OUR THINKING/ARTICLE

Influence and impact: the true measures of successful content

Rob Mitchell

“When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative’. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.”

David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising

Most marketers will share David Ogilvy’s no-nonsense view of advertising. But the same can be said for content in general. You want to know that the messaging you create has influenced your audience.

Whether the end goal is a tangible commercial or brand return, the best B2B content doesn’t just inform audiences or impress them with its thinking – it influences them, too.

Yet the concept of influence is poorly understood.

 

Using thought leadership to influence B2B audiences

What does it really mean when we say we have influenced an audience, and what do we want the outcome to be? How do we do it, and how do we know it has worked? To answer these questions, we pored over the literature on influence – from storytelling frameworks to behavioural economics and the work of persuasion experts.

Those findings are combined with what we know from our experience of a decade working on high-profile B2B content campaigns in our latest ebook: a practical guide to creating
genuinely influential content.

Register now to receive your copy of the ebook when it’s published (coming July 2021).

 

What you can expect

Influence is all about getting the audience to think differently about your brand and/or act differently. But how do you put that into practice? How can you influence your audience with your B2B content?

In this ebook, you’ll find out:

  • What does it really mean to ‘influence’ your audience?
  • Where we can learn from the copywriters: The five stages of creating influential content
  • How to get attention: Longitude’s SURE framework and when to apply it
  • And, crucially, how to know if it’s worked

We’ll answer these questions and more in the following chapters:

 

1. What do we mean by ‘influence’?

Influence depends on what you are trying to achieve with your content. The action or thought you want to prompt must be aligned with your core objective, and there must be a clear line of sight between the two.

We explore the four most common goals for thought leadership content and explain why getting audiences to think or act differently is founded on a relationship of trust.

 

2. Learn from the copywriters: The five stages of creating influential content

Advertising copywriters know a thing or two about influencing an audience, and one of the most successful was Victor Schwab; a leading light in the industry for more than 40 years.

We look in detail at his five stages of creating influential content below, and find out why they matter more than ever.

  1. Get attention – introducing Longitude’s SURE framework; four essential qualities that your content should possess to help get attention (with real-world examples)
  2. Show people an advantage – including how to use storytelling frameworks as part of your content narrative
  3. Prove it – exploring ways of using independent research to help prove your point
  4. Persuade people to grasp the advantage – examining Robert Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion and the ethics of influence
  5. Ask for action – identifying the six stages of the buyer journey and how to use content get audiences to think and act differently in each phase

 

3. How do you know if it has worked?

Measuring influence, as opposed to engagement, is challenging to do but it is possible. There are numerous metrics that can be used to track influence, and numerous indicators that can suggest content is having a positive impact by encouraging tangible outcomes.

We propose four dimensions of influence and provide some metrics that are suitable for tracking performance across your content campaigns.

For all this, as well as access to useful graphics and other practical examples from the world of B2B, download your copy of the ebook here.

Book your free strategy call

We’ll help you to navigate and overcome any challenges you currently face and learn how to get more out of your content.

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About the author: Rob Mitchell

Rob leads Longitude’s strategic planning and sets the overall vision and priorities for the business. He manages the board-level relationship with Longitude’s parent company, the Financial Times group, and also oversees Longitude’s finances, people management and administration.

Prior to co-founding Longitude in 2011, Rob was an independent writer and editor. Between 2007 and 2010, he was a managing editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit and prior to that he was an editor at the Financial Times, where he was responsible for the newspaper’s sponsored reports, including the Mastering Management series.

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