As you are building your credibility, there are many things that you can do before you actually meet a single client or prospective client. Positioning your brand is critical before you do anything else. Everything else will follow after that.
Your first step
Laying the groundwork is extremely important for your business. Of course, your business branding is of the utmost importance. The more prepared you are and the stronger your branding is, the more effectively you will be viewed by your clients and prospective clients. When you first start to build relationships and a reputation, you credibility doesn’t yet exist in the eyes of other people. Both credibility and trust are two qualities that must be earned. It is very important to understand that trust and credibility have nothing at all to do with selling directly. In fact, you will need to build trust and credibility before you can sell anything to anyone.
Once you have been able to successfully build meaningful relationships with people, your next step is “putting your money where your mouth is.” In other words, you will need to create content to back up what you have claimed about yourself and your business. The whole point of establishing your reputation as an expert is to be able to solve other people’s problems. You should go by the marketing principle “WIIFM” (What’s In It For Me). If you can prove to your online connections that you have enough knowledge and expertise to solve their problems and to teach them new things that they didn’t even know existed, you will succeed at getting them to regard you as an expert. If they regard you as an expert, they will want to build that relationship with you and will become loyal to you as well. When it comes to the response that you will get from your online connections if the quality is top notch, you will see that your connections are more than happy to share your content with other people whom they know and trust. With the sophistication of technology today, it is very easy for content marketers to publish content that will leave no doubt about your level of credibility and expertise.
There are many different places that you can publish and share your content so that it falls into the correct hands:
- Blogs: A blog is an excellent place to share your content marketing materials. One of the wonderful features of a blog is the comments feature. People can read your blog and can make comments or pose questions so that an animated discussion comes out of it. This will give you a great deal of mileage and you may get additional topics on which to write and to continue to solidify your credibility.
- Whitepaper: A whitepaper is a great place to publish your content. You can really establish your credibility and continue to strengthen your reputation as an expert in your niche or industry.
- Video: A video is another excellent expression of content marketing materials. Many people are visual and your ideas will come across to those people much more effectively through a video than with words on a page.
Making sure that people can find your content
It is critical that you make your content easy to be found. At the same time, it is equally important that your content contains clear messages and communicates exactly what you can do for other people and what you can teach them. Most people love to learn new things as much as possible. However, it is also important for you to give your online connections a sensible amount of content and not too much. Too much content will cause them to absorb none of it.
Building credibility and trust with your online connections is not difficult as long as you are patient, persistent, and you continue to put their needs above your own needs. Of course, it goes without saying that you also need to know what you are talking about. It is important to always consider what your online connections want first. Express to them that you will give them the benefit of all that you know and that they will be better for having learned from your experience. If you are able to do that, you will build credibility and they will be loyal to you and your business for a very long time.
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Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).