Three things govern any business relationship online and offline. In the online world, the rise and fall of your business can be very fast, so you need to take all the precautions you can, to avoid an unfortunate outcome. When you start, you will need to set up your brand, and once you establish it, you will need to defend it. The second part is what reputation management is all about.
The first thing you need to know about branding and reputation management is that you need people to succeed. You cannot succeed on your own. You need to make people believe in you so that they can support whatever you are offering. In the simplest sense, branding is all about putting a good show of yourself so that people believe in you. It can be a personal show or a business show, but the bottom line is that you want to get the trust of the people you target.
Reputation management is a little wider than branding; it involves the care of the relationship that you make with people. It can be your personal reputation or that of your business and it comes after you brand yourself. The essence of reputation management is to align the perception that people have on you with the brand that you project on them. Once the two aspects align, you will have no restrictions in selling your product to your target audience.
The best professionals and businesses make most of their sales through word of mouth referrals. Great lawyers, content makers, sales persons and the like have very strong personal brands and a reputation that matches what they do. As a result, their clients are more than eager to recommend their services to anyone. On their part, the professionals are able to charge premium prices just to keep their workload bearable so that they can satisfy their clients.
Below are practical suggestions that will expose your branding efforts to different types of blogs.
You will need to build your brand first, and this is all about creating content that relates to what you offer. You do not need to have an online business, but an online presence for your business is necessary. A blog is important because it will let you tell others about what you do, as well as the different aspects of your business or profession. Blogs allows you to highlight your talent and services. They let you talk about your clients and your capabilities. Blogs are a great way to reach out to people, when you are not actively working. They are excellent forms of advertisement and they complement word-of-mouth marketing in a great way. Without a blog, it will be difficult for people to refer others to what you do. It will also be difficult for them to give you feedback on the tasks you handle.
How blogs help in branding
Blogs let your connect to other people through your thoughts, solutions and opinions. They let your content travel around the internet when people share it; thus, work as a salesperson on your behalf. With blogs, you increase your abilities of listening, corresponding, and meeting new people who might turn to become your clients.
Why websites are not enough for branding
Many people will say that they or their businesses do not need blogs because they already have websites, but that is far from the truth. Websites offer what you do, but people will not buy from you just because of what you tell them, they need to hear it from others. In the same way other blogs will not feature your business just because you ask them to do so, they need to see what remarkable things you are doing that are worth talking about. People need convincing facts. They need to know that you understand what they want, and they will buy only from people and business they trust. The only way to win the trust of people is by developing a relationship with them. A website is only a signpost of what you offer, but a blog is an invitation to listen, learn and benefit from what you offer. A blog builds your reputation.
What to do when clients are not using blogs and other web 2.0 tools
Even if your target audience does not use blogs and social media, some of their family members and friends use them; besides, the media uses these tools too. It pays to have a presence at a place where people come to search for you or your business.
Finding time for branding and reputation management
You may complain that blogging will take much of your productive time, but that is not the truth. It may seem unproductive if you do it the wrong way, or when you fail to commit enough time. Think of blogging as a way of developing your business services. All the content you put out there helps someone to build trust in you. Your ability to convince people grows as you provide more relevant and helpful content. You can use your money to hire bloggers who understand your business, and they will be happy to manage your reputation.
Using branding and reputation to get exposure
Before you read ahead, you should know that a good reputation only comes when people:
(1) have a reason to trust you/your business
(2) believe what they hear from others about you
This means that you will only get away with verifiable claims and the credibility given to you by others will cast out any feeling of humiliation for making the wrong choice.
Once you have your brand up and your website and blogs running, you need to get in touch with people. The best place to find them is on other blogs in your industry and on discussion forums. Take part in them, comment often and thoughtfully, and when given a chance, always mention what you do. If possible, give them a link to useful content that you have put up on the internet.
Other than you blog posts and website, you can create informative eBooks, podcasts, and tutorial videos or write guest posts on other blogs. Once you come up with any form of content worth sharing, you should distribute it as widely as possible.
List your eBooks on file sharing sites, pitch your guest posts on blogs that talk about the same topic as your blog, take part in offline meet-ups that let you meet other bloggers in your industry and all these efforts will enhance your exposure, and help build your reputation as a renowned professional or business. In return, many blogs will be happy to feature you in their posts. They will talk about you, together with what you do, and how you do it. They will also link to the materials you provide. As they do so, they will be providing you with the third-party validation that your branding and reputation management efforts needs to grow your business.