Making sure that you come up as one of the first results in a google search is crucial to promoting your business, but a lot of what you do to grow your online profile should involve cultivating your online presence beyond the search bar. In order to increase your business, you should consider ways that the internet can expand your network and increase your website traffic so that you can better reach your target audience.
1. Focus your blog posts and contributions on solving problems
One of the best ways to figure out what your posts should focus on is by asking people who have used your products, or who you want to use your business, what problems they struggle with. It’s important to note that your solutions shouldn’t simply explain every intricacy of your product, but should instead focus on one unique approach to a relatively small and specific issue.
A creative approach to solving problems will feature seemingly unrelated ideas, and draw on information from otherwise untapped sources. Your posts can rely on more than other bloggers within your industry! Consider academic journals, books, interviews, raw data, your own experiences, and anecdotes, and publications from other industries in order to provide a unique perspective.
2. Figure out where people are discussing your product or industry in-depth, and join the conversation.
There are so places online where large groups of people discuss specialized topics. Identify which platforms present the best opportunity to spread your message, and find ways to contribute. We’re talking about mediums where the people checking are genuinely interested in the topics they’re reading about. Some popular and effective places to find audiences interested in your specialties include:
- Forums and message boards
- Google + communities and local google places accounts
- LinkedIn groups
- Facebook groups
- Question and answer sites like Quora
DON’T: Be blatantly promotional on these mediums.
These are mediums where blatant promotion can be frowned upon. Simply posting links to your business can give off the appearance that you’re trying to spam a group, and on services like Reddit and q&a websites, offering posts that only exist to link to your website are sometimes cause for banning.
DO: Provide constructive and thoughtful insight on a limited number of platforms
Although promotion for its own sake is not a prudent idea, if your product or expertise can answer someone’s question, or if your experience prepares you to successfully solve someone’s problem, do not hesitate to contribute to a discussion. It’s nonetheless important that you pick your spots. Pick mediums that allow you to be recognized, and places where you have a legitimate chance to be a relevant voice.
3. Foster symbiotic relationships.
One of the fastest ways to generate more interest in your business is through press exposure. You can raise your profile by positioning yourself like a sort of expert. Resources like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) allow you to start relationships with professional journalists who need answers to questions they’re reporting on. If you can give a substantive response, you will leave the reporter with a good impression and will probably be featured in their article. HARO also gives you the opportunity to pitch stories to journalists, but it’s important that you articulate an angle that makes your story interesting. Furthermore, if you join HARO as a journalist, you can correspond with other experts in your industry and might find new avenues for mutual assistance or promotion.
If you have previous writing experience, you can also become a contributor to online magazines and popular blogs in your industry. Many of these publications are always looking for more content, and by consistently posting on these forums you are continuously giving yourself and your business more exposure.
Finally, attract the attention of influencers. Influencers are almost like online celebrities – whether they manage their own blog or their own twitter account, influencers express their thoughts to large swaths of followers. One smart way to work with an influencer is to request their perspective or input on something you might post on your blog. This way, both you and the influencer will share the story. Its reach, and subsequently traffic to your website, will drastically expand. It may be prudent to think of influencers like the journalists on HARO. Find ways to help them solve their problems too, because if you can work together you will have a more robust online presence.