Your brand is the lifeblood of your business. Failure to maintain your brand can have significant negative consequences. If you don’t effectively build a brand, you’ll struggle to compete. And now, with consumers making more and more purchases via mobile applications and the Web, online branding is critical to building your overall brand strategy.
There are a few places where you need to brand yourself online and several methods for doing so successfully. Regardless of whether you are a new business or have been operating for years, chances are you have missed some of these.
1. Social media
It seems like a no-brainer, but many people miss out on branding through social media. Claiming your profile, even if you do not use it, is essential across all social media channels. So, if you are not going to use a specific social media platform, why claim it?
First, you never want to let someone else have the opportunity to claim your profile. You will go through hell trying to get it back through the social media site on which it was claimed. It also helps with search engine rankings. “Social media profiles are often amongst the top results in search listings for brand names,” according to Kissmetrics. That alone should be enough to encourage you to claim all your profiles.
2. Mainstream media
You might think that the last thing you want to do is get involved in media outreach. It is expensive to hire a public relations firm and time consuming to contact media outlets on your own. If only there were a website where journalists would post stories they are working on, and give you an opportunity to send them a pitch to be used in the story. Oh wait, there is.
Help-a-Reporter-Out (also referred to as HARO) is a free service that connects writers, experts and influencers from all niches. You will receive three emails per day, which contain all the stories being worked on, and you can then respond to the ones you have insight about. You will end up with a brand mention along with a backlink (most of the time), which will help get your name out there. All without paying big money to a PR firm.
Wikipedia is the 6th-most-visited website in the world. It ranks on the first page for just about every search term and has tremendous influence on your Google Knowledge graph. So why wouldn’t you want a Wikipedia page?
Branding yourself on Wikipedia is impossible unless you have branded yourself elsewhere. The site has what is referred to as a “notability standard,” which is only met if you have significant press coverage in the mainstream media. If you do qualify for inclusion in Wikipedia, keep things short. “People come to Wikipedia to obtain basic information, not to get sold on a product or service,” says Wikipedia expert Mike Wood in a blog post on Legalmorning. “Having a long Wikipedia article is not necessarily better.”
For those who do not qualify for Wikipedia, and even for those who do, I highly recommend CrunchBase. It is similar in format to Wikipedia and is free to use. It has a domain authority of 80+, which means you will have a high-quality backlink. However, there is another thing CrunchBase will help you with – TrustRank!
A recent article by Maher Abiad on SERPWoo details the importance of TrustRank. “SEOs are relying on new metrics in search engines which hover around trust and authority,” says Abiad. “The main thing we need to do to improve a site’s authority is to improve its TrustRank.” Abiad lists CrunchBase as one of the seed sites that can help increase your TrustRank.
Podcasting is a relatively little-known goldmine that has yet to be explored by many. However, podcasting is a great way to gain exposure, and conversion rates are much higher than those of any other form of digital media. “It turns out that podcast listeners are highly affluent, highly engaged and respond incredibly well to commercial messages in a podcast,” says Simon Dunant in an article on LinkedIn Pulse.
There are two ways you can brand yourself through podcasting. The first is to land yourself as a guest on podcasts. The other is to start your own podcast. Both methods will take up some of your time, but the conversion rate and branding potential is more than worth it.
There’s much more to online branding than just having a Website. Social media and other platforms provide opportunities for you to build your brand all over the connected world.
Brian Horvath is a freelance writer from Michigan and founder of MyBusinessTalk. He is a journalism graduate and a regular contributor to numerous online magazines and journals.