Marketers create content to promote thought leadership and influence purchase decisions, but they need to build smart strategies.

Why do you invest in your website? For almost half of marketers, the reason is to build authority with web content. Copyblogger recently surveyed 450 marketers to find out what their priorities are for 2015 and found 45 percent say their websites’ true purpose is to promote thought leadership through content publication.

Highly sought after, but difficult to nail down, thought leadership is the best way for brands to build trust with empowered consumers. It’s an opportunity to share influential information with discerning prospects before they’re willing to invest (or even talk to a sales rep for that matter).

This is important for marketers to consider, because U.S. customers are spending more time researching the items on their shopping lists and in turn, are making fewer impulse buys (check out more on that in our coverage of this New York Times study.)

Brand content influences purchases

It’s not just individual consumers, but also business decision makers who read the assets brands produce, and build brand allegiances based on what they find. Brafton recently reported 48 percent of tech buyers read two to five pieces of content and 25 percent review six to eight pieces of collateral before making purchase decisions.

48% of tech buyers read 2-5 pieces of content & 25% review 6-8 pieces before making purchase decisions

Based on this data, brands have between two and eight chances to engage three-quarters of the people coming to their websites. Other studies suggest this is a conservative estimate. ComScore reported the average buyer looks to 12 separate sources of information before they finalize any transactions.

This leaves marketers to answer two big questions:

  1. Are you creating the right kinds of content that hooks readers and answers their questions about your services?
  2. Are you publishing enough content to meet the needs of leads at different stages in the sales funnel?

Avoid content overload with an editorial calendar

While content creation can be a highly effective marketing tactic, we’re reaching a point of saturation. There’s speculation that all of the content brands produce is flooding the web, and making it hard for readers to discern the facts from the fluff. However, there’s also a large-scale shift toward higher quality content production.

Publishers are relying less on keyword lists to plan their content and more on editorial calendars and question mapping.

By creating smarter content instead of more content, you connect the dots between your company’s insights and your customers’ informational needs. It ensures the assets you produce don’t contribute to the noise on the web, but cut through it with answers that are in-demand and easily accessible when they’re needed.

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See these related articles for more information about thought leadership and how to tell if you’re earning it:

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.