There’s no doubt that thought leadership gained huge traction in 2013. It was promoted all over social media and almost everywhere else you looked on the web. It was written about by industry experts and talked about in webinars and podcasts. We also wrote about it quite a bit; here, here, and here.
After all that talk about thought leadership, most large A/E firms made a shift toward a content marketing effort. And what these firms are discovering is that competing based on their firm’s thought leadership can be rewarding — both personally and financially. Thought leadership is one way A/E firm websites are transitioning for the future. For more in formation, download our eBook, The A/E Firm Website of 2015.
Mid-Level A/E Firms and the Thought Leadership Initiative
Despite this, most mid-level A/E firms still have not implemented a thought leadership strategy. There are a number of reasons why mid-level firms have yet to make the shift:
- They simply feel that thought leadership is not a worthy marketing strategy.
- What they are doing now is working just fine for their business, so why try to implement something new?
- Their model of winning work from referrals has sustained their firm in the past, and they expect it to do the same in the future.
- Showcasing their expertise though past work profiles on their website seems to work at giving prospects what they need to decide to hire and work with them.
- There are leaders in the firm who have not yet given thought leadership the attention it deserves.
What these firms may not yet realize is thought leadership will mean big things when it comes to keeping their website competitive in the A/E industry. With more demand for thought leadership, it means users will be searching for thought leadership when they come to your website. Beyond what work your firm’s done in the past, users will want to know what challenges your firm’s seen in companies like theirs and how your firm suggests solving those challenges. They will be looking for what your firm can teach them and how you can help them before they engage with you in person or on the phone. They will be looking for more from your firm to help them make the decision to hire you or not, and thought leadership is what will help them.
Thought Leadership in the Website of 2015
Whatever the case may be, not investing in a thought leadership strategy now will leave A/E firm websites behind by the time 2015 rolls around. Based on our understanding of the importance of content marketing, and the leaps and bounds it’s grown over the last few years, by 2015 thought leadership will be the central aspect of a firm’s website. Here’s a glimpse of what thought leadership will look like in the A/E firm website of 2015:
- Thought leadership will take precedence over the firm’s portfolio of past work.
- It will cease to be isolated in a subdomain. Content on subdomains disconnects a user’s act of conceptual learning and idea exchange from their activity of connecting that learning to how the firm can solve his or her business and design problems.
- All thought leadership will seamlessly integrate with portfolio items so users can easily connect a firm’s ideas and opinions to seeing those ideas in action.
- It will be intuitively browsable and searchable. Users will be able to easily search in real time and browse by topic, discipline, author and market without being overwhelmed.
So, with the 2015 website in mind, how will your firm address its thought leadership strategy this year?
Thought leadership is one of the seven trends driving A/E firm website experiences. To access all seven, download our eBook, The A/E Firm Website of 2015.