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  • Writer's pictureSteffan Willis

Anchor Content: How To Use Thought Leadership and Data-Driven Research To Generate B2B Leads

Updated: May 2, 2023

Yellow anchor painted on blue wood, a visual depiction of anchor content

In the world of B2B marketing, anchor content has emerged as a powerful tool for driving high-quality leads and establishing thought leadership. By creating in-depth, authoritative content that serves as a reference point for your potential customers and others in your industry, you can position your company as a leader and drive engagement with your target audience.

But what exactly is anchor content, and how can you use it to achieve your marketing goals? In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of anchor content and provide tangible case studies of how B2B and financial services companies have successfully implemented this strategy.

Understanding Anchor Content and Its Benefits

What is Anchor Content and How Does it Differ from Other Types of Content?

Anchor content generally refers to in-depth, comprehensive pieces of content that serve as a 'anchor' point for your marketing plan. This can include white papers, research reports, surveys, and explainer articles, among others. The goal of anchor content is to provide high-value information to your target audience and establish your company as a thought leader on the subject of the campaign. It is often gated in order to act as a lead generator. When creating a marketing calendar shorter form content such as listicles, blog posts, or social media posts should be created around similar themes, and promote the anchor content. This gives your plan a cohesive message.

Compared to other types of content, such as blog posts or social media updates, anchor content is typically longer, more detailed, and more focused on a specific topic. It requires significant research and analysis, but the end result is a piece of content that can be referenced and shared for months or even years to come.

Benefits of Anchor Content in B2B Marketing

There are several key benefits of anchor content in B2B marketing:

  1. Establishes your company as a thought leader: By creating comprehensive, data-driven content, you can position your company as an authority in your industry.

  2. Drives engagement with your brand: Anchor content provides value to your target audience and encourages them to engage with your brand. This is the key to mastering value exchange in B2B content marketing.

  3. Generates high-quality leads: By providing valuable information to your target audience, you can attract leads that are genuinely interested in your products or services. B2B decision makers repeatedly highlight the importance of thought leadership in shaping perceptions of brands and companies. It is seen as more trustworthy than other marketing materials.

Choosing the Right Form of Anchor Content for Your Marketing Strategy

White Papers: When and How to Use Them

White papers are a common form of anchor content. They typically provide an in-depth analysis of a specific topic, such as investment trends or regulatory changes, and provide recommendations for investors. White papers are typically several pages long and require significant research and analysis. They are also commonly used in the digital assets and crypto sector as a means of explaining the value proposition and business model of a new project.

A great example of a more technical white paper is the "A Market Overview of Custody for Digital Assets: Digital Custodian Whitepaper“ by Deloitte and the Dubai FSA. This provides a comprehensive overview of digital asset custody providing frameworks such as defining different categories of digital assets and types of custody models.

Another example is a white paper published by DFIN titled "The Future of ESG and Sustainability Reporting: What Issuers Need to Know Right Now" which provides a detaield look at the challenges and considerations associated with ESG reporting. It included a survey DFIN had conducted along with useful tools such as checklists for ESG disclosures.

A final example, and one that showcases a more approachable style of white paper is LinkedIn's whitepaper title "Winning Affluent Millennials: How this New Power persona if Reshaping the Finance Industry". It includes a large amount of original data and research which is presented in an engaging way that blends infographics with text.

Explainers: Simplifying Complex Topics for Your Target Audience

Explainer articles are another form of anchor content that can be highly effective in the investment management industry. These articles are typically shorter than white papers but still provide a comprehensive overview of a specific topic. Explainer articles are designed to simplify complex topics for your target audience and provide actionable recommendations.

Sustainable investing microsite from BlackRock showing best practices for anchor content

A great example of a company using explainers to position their brand a leader in a given area is Blackrock. Sustainable investing is a key brand message for the firm. Their website features a micro-site with access to a variety of resources on the topic of sustainable investment includng explainer videos, How-to articles and a interactive pillar article titled 'The Guide to Sustainable Investing".

Research Reports: Using Data-Driven Insights to Establish Thought Leadership

Research reports are another powerful form of anchor content that can help establish your company as a thought leader in your industry. These reports typically include original research and data analysis, and provide valuable insights into a specific topic.

Real estate services firms such as JLL, Knight Frank and CBRE employ original research as a key part of their marketing strategy. These use their in-house data on global real estate markets to provide market updates and forecasts. An example is JLL's "Global Real Estate Perspective". High-level data is presented in a dynamic, interactive way on a micro-site, with gated access to the full report. A quick search of Google News shows that the findings were picked by several industry news sites.

Surveys: Providing Valuable Data to Drive Engagement

Surveys can be highly effective anchor content. By conducting surveys and sharing the results with your target audience, you can provide them valuable data and insights that they wouldn't otherwise have access to. We refer to this as the "PowerPoint Effect". Your survey data is used to show the importance of a particular issue to your client, establishing your brand as a source of truth and an industry leader.

ADP's annual "People at Work" survey covers employees in multiple countries around the world to provide insights into employment practices, recruitment, retention, workplace stress and much more. The findings of this survey are widely reported. About 6 months after publication new articles are quoting the findings every week. In addition, ADP is able to extend the reach of the survey by breaking the results down into specific themes and focusing on individual countries. The results are republished as infographics and shorter-form reports and articles over several months. They are also presented at variety of industry events.

Whilst, surveys of this kind are expensive to conduct - the reach and ROI that a survey such as this can have is significant. When conducted repeatedly over several years it can become a major anchor in your marketing calendar.

Dartboard with two darts in the bulls eye. Represents using anchor content to achieve your content marketing goals

Using Anchor Content to Support Your Marketing Goals

Aligning Anchor Content with Your Marketing Objectives

When creating anchor content, it’s important to align your content with your marketing objectives. Are you looking to establish your company as a thought leader? Generate high-quality leads? Drive engagement with your brand? What brand messages are you trying to promote? By understanding your goals and tailoring your content accordingly, you can maximize the impact of your anchor content.

Breaking Down Anchor Content to Maximize ROI

Another key consideration when creating anchor content is how to break down your content to maximize ROI. For example, you can repurpose a white paper into a series of blog posts or social media updates, or turn a research report into infographics or videos. Consider how you will promote the content and develop platform-native content accordingly.

Evergreen Content vs. Newsworthy Content: Which Should You Use and When?

When creating anchor content, it’s important to consider whether you want to create evergreen content or current content. Evergreen content is content that remains relevant and valuable over time, while current content is timely and relevant to current events, it is much more likely to be seen as newsworthy.

Incorporating Data into Your Anchor Content

The Benefits of Incorporating Unique Data into Your Anchor Content

The value-proposition and attractiveness of your anchor content can be significantly enhanced if unique data and insights are incorporated into your content. By conducting original research or leveraging proprietary data, you can provide insights that are genuinely valuable to your audience.

How to Ensure Your Data is Accurate and Relevant with Audience Mapping

When incorporating data into your anchor content, it’s important to ensure that your data is accurate and relevant to your target audience. One way to do this is through audience mapping, which involves analyzing your target audience and tailoring your content to their needs and interests.

Surveys Can Get You Free Press

In addition to providing valuable data and insights, surveys can also help generate free press for your brand. By sharing the results of your survey with media outlets and trade publications, you can generate coverage and increase the visibility of your brand.

Promoting Thought Leaders and Boosting Personal Brands

Using Anchor Content to Establish Your Team as Thought Leaders

In addition to establishing your company as a thought leader, anchor content can also be used to promote individual thought leaders within your organization. Featuring your team members and showcasing their expertise, can boost their personal brands and help to establish them as experts in your industry.

Tactics for Promoting Thought Leaders in Your Industry

There are several tactics you can use to promote thought leaders in your industry, including speaking engagements, guest blogging, and social media promotion. By attaching your anchor content to an individual in this way you are able to expand upon the original theme or message and reach new channels that a report wouldn't normally penetrate. The individual and report both gain credibility in the eyes of the reader.

Conclusion: The Power of Anchor Content for B2B Marketers

Anchor content is as a powerful tool for B2B marketers and should form the backbone of you content marketing. Anchor content can be used to support monthly, quarterly or even annual campaign strategies and messaging.

But anchor content has to be of high-value to your audience. Your brand can be harmed if a reader downloads a report that contains few insights and unoriginal data. By creating comprehensive, data-driven content, you can establish your company as a thought leader, drive engagement with your target audience, and generate high-quality leads.

Whether you choose to create white papers, research reports, surveys, or explainer articles, the key is to align your content with your marketing objectives, break down your content to maximize ROI, and incorporate.

Why Choose Interpretive Economics

Interpretive Economics is a boutique content creation agency. We work with leading B2B companies in Singapore and around the world to create high-value content that resonates with their target audiences. With our unique methodology that draws on the field of economics and the tools used by economists to understand the world, we can help create market-leading anchor content and thought leadership on the trends impacting your customers.

We are experts at creating high-value content that combines data with thoughtful insights . We've successfully worked with a growing number of global Fintech, SaaS, Professional Services and Pharmaceutical leaders to create white papers, thought leadership reports, data-driven research, economic dashboards, educational content, personalized reports and more. Check our our case studies here.

To find out more about how we can help solve your most complex content challenges - get in touch today!

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