Command Cartman-esque authority for your brand by follow these 6 steps below
Businesses achieving online success in both organic traffic and customer conversions can attribute that success to one key element – authority. Establishing online authority amongst others (competitors) in your industry means customers will find your website, and come to your website, first when seeking a product/service. Your brand can become synonymous with your industry within your locale. Unlike the days of PRT (print, radio, and television) or even current PPC (pay per click) strategy you can establish this reputation without digging deep into your pockets. It all comes down to content management and following the guideline I’ve provided below.
6 Easy Steps to Building Online Brand Authority
1. Make Sure You’re an Authority First
Unfortunately, the simple fact that you run a business does not make you an authority on it. While you may know the day to day ins and outs of your operation the big picture is a different thing. Be prepared to do your homework. Keep current on industry news, curate interesting and informative statistics that you can quote online (and at cocktail parties!) when needed, and be willing to learn from others on the top of your industry’s information food chain.
2. Maintain a Weekly Engaging Blog
Once you become a wealth of information in your industry you need to unleash it for to all (who care) to witness. Content delivery is the cornerstone of establishing online authority and for many with limited web development resources their website’s blog is the place to deliver. Force yourself into the habit of posting a blog on the same day of every week that is original (100% your own words), interesting (statistics should only be used to back up a statement, not be the statement) and informative (useful to your customers). To gain exponential mileage from your blog attach Google Authorship to it from the start.
3. Maintain Your Social Networks Daily
In 2013 and beyond you cannot be expected to be taken seriously by online customers unless your brand maintains all of the expected Social Network profiles – Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (soon enough Pinterest and/or Instagram will be considered “expected”). Maintaining does not mean simply existing on these Networks, it means that you must post and engage on these Networks daily. Without doing so, your brand will never be seen as an online authority. Your customers are searching for, checking reviews for, and researching brands on Social Networks before making a purchase decision.
4. Monitor & Contribute to Online Industry Forums and Social Network Queries
With that aforementioned wealth of industry knowledge you must now monitor online forums relevant to your business. These forums can be found within online periodicals which house topical sections (e.g. real estate, travel, etc…) that encourage readers to reply or more specific product/service review sites where you can contribute to the various conversations. Set Google Alerts with keywords relevant to your business and anytime a news story or important online discussion includes those keywords you will receive an email to the link. The same process is true within your Social Networks. It’s easy to search conversations via #hashtags so make a habit of doing so every day and respond to user inquiries about a topic you can expertly answer.
5. Guest Blog on Industry News Sites
By making yourself (as a representative of your brand) known by pumping out a weekly blog (w/Google Authorship), staying relevant on Social Media, and contributing to conversations on forums you will have started to develop your online persona as a relative authority. With this persona you can begin offering webmasters (w/websites relevant to your business) the opportunity to have you write a guest blog on their site with attribution going back to you. This credit may be in the form of a followed link, but even if the webmaster is stingy in that respect you can certainly request a no-follow link and branding. It all still works to serve you as an industry authority.
6. Create Instructional Materials & Distribute Them, for FREE
One of the most effective strategies in establishing online brand authority is to create instructional content (using a variety of media), promote its existence on social networks, and make it available for free to your potential customers. The optimum strategy here is to request a verifiable email address which will prompt the download or access to a free video, manual, or e-book. For example, instructional content for a real estate professional can come in the form of a “How To” video about home staging. A coffee roaster could provide cafe owners with a manual on the secrets of making award winning specialty espresso beverages. And an SEO could provide a downloadable e-book on 25 Ways to Establish Online Authority – yeah, yeah, I’ll get on it.