If you're just starting out, your goal as an individual (or organization) is to get your voice heard as quickly as possible. Here are three effective ways to quickly brand yourself online:
1. Pillar Content"Content is king" is the mantra that has been repeated online time and time again. What this means is that people will much rather interact with you if they know what you are about, if they know what your motives are, what your goals are, and how you plan to accomplish them. You can help them understand this through content preferably found through your own site, which should serve as a hub for all of your online activities. Pillar content is something that is timeless, engaging, and helpful for your audience. It also shows your expertise. I would advise using words, images and videos to capture the imagination of as a diverse group of people as possible. Having high quality content on your site means that there is a much higher chance it will get shared socially and linked on other websites, and it may convert people to help your cause. A good example of pillar content that gets shared and shared again this article on Cracked that has been shared close to a million times!
2. Reach Out LocallyReaching out locally to both your partners (eg. your friends, family, website design company or suppliers, etc.) and to media outlets is the next step to take. Ask your partners if they can link out to your site so it can get some initial exposure and readership. Find organizations with goals that are in line with your own and arrange a mutual cross-promotion. This has two benefits - both networking and getting a chance to preach your message to an audience you couldn't get to with other means. Partner with other local enterprises and you both might profit. Mater home lottery partnered with Brisbane Lions. During one Lions match, they've handed out free Chinese fortune cookies that asked people to send an SMS and subscribe via e-mail to help people with cancer and kids in need. When game spectators they did that, they were entered in a draw to win a few days of pampering with their favorite team!
3. Be Where Your Opportunities AreSet up Google alerts and track where your audience is in real time. It is both easy and free. Simply put in the keywords you want to track, those that are important to you, and you will get daily or weekly updates with a list of all the pages Google found those keywords in. For example, you may put your organization or company name as an alert, or the name of the company or a specific person from the company you want to work for. Reach out to all the places your potential employers or customers hang out online. Comment on their blogs and write guest posts for them, answer their questions on specialized forums or places like Quora or Yahoo Answers. Then constantly offer value. This has the added benefit of getting to know exactly who your readers are and what they care about. When you learn what drives them, you can create even more content that will appeal to them. It is cheap to get readers from Facebook. With paid advertising your pillar content gains an initial push in terms of readership and social shares (aka. likes, tweets...). You can also target key people in companies with your Facebook ads – for example only the CEO or their HR. This way you can make the most targeted ad made just for them. As Facebook is doing all it can to milk the most money out of its users, it is hard to gain any kind of a reach without paying for it, and it's doubtful that will get any better soon. Of course, there are other social networks you can leverage for traffic. Twitter comes to mind. Google plus will help you get a bigger SEO benefit. LinkedIn is great for sites focused on business related subjects. Pinterest is expected to explode this year and beat Twitter in referring traffic. If you have nice images are are targeting females, then Pinterest is the channel you need to leverage in 2014. Don't be shy and test things out. You can't make huge mistakes even if you wanted to, as mistakes are a learning tool. Just be proactive, people always appreciate that, especially if you don't come off as a know it all and are happy to listen to and apply their advice.
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