Since brands are now using content marketing as a normal, legitimate and consistent part of their digital marketing components, thought leadership from the executive level is becoming an area that needs focus. From the CEO down, organizations are beginning to recognize that getting key executives involved in the content marketing portion of the brand marketing has multiple benefits. Some of the advantages of including executive content marketing for brands are obvious. Some have less direct, but still important tactics that brands need to consider.
Should executives be involved in their brand content marketing?
A study produced last year by The Economist Group indicated that executives believe that there are certain key objectives for creating thought leadership content. The nearly 1,700 executives that were surveyed worldwide, either currently produce or consume thought leadership content. They were asked which objectives were most important when creating content for thought leadership purposes.
Here are the most important objectives that executives rate for creating thought leadership content:
47% stated that creating content that differentiates their brand from competition.
42% cited creating content that increases company or executive recognition, which results in being seen as an authority in their field.
34% of brand executives surveyed said that building brand awareness was important.
28% of executives believed that educating their target audience was important.
27% said that creating content that directly increased new company revenue was a key objective.
20% of executives surveyed stated that content creation was important for entering a new marketing or moving in a new direction.
Several additional key objectives were noted with drastically less content marketing priority by the executives that responded to the survey. Things such as increasing customer loyalty, supporting company issues or agendas, opening doors for sales teams and profiling products and services received only an 18 to 9% importance level.
Though many of these key executive ranked content marketing objectives are legitimate and important goals for a brand, there are possibly some additional objectives that are a little less direct, but nonetheless important.
Executive level management should definitely be taking a larger role in brand content marketing. In the age of social media, digital and live streaming video, many brand executives are distancing themselves from the front line, therefore they are missing opportunities to make a bigger impact on their industries, their brand and their staff.
Before outlining a different perspective that executives should use to evaluate their involvement with the content marketing of their brand, I want to take this opportunity to break out three distinctly separate sides to suggested management involvement.
By far the best involvement that will achieve the biggest impact is to have company leaders actually writing content for the brand themselves and using their own name. Presumably, the knowledge, expertise and experience that a brand CEO, Vice President or other executive brings to the table would provide unique perspectives and information that only they can deliver. Using positional authority within a brand to create content that will drive authority outside of the brand, its industry, with the media and all the way down to customers and prospects is often overlooked or just not understood well. Executive content creation can be a powerful addition to an existing brand content marketing program.
A distant second to brand executives writing their own blog content, could be utilizing ghost writers. Something that has been done in the book author field for hundreds of years, utilizing some level of ghostwriting for brand leaders is an option. Companies can utilize trusted internal team members, or experienced agency partners to generate content on behalf of company executives to begin getting company leadership involved in the content marketing part of the business.
Be aware that there will likely need to be some level of involvement by the executive that the writing is being done for. For example, they should always be reviewing and providing input on the content that is being created on their behalf to ensure that it is in keeping with their ideals, expertise and vision of the brand and industry.
At the very least, and preferably in addition to the other two listed above, executives within the company should be attending content marketing meetings to increase understanding AND to contribute through imparting insight, knowledge and even direct quotes into the content being created.
Here are just a few additional, less direct objectives that should be driving you (an executive) to be more involved with your brand content marketing.
1- Internal Leadership: Leading by example is always a powerful thing that good leaders display. Taking an involved approach to the content marketing of the enterprise will display leadership within the organization and place additional emphasis on the digital marketing of the brand.
2- Marketing Depth: When executives take an active role in the content being created within an organization, the depth of the content will no doubt be magnified. The leadership and expertise components that will be added to the content being created will make additional impact inside and outside of the company.
3- Industry Authority: The impact that comes from a CEO or Sr. executive putting out industry related content, can’t be ignored. Establishing industry vision and authority over important market topics has far-reaching benefits outside of those that can easily be measured.
4- Elevated Personal Brand: When Sr. executives are creating great brand and industry content, they begin to establish and elevate their own personal brand online. Increasing personal branding, recognition and industry leadership not only elevates the executive’s personal brand, it inevitably expands the reach and exposure of the company in general.
It’s more important than ever for executive level management to have an increased role in their brand content marketing on and offline. The Sr. management involvement should focus on both the top direct objectives and goals for the brand’s content program, but also utilize the less direct internal and external indirect objectives to their fullest. Executives should display additional leadership by taking a much more hands on approach to brand content in order to expand its reach, increase results and build brand and personal authority.