Don’t you want to be found online? Isn’t that the whole point of being online?
You’ve paid your hard-earned money to have one website amongst millions of others and if you’re sat there, happy and content with your snazzy, fabulous website in your arms then that’s fantastic. But if you actually want people to notice your business online then you don’t stop at just a website.
How to come out of hiding
No one will hear you if you’re not shouting.
I’m going to ask you to visualise your online presence as a person, a living, breathing person who has their own house (which is, naturally, your website). Does your online presence visit friends, colleagues and industry leaders within their own homes? If your online presence is looking like a recluse, then it might be time to get them socialised.
In the real world, we go out and meet people, attend networking events and talk to other people who have their own stories. The same rule should be applied to your brands’ face and presence online. Visit other websites, join in on discussions and, most importantly, share your content that you’ve worked so hard to create. If you haven’t gotten as far as creating fantastic content or have missed us harp on about how important it is, then read this nifty blog here.
It’s a common (and very easy!) mistake to make; having spent a lot of money investing in a wonderfully crafted website, you expect it to do all the work. If we refer back to the metaphor of your online presence being a person, all you’ve done is redecorate their home. Not many people will see it unless you go out and socialise, make friends and share your wonderful knowledge online. It’s only then that people will place value in your opinion and knowledge that they’ll come and knock on your door, asking to come in for a coffee.
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How to finally become recognised within your industry
You need to decide/choose:
- Who your industry leaders are
- What the most popular topics in your industry leaders’ blogs are
- Who your competition is and the threat they pose
- The websites within your industry that your target audience use
- The common pain that your target audience looks to these blogs to fix
Choose who your industry leaders are and look at how they phrase their online content. What do they blog the most about? Analyse why you’d buy what they’re selling and identify what pain they’re fixing for their target audience. Do the same on your competitions’ website.
Take a look at the example below from Dermatological E45‘s website to see how they address a common pain their audience experiences.
The clean design reinforces their text in the quote – “best possible care for your skin with minimum fuss.” Their product belongs in a very saturated market and they’ve addressed a pain point within their target audience. Working it through their product and design, it separates them from their competition.
Now look through the popular blogs within your industry and determine the ones that your audience use and the ones that your industry peers use. It’s brilliant to have a presence in both types of blogs as they will in time provide different recommendations. Read and learn first, observe who are the most active bloggers and the most popular topics the discussions take. When you understand how and what the most popular topics are, it’s your turn to contribute. It’s in these blogs that you’ll discuss consumers’ pain points either with those who work in your industry or with the consumers themselves. It’s also a brilliant way to keep up to date with the trends within your industry as you’ll be able to see what both your peers and consumers are up to. When you’ve developed a strong enough presence/impression on that blog, politely ask if you can write a guest blog post. Readers will recognise your name and value your opinion and knowledge even more.
The content you create and share will be shared again. And again.
Every person that shares your content is not only validating your presence online to the search engines but is also showing your content to fresh faces you won’t know. That shared content is paired with their faith in you, what you do and what you’re about, and should be considered to be as valuable as a recommendation.
If you look at this as a time-consuming task with no benefit then you’re underestimating the power of your knowledge. You’re not wrong, it is a time-consuming task and it will take some time to reap the benefits from it. But the purpose of your business is built on the knowledge that you have and that you personally place value in. It’s important to know that I’m not suggesting you give away your services for free, but consumers in today’s market do research before investing and they like to know what to expect from you before they purchase. By stepping outside your homely website and moving your online presence to new places, is allowing your name to be where your consumer will do their research.
Don’t look at this as a mammoth task. Break it down and set a certain amount of time aside for it. It could be the last 20 minutes of your working day or it could be the first hour of your day. You decide the time and you control how your brand is represented online.