Give a little, gain a lot

What do you look for when you go online?

Information? A social connection? Adverts for someone else’s business?

I bet it’s not the latter. In fact, I bet that if you find yourself reading an article, blog or tweet that is nothing more than a blatant advert, you switch off immediately, and avoid that contributor in the future. Sadly for them, they will have blown the chance of creating a relationship with you.

Build loyalty

There is a place for adverts, of course, but if you are seeking to build your online brand by developing a network of followers, adverts are not enough. The most successful online brands don’t simply say ‘this is what we do’, they build loyalty by offering advice, demonstrating expertise and encouraging a conversation.

From a content point of view, there are many things you can try, including:

  • If you are in a niche market, focus on the technical – get one of your experts to blog on the more esoteric parts of the business, offering advice and suggestions.
  • If your market is more general, offer market news updates, with added expert opinion.
  • Think about white papers. You don’t need to give away all your secrets to generate goodwill – a bit of basic advice will do the trick.
  • Create a series of hints and tips for posting on blogs and social media sites. They don’t need to be long, but will encourage people to come back for more.

Be helpful

Online, as in the real world, people respond to generosity. In fact, as information is the currency of the internet, the more interesting and helpful the information you supply, the more it – and the name of your brand – will be passed on.

So ask yourself this: what is my target market looking for when it goes online? And get writing…

(This blog was first posted on an earlier version of this website)

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