How often have you visited a site directly without having to go through Google? If you have, then those sites have successfully managed to create an authoritative brand online, such that you didn’t feel the need to search for them but instead to go directly to their site.
Having an authority site that people respect will mean you’re doing things that will invariably also help with your SEO efforts. Search engines like Google and Bing go beyond just looking at links and also look at certain credibility factors, like how and where you’re mentioned online. Being mentioned on prominent sites online will only happen when you’ve established a certain amount of authority. So building an authoritative brand online is important if you want to be successful online.
Foundations: Building Your Brand
To start with, you need to get the fundamentals of your brand firmly established. These are some of the most important things to do to build a strong foundation for your brand.
In order for people to trust you, you need to prove yourself as an expert. Teach people things they didn’t know before; and make sure it’s not just rehashed content. Share things you’ve learned from personal experience.
Some say success on the internet is all about trust. Trust means people know who you are, they trust you to deliver on what you say you will and they trust your character. They need to believe that you’re looking out for their best interests.
Have a Consistent Message
You can’t build a brand if you’re always flipflopping on your message. This is one of the main reasons why McDonalds’ brand today is so poor: They started as a family restaurant, then “loved to see you smile,” then at one point even tried to brand themselves as healthy by offering salads. In reality, McDonalds’ brand is unhealthy fast food, in part because they didn’t manage their brand consistently.
Helping others solve problems is a surefire way to build your brand. If people are having trouble finding deals on hardware, point them to a resource. If people are having trouble using a new marketing tactic, do a special post. Figure out what people’s problems are and help solve them.
Let Yourself Show Through
People love it when real personality shines through. Don’t be afraid to say what you’re really thinking and to say what’s real and authentic. There’s a ring of truth that people can hear when you’re showing your real personality. That ring of truth helps build trust and establishes connection.
Help Others Succeed
Go out of your way to help not just your customers, but other business people. When you help other people succeed, they’ll return the favor at some point in the future.
Increasing Your Visibility
In addition to having a strong brand, you need to also have strong visibility. After all, what’s the point of having a great brand if nobody hears about you?
Here are a few ways to increase your visibility.
Get on Social Media
Are you on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? If not, you should be. Your customers certainly are.
Blogging and Guest Blogging
It’s no coincidence that almost every major authority figure in any industry has a blog. Blogs help people keep in touch with their audience, which increases their visibility in the long run.
Try to also write posts for other people’s blogs. Find blogs that might like what you’re doing and offer to do a guest post for them.
Public speaking can help you get in front of a lot of people who’ve never heard of you. Also, just the mere fact that you stepped on a public stage is often enough to build massive credibility.
Network at Events
Go to conferences, seminars, trade shows and other people’s talks to meet people in your industry. Network with your customers, with potential customers and with other business people. Increase your visibility in your industry by actively showing up to industry events.
Build Relationships With Influential People
Influential people can help you increase your authority in many ways. They can help you land speaking engagements. They can help you land big clients. They can help you get access to journalists. They can bring you customers directly.
Try to network with influential people by coming up with ways you can help them. Aim to offer value first.
Write for Magazines and Industry Publications
Write for magazines and other publications in your industry. Having your name in these publications will help you build both credibility and visibility. Getting the first writing gig is the hardest part; but once you’ve written for one publication it’ll be much easier to write for others. The best way to get your foot in the door is to establish a reputation through other channels, then approach a publication with a specific story idea.
By combining proven brand building strategies with visibility increasing strategies, you’ll quickly be able to boost your brand to the forefront of your customers’ minds.