It’s no secret that established, older businesses have multiple critical advantages over their smaller, newer counterparts. They have access to more resources. They have more room for error. They have a more robust team and long-established partnerships pushing the organization forward. But one of the most important advantages is their long-standing reputation; their good reputation means they benefit from reliable client retention, and they have an easier time attracting new customers to the business.
As the owner of a new business, you likely understand the best way to build a reputation long-term; you simply have to provide excellent service. If you serve enough customers and make those customers happy, they’ll leave good reviews, make recommendations, and over time, your reputation will naturally flourish.
The problem is, this approach can take years, or even decades – and your business doesn’t have that kind of time.
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So is there a way to build your business’s reputation faster?
The short answer is yes.
Step One: Create Content
The modern marketing world is dominated by content, partly because of how universally useful it is. You can use content as part of a blogging and identity strategy. You can use it for onsite search engine optimization (SEO). You can even use it for your email newsletters, social media channels, and PPC advertising campaigns.
If you want to build a reputation, everything starts with having a strong base of onsite content. That means hiring a professional or having an excellent writer on your team fill up your company’s blog with posts that demonstrate:
- Expertise. You need to prove that you’re an expert in this subject by citing original research, making valid claims, and providing knowledge or insights that people can’t get elsewhere.
- Originality. There are millions of active and popular blogs out there. If you want to stand out with any kind of meaningful reputation, your work needs to be original.
- Practical use. Ideally, your content will also have some kind of practical benefit for the people reading it. Does it help them build a business? Create better relationships? Relieve stress at the end of the day?
Once you have a solid blog in place, you’ll be ready to move to the next step.
Step Two: Start Building Links
Hopefully, people will start reading your blog on their own, and your reputation will begin to show signs of growth. But if you want to achieve more momentum, you’ll need to be proactive – and start building links to your work.
There are a few different approaches you can take to building links, but the best way is to write detailed, high-quality articles for offsite publishers. This way, you’ll appeal to your target audience (and avoid risking a penalty from Google).
External links pointing back to your blog have a number of reputation benefits, including:
- Brand recognition. People who see your links, and your offsite content, will immediately recognize your brand.
- Publisher associations. If you’re building links by writing offsite content (as you should), your brand will be associated with prominent publishers – making your brand seem more credible and authoritative as a result.
- Direct traffic. If relevant and well-placed, your links should generate referral traffic, sending more people directly to your blog – where you can truly show off your original expertise.
- SEO benefits. Links are a crucial tool in SEO. Building more links from authoritative sources will increase your domain authority, ultimately increasing your rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Step Three: Nurture and Grow
The final step in this reputation-building process is to nurture and grow your strategy. Over time, you’ll want to work with bigger, more authoritative publishers, moving from the entry-level niche publishers you first reached to national-scale publications. You’ll also want to spend time creating new blog posts and nurturing your regular readership; the more your blog readers are engaged, the more they’ll consume your future work, and the more your brand’s reputation will grow.
One Big Caveat
There is one big caveat to this approach to reputation building, however. It’s completely contingent on your ability to run a good business worth promoting. It doesn’t matter how much content you create, how many links you build, or how many people you get to visit your site; if you don’t offer good products and services, or if your customer service is awful, your reputation is going to suffer. Always prioritize serving your customers first, and then work on building your reputation.
Still, even with that caveat, this approach remains one of the best and fastest ways to grow the reputation of a new business. With even a small investment of time and money, you can begin getting more attention for your brand.