Create Content for Voice Search

Smart Speakers and Voice-Activated Devices

How to Optimize Your Website for Smart Speakers and Voice-Activated Devices

Do you use voice search on your phone or on an in-home device like Google Home or Amazon Echo?
More people do this year than last year – and that’s a trend that’s likely to continue. As of March 2017, 12% of American households have a voice assistant.
Some are named Siri and others are named Alexa…
But they’re all doing the same basic thing. They’re providing voice-activated, localized search results that use casual human speech and questions instead of traditional keywords.
In other words, instead of going to Google and typing:
Best delivery pizza Chicago
People are saying:
Okay Google, what’s the best pizza delivery place?
Virtual assistant use GPS to provide local results, and they read the intent behind the questions we ask them. That means that it’s no longer enough to use the keywords people type on your website.
You need to consider the things they say, too.

What Keywords Should You Be Using?

What Keywords Should You Be Using?
The good news is that keyword stuffing is dead. You don’t have to spend your time worrying about keyword density, and you certainly don’t need to tie yourself into verbal knots trying to use an awkward long-tail keyword 30 times in a thousand words of content.
Does that mean you can ignore keywords?
Of course not, but it does mean that you need to be smart about how you use them. You need to find long-tail keywords that people use to search businesses like yours and use them on your website in ways that give them prominence for virtual assistants like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri.
Long-tail keywords should include specific information about your business, including local words like your city or neighborhood. They’re the words that will help smart speakers and virtual assistants find you even if the speaker doesn’t use those words.

How Can You Find Long-Tail Keywords?

How Can You Find Long-Tail Keywords?
You might be wondering where you can go to find long-tail keywords – and if you’re not already using them on your site, this is an essential question to answer.
Fortunately, it’s not a complicated process, and it shouldn’t be. There are several free tools you can use, and some of them don’t even require you to go any further than the Google home page.

  1. Let Google autofill suggest long-tail keywords. When you start typing in Google’s search box, you get a list of suggested searches that pop up automatically. As you type, the suggested search terms change. These lists – which are based on search volume – can help you identify long-tail keywords to use on your website.
  2. Another Google tip involves scrolling down to the bottom of the search engine results page and checking out the related searches. You’ll see a list of words in bright blue with a headline that starts, “Searches related to” and then lists the keyword that you originally searched. These terms are also known as LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing, and they can add context and meaning to your website.
  3. Try Ubersuggest, a free tool that suggests long-tail keywords for your business based on an existing keyword. It’s simple to use and can provide you with useful ideas to build your site’s SEO for voice. It even links out to Google and GoogleTrends to make it simple to dig a little deeper on any suggested keyword
  4. Speaking of GoogleTrends, you may want to try it, too. This is another free tool that gives you the opportunity to gage a keyword’s popularity before you add it to your site.
  5. Consider asking your customers how they’d search for you if they were using a smart speaker or virtual assistant. Even an informal poll like this can help you choose the right keywords.

As you compile your list of keywords, try to add some stats and data that will help you determine which keywords you should focus on. You can use that information when you start to revamp your site for voice search.

Incorporate New Keywords into Your Site

Incorporate New Keywords into Your Site
Earlier, I said that keyword stuffing is dead – and it is. Remember that.
When you start to add new keywords to your site, resist the urge to go overboard. All the search options we’ve mentioned are looking for relevance, not volume.
In other words, you shouldn’t be trying to pound people over the head with your keywords. It’s important to use them – but in a smart way that leaves your website readable and useful to potential customers.
Sometimes, the keywords that you find might sound awkward. You don’t want to force yourself to use phrases that sound unnatural on your site, nor do you want to tie yourself into linguistic notes trying to make them fit your existing copy.
If the keywords you find work as topics of Frequently Asked Questions, then using them there can be a quick and easy way to incorporate your new keywords into your site. And if a topic merits more in-depth coverage, consider writing a blog post about it or using it in a key spot on your home page or on a product page.

Keep Your Local SEO Updated

Keep Your Local SEO Updated
Because a big percentage of voice-activated searches have local intent (40% according to BrightLocal) it’s essential to make sure that your entire site is optimized for local search.
That means using local keywords, linking to local authority sites, and claiming your listings in online directories and on review sites like Yelp.
You’ll also want to make sure that your NAP listings are uniform and that your online presence is coherent and designed to help local customers find you.

It’s a Whole New World of Search…

… And you don’t want to be left behind. The likelihood is that the percentage of people who search for your business using smart speakers, virtual assistants, and voice searches will increase in the coming months and years. Some local businesses may be caught unawares – but you won’t be if you follow the advice in this article and start optimizing for voice now.
Website Optimized for Success

Is Your Website Optimized for Success?

Your Google ranking is undeniably important. In fact, research shows that more than half of Google’s traffic goes to the top three ranked websites, and approximately three-quarters of the traffic goes to sites listed on the first page of search results. How do they get on that first page? Here’s the secret:
Their sites are optimized to ensure that they get there.
I’m sure you already known about Search Engine Optimization, but a lot of local businesses are, quite simply, not getting the job done. They’re focusing on outdated (read: keyword-centered) SEO methods, or else they’ve designed their own websites and missed out on some key opportunities to improve their Google rank.
That stops now. In this post, I’ll walk you through the must-have optimization techniques that will help your website get the lion’s share of traffic for your keywords.

Coding Tips for Optimization

Coding Tips for Optimization
You’re probably not an expert programmer, but with today’s easy-to-use site-building tools, you don’t need to be. However, that doesn’t mean that you can afford to ignore some basic coding issues on your website.
 
 

Metadata

Metadata
Metadata is the first coding issue to address. Metadata includes two things: your title tag and meta description. Both items appear on Google’s SERP, so you need to get them right.
Let’s start with the title tag. Ideally, you want as much of your title as possible to appear on Google. If you shoot for a title tag that’s fewer than 60 characters. (Technically, it’s 600 pixels but that’s a little harder to measure.)
Your title tag should contain your most important keyword as close as possible to the beginning of the title. After that, think about your audience and write a title that’s likely to appeal to them.
The meta description is longer, usually about 155 characters including spaces. Its job is to provide a concise and compelling description of your page. It’s important to have a unique meta description for each page of your website, including blog entries.
Here again, use important keywords but don’t overdo it. You want to give readers a clear idea of what your page is about to make them want to choose your site over the others that are available.

Schema Markup

Schema Markup
Next, you’ll want to make sure to include Schema markup on your site.  Schema is a collaborative effort by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Yandex. It’s designed to let search engines (and users) know what your website is all about.
For example, a reference to the word “avatar” might refer to:

  • A web ID that represents a user
  • The animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender or the film of the same name
  • The James Cameron film Avatar

Schema code provides context for the language you use on your site. Using it properly will ensure that your site displays properly and that the information you put on it can be understood.

Crawlability

Crawlability
The final coding issue to consider is the crawlability of your site. Google and other search engines send out bots to “crawl” your site – meaning that they check its navigability. Broken links and other issues can make it difficult or impossible for search engines to index your site properly and that can affect your search rank.
You can manually check your site and make sure to repair or remove broken links. You may also want to use a tool like RankSider to check your site’s crawlability.

Your Site’s Content and Optimization

Your Site’s Content and Optimization
When it comes to getting to the top of Google, your site’s structure and content has a lot to do with where you end up. While you can design your site to your liking, there are certain things you need to have if you want your site to do well.

  1. Global headers and footers will ensure that whatever page a user lands on, they’ll be able to find your home page and get basic information about your company. Your headers and footers should include basic information like your phone number, email address, and social follow buttons. The footer should also have hotlinks to the most important pages on your site.
  2. The About Us page may not contain a ton of keywords, but your site needs to have an awesome one to let people know who you are and what you do.
  3. The Contact Us page should let people know all the ways they can get in touch with you. That means you’ll need to include your address, phone number, email address, social pages, and directions to your office or store.
  4. Each service you provide should be on a dedicated page. Putting all your services on one page limits your SEO impact. You can target more keywords, both in your content and your metadata, if you give each service its own page.
  5. Finally, your site MUST be mobile-friendly. Ideally, you should use a template that’s mobile responsive and will adjust itself to display on any mobile device.

Including these five things on your site will maximize your SEO and ensure that Google’s algorithms give you the rank you deserve.

Web Design and Content

Web Design and Content
The design of your website might not play a direct role in SEO, but people will be more likely to visit (and revisit) your site if it looks good. That means that you’ll need to have:

  • A simple but memorable logo.
  • Compelling images that let people know what you do (and how you do it). Ideally, you should have original (not stock) images.
  • High-quality video.
  • Compelling written content that sounds natural, has a high degree of readability, and uses keywords and LSI artfully. You don’t want your content to be overly repetitive. It should be easy to read and use plenty of white space.
  • Social share buttons make it easy for visitors to your site to share your content with their followers.
  • A click-to-call button is ideal if you want to make it simple for mobile customers to call you.
  • Reviews and testimonials are important. Having a live feed of your Yelp reviews might slow down your site, but you can put links to your pages on key review sites on your testimonial page.

Some companies add additional bells and whistles, but you don’t need to – and your site’s loading speed may be impacted by extras. Keeping it simple is the best way to attract traffic and engage the people who visit your site.

SEO is about more than keywords…

Your site may have qualities and pages that we haven’t listed here, but these are the basics. Doing a quick audit of your site can reveal opportunities for improvement – and make a big difference in your Google placement.
Website Content

Your Website Content Sucks and Here’s Why

Your website content sucks.
Ouch.
That’s painful to hear, but it’s also probably true. But you’re not alone. Most small business website content sucks.
It’s badly conceived, poorly written, boring, and – worst of all – ineffective.
Double Ouch.
The good news is, you can make it not suck. It’s not even that hard. The most difficult part is evaluating your content with a critical eye and acknowledging that it’s not working. Once you’ve done that, it’s within your reach to create compelling and persuasive content that will get results.

Signs That Your Content Sucks

Signs That Your Content Sucks
Your content probably sucks, but how can you be sure? Here are seven signs that your content isn’t pulling its weight.

#1: It’s Stale and Old

The first sign that your content isn’t up to snuff is if it hasn’t been updated in a while. Look at your website. Is your content:

  • Out of date?
  • Stagnant?
  • Been the same for more than a year, or years?

These are all signs that your content is staler than last week’s loaf of bread. Google prioritizes fresh content, and so do web users. Your content must be updated regularly to stay relevant.

#2: It’s Not as Good as Your Competitors’ Content

The second sign that your content needs refining is if it’s not measuring up to your competitors’ content. You should be looking at your competitors’ sites and social media pages regularly, so you know what they’re doing.
If they’re blogging and you’re not – or if they’ve recently revamped their website – your stale site isn’t going to be able to compete. It’s time for considering an update.

#3: It Doesn’t Clearly Define Your Unique Sales Proposition

What’s so special about your business and what it has to offer? If your content isn’t doing a great job of identifying your USP so that prospects know why they should choose your product, your content is letting you down.
One of the key jobs of online content is to differentiate one brand from another. You can’t expect people to buy your products unless your content gives them a reason to do so.

#4: You’re Not Using Your Content to Generate Leads

Is your content helping you attract new site visitors and get them to opt-in to your list? If it isn’t, that’s a sure-fire sign that your content sucks.
It’s rare for a prospect to visit a site and make a purchase the first time. It requires repeated contact with a brand to convert a lead into a paying customer. Your content should be compelling enough to get people to give you their email addresses to get it – so you can follow up and nurture them.

#5: Your Content Is a Snooze

You might know a lot about your niche. You might even be the most knowledgeable person around – but it won’t matter if your content is boring.
A lot of entrepreneurs post regular blog posts that are effective only if readers are looking for a cure for their insomnia. Your blog posts (and all your other content) must be highly compelling, entertaining, and useful if you want people to buy your products.

#6: You’ve Omitted a Call to Action

What do you want people to do when they visit your page or view your social media content? If it’s not obvious, then the chances are good that they’re not doing it.
You’d think by now that every entrepreneur would know the importance of including a call to action in their content – and yet, a lot of them don’t do it. Every page (and every post) must have a compelling CTA that tells the reader or viewer what to do next.

How to Create Content That Doesn’t Suck

How to Create Content That Doesn’t Suck
At this point, you know your content sucks. But what can you do about it? That’s the million-dollar question – and the good news is, there are some very easy things you can do right now to improve your content and improve your results.

  1. Audit your website and identify stale content. The first step is to review every page of your site and identify content that’s old, out-of-date, irrelevant, or stale. It may be that every page needs an update.
  2. Make a list of your top competitors and review their websites and social media pages. What are they doing that you’re not? Which content is getting the most engagement? Take notes and don’t be afraid to use their content as an inspiration for your own.
  3. Evaluate your branding and make sure you know your USP. It should be your guiding light as you revamp your content. Every piece of content you create must speak to that USP and make it clear to new and repeat visitors.
  4. Create a content plan for your website. What do you need? Can you create it yourself or do you need to hire a pro? Web design is easier than ever before, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire a professional designer. You should also consider hiring a professional writer.
  5. If you’re not already blogging, start a blog – and come up with compelling, relevant topics that will appeal to your target audience. Remember, you can look at your competitors’ blogs for ideas.
  6. Create a lead magnet to generate leads. A lead magnet is usually a piece of long-form content that you give away to get people to complete your opt-in form. It might be a whitepaper, eBook, or case study. The key is to make sure that it’s valuable to your target audience.
  7. Make sure every page of your site has a CTA. The same goes for your social media posts. Nothing you post should be without a CTA – and the more directly relevant it is to your content, the better off you’ll be.

These seven tips can help you upgrade your content and give your target audience something that’s relevant, valuable, and entertaining. You’ll be able to collect leads – and convert them – if you follow these steps.

One more thing…

The final key to creating content that doesn’t suck is testing. Very few of us can create perfect content on our first try. Testing your content will help you fine-tune it until it’s generating leads for you every day – and that’s one thing you can’t do if your content sucks.
Outsource Your Marketing

6 Reasons Why You Should Outsource Your Marketing to an Agency

Online marketing is easy. Everybody’s doing it, from bloggers to Etsy entrepreneurs. Why should you pay for something you can do yourself, right?
You could look at it that way. It’s certainly true that technology has made marketing more accessible than ever. If you’re just starting out, you may think that spending money to hire an agency doesn’t make sense.
You’re wrong.
In fact, failing to hire an agency is one of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make. It’s not necessary in every situation. But here’s the thing:
“If you’re not a professional marketer, it’s a virtual certainty that you’re missing opportunities – and sales – because of the marketing choices you’re making.”
Yikes. That’s not what you want, right? Most small and medium-sized business can’t afford to give sales away.
So, with that in mind, let’s talk about how you can tell if it’s time to outsource your marketing to an agency.

#1: You Don’t Have a Handle on Your Online Presence

Handle on Your Online Presence
The first big indicator that you need a professional marketer is that you don’t really know how people perceive your brand online.
Let’s face it, “online” is a big place. You might think of your website as your home base, but you also need to know how your brand is represented:

  • On social media (on your profiles pages as well as in mentions)
  • On review sites like Yelp and Google
  • In blog posts and niche publications
  • On forums related to your industry
  • In online directories

That’s a lot to keep track of, especially if you’re wearing multiple hats as you run your business. A professional marketer will have tools and expertise to assess your online presence. They can take your brand’s online temperature and then take corrective action to improve the way you’re perceived.

#2: You’re Not Sure How to Allocate Your Marketing Budget

Allocate Your Marketing Budget
Where are you spending your marketing budget? Do you know how much you’re spending? For a lot of entrepreneurs, the answer is no – and that’s a problem.
If you’re handling your own marketing, you might feel as if you’re shooting in the dark. One week you’re spending on Facebook ads. The next, you’re running a Google AdWords campaign. You’re trying everything and hoping that something will bear fruit.
The problem is that you don’t have a marketing plan. You haven’t had the time (or expertise) to evaluate marketing platforms and choose those that are most likely to get you the results you want.
A marketing pro will have broad experience and should be able to assess your brand and target audience – and use that assessment to choose the best marketing options. You don’t need a big budget to be successful, but you do need to know how to use it.

#3: Your Marketing Campaigns Aren’t Generating Leads

Marketing Campaigns
This one should be a no-brainer, yet it’s a common problem for DIY marketers. If your marketing campaigns aren’t bringing you qualified leads, you’re throwing money away.
Guess what? Your marketing campaign could be well-conceived. Perhaps you’ve created what could be a winning ad. You might still have problems with:

  • Knowing which platform is most likely to put your ad in front of people who need your product or service
  • Choosing the right keyword to target on Google or Bing
  • Selecting the right target audience on Facebook or Instagram

In other words, there’s a lot more to lead generation than ad creation. You need to know when, where, and how to display your ad – and who to show it to – if you want to generate leads. A professional marketer will know.

#4: You’re Not Aware of Marketing Trends

Marketing Trends
The world of online marketing is constantly changing. What worked a few months ago might not be effective anymore.
Here’s one example. At the beginning of 2018, Facebook announced it would change its algorithms to favor posts from family and friends over posts from pages and brands. Companies that used to get a fair amount of organic engagement must now pay to get the same attention.
It can be difficult for entrepreneurs to keep up with what’s happening in marketing. You’ve got other things to do.
When you outsource your marketing, you’re paying someone whose job it is to know what the latest and greatest marketing trends are. You won’t have to worry about spending on outdated marketing techniques.
In other words, paying a pro will ensure that your marketing dollar goes further than it would if you tried to handle everything on your own.

#5: You’re Not Testing Your Campaigns

Testing Your Campaigns
Very few people – even marketing pros – create perfect campaigns on their first try. Marketing is both an art and a science, and in science, testing is essential.
Many entrepreneurs never look at the results of their marketing campaigns. They don’t know which metrics matter – and that means they’re not using their results to tweak their campaigns and improve them.
Marketing pros understand the value of split testing. Once they launch a campaign, they’ll measure the results and tweak the ad until it’s perfect. You might not have the time to do that – and that’s why you need a pro to do it for you.
Done properly, this kind of meticulous tracking and testing can make a huge difference in your conversions and ultimately, in your bottom line.

#6: You’re Not Making Marketing a Priority

Making Marketing a Priority
Is marketing something you think about every day, or is it an afterthought? For many entrepreneurs, it’s the latter. They make time for it when they can.
The problem with that, of course, is that you won’t get the robust results you deserve if marketing isn’t a priority. You might push it aside in favor of other needs that you view as more pressing.
Marketing should be a priority. It’s the only way you’ll create a strong brand, build your platform, attract new leads, and convert them into paying customers.
If you don’t have time to give marketing the attention it deserves, you need to hire someone to do it for you. It’s just that simple.

Outsourcing your marketing will cost you…

… but it won’t cost you as much as running lackluster campaigns that do nothing to build your brand and attract leads. It’s worth a bit of up-front investment to get the results you need.
Businesses Near Me

How to Rank for “Businesses Near Me” Local Searches

Search has changed in the last four years. Anybody who’s paying attention knows that.
Since 2014, mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches. At the same time, Google has prioritized local searches to the point where finding non-local results has become almost impossible. In fact:
These two factors, combined with a concurrent rise in voice search, have changed the ballgame when it comes to ranking for local searches on Google.
They explain why searches for “businesses near me” have skyrocketed. After all, if someone’s out looking for a place to eat or a store to visit, they’re probably not looking for something 100 miles away. They want to know what they can find nearby.
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to improve your “near me” search results.

Understand What Factors Influence “Near Me” Searches

“Near Me” Searches
It’s important to understand which factors make the biggest difference in “near me” searches. The solution is not stuffing your site with “near me” keywords. Instead, keep these three things in mind.

  1. The relevance of your business to the search being conducted. Google wants to return only relevant results. That means if someone searches for a shoe store, your clothing store may not rank even if you sell shoes, too. Likewise, a sushi restaurant won’t rank as highly if someone searches “Asian restaurants near me” as it would if they searched “sushi restaurants near me.”
  2. How close your business is to the searcher’s location. People who are conducting “near me” searches want businesses that are close by. Even if your business is relevant, a distance of 100 miles will mean you rank lower than a business that’s just five miles from the searcher’s location.
  3. How prominent your business is online. A business with a top-ranking website, multiple listings in directories, and a strong social media presence is likely going to earn a higher rank than one with a weak online presence.

The key here, then, is to make it clear what your business does and where it’s located and to combine those with the strongest possible online presence.

Amplify Your Search Signals

Search Signals
To improve your rank, you need to let Google and other search engines know where you are. One way to do that is to plant virtual flags by getting your business included in online directories and review sites.
You should start by searching the most relevant “near me” terms to see where you rank in the results. You’ll also want to note the sites that appear near the top. They will likely include:

  • Yelp
  • Foursquare
  • Trip Advisor

You may also see local directories that are specific to your area or niche. Make a note of these. Then, go and claim your listings on each site. If you’re not listed, create a profile.
It’s also important to make sure your NAP listings are consistent. It should be clear that the company listed on Yelp is the same as the one on Foursquare and the one linked to your Facebook page.

Differentiate Your Company from Others in the Area

Differentiate Your Company
What sets your business apart from the others that rank in “near me” searches? One way to find out is to vary your search terms and focus on the things you offer that others don’t.
For example, let’s say you own a sushi restaurant. You should search “sushi restaurants near me,” but you might also vary it and search these terms, too:

  • Sushi restaurants near me open 24 hours
  • Sushi restaurants near me that deliver
  • Top sushi restaurants near me
  • Affordable sushi restaurants near me

You get the idea, I hope. If you’re the only sushi restaurant in the area that delivers, highlighting your delivery service can help you attract new customers.

Name Local Landmarks and Other Identifying Features

Local Landmarks
Your NAP listings tell potential customers where to find you, but they may use other terms to define what’s near them. For example, many large cities have defined neighborhoods. In San Diego, these include:

  • Normal Heights
  • The Golden Triangle
  • Mira Mesa

The same is true in other big cities. Identifying yourself by the neighborhood you’re in can help you rank in “near me” searches.
The same is true of landmarks. Someone in Seattle might search for “Italian restaurants near the Space Needle.” You may also want to name prominent businesses near you (provided they aren’t your competitors). Adding exterior photos can also help identify your location.

Target Mobile Customers

Target Mobile Customers
According to Review Tracker, 14% of all searches are carried out by people who want to visit a business immediately. It makes sense to target these people, many of whom will be searching using mobile devices.
One way to do that is to include your telephone number with all listings. Some sites may allow you to enable a “Call Now” feature so that mobile users can dial you with one touch. One example of this is Facebook, where mobile advertisers can choose “Call Now” as their CTA button.

Encourage Your Customers to Review Your Business

Review Your Business
The final step you need to take is encouraging your customers to review your business on Google. Any review signal can help, but for obvious reasons, Google reviews carry more weight than those on other sites.
Keep in mind that businesses that actively solicit reviews tend to get more reviews and have higher average ratings than businesses that don’t. One reason is that people who are satisfied often won’t bother to leave a review – whereas people who are unhappy are motivated to leave one.
You can start by generating a link that your customers can use to leave reviews. You can find detailed instructions on how to do it here.
Of course, you’ll also need to monitor your reviews and respond as needed. That way, people who read reviews will see that you care about your customers’ experience.

Remember that rankings change…

Even if you’ve done all the things suggested here, it’s still important to monitor your search rankings. If you’re still not getting the rank you deserve, you’ll need to double down on your efforts to make sure that people near you can find you.
Building Authority

Why Building Authority is the Secret to Online Success

Who are you and why should anybody care what you think?
If you can’t answer that question in a compelling manner, then you’re probably not an authority figure in your niche.
Maybe you’re just starting out. Or, maybe you’ve been in the game a while, but you’re having a hard time getting people to pay attention to you.
Either way, the solution is to make yourself into an authority.
Here’s the secret that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t know:
Authority is not something other people bestow on you. It’s something you can build.
That might surprise you. It shouldn’t. The people you view as authorities created their authority by their actions. And you can too.

Why Authority Matters

Why Authority Matters
Why is authority important? It’s very simple. When you have authority, people listen to what you say. They value your opinion – and when you tell them to buy something, they’ll do it.
That’s why authority is one of Robert Cialdini’s principles of influence.  Psychologically speaking, people are inclined to do what an authority figure tells them to do – even if they wouldn’t do it on their own.
A simple example of this principle in action comes from television advertising. Maybe you remember those commercials featuring well-known actors. They always started with something like this:
I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.
You might think of that as a disclaimer, but it’s a statement of authority. People were accustomed to thinking of those actors as doctors. So, when they recommended a cough syrup or headache medication, people trusted those recommendations.
Another way of looking at it is that authority is based on trust. If you do a good job building authority, people will trust you and your products.

Branding and Authority

Branding and Authority
You’ll build authority more quickly if you define your brand and present it in a consistent way in all your online marketing.
Why? Because authority is easier to build if you have a narrowly defined area of expertise. Nobody is equally knowledgeable about everything, right?
Of course, there are exceptions. Someone like Oprah is so well known that people might take her word for just about anything. She can present herself as an authority on self-help, alternative medicine, clothing, and books because she has achieved a level of authority that allows it.
Most of us can’t do that. We need to define our niches and stick to them.
Here are some ways you can create a consistent and authoritative brand:

  1. Understand how you want people to think of you and your brand and create your brand personality and voice around those things.
  2. Create a customer persona and use it to create your online content that will appeal to your target audience.
  3. Use the same colors, language, and voice everywhere your brand is represented online. That includes your website, social media accounts, email marketing, and in your comments on review sites and forums.
  4. Don’t let yourself get distracted by things that aren’t related to your brand. You shouldn’t be sharing the latest viral video on your Facebook page unless it’s relevant to your followers. Save those things for your personal page.

Think of your brand as the cornerstone of your authority.

Authoritative Content

Authoritative Content
Every piece of content you create for your brand must be authoritative. That means that everything on your website, online profiles, social media accounts, ads, and marketing videos must be conceptualized and executed with authority in mind.
It all starts with your website. You need a professional site that uses clear and authoritative language designed to appeal directly to your target audience. It should be easy to use and provide immediate value to the people who visit it.
The same is true of your social media content. Every status update, Tweet, or photo you post must be relevant to your brand and presented with authority.
You may also want to consider creating long-form authoritative content to build authority. Examples include:

  • Exclusive content
  • White papers
  • Case studies
  • How-to guides

Any of these can help you demonstrate your authority.

Authoritative Opinions

Authoritative Opinions
If you watch cable news, you know that one of the ways they fill the 24-hour news cycle is by booking authority figures to offer opinions about current events.
Think about it. Every political consultant, pollster, or retired general is there for one reason. They have experience and knowledge that is applicable to a story, and because of that, they are viewed as authorities whose opinion is worth hearing.
You can build the same kind of authority online by being opinionated. That doesn’t mean you should spout about politics (unless that’s related to your brand, of course.) What it does mean is that you shouldn’t be afraid to say what you think.
One very effective way to do that is to curate content for your social media pages. Curated content is content that somebody else created. You can find it by following:

  • General news outlets and publications
  • Industry-specific publications
  • Popular bloggers in your niche
  • Popular brands in your niche

It’s not enough to share curated content without commenting on it. That won’t help you build authority. Instead, read or watch everything you share and then offer an opinion about it.
For example, say you find an article that lists ten essential things about your industry. You might feel that the writer left out something important. You should point that out when you post the article.
Taking a controversial stance can be a good thing, too. When you contradict or rebut something that an established authority says, you’re putting yourself on their level.
The key here is to sound confident when you offer an opinion. If you seem uncertain, people will dismiss your opinion.

There’s one more thing…

The final step to building authority is to put these things together and use them to create marketing campaigns that convert. If you do it right, you’ll set yourself apart from other brands in your niche.
In other words, you won’t just be one option for people seeking products or services in your niche. You’ll be the only option – and all because they view you as an authority figure.
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