invaluable business advantages.
Many businesses think they’re doing “thought leadership” when they’re actually just blogging, or vice versa. If you’re a little confused about which is which, that’s okay, because they share attributes. They also have important distinctions.
We see how people get confused. Over time, blogging has become a much more research-intensive enterprise in which blog articles become more like news articles. At the same time, thought leadership can contain strong opinions from trusted sources. It’s important, however, to distinguish between the two, because each plays a key role in content strategy.
Basically, one grabs attention, the other keeps it.

It’s a blog article if:

It’s mostly your opinion. If you want to opine for a few hundred words, that’s okay, but that’s not necessarily thought leadership.
The piece is shorter and more topical. Real thought leadership is rarely, if ever, accomplished in just one article.
Your goal is to generate awareness. If you’re trying to grab attention quickly, chances are you’re casting a large audience net and just want people to turn and look, whereas thought leadership aims at specific types of customers and gives them in-depth knowledge.
You’re trying to find new readers at the top of the funnel. A typical blog article garners the attention of new readers on your blog.
It’s built around an SEO and keyword strategy. The need is more immediate with a shorter post that aims to raise awareness.
You’re producing at least one per week. Blog-article frequency is high, thought leadership is deployed much less frequently.

It’s thought leadership if:

It’s much longer and produced much less frequently. Those articles provide a great amount of in-depth knowledge that needs to be thoroughly researched. As a result, they require a significant amount of time to put together. Can a short blog article provoke thought? Of course. Just look at Seth Godin’s blog. But, those longer pieces provoke discussion and provide nuggets of detail that help open doors to knowledge.
It’s the perspective of an executive. When those articles contain opinions, they should come from seasoned leaders in your organization who are able to back up their insights with meaningful experiences.
It includes a lot of credibility-building detail. Thoroughly researched industry trends and important data take time to gather. Put together, however, they paint a larger picture of your company’s position in the industry, and lend credibility to it.
We hope you’re now able to distinguish between those two content types. Knowing the difference can help you build a content strategy that increases and retains business.

Why FAQs are a good idea for your content strategy

What is FAQ content and why are content marketers using it as part of their content marketing strategy? FAQ content, as the term implies, is a piece of content that contains a question and answer (Q&A) addressing a common concern about your business.

Company websites usually have an FAQ page to help answer questions for both customers and prospects. The FAQ page is commonly used for prospects that are not simply learning about the issues, but are farther along in the marketing funnel and therefore making a decision about whether or not they’d like to work with you. 

The About Us page, on the other hand, talks about a company’s history and the most impressive information about the culture and team. 

The FAQ page can be considered a customer service tool. It’s where people go if they need specific information about your products, services or business operation. Your FAQ area can also serve as the first point of contact for customers and prospects looking for answers before they contact you directly with their queries.
Good FAQ pages save account managers and sales reps time by answering common questions, and they also improve the overall experience for customers. Customers like quick answers and transparency improves your credibility.

How should FAQ content be formatted?

Today’s successful companies have the most effective FAQ pages. How are these companies formatting their FAQ content in the digital age? Here are a few FAQ tips and tricks that all SEO and content marketing strategists should be paying attention to right now:

Highlight information
Focus on providing information to visitors. Design a unique FAQ interface that also considers the disappearing attention span of customers. It’s important to have an FAQ section that is uncluttered and easy to use. Make the questions and answers stand out. 
Incorporate keywords
Frame your questions so that they contain the main keywords that site visitors would look for when they scan the FAQ page. Keywords help your SEO. In this example, the FAQ article used the keyword phrase “estimated reading times.”
Keep it simple and concise
Ensure that the questions and answers are clear and well-written. Use simple words and short sentences that could have been written by your customers themselves. 

Utilizing a conversational tone will increase the likelihood of your FAQ page being discovered through Google searches. 

Questions should be written from the perspective of your customers. Answer each question directly, from your business’s point of view.
Consider bullet points for information that will take up more than five lines. If your response requires a detailed explanation or context, you can include a link to a blog article that is dedicated to that topic. Not only will your FAQ page look less cluttered, but it will also be SEO friendly. 
Try a multimedia approach to answer complex questions
If you’re struggling to answer a question in written words, feel free to use images, infographics, slides or videos. 

Use category labels, clickable questions
Organize all the questions by putting them in categories. That way, visitors can quickly find the category that contains the information they seek. If your site has over 100 topics, use category labels and a list of clickable questions to increase your visitors’ efficiency. An effective FAQ section reflects well on the company. Lastly, visitors would feel confident about the company’s ability to provide proper support for their products or services. 

Tags that link an answer to another related frequently asked question is another good way to be helpful to the reader, while also increasing the pages viewed and time spent on site.
End the website page with a CTA
Make the most of your FAQ article by adding a call to action at the end of your answer. A CTA that links to other pages on your site helps push visitors back into your funnel and influence conversions. 

You may also link at the bottom of your FAQ to related articles or Q&As that tackle the next steps

Choosing questions for your FAQ page

The first place to start is with your account managers or customer support team. Ask them about the most common questions they receive. Explain that this FAQ page will hopefully reduce questions, making their life a whole lot easier.
The next group of people to address are your sales professionals. Ask your sales team about the common questions that they receive during the sales process? Including links to these answers is easier that writing out the answers over and over again via email.
In order to truly understand what issues, concerns and questions keep propping up in the minds of your target audience,  take these necessary steps: 

  • Review emails and customer support tickets.
  • Check out social media and online forums discussing your brand.
  • Visit competitor websites and read their user feedback.
  • Take a look at competitor FAQ pages to brainstorm fresh ideas.
  • Ask your family members, friends and colleagues what questions about your service or product they would need to be answered before they decide to make a purchase. What information is missing from your website that causes uncertainty?
  • Collaborate internally. Talk to the sales team to hear what prospects ask during the sales process. Account managers, meanwhile, can tell you what questions come up a lot from their customers.

The whole process will help you determine what people care about most before as well as during and after a purchase. It will allow you to come up with an authentic, useful list of frequently asked questions.

The right questions should be raised strategically to educate customers about your offerings and create demand. Use the opportunity to turn complaints into questions and turn those questions into a path to further customer engagement or conversion.
For more information about creating content that will improve the sales cycle and customer experience, contact Tempesta Media.

What CEOs should be blogging about on their company websites

CEO bloggingBlogging is one of the most sustainable methods of bringing new traffic to a corporate website. According to marketing website HubSpot, businesses that blog drive 55% more website visitors than those that don’t. Blogging adds value to new and existing customers, and it’s a great way to stand out from the competition.
For ultimate success, company blogs need to have a mission. That mission will help determine what kind of information to include in blog posts. A good goal for most businesses is to build a relationship with their customers. Those blogs can succeed by providing credible and informative content that is worth the investment of the reader’s time.
The results can be amazing when CEOs blog on their company websites. They earn trust and respect from their audience, which results in higher traffic and more business. One of the topics that CEOs can share is the company’s goals and vision. One such example is the Groovehq.com blog written by CEO Alex Turnbull. In the first two years, Alex shared his company’s journey towards $100,000 a month in revenue. This not only helped potential investors see the growth rate and achievements of the company; it also helped its audience learn and borrow ideas that would work for their businesses. A CEO also can reveal its product launch process to keep potential customers interested. Doing this can result in valuable feedback that can help the company build a better product than it would if the project was created in secret.
Blog about community outreach
Sharing what the company is doing in terms of giving back to the community is another great way to reach more potential customers. Most people like doing business with companies that are involved in the life of the community. CEOs can blog about the programs they support in the community and what they have learned from such undertakings. This shows readers that the company does not just care about making profits but also about the well-being of society. This kind of content can be shared specifically under the heading of social responsibility.
Another way to set a blog apart from competition is to be transparent. For example, Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh and COO Chris Nielsen have shared internal documents such as memos and emails with the general public, something that most companies would shy away from. For Zappos, it’s all about building trust with their customers and audience. When such information comes from the top, there is more impact in terms of building credibility and driving sales.

Blog with a consistent voice

To feel the real effect of blogging, a CEO’s blog should be consistent in voice and tone. It also is important to give other people in the company the opportunity to blog in order to keep the content fresh and diverse.
So what if a CEO or other senior manager does not have the time to blog consistently? One solution is to outsource content creation to a managed services provider such as Tempesta Media. The content marketing experts at Tempesta Media can prepare content for CEOs on appropriate topics. The company works primarily with digital marketing agencies, web developers and PR firms, providing them with high-quality, cost-effective digital content that generates leads and drives new revenue.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

Get more information on what Tempesta Media can do for you.

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