How To Expand Your Online Presence, Authority And Reach
When you’re an entrepreneur in the digital world presence and authority are everything.
A business without a powerful online presence and strong authority will struggle to grow beyond a certain level. Reach is equally important, for without it, establishing that presence and authority is going to prove difficult.
When you’re starting out as an entrepreneur you have a burst of growth, spurred in part by the energy that goes into starting a business. But at some point, that levels out and you struggle to push it any higher.
Most businesses plateau at a certain point when it comes to increasing the impact they’re making online. I’ve recently been working with Profit Pioneer and money mentor, Laura Elkaslassy, and have come to realise this can often be an upper limit issue.
We get so far and hit a wall of our own making, because pushing it any further would take us well outside our comfort zone. This is a particular issue when it comes to positioning ourselves as an expert with a real presence, because it’s often the first time in our lives we’ve been so publicly viewed in such a light.
Digital marketing has a duel nature: it gives us an unprecedented level of influence and reach that are professionally incredibly helpful, but personally often quite uncomfortable.
Beyond the issues presented by our own mindset, there are real practical limitations to expanding your presence, authority, and reach online.
Namely, time and resources.
Both your expert status and the extent to which that is evident are largely dependent upon your ability to create amazing, high-level content, and really put yourself out there. Yes, there are great ways to automate this, but creating a truly exceptional online presence is still very time consuming. And it can also be frustrating, as it requires long-term effort and energy.
If you’re wondering exactly how you can expand your presence in the most effective, least time-consuming, and least frustrating manner, read on…
What Exactly Is Your ‘Online Presence’
Before we go any further, let’s get totally clear on what we mean by ‘online presence’.
If you add together every platform and identity you have online, from your business website to your marketing platforms, and even your personal social profiles, you have your online presence. It also includes interactions between any of your online profiles or platforms and other people and organisations.
In short, anything you’re doing online is part of your online presence. But in a professional sense, your online presence is much more than this.
When you make an effort to build your platforms, presence, and brand identity online, you go from having a collection of contact points between you and the outside world to a coherent online entity that represents you and your business.
When done right, this will form a consistent online brand that will steadily attract leads, followers, fans, and clients.
This is your online presence, and it’s your portal to success.
How To Boost Your Online Presence, Authority And Reach
I’ve covered the basics of creating an online presence in an article before, but once you’ve gone beyond the initial startup period it’s worth revising some of these points so you can expand on them.
You have to get the basics of your online presence completely solid before you try to build on it.
Set Your Goals
Right before you make a big push to expand your online presence it’s a really good idea to check in with your goals. Are you totally clear on what you’re trying to achieve in your digital marketing, and the direction you’re hoping to move your business in future?
If not, get complete clarity on where you’re heading before you try to put steps in place to get there!
Get Clear On Your Ideal Client And Niche
Knowing who you want to work with is even more essential at this stage than it was when you were first starting out in your business. In the early stages of developing an online presence you can (to some extent) afford to be a little vague on your ideal client.
It’s certainly helps to be totally clear from the start, but you may need to experiment working with different people to really find your groove.
Once you’re at point where you’re ready to push everything up to the next level, and really establish yourself as an authority in your niche, your ideal client can no longer be fuzzy. Nor, for that matter, can your niche!
If you’ve not already, check out my post on using your ideal client to improve your conversions, and download the Ideal Client workbook — make sure you’re 100% clear on who you’re targeting, and what you need to present yourself as an authority in before you go any further.
Without clarity on your ideal client and niche, you run the risk of creating an amazing online presence that doesn’t actually help your business.
Optimise Your Website For Search
The next thing to check is that your website is functioning effectively. Presence is all about getting found; nothing achieves that more effectively or efficiently than SEO.
There are a lot of elements to effective SEO but here are the highlights you want to hit in brief:
- Doing your research as to what your target market are looking for.
- Effective keyword optimisation of all posts and pages (this does not mean simply ensuring Yoast SEO has a green light — there’s more to it than that!).
- Using the latest SEO tactics for blogging.
- Publishing fresh, high-quality content regularly.
- Enhancing your user experience as much as possible by keeping everything clean, simple, easy-to-navigate, and fast to load.
- Ensuring your site works perfectly across all platforms (desktop, tablet, and mobile) and is fully responsive.
- Utilising video marketing and/or starting a vlog.
If you need help ensuring great SEO across your site check out my SEO Training Session, or (if DIY SEO really isn’t your thing) book a consultation with me and we can discuss overhauling your website to ensure awesome SEO.
Build Your List
Growing your email marketing list is an element of running any online empire. It’s one of those things we know we should be giving a huge amount of attention to, but often neglect.
It can feel very overwhelming when you’re first starting out, and it can be time-consuming to set up. When you’re super-busy getting everything going, finding the time to put a really effective list-building strategy in place can be tough.
If you haven’t already, make sure you have a simple and effective lead generation system in place.
Just Do Your Thing
Nothing will tank your authority faster than creating a brand perceived as being anything less than 100% authentic.
It’s natural to look to other brands and industry leaders in your niche, who you admire, for inspiration and motivation. When you’re first starting out, it’s almost a prerequisite, but to truly carve out your own authority you need to stop emulating, stop using other people as your yard stick, and create your own measures of success.
The easiest way to build credibility and expand your platform really is: just do your thing.
It sounds too simple to be true, but devoting yourself to being the best you can possibly be at what you do, and sharing that gift with the world will naturally draw people to you. The more people find their way into your orbit, the more authority you possess and the larger your online presence becomes.
Other people can teach you how to be a better entrepreneur, or a more effective marketer, but they can’t show you how to be you. Only you can figure that part out.
Now we’ve reviewed the basics it’s time to really step up your game. Let’s start with a hard truth:
An awesome online presence is completely possible, but not without consistent effort.
That doesn’t mean you have to hustle yourself into burnout, but it does mean there are certain things you need to work hard on developing. And these aren’t things you do once and leave running on autopilot. You’ll need to regularly revisit them in order to perpetuate your expansion and growth…
A huge part of expanding your reach and succeeding at the other areas of this list is making connections. While there’s loads you can do that’s automated or even outsourced, if you’re really serious about expanding your online presence, and particularly about being seen as an authority, you have to show up.
Get active on your social media, connect with real people, discuss your core topics and talk with them about their own zone of genius, message, and opinions.
You have to not only get visible, but get comfortable being visible.
Grow accustomed to being open with your audience, sharing your thoughts, opinions, and passion. One of the best ways to do this is via Live social media. If you’re not already, get on Facebook Live (or the live version of your preferred platform), and start talking to people directly.
This is not only the best way to maximise your social reach, it will form real connections between you and your audience, which you can then build on with all the other great stuff you’re about to do.
The best launches my clients create happen when they directly connect and talk to their audience by doing Live video on social media, in-person workshops that put them face-to-face with people, and really put the effort into networking.
Reach, authority, expansion and sales all increase faster with the human connection.
One of the biggest hurdles we face when we’re starting out is actually getting things ‘out there’. We often hesitate to launch anything until it’s perfect, and at some point we realise it’s more important to get things done: you just have to put things out there.
The next struggle we face is accepting that the things we have on offer aren’t as good they could be — that they aren’t perfect. We kind of have to talk ourselves into believing what we do is perfect, even when we know it isn’t, because otherwise we’d never have the confidence to sell and deliver it.
The thought of improving what you do is slightly terrifying because it means admitting it’s not perfect as it is.
You may not be able to get things perfect before you start, but once you’ve started you can continue to improve them until they are as close to perfect as possible.
Innovation is a huge part of business growth, but it’s an absolutely essential part of establishing your authority and continually expanding your presence.
Innovators get noticed.
It’s impossible not to pay attention to them. They make waves, they get things done, and they provide newer, better solutions to the fundamental problems faced by their clients.
And innovation not only breeds interest, it fosters loyalty, which bring me to…
Focus On Value
Providing value to your customers is absolutely key to furthering your reach. When people love your business and the things you do for them, they will happily tell other people, who will also fall in love with you and spread the word.
If you get the loyalty part of your business right, your tribe will do a huge part of your job for you by constantly marketing your business, expanding your reach, and strengthening your online presence.
Having fans who are happy to recommend you is also one of the best ways to establish and then grow your authority.
And what’s the key to loyalty?
Every aspect of your business needs to be carefully structured to provide maximum value to your clients, at every stage of their journey. On your website, social media, in your online community, your sales funnel, conversion, onboarding process, and delivery of your products or services, value is key.
This means not only providing high value offerings, but delivering extra value on top of what is expected. Surprise people with the level of value you are prepared to give them on a regular basis.
Get Serious About Your Content Marketing
When it comes to providing extra value, content is the undisputed champion.
If you’re not already blogging regularly with long-form, high-value posts (just like this one!) start now. The SEO benefits of creating regular content are immense, so it’s worth it for this benefit alone, but beyond that your content is a potentially unlimited source of so many crucial things:
- Value for your clients in multiple formats (not just blog posts but videos, infographics, podcasts, images and social media posts).
- Continually increasing your online presence.
- Boosting your reach and encouraging engagement.
- Building a community to compound that engagement, reach, and presence, and provide even more value.
- Clearly establishes and continually reinforces your authority.
- Clearly defines your brand voice and values.
- Builds trust between you and your audience.
- Directly converts readers into clients.
When you reach the point where your primary focus is on expanding your online presence (rather than simply creating it), that means:
- Publishing incredibly high-value new content on your website at least once a week, every week.
- Building content upgrades into your regular posts, and creating even higher-value lead magnets to maximise the opportunities and incentives for people to subscribe to your email list.
- Posting regular, high-value content on social media and doing everything you can to boost your engagement and organic reach.
- Automating as much of your content as possible both on your blog and on your social media to minimise the time requirements for you, while maximising the value offered through your content marketing.
- Repurpose as much of your content as possible to get the most mileage out of it.
While we’re on the subject of content it’s important to widen your focus beyond your own platform(s). Guest posting on other sites is a great way to boost your visibility, grow your audience, and build your authority.
After all, by publishing your piece the site you are writing for is acknowledging that you are an expert and thought-leader in your niche.
Here are a few great sites for building your visibility that are easy to get on:
Release A Book
Releasing a business book is the ultimate form of using content to build your online presence. It will push your authority and reach into the stratosphere, and comes with loads of amazing benefits for your marketing and business in general.
The best part is, if you’re already stepping up your content marketing and remain consistent in those efforts, you will naturally create enough material to repurpose into a book. It will need some editing and restructuring, but it’s well worth it and considerably easier than writing a whole book from scratch!
Book Some Speaking Gigs
If you’re not already, try to get some speaking gigs that give you the opportunity to talk about your zone of genius. This is a great way to market yourself, but even if you don’t make any direct sales from the experience, speaking will put you in front of more people, help build word of mouth, and solidify your reputation as an expert.
Simply having a section on your website that allows people to book you for speaking gigs, and includes photographs or video of you speaking at an event, will do wonders to expand your presence and really cement your authority.
Contribute To Big-Name Sites In Your Niche
This is guest-posting on steroids. In addition to targeting the small or generic sites that are easy to get onto, look at becoming a contributor to big names in your niche. Sites that only accept truly awesome content and have an established audience you know will include a high percentage of your ideal clients.
As an entrepreneur there are loads of great platforms that accept regular expert contributors. It’s a really good idea to find the ones that are specific to your niche, but there are three excellent sites that are generally good for anyone in the business sphere:
Raise Your Prices
Here’s the final trick to really nailing your authority: raise your prices.
The amount you charge people can have a huge effect on the way they perceive you and your business.
The better you get at what you do, the more you should be charging for it, and the more people expect to pay. Nothing establishing your authority and expertise faster than charging expert prices.
All of these tactics will help you to establish the kind of online presence and gravitas your brand deserves, but most of them are long-term solutions. There are a few, like a price increase or speaking gigs, that can give you a bit of an instant boost, with even better ongoing benefits, but most need time to work.
Not only that, they need consistent effort.
You’ll also want to regularly check on everything covered here to make sure you’re doing it as well as you can, and getting the maximum ROI out of every aspect. Your goals and business will change over time, and you may need to shift the focus of these elements to ensure they remain aligned with your brand.
Be patient, and persevere!
I’ve put together a free checklist to help you easily map out the elements of your online presence you want to focus on this year to start building your online presence, authority and reach. Get it here.
And if you need any help boosting your business’ visibility or optimising your online presence book a free consultation and we can talk about how best to put you and your business on the map…
Originally published at optimiseandgrow.online on March 28, 2018.