Getting your brand heard through all of the online noise today is a challenge, especially for small brands without a lot of name recognition. But brands that take a proactive approach when facing this challenge can build their digital footprint one step at a time.
Start by being consistent across social media and focusing on your area of expertise with an amazing piece of content. And don’t stop there; you can take advantage of marketing automation tools, create a personal website domain with your name, or even answer questions on Quora to establish yourself as a thought leader. The key is continually looking for relevant ways to get your name out there.
We asked 11 entrepreneurs from YEC to share their best advice for building your brand online.
1. Create One Very Good Piece of Content
The fight for attention online is fierce. I’ve seen too many small brands try to put out a ton of blogs that just get lost. Instead, focus limited resources on developing one really outstanding piece of free content. Think bigger than a big blog post or infographic — think a video training course or software tool. Your goal is to create something worth paying for but give it away for free.
2. Build a Personal Website With Your Name
Building a personal website is one of the quickest ways to build out a digital footprint. Reserve your domain with your full name or a variation of your full name (i.e. – iamjohnsmith.com), use a simple website builder to get something up on the web quickly and inexpensively, and then include the domain on your social media profiles. The site will rank on Google for your personal brand searches.
3. List Your Business on Yelp
Add your company to some of the many available business listing websites out there, such as Yelp and Manta (and plenty of others). This will help you build your digital footprint, and it usually doesn’t take much time at all. Just be sure to choose the free listing to begin with; otherwise you might pay for things you don’t need yet.
4. Prioritize Public Relations
Invest in reaching out to popular bloggers and journalists to secure interviews about your area of expertise. To expand your digital footprint intelligently, you’ll want to take advantage of others’ influence and reach. With PR support from in-house staff or a hired firm, you can build a widely-known brand that has plenty of third-party validation from reputable media outlets.
5. Start Small With Marketing Automation
Marketing automation can help you extend your digital footprint across multiple channels, and you can start as small as you’d like. Grow your email list by posting informative content that’s innovative and new. You don’t want to rehash what everyone else says. You want to be a thought leader with new ideas that your prospects and targets want to hear.
6. Guest Blog on Niche Sites
Get yourself (and your brand) out there by guest blogging on niche-relevant websites. It’s a great way to build your personal brand, introduce your business to a relevant audience and ultimately attract new customers. Create a blog on your website to develop your writing skills and then begin to reach out to websites that allow guest posting. Start small and build up to more established outlets.
7. Dominate One Area of Content
Start with a specific topic and dominate that area with content. You will need a place to put it online; ideally, this is your website. But you need to select a specific area that you are an expert in and showcase that expertise online. In short, write and write a lot. It may take some time to get a following, but once you have enough material online, you will set yourself apart as an expert.
8. Be Consistent in Your Use of Social Media
Be consistent in your use of social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are all sites/apps the majority of people use – including potential clients! Make daily posts and engagement a priority and you will see your digital footprint start to grow.
9. Lend a Helping Hand on Quora
Have some extra time? Hop on to Quora and answer of few questions. It doesn’t take long and the more questions you answer, the more you can build your online persona and establish yourself as a thought leader.
10. Reach Out to Influencers in Your Industry
Ever heard the phrase “If you can’t beat them, join them”? Basically if you want to to build your brand, reach out to those in your industry who you aspire to be like and find a way to collaborate with them. This can be in the form of blogs, videos, webinars, podcasts, etc.
11. Get Hacky
Without a budget, it is key to use hacks to build your brand online. Use Instagress for Instagram and Crowdfire for Twitter to boost your following. Automate tasks using IFTTT. Find ghost writers who can write content for you for cheap and publish on a Squarespace site. Speed and action are key.
If you enjoyed this expert round-up article, I recommend you also take a look at our latest how to start a blog article, with advice and tips from over 82 different experts around the world.