Can your audience separate you from the competition? When you post content to your blog or social networks, are you easily identifiable? Without a doubt, creating differentiation is tough.
While success online has many factors, one thing is for sure. You must create a memorable brand. I recently had the opportunity to join Robert Ryan and Carolyn Capern on "Blogging Warfare" to discuss the art of standing out in a sea of noise.
Whether you're an entrepreneur or small business owner, finding your voice online can feel overwhelming. Below you'll find ten ways to help you own your industry and stand out online.
1. Don’t speak to everyone
Want to know a secret? Not everyone is your perfect client. Whether you're a small business owner or online marketer, knowing your niche and speaking to it will save you time, money, and headaches. Why? Because speaking the language of your target audience means you tailor your message to a specific audience. I challenge you to stop shouting to an audience of none and connect with an audience of one.
2. Identify your customers problem points
Do you know the challenges your potential clients face? What struggles are they dealing with daily? Identify your customer's pain points and what problems you can solve. Get into the mind of your customer and understand how your product or service can make their life easier or better.
3. Know your market
Once you know your potential market, you can better craft your content. Take your knowledge, expertise, and experience and share it in a way that resonates with your target market. Understand your community and also the platform. What you share on your blog might be different than what you share on Instagram.
4. Get back to basics
As the online world has evolved, so have marketing tactics. Every day there's a new tool, application, or strategy to implement. Get off the roller coaster and back to basics. Choose the top one hundred people that will dramatically impact your business. Now connect with them in a real and meaningful way. From there, keep it simple. Stay in touch, get to know what they like, need and enjoy. Blogging and social media doesn't have to be difficult. Keep it simple, focused and streamlined.
5. Create meaningful conversations
Want to know what matters to your audience? Ask them and then listen (really listen) to their answers. Creating a client for life is not about collecting numbers or business cards. Likewise, building relationships online is not about gaming the system to generate numbers or results. It's about making meaningful connections. It's about building relationships and giving without the expectation of receiving something in return.
The bottom line, when you focus on creating meaningful conversations, is that you connect with the right people.
6. Speak your customer's language
While you might enjoy using industry jargon, your audience doesn't want to hear it. In fact, using jargon-laden terms and phrases can actually turn your readers off. Sarah Skerik, PR Newswire’s Vice President of Social Media, contends that jargon isn't just boring, it's risky. Not only do you immediately lack credibility, but also appear anti-social. So, stop it. Strike the jargon from your vocabulary and talk from your heart. Say what you mean, and stop relying on boring, overused words that do nothing more than put your audience to sleep.
7. Don’t use fancy fonts
Integrating visuals into your marketing creates brand consistency. It also connects your offline and online marketing, creating a seamless look and feel. If you haven't determined your brand message and voice, ask yourself a few questions.
Are you fun, and do you give off that vibe in your conversations and content, or are you serious and professional at all times? Now translate those qualities along with your mission, vision and values into a visual format.
While visuals can capture attention, they can also hurt your brand if they're not done right. Don't get crazy with the colors, pictures and fonts. My rule of thumb is to always keep it clean, concise and simple.
8. Monetize your blog
As a blogger, monetization is typically at the top of your to-do list. If you're eager to make a living from your blog, don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
What steps should you begin to take immediately?
- Know your market, keywords and topics.
- Have a clear call to action.
- Understand your marketing funnel. If your audience reads a blog or social media post, what's the next step?
- Get social and determine what social networks will help you reach your target market.
- Build your list and take your list seriously.
- Take yourself seriously. If you don't own your expertise, your audience definitely won't.
9. Focus on quality over quantity
There's no hidden message behind this one. Focus on producing quality content, and not on the quantity you can pump out. Just as in business, you never want to over-promise and under-deliver. Know how much content you can commit to producing. Create a content calendar and plan accordingly. Quality work stems from creativity, and creativity stems from a prepared mind. Know your audience, know your topics, know your posting strategy.
10. Don’t lose momentum
Ask yourself one question: what do you have more of - time or money? Now determine where your time is best spent daily. If it's not on creating content or images for your blog or social networks, give it away. Some talented professionals do content creation and graphic design.
Creating differentiation and standing out online takes commitment. If you want to grow your reach and presence, focus on the steps that will take you there. Tackle one at a time and keep kicking that ball forward. What can you do today that will make a difference for your business tomorrow?
About Rebekah Radice
Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.