by Lauren Wise
When it comes to marketing your business or expertise, the avenues to do so—from blogging to advertising to social media—are endless, yet seem necessary. And with 50% of companies planning to increase marketing spending in 2015 , it’s time to up your game.
That ultimate end game is to have your name pop up when someone searches online for your services or products. One of the fastest ways to attract that attention and business is to align yourself as a top expert in your field. When people see you as an expert, no matter if it is graphic design, fitness, carpet cleaning, or beauty products, they will pay top dollar for your assistance, provide referrals, and come back again and again.
The biggest problem?
Most professionals don’t know how to organize a game plan of how to get there. I’ve had so many clients who recognized the value in this concept, but they needed help crafting the content that brands them as an expert.
But it’s easier then you think.
You don’t need a pricey marketing team—the new marketing model is all about offering free, valuable information in the form of guides, books, videos and articles.
Here are four ways to brand yourself as an expert.
If done well, a video can be persuasive, memorable and packed with information—and it doesn’t have to be more than a few minutes long. Videos can help promote your services or product in a variety of ways, whether it is a how-to video, a tour of a facility, a showy display, or a short speech on the importance of what you’re offering.
All you have to do is create a YouTube and Vimeo account for your company, and then post the video to garner social signals for SEO.
Keep in mind:
- The video isn’t just about the visuals; it’s important to say or display the right words.
- You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to make a video. You can work your way up to better equipment. However, make it look as professional as possible. Keep a clear background or display a banner with your logo, speak loudly, energetically and clearly, dress professionally, and don’t be afraid to use hand gestures.
2. Case Studies
A case study is a solid way to display a product or service, and actual research on how it helps a client.
After starting with a summary of the study, explain the challenges you encountered, or the client’s problem. Then write out the steps to the solution in a clear manner. Discuss the results and how it was successful, and then write a conclusion and a call to action.
- Capture the reader with a problem that you know is unique yet common.
- It’s important that the study read as an inspiring “success story,” so a person doesn’t feel like they are being inundated with a marketing pitch. This means it must be written well, and should be polished by an editor.
A guide is like a more detailed, longer blog, usually around 10,000 words. The whole idea is to provide a “guide” to clients that helps ease a concern about a potential need/problem, prompting them to take action and hire your company to fix the issue. At the very least, it instills trust with a professional, because you gave them free advice.
First, think of one topic that reflects something you do or provide for your clients regularly. Hone in on the common problem that you are addressing. Then, introduce that problem in the guide. Offer a solution, explain each step of reaching the solution, and finally, summarize and provide a conclusion
- To be effective a guide must look good. This means you should recruit the services of a designer, and writer/editor.
- Offer the first guide as a free PDF, and beef up your email list in the process: “Register and receive this guide for FREE!”
- With multiple guides, you can charge a few dollars to download.
4. Self-Publish a Book
While this might seem daunting, the pay-off can be huge if you put in the patience and time to self-publish a paperback or ebook. It not only alludes to the fact that you “wrote the book” on a subject, but it positions you as a thought leader. Either:
- Put aside time each day to write what you know, whether it is an extended version of a guide, a collection of case studies, memoir, or human interest story of converting challenges into successes.
- Build off of blog posts by posting regular blogs on your area of expertise, and then section those into different chapters. Keep an eye on the blog comments as well—it helps you address the needs of those who seeking your expertise.
- Writing and self-publishing a book is a great way to snag speaking engagements and conferences.
Keep in mind:
- Marketable, eye-catching books have really good titles. Put thought into it, and make it self-explanatory.
- If you don’t know where to start, contact a service that can help you create an outline, ghostwrite, or edit what you already have written. Other services can help walk you through the best self-publishing options for your budget and audience.
Lauren Wise, Editor, Writer and Self-Publishing Consultant at Midnight Publishing.
Lauren Wise, Head of Editorial, has been a writer, book editor and magazine editor for over 10 years. In 2009, she established Midnight Publishing to help other writers just like her in the struggling economy. Midnight Publishing provides editing, writing, proofing, publishing, website and consulting services to dozens of customers in Arizona and throughout the country.
A graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Lauren has worked as a magazine editor and contributed a few hundred articles to publications on the topics of publishing, travel, music, cooking and wine. Lauren Wise lived all over the country and traveled throughout Europe, Vietnam, Taiwan, The Virgin Islands, Cambodia, Canada and Mexico, making her open to several cultures, ideas and editorial styles.