Be The Expert
ARTICLE 2 IN THE FIVE PART SERIES:
How To Dominate Your Local or Niche Market
Establishing yourself as an expert is important on several levels. First, it gives people a reason to visit your site on a regular basis. Second, you give them a reason to advertise your business. If people like the information your are giving them they will share it - and the source, you. Referrals, as we all know, are like gold to any business, better than any advertising response.
So, how do you establish yourself as an expert? Remember this: Content IS king. You have to commit to this. Your new site needs to be built with an "Articles", "News" or "Blog" section. It doesn't really matter what you call it. The industry you are in will dictate this, to a degree. If music or movies is your gig then a blog works well. If you are in a technical business and plan to write a lot of articles that are more technical in nature then you might want to call it "Articles." Consider your target audience and what they would expect.
The key is this: if you want to get noticed by Google and the other search engines – and dominate your competition – you have to publish relevant content. Be wary of using your own terminology, use industry accepted phrases and wording. Search engines look for them when comparing your content to others.
As an expert at what you do there are a lot of things you take for granted. Some of the basics of your industry are not so basic to everyone. Writing – even about what you know – can be daunting. Many of us would rather speak in public than write something that others are going to read. Fear not. Establishing yourself as an expert is about communicating, not writing as well as John Irving or John LeCarre. Use a casual style when writing on your blog. Keep things informal and simple. Straight forward is effective.
Assuming that everyone is not up-to-speed with the basics of your industry and expertise is a great place to start. Make your first articles very basic and explanatory. Give all of your readers time to come up to speed and acquire a basic understanding of your industry. This will help you get comfortable expressing yourself with words in print (or pixels, if you will). Plus, anyone new to the industry will have the chance to browse your library of knowledge as your business ages and progresses.
Don't Sell, Inform
Don't sell, inform. People will get turned off if you are trying to sell them while they are attempting to learn. Your expertise and ability to communicate it is enough of a sales tool. If you mention your company in every paragraph and how you do things the article will come off as a sales pitch. Readers want to be informed, not sold. They are on your site looking to be educated. So, educate them. If you have to mention your work or process do it in a way that factually backs up the subject you are writing about.
Publish On a Regular Basis
Set a schedule for updating your site and stick to it. This sounds simple. It isn't. It takes dedication and focus to stay on schedule. Determine how often you want to publish an article and make it a habit. It doesn't have to be as often as you think. For some industries this might mean weekly. For others it can be as little as once a month. Your goal, remember, is to dominate your local or niche market. This is a long-term goal and you should be prepared to spend time making it happen. Do some research to determine if there are standards that have been set by some of your competitors? Also, your publishing schedule will synchronize with your email marketing campaign (the next article in this series).
You might want to consider making a list. I have found this often works well for me. At the beginning of the month I sit down and write out a list of the things I want to write about for that month. It provides a roadmap for me and it means that I think about those subjects before I write about them. By the time it comes to write an article the ideas are fairly well-formed in my head.
Sharing Is Good
It isn't enough to publish something on your website and then walk away. The next article in this series will show you how to use email marketing to drive visitors to your site to read your new content. But there are other things that can be done. Your local newspaper is always looking for content that is relevant to their readership. Are you in an industry that is popular with a large percentage of consumers? Speak with the editor about becoming a contributor. Do the same for leading sites and blogs within your industry. All you need from the contribution is a link to your website. Dominating your local market requires a plan that encompasses as many avenues as possible.
White Papers Can Be Better Than Brochures
White Papers are like brochures, only longer and more in-depth. A brochure gives you limited room to work with and only allows for the highlights to be mentioned. Anyone interested in finding a solution to their problem will look to your white papers. Good white papers define a problem within an industry and then offer a solution. The white paper is where you can mention your approach and solution to solving the problem. How you would solve it. White papers can be anywhere from 5 pages to 15 pages long, depending on the industry, technical issues involved and the problem at hand. Don't forget to brand your white paper. Your logo, tagline and formatting are important to include.
Leverage your expertise by asking people to sign-up to the site to download the white paper. Yes, you are giving it away free. Asking for an email to get to it is standard practice. Also, consider including the link in your white paper to the newsletter sign-up page on your site. Once someone submits their email they should be taken to a page where they can download the PDF file. In the process, you build your email list and it gives you the opportunity to follow up with another email offering to answer any questions or inviting feedback from those who have downloaded it.
Consistency in publishing will put you far ahead of the local competition and well on the way to dominating the market.
Use your expertise to build a loyal following. Building your email list is a key to long-term online marketing success. On May 5th, 2010 I will discuss how to use email marketing to spread the word about your genius.
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