Can Thought Leadership Boost Small Business Success?


Embracing a thought leadership strategy could be the key to sale success for the startup sector. In a highly competitive B2B market, presenting your company as an expert within its niche is a great way to stand out from the crowd.

In fact, a whopping 65% of buyers claim that thought leadership significantly changes their perception of a company.

From improving market authority to increasing platform engagement, let’s delve into the benefits of small business thought leadership and uncover how your company can take it forward.

What is thought leadership?

A thought leader inspires innovation within their field. Whether they are an individual or a business, thought leaders are described as experts within their niche, and authoritative voices that shape opinions.

So how does business thought leadership work? If a brand positions itself as a leader within its field, it is more likely to reach its target demographic. Using your voice to provide help, guidance, and new insights to your audience is a great way to insert your business into the conversation.

Thought leadership boosts awareness and builds trust. By replacing promotional content with messages that provoke consumer conversation, businesses give their target audience the chance to view them as an opinion leader or a market pioneer, rather than a product or service.

The question is, how can brands still improve their conversions when taking a step back from product promotion?

Can thought leadership improve your marketing strategy?

Did you know that two-thirds of all marketers consider thought leadership as a ‘top priority’ in their marketing strategy?

While thought leadership consists of a less promotional approach to business advertising, it can build your company’s market platform like no other strategy.

In a crowded B2B and B2C market, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to have a voice that shouts over promotional noise. Online consumers are smart, and will no longer fall for a promo pitch. The key to gaining greater engagement rates is to produce insight-led, organic content.

Instead of following other leaders within your niche, be the instigator of new content trends and position yourself as a pioneer within your industry. By presenting your business as a leader, rather than a follower, your consumers are twice as likely to engage with your content, share it amongst their peers and become loyal platform followers.

The average consumer is always hungry for new ideas and insights. Whether you want to create social posts or perfect your site’s knowledge hub, offering new solutions to your target audience is a great way to feed your follower's needs without promoting a product or service.

Sparking your demographic’s attention with organic, insight-led content reels in that positive engagement, which will quickly turn into site clicks.

Think about it this way. If you were looking to purchase a product/service, would you be more likely to engage with purely promotional content, or instead opt for a brand that provides expert knowledge to back up its success?

How to create a successful thought leadership strategy

Becoming a thought leader isn't an overnight process. True thought leadership can take years to craft, especially if you’re business sits within a densely populated industry.

However, on the back of the e-commerce sector rising by a third in just the last two years, it’s time for us to share some tactics that’ll see your small business starting out from the crowd.

Take your socials seriously

There are currently more than 4.7 billion users on social media in 2022. As an engagement-boosting hub, your social platforms have never been more important when crafting the perfect marketing strategy.

From TikTok’s video-based success to old faithful Facebook, it’s important to be using each and every social platform to your advantage.

As a small business, it can be hard to make your voice heard on social media. The key here is to get to know your audience. Learn about their values and research current demographic trends. With this data in mind, jump into creating content that will organically slide onto their feed and spark conversation.

Frequency also plays a key role in a strong thought leadership strategy. No matter the platform, you should publish content regularly. With such an influx of user-generated content, sticking to a frequent posting schedule will make sure your brand is constantly showing up on your audience’s feed.

Optimise your blog content

As well as your social strategy, it’s important to optimise your site strategy too. If potential consumers come across your content on a social platform, it’s important that their journey to your site is just as full of innovative content, especially if you want to present your business as a thought leader.

The trick here is to centre your blog as the main attraction. On most small business sites, a blog is an afterthought, found at the bottom of a navigation list and rarely updated.

Did you know that by just uploading one/two blog posts per month, your site SEO will start to climb? Better still, if these articles contain interesting stats, market knowledge and pioneering insights, they are more likely to be linked out to on other small business blogs.

For many startups, WordPress is the most common site builder, especially for a blog-heavy website.

If you’re looking to present yourself as an authoritative voice within your field, make sure you invest in a reliable hosting platform for your WordPress site. When hosting a WordPress website, make sure your server can handle large influxes of traffic and is optimised to handle large levels of up-time. As you rake in more readers, the last thing you want is a slow-loading site.

Step outside of the online world

While it is important to promote your business as a thought leader online, it’s essential to also keep it going offline as well.

In a booming startup sector, taking every opportunity you can to talk professionally about your industry is a great way to boost awareness amongst other business leaders.

From speaking engagements to releasing interviews on print and televised media, the key here is to get your brand name out into the world.

Finding ways to collaborate with large publications as an expert within your niche, is an easy way to boost your brand’s authority. Both consumers and competitors will be frequent readers of well-trusted magazines and journals. If your brand’s name pops up within an insightful article, it won’t be long before readers search for you online.

The same goes for speaking collaborations. If you get the chance to speak at an industry-led event, you have the chance to showcase what you can do in a room full of thought leaders. This will give your brand an even greater shot at forming B2B partnerships for an even stronger future.

Rebecca Barnatt Smith


Rebecca is a freelance journalist and multi-media marketer who writes about small business strategies and startup marketing. She is a columnist a Real Business and Agility PR, where she frequently comments on new B2B and B2C trends.