On the internet, the name of the game is presence. Being active, engaged, and available will make you more easily found by your potential audience. There are thousands of videos, books, podcasts, and classes on the importance of having a strong online presence for selling and building brand. This will mean being active on social media, producing content that makes you known in your field (such as blogs and articles), and accepting invitations to podcasts or interviews.
To be successful, you have to go beyond whatever product or service you’re selling. You have to build your brand. Whether that’s your company, or yourself, you have to make sure that people know you are a trusted and credible source that they can look to. In the past, building brand took huge marketing budgets and teams to create a company’s look. Now, it’s as simple (and complex) as knowing your audience and producing content. Market your brand first and your product second.
Think of some successful brands from then and now. Coca-Cola is a worldwide brand with a strong logo and presence. This has been built up over decades, and almost everyone can recognize their signature color and logo when they see it. In more recent years, we have brands that started from nothing, with only a small budget and tiny team to rocket them to worldwide success. Self-brands, like people, are highly valuable on platforms like YouTube. Pewdi Pie and Markiplier are worth millions off of their brand, which is primarily just themselves! So whether you’re a huge company or a single person, always remember that your brand is what will make you a success.
Building credibility is a huge step in branding. Making yourself, or your company, a guru in your field will draw in an audience that will respect you and want to buy your product or service. This shouldn’t be a superficial thing either. You’re in this field for a reason, and you have knowledge and experience to share, and if you don’t then someone else will.
This has been said a lot on this page so far, but producing content is critical to making yourself a credible source. Blog posts, articles, engaging in community groups on Twitter or Discord, and just being active. Focus on engaging with the people who want to know and learn more, work on attracting influencers with whom you can work with, and just promote your brand as respectable in your given field.
For some people this is easy, and for many social media is a pool of anxiety and uncertainty. There are so many social media platforms, which ones are right for you and your product or service? There is no universal right answer here. The best suggestion that can be given is to go where your potential audience is, and study the different social media platforms to determine which ones cater to which audience.
Produce content daily. Certain platforms, like twitter, should have multiple posts per day. Other platforms, like LinkedIn, should have one or two posts a day. The idea is to stay active, and let your audience know that you’re engaged and contributing to your space.
Your website is your online face. This is what people will look at when they’re curious about you, your services, and your brand. Having a strong website will promote everything you stand for, and can be the difference between people trusting you or looking elsewhere. If you’re selling yourself, you need to make sure that you promote all the reasons you should be trusted. If your website is for a company, it needs to make sure that it clearly outlines what that company is, does, sells, and where to buy.
There are dozens of great websites out there that have available templates and low prices (I use WordPress, for example). You can make a great website on a $100 budget if you’re willing to put in the work.
Your blog is your voice. While social media is like an open conversation between you and your audience, a blog is you sharing wisdom and knowledge of your field. A solid blog will sell you to businesses, influencers, and buyers who like to be well-informed. It builds your SEO and makes you more visible across the whole of the internet without the need for an advertising budget. Your blog needs to be well-researched, put-together, and informative, while still retaining your personality and drive for your subject matter.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is what ranks your website on search engines like Google or Bing without buying a top slot. There are a lot of confusing and conflicting stories about how to top the SEO charts, and the fact of the matter is that each search engine changes how it determines SEO almost yearly. So it’s important to have all of your bases covered with metadata (this is included in website coding), tagged blog posts, mentions on other websites, and clear content. This just makes you more stable when the winds of change blow across the various search engines.
Replying to social media posts, emails, and influencers is important to maintain a high level of interaction. This plays, once again, into the concept of creating content constantly. Interact with your audience, and be public about it. Keep an eye on your twitter notifications, hold giveaways, offer special promotions, and just make yourself appear approachable and open. In a world where people and brands can connect at such a close level, the more distant you hold yourself, the less likely you are to succeed in marketing.
Keeping yourself and your content relevant is extremely important. When something changes in your field, make sure to acknowledge it, either in a blog post or on social media. Keeping up-to-date and letting your audience know will add to your credibility and keep you in current conversation. If you have blog posts from years ago, consider refreshing some of those posts with new ones with a more current date. People are more likely to click on a blog article written in 2017 than one written in 2011.
Reviewers & Influencers
Whenever you come out with a new product, it’s important to make yourself known to reviewers and influencers who are relevant in that field. Send them an email or a DM on their social media. Getting mentioned in a YouTube video or on a relevant reviewing website is a great way to increase your credibility and brand. Don’t be shy to send free samples or previews to these folks as well.
Keep in mind that a lot of influencers will require payment for them to feature their product, so consider their audience size and pull. And always make sure to maintain a good rapport and reputation with reviewers and influencers. Even if they say something you don’t like, consider what they said. They have an audience for a reason. You’ll earn more positive press by being humble than by fighting a negative review.
Additionally when coming out with a new product, make sure that you have a press release drafted (or pay someone to draft one). A good press release will make your product known to relevant sources, and can give you free publicity if people choose to do an article. Remember to send out press releases at least a week (preferably two) in advance of a product’s release to give interested parties time to write their piece and post it with the release.
Press Releases are considered business writing, and you can read more about that in my About Copywriting page, or view my Copywriting Services.