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For any business, your brand is one of the most important things about you. It's your intellectual property, your social currency, your reputation and what makes you distinct from any other organisation. It is arguably easier now than it ever has been to reinforce and promote your brand, due to media and technologies that allow for non-specialist participation that reaches a mass audience.I'm of course talking about search and the interweb, (mainly Google).
To illustrate; imagine I'm a small business in the 1960's seeking to make the public aware of its existence. I'd have to think about physical, visible signage for my premises and advertise in the classifieds. All of that costs money and would involve hiring specialist professionals to create such signage and ad copy. Fast-forward to today, and a small business director has everything they need to make their business brand known; strong and discoverable, just a few keystrokes away.
Of course this works both ways! So, just as a brand owner has some great tools and resources to reach a wider audience more quickly, so does a brand consumer have numerous outlets to transmit their dissatisfaction or voice their opinion. And rightly so; as it's a good thing this so-called democratisation of the web allows all of us consumers to voice our opinions in an open and public forum. It can be a headache for brands however, as this unregulated, unofficial content on the web vies for attention with your own material. Now; we're not about to advocate attempting to bury all negative publicity, it is still publicity. What we are advocating is that you seek to 'own' your brand message at least on page 1 of the search engines.
Why Own Page 1 for Your Brand Results?
Consistency of message
Brand recognition and reinforcement
Increase traffic to your owned and operated websites
Look like a big deal
How to Own Page 1! (It's easier than you think).
Get Your Domain Name: Make sure you own your brand domain name. www.whatever.com and the local TLD for each market in which you operate; that is if you don't already! Your own company website is the easiest way to own your first result.
Join Professional Directories: Add yourself to professional and local directories for your sector, thus controlling profile information and having the knock-on benefit of association.
Write and Distribute Press Releases: Writing specific and tailored news about your company is a great way to inform often, and in an official way. Distributing this news as a press release to your online press and having this covered is absolutely invaluable. Trade press publishers naturally tend to rank well due to the authority of their content.
Create a Social Media Presence: Social media is a fantastic, wide-reaching and cost-effective way of essentially, advertising your brand. Facebook pages, Linkedin profiles and CrunchBase profiles are all good ways to extend your brand message. We looked at a couple of good practise tips to be aware of, when expanding your social media brand in a previous post.
Blog and Comment: Nobody knows your business like you do. So get out there and blog, guest blog, comment on related blogs. Establish your internet credentials by showing exactly how much you do know about integrated circuits, or bridal gown design or whatever it is that you do.
Although we can't control (nor should we want to control) what is said about our brand, but we can control what we say about our brand; so there's really no excuse not to.