Unless you are in a Web-related business, chances are you don’t necessarily think about how to use your expertise online. When you do, it can be a great way of building your reputation and bringing more customers through your doors. Assuming you have some expertise, but need a nudge to help you use it effectively online, here are a few ideas.
Proactively answer questions. There are more and more ways for people to ask questions about nearly any subject today. LinkedIn Answers is popular with professional audiences who ask questions to their own networks. Facebook status updates and tweets on Twitter often include people seeking other’s opinions or experiences. And, social answering sites like Quora are getting a lot of buzz right now because they let people ask questions to a crowd and then bring answers together. Each of them is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your expertise.
To do it, just create an account (if you don’t already have one) with four sites to start; Facebook, Quora, Twitter and LinkedIn. Then search for relevant questions that relate to your business and try to make it a point to answer one or two questions per day based on your expertise. Over a span of time, the quality of your answers will bring people to your site and your small business.
Create a “how to” video. Several studies have shown recently that one of the most popular phrases searched for on YouTube or Google is “how to.” That means that if you want your video to be found by the most people, make sure you use the words “how to” in the video’s title. In terms of the content for the video, think about some of the questions you commonly get from your customers or things that people often wonder about when considering who to work with.
For example, if you have a dental practice, a good video could be “how to choose a great dentist.” Videos that address a question that many consumers are likely to have are the ones that will ultimately get the most views and be seen as the most useful. Then make sure it is easy for anyone watching the video to learn more about your business.
Be a guest contributor/author. There are already key media sources that people go to in order to learn more about topics that relate to your business. Instead of always trying to compete with them, consider how you might get featured on a relevant site so you can share your expertise with a built-in audience.
For this to work best, you need to think in terms of a freelance writer. What topic would the maximum amount of people be interested in reading about? Is it topical and relevant to what is happening in the world right now? What makes you the best person to write this piece? Once you can answer these questions, you can approach the manager/editor of any site and offer to write a contributed article.
Volunteer to do it without payment, give them an idea of the topic you would cover, and share a bit about your background and why you’re qualified to write that piece. As long as it is clear your article won’t be overly promotional, you would be surprised how often online editors are willing to publish content like this-and it can do wonders for your reputation.
Publish an evergreen “content bomb.” One of my favorite terms in the world of blogging is what I call a “content bomb.” This is essentially a piece of content that can act as a land mine (but in a good way). It will sit online for days or months or years, but when someone searches for something relevant to it, they will uncover this piece of content and it will address their question while also demonstrating a deep level of expertise on the part of the writer.
Good examples of this are PDFs, eBooks, topical blog posts or videos. This content can be anything you like, and it can be posted on your website or through a third-party site. Either way, choosing the topic is the most important thing, and it needs to be something people will always want to know about.
Rohit Bhargava is the award-winning author of “Personality Not Included,” a founding member of the Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence team, and adjunct professor of Global Marketing at Georgetown University. He blogs at Influential Marketing Blog, where a version of this article originally ran.