#DMWF Europe: 10 tips from TomTom on thought leadership strategies

Think of TomTom and you’ll probably think navigation systems but, according to Nicoleta Anton, that sole association is hampering its lesser known work with autonomous vehicles and smart transportation. The company’s global content marketing specialist, Anton has turned to content marketing - more specifically, thought leadership - in order to promote TomTom’s growing authority with emerging technology.

Defined as “a type of content marketing where you tap into the talent, experience and passion in your organisation to build trust with your target audience by adding value”, Anton shared ten tips at #DMWF (Digital Marketing World Forum Europe) for how companies should implement thought leadership to improve product awareness.

1. Get clear on themes

If you don’t do this, you will dilute your overall story and it will lose its power. A good thought leadership series should follow a recurring theme to ensure consistency, allowing each piece you publish to supplement and build on the last piece published.

2. Find the right people

You need to find the people with “passion, authority and expertise - the people that will blow the mind of your audience”. That means, rather than one of the product marketing team, for example, why not enlist the knowledge of the engineer working on the coalface of the product since the beginning. 

3. Get them on board

Once you’ve identified your thought leader, just because you work with them, it doesn’t mean it will be easy to get them on board. Make it as much about them as it is about your wider goal for the company. Explain that this is promoting them as an expert, and make the first piece a success. Do this, and more will follow suit.

4. Get the best out of them

So, they’re worth their weight in gold, but how do you get that gold out? Learn as much about them and their topic as possible. Have a chat or interview, or run a discovery workshop. Look at them at a personal level and find out what they want their legacy to be.

5. Write long-form content

Put the time in to write something substantial with valuable information. Don’t just treat it as a vanity exercise; providing something useful and informational will help your readers regard your company as a source of knowledge and keep coming back to you.

6. Find the right angle

Find the meaning behind the information you want to convey. Don’t tell them something, make them feel something. Find the backstory that inspired a creation, for example, or what motivates your thought leader to do what they do.

7. Use LinkedIn

For a B2B audience. If people publish articles as themselves on LinkedIn, it’s much more personal and that results in better engagement. People like to be influenced, but everyone prefers a face and a name over a company logo.

8. Get your calendar in place

This provides a birds-eye view of themes and a better idea of how you’re reinforcing the message throughout your campaign. It’s a lot easier to keep track of your content and manage your time effectively, so you can chase contributors earlier and iron out topics before deadline.  

9. Do your due diligence

Are you fact checking? Will legal be happy with it? ‘Shoot first and ask questions later’ doesn’t apply here. These questions will be answered one way or another, so it’s better to ask them before publishing rather than finding the bad news in your inbox the next morning.  

10. Decide what success looks like

Feel free to try different metrics such as time on page, CTR (click-through rate), impressions, etc, but the overall goal is to be an authority. You’ll get an idea of this by how many people contact you on the subject; do people care what you think about a subject, or not?  

Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) returns this November 7-8 for the North American leg of the global conference and expo series in New York. Find out more here.

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