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Content Marketing and Becoming an Authority

Now you have your logo and brand and you should have a consistent design throughout your website, your social media channels and even your business card. You are reinforcing your brand at every possible opportunity and you are giving people plenty of ways to find your business and to remember you exist.

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Next, you need to ensure that the associations they are forming with your business are positive so that people actually want to deal with you again.

One of the main objectives of a brand is to create a ‘seal of quality’. This way, whenever someone buys something from you they should feel confident that it will be the same quality as the products they’ve bought from you in the past. Likewise, they should feel similarly about any services that they use.

In regards to products and services then, this is why it’s so important to ensure that you work hard to ensure you are delivering quality time after time. You’re going to be stamping your logo onto everything you do so remember this when you put things out there. Think of everything you create as an ambassador for everything else you create. If you aren’t proud of something you’ve created then you need to either stop selling it, or try adding to it to bring it up to standard.

Building Trust

This is particularly true for bloggers and internet marketers. Here, you should think of your ‘product’ as being your content – the content of your blog as well as the content of any YouTube channel you may have, podcast etc.

You may also have another product that you are actually selling, but your articles and blog posts are still products too and they are still what your visitors are going to use to judge your knowledge, expertise and honesty.

This is why it’s so important to make sure that you are posting in a way that strengthens your brand and that helps to build consistency and reliability. This is what content marketing is all about and it is what will allow you and your brand to establish the trust of your readers so that you can then start selling to them.

So say you were creating a fitness blog to sell an eBook; how would you do this with content marketing?

One good strategy would be to post twice a week and to make every single post unique and fascinating. Look at the competition and see what they’re doing wrong and then make sure you do it better – that might mean that the subjects you tackle are more unique than the majority. Or perhaps it just means that you’re going to do do more research and go more in-depth? Either way, you need to ensure that every time someone comes away from your article they are impressed and they feel that they got something they wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere.

This ‘style’ and commitment then becomes your calling card and it is what will make people seek you out for information. It’s also then what will make those same people more likely to want to buy from you when you say that you are giving away even more amazing secrets in an eBook or when you say that you highly recommend product X.

Consistency is key here and so too is a commitment to your values and to your USP (unique selling point). Make sure that each article and blog post stands alone as a testament to why you should be considered an expert and why your audience should trust you.

Note as well that you can also reinforce the association with your brand in your content. Try to mention your company/website name from time to time and to speak about yourself and this way people will be reminded about your brand as you are delivering value.

Creating Relationships

Another way you build trust is by trying to engage with your audience/customers and to build a relationship. This is one of the reason that those bloggers who have a personal brand do so well – they allow the visitors to put a face to the content they’re reading and this makes them seem much more transparent and honest. As a rule, we don’t put our face on things unless we believe in them.

Likewise, speaking about yourself can again help to create this trust as can showing some ‘behind the scenes’ of how you put your business together. The more upfront you are with your visitors and customers, the more they will think of you as an honest resource they can trust.

You can also create a relationship with your website visitors by interacting with them. This might mean asking questions in your blog posts and responding in your comments section, or it might mean surveying your audience via social media or an e-mail shoutout. This is why both these marketing tools are so powerful and effective.

Under Promise and Over Deliver

You also build your relationship through your service and the way you interact with customers. One thing that can go a long way to making you seem more trustworthy and to increasing the way the general public see your brand is by taking an ‘under promise and over deliver’ approach.

Basically what this means is that you are offering a certain amount of value and then delivering more. One obvious way you can do this is by improving on your delivery times. Tell your customers they will get their product in 3-4 working days and then make sure it gets there in 2. They’ll then be so impressed, they’ll be much more inclined to want to work with you again.

Giving away free gifts is also a good way to do this. If you’ve ever bought a phone case on eBay you may have received a free capacitive stylus – this is the same principle in action.

Finally, Pat Flynn talks about potentially recording personal messages for people who order e-mail courses and eBooks. This is such a nice personal touch and it goes so far in showing you went the extra mile, that it’s bound to build a lot of good will and brand loyalty.

Increasing Brand Loyalty

Building trust and strengthening your brand will immediately increase your brand loyalty but there are other things you can do as well to try and turn your first time customers into repeat customers and your one-time visitors into repeat visitors.

One obvious example is to use some kind of reward or loyalty scheme. This way, when someone buys from you you will be able to offer them a discount or an extra incentive for buying again. Likewise, you can also achieve increased brand loyalty by upselling and giving your customers ways to increase their order. This might even go as far as creating your own ‘ecosystem’ or your own ‘walled garden’.

This is something that Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Apple all do to varying extents. When you buy a product like an iPhone for instance, you will then likely by apps for that device which will only run on iOS devices. This in turn means that those customers have an incentive to remain with Apple – otherwise all the money they spent on apps will be wasted. Likewise, if you buy a Windows Phone, then you might have extra reason to get a Microsoft Band – as the Microsoft Band has added functionality for Windows Phone users.

You can also give away promotional gifts as a way to enhance brand loyalty. This might mean giving your customers t-shirts with your logo on it for instance or mugs with the same branding. Either way, this has the effect of enabling you to ‘over deliver’ once again and at the same time means that your customers and visitors will be able to feel like a ‘part of something’. Essentially, as soon as someone puts on a T-shirt with your company name on it, they will feel more as though they are true fans of your business and they will increase their brand loyalty (of course this is also free marketing!).

Finally, make sure you create a mailing list. With a mailing list you can use e-mail marketing which will allow you to reach out to your previous visitors and customers. In doing so you can remind them of your brand, bringing you to mind once again and you can encourage them to come back to your business by offering deals and discounts. E-mail marketing is highly effective because it is not reliant on social media accounts or on your fans remembering to check in with your website – you can reach them directly and right in their inboxes!

Marketing Your Brand

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Building trust is all good and well but it won’t help much if no one is buying your products in the first place or visiting your website.

This is where marketing your brand comes in and where you need to start thinking about how you are going to introduce people to the website, logo and products you’ve spent so long putting together.

Content Marketing for Exposure

We’ve already talked about how you can use content marketing to build trust but what’s also important is using content marketing to gain exposure and traffic. Here, you are essentially using your content as an incentive to get people to visit your website and this can be a highly effective method.

The most obvious way to use content marketing is to create posts that offer value in your industry or niche and then to share links to those posts on social media, forums and social bookmarking sites.

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One of the best ways you can do this right now is by using Reddit. Reddit is a website that allows communities to create pages dedicated to any subject known as ‘subReddits’. SubReddits are filled with lively discussion on pretty much every topic and niche you can imagine and if you post here with an eye-catching headline you can potentially get your content seen by thousands of people (depending on whether it gets ‘upvoted’ or ‘downvoted’).

Be very careful here though, as Reddit users are very savvy and very cynical. If your posts don’t provide any real value and if they seem to be nothing more than self-promotion, then you will get downvoted and it will actually hurt your brand. Don’t post here unless you are genuinely offering interesting insight.

Another great place to share your content is on Google+ which also has a ‘communities’ system in place currently. This is again a way you can potentially get hundreds or thousands of views from a single post.

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Guest Posting

Another way to use content marketing to get your brand seen by new people is with guest posting. Guest posts are posts that appear on blogs but which are written by someone other than the owner of that blog.

So in other words, you are going to find a blog in your niche that is doing particularly well and then ask them to publish a post or article you’ve written. You’re giving the content away for free (which benefits them by filling their blog with more value) but in exchange you’re asking that there be a link embedded in the post back to your site.

This can do wonders for helping you to build brand recognition and gain traffic to your website. For starters, having a link on a prominent blog is very good for SEO (search engine optimization) as long as you don’t ‘overdo’ this strategy. At the same time though, your link and your company/business name is now going to be seen by hundreds or thousands of people who visit that blog and is effectively going to be given testimony by the author of that blog. If they trust the blogger, then some of this trust will be passed on to you and you will benefit from association. See how this works?

Advertising

Another way to get your brand out there is through plain and simple advertising. There are plenty of options here when you’re online but one of the best is to use PPC marketing. PPC stands for ‘Pay Per Click’ and is essentially a form of advertising where you only get charged if someone actually clicks on your ads. This means that ineffectual ads are not charged and that means you can get your ad seen completely for free – thus building brand awareness at no cost to you.

The biggest two platforms for PPC are Google’s AdWords platform and Facebook ads. These allow you to advertise right on the SERPs (search engine results pages) or on Facebook respectively and also let you target your audience either by advertising on particular search terms or by filtering through age, hobbies, gender etc.

In either case, you should try to sell a particular product through your advert and you should be as upfront and honest as this as possible. A good advert on Facebook or AdWords will simply say ‘Click here to buy $30 fitness eBook!’.

This way, a large proportion of the people who click on that ad will be willing to part with their money meaning you’ll get a good ROI (especially as you only pay a few cents for each ad). But for those who don’t click, you’re still going to be showing your logo which means you’ll still be increasing awareness and visibility.

Out of the two, Facebook advertising potentially makes more sense here because it lets you use your images which means you can incorporate your actual logo. Another alternative is to try Google AdSense which is a similar product that allows your adverts to appear on the websites of participating publishers. You choose which website to appear on by niche and can then choose from either text or banner ads.

SEO

SEO is ‘Search Engine Optimization’ or in other words, the process of getting a website to rank highly on Google when someone searches for a related term. SEO goes hand in hand with content marketing because you can use keywords in your content in order to help target certain search terms. In other words, by including just a few mentions of the phrase ‘buy hats’ in your article on fashion, you can help people who are interesting in ‘buying hats’ to find your website via another article.

Likewise, you can target specific questions – a web designer for instance might write an article on how to set up a WordPress website, use SEO to help people looking for that term to find that post, and then hope that people reading the content will be impressed enough to consider hiring them to handle it on their behalf. (Don’t overdo the insertion of keywords – optimal keyword ‘density’ is generally thought to be about 1-2%)

SEO should also be used though simply to ensure that your business and website appears at the top of Google when someone searches for it. Going back to our ‘Catfish Content’ business, we want to ensure that when someone types in ‘Catfish Content’, our site will come up first. This way, someone who is somewhat interested in our business will be able to easily research us to find out more and possibly to get in touch and hire our services.

You can achieve this a) by using your company name throughout your site (and as your URL) and b) by making sure you submit yourself to business directories and set up a Google+ My Business page. All this will also help to give you further credibility as a serious brand.

Press Releases

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When you launch your new business or website, you should issue a press release to inform any websites or other outlets that might be interested in covering the story. This is a great way to get free publicity and to get some good momentum when you first announce your new business or website. Note however that press releases will only work if your story is genuinely newsworthy. If it’s not, then try to paint it in a light that makes it interesting and something people would want to read about.