I was reading something the other day that featured a quote: It’s not what you say about your business that matters; it’s what other people say.  Whilst what other people say is really important, really smart business owners invest time and effort in ensuring that there is lots of positive information about their business visible in the public domain.  This ensures that there is always something to start conversations about and get people talking.

How does this work?

rave iconYour Reputation is what people say about you, but you can influence that by ensuring they know what they’re talking about.  I don’t mean lots of ‘we’ve done this’ and ‘we won that’ (although a little boasting about your successes is OK as long as it’s not all you do); I’m talking about publishing and posting information that helps people to form a positive impression of you and your organisation.  If people see enough information of value from you they will form their own opinion of who you are and your approach to business.

I was on a teleseminar some years ago and the coach, Alicia, was telling us about a new client she had just acquired.  Alicia had received a phone call from this lady asking if she could become a coaching client and enquired how the lady had found her.  “Oh I’ve known you for about 18 months,” was the reply.  

Alicia couldn’t place her and apologised, “I’m so sorry, but I don’t recollect where we met, could you remind me?”

“Oh we haven’t met,” came the reply.  “But I’ve been getting your newsletter all that time.”

This just shows how people get to ‘know’ you even without any conversation – and I’m sure you’ve been in a similar situation where you’ve received lots of information from someone whose email feed you’ve signed up to and feel that you ‘know’ that person.

The best way to gain a solid reputation is for being what is sometimes called a ‘thought leader’ – or an Authority on your area of specialism.  The best way to do this is to get published in your industry journals, speak at events on your expert subject and become the go-to person whenever that subject comes up.  There’s no quick fix to this, but getting published isn’t always as hard as it may appear; many journal editors are always looking for good quality material to fill their pages so don’t be shy about getting in touch.  Offer to speak at your local networking events or Chamber of Commerce meetings and then build on that.

If you aren’t Visible, people forget you.  Blogging, publishing articles, social media posts, newsletters and email marketing are all ways of keeping your target audience and the world at large aware of you.  I know that I’ve had business from people that I may have met once, years ago, but they have seen my posts on Twitter regularly so felt that we were still in touch.  Without that visibility they would have forgotten I exist and found someone else to do the work.

If you don’t demonstrate your Expertise, how can people know how good you are at what you do?  Publishing a regular blog is an opportunity to show off your specialist knowledge.  Posting tips and advice on social media is another way to share your knowledge and demonstrate what you know.  People have asked me to present at their events because of some of the blogs that I’ve published; I’ve got into conversations with people on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as a result of their comments on my tips that has started conversations and turned them into either clients or joint venture partners.

Where do you start?

A blog OR a set of tips is a good start – you can either turn the tips into a blog or the blog into tips!  If you watch the free video tutorial at www.3andahalfsteps.com it will give you some ideas to get your system off the ground.  Then you need to get a the habit of doing something regularly and consistently.

Start soon and it will pay off, but it takes time so don’t expect results immediately.  Remember, Google likes content too so the more relevant content you add to your blog the more people will find it in searches too.