How to Market Yourself When You’re A “Nobody”

How to Market Yourself When You’re A “Nobody”

Have you ever seen the kinda-comedy, kinda-romance, kinda-drama movie “Memoirs of an Invisible Man”?

Amongst all the classics Chevy Chase has starred in, this one doesn’t rank highly. Yet, if you’re starting out in business, it might capture exactly how you feel.

Nobody – and I mean nobody – can see you.

But even worse than the movie, often nobody can hear you either.

Luckily, you don’t have to stay invisible for long. These five marketing moves can help you quickly establish your name, build your brand and move from an invisible nobody to a well-known expert in short order.

Social Media

Let’s start with the obvious way to market as a nobody: social media. Depending on what you’re trying to do, social media channels can be a great way to rapidly build from nothing.

What It Is

These ubiquitous platforms are so entrenched in daily life they need no introduction, but here’s the dictionary definition:

Websites and other online means of communication that are used by large groups of people to share information and to develop social and professional contacts. (Dictionary.com)

How It Works

In this social media-soaked age, I don’t think I need to go into too much detail around how social media works.

  1. You connect with others, whether they’re like-minded, in similar jobs or industries, or possibly very different people
  2. You post fascinating, engaging content that readers will stop to look at
  3. They consume that content (and hopefully engage with it and you)

Then, you rinse and repeat.

What You Get

The #1 benefit of social media is the audience you get access to. Even at your peak, you may still not get as much traffic to your site engaging in content as you do on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

A huge audience with a voracious appetite for content is the perfect place to start sharing your expertise with the world.

What You Give

Social media isn’t just fantastic because of the potential audience. It’s also completely free to market on all of these platforms, which is perfect when you’re on a shoe-string budget.

Note: obviously, you can use pay-per-click advertising too, but for many that’s a financial step too far in these fledgling stages.

The biggest commitment for social media is your time. Writing a lazy post or slapping together an image might take you 10-15 minutes, but if you’re going to stand out in the sea of content, you’re going to have to roll your sleeves up.

If social media is something you’re using (and if not, why the heck not!), check out 5 ways you can make a killer impression on whichever platform you’re using.

Comment Marketing

You’ve probably seen blogs with comments that seem to scroll on endlessly and haven’t thought twice about them. But guess what: there’s opportunity in those comments!

What It Is

Comment Marketing is where you make useful, interesting comments in engaging blogs or online communities.

How It Works

If you have any skill in your field, Comment Marketing is pretty simple to do:

  1. Find blogs and communities in your niche that have audiences engaging in comments
  2. Leave thoughtful comments that contribute to the discussion or topic
  3. If you get replies, be sure to follow up quickly to make the most of the conversation

That’s it!

One important thing to note: Comment Marketing is as much about WHERE you’re engaging as the WHAT. Find a blog or community that’s already got people interacting, and you’ll find opportunities to build and amplify your brand. Try to do it in a “ghost town”, and all you’ll get are tumbleweeds.

What You Get

Comment Marketing can be a classic case of “you get what you give”.

Any comment you make on a blog or forum can leave a “bread crumb trail” back to your site or social media through your profile. So it makes sense that deep, insightful comments on the right blog or forum can amplify the chances people will look you up. Even if they don’t, you’re getting exposure as someone who knows what they’re talking about.

Secondly, you *may* be able to leave a (relevant) link back to your site in a comment. This can be a risky game, as obvious self-promotional practices are often banned and frowned upon. The rules differ from site to site, so if you want to drop a link into your comment, be sure to check what’s allowed first.

BONUS! Blogs or forums can be a useful “slow burn” for marketing yourself. While they get most of their attention just after publication, they’re usually not going anywhere… and neither are your comments. People may still stumble across that content months or even years later, and that means they also see your insightful, useful comments (and profile… and links…) right alongside it.

What You Give

When you’re Comment Marketing, you’re giving up the time you spend engaging with those blogs, along with the skills or expertise you’re sharing (for free).

For some, writing comments or replying to others will seem more like fun than marketing. Others will feel it a waste of time and “not real marketing”.

Warning : this isn’t a spam exercise where you plaster simple comments everywhere to get yourself noticed. When you post comments or replies, ALWAYS keep things relevant, respectful and rewarding (for others).

If you’re looking for an easy way to get started with Comment Marketing, check out Quora or StackExchange, two social networks that focus on answering questions with in-depth, useful comments.

Joint Venture Marketing

You may be just starting out. Nobody may know who you are. But that doesn’t mean you can’t “piggy back” on other, better-known businesses out there.

What It Is

Joint Venture Marketing is a coordinated marketing effort between two (or more) businesses with the intent to promote those businesses.

How It Works

Typically, it allows both businesses to market at their combined audiences or do an “audience swap”, where Business A can market to Business B’s audience and vice versa.

With the digital marketing landscape now well and truly entrenched, businesses have a lot of new possibilities with which to launch JV marketing campaigns:

  • Co-host or sponsor a webinar or podcast
  • Shared content creation, like a sponsored report or white paper
  • Cross-promotion via email, website, brochure or social media

What You Get

In short, a brand-new audience you can promote your products or services to.

Without understating this, an audience – especially one in a related niche to your business – can be an incredible boost when you’re new on the scene. With JV marketing, you can temporarily bypass the difficult, laborious and often long process of establishing your own audience with an “instant” shot of prospects and leads.

What You Give

This infographic on Joint Venture mistakes highlights two problems that you, as a starter, might run into.

  1. You’ve got nothing valuable to offer
  2. You’re a nobody

 

So, without the audience or the “name”, how do you get around these?

Start with yourself. Do you have new expertise you can provide your JV partner’s audience? This can be a great way for your partner to build and deepen relationships

As a starting point, you might provide expertise or authority to your partner’s audience that they haven’t had access to before.

Secondly, can you help your partner move into a new market (if they’re that way inclined)? Provide your expertise to the business

Thirdly, and perhaps the best way to increase your chances of future JVs, work on building up your brand so you can embark on future JVs on a more equal footing.

Remember: as the “junior partner”, you may have to give a lot to get the attention of more-established businesses, but if you can come to an arrangement, a JV can be super-beneficial when you’re starting out.

Guest Posting

When your site or blog is getting zero traffic, a great way to build up your reputation, “SEO juice” and traffic is to post on other sites.

What It Is

Guest posting is exactly what is says it is: when you post a “guest” blog on another site. This might be a one-off, or you might come to an ongoing arrangement to regularly post there.

How It Works

When you’re just getting started, it’s highly unlikely anybody’s asking you to blog for them. But that’s no problem, as there are plenty of sites happy to accept high-quality blog posts from experts.

(If you haven’t noticed, marketing.com.au is a perfect example of a site that accepts marketing-based guest blogs!)

So, here’s what you do…

  1. Brainstorm a list of ideas you could confidently write a blog around. You’ll see why this is useful in Step 4.
  2. Do a Google search for sites in your niche that accept guest blogs. You can do this by entering commands like this: your_subject “guest post”, your_subject “guest article”, your_subject “submit guest post”. You may have to hunt around a little, but you’ll build up a solid list of possible sites.
  3. Visit each site on your list to make sure they:
    1. Do actually accept guest blog posts (sometimes sites stop accepting them)
    2. Are a good fit for what you specialise in
  4. Choose a few of the sites that look the best fit and get in touch. Be sure to write a message that’s more than “hey, I’d love to write for you!”. Give them at least a couple of ideas from your list.
  5. Now… wait. Sometimes you’ll get a reply in a couple of days, other times a couple of weeks, and some you won’t get any response (don’t be discouraged – you don’t need a 100% hit rate to reap big gains from this).
  6. Once you get your first “yes”, start writing!

 

What You Get

As we touched on before, there are three big benefits for writing a guest post.

Reputation

When you’ve got to build a reputation as an expert in your field, you’ve got to be visible in the right places. Guest blog posting gets your name popping up in those places. As you write for more blogs in your field, people keep seeing your name… and your reputation slowly grows.

“SEO Juice” (AKA backlinks)

If your site’s brand new, you’ve got no chance on competing against well-established sites for many of the keywords in your industry. They have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of backlinks pointing to their site, giving it massive credibility to the search engines like Google.

When you write a guest post for another site, you often get a backlink to yours. And little by little, you can boost your site’s rating in the eyes of Google and have it slowly climb the search rankings.

Traffic

A guest post can act like a breadcrumb trail, leading people from other places all across the Web back to your site. Whether it’s through the backlink on the guest post or people looking you up, your article may give your site a nice bump in terms of visitors.

What You Give

There’s a big reason why there’s such a demand for guest posts.

Content

To keep visitors coming back for more, sites are often looking for fresh, quality content every week. And that spells opportunity for you.

Obviously, each guest post you write takes time and effort. And at the end of it, it’s content that’s not going on your site. This might seem reasonable when you’re starting out, but as you develop, juggling guest posts with content for your own site is something you might have to balance.

Syndicating Content

The “cousin” of guest blogging, content syndication can offer you the best of two worlds: getting your name out there while building content for your own site.

What It Is

Instead of writing fresh, 100% original content for another site, you re-post a blog from your own site somewhere else.

For example, Medium is a common platform where people syndicate content from their original blogs. The business-oriented Business2Community is another platform that allows content syndication.

How It Works

Many sites that accept guest blog posts will only accept original content, so you’ll have to dig around a little harder to find those sites that will allow syndicated content.

(If you’re worried about the possibilities of duplicate content and SEO, there are ways to handle it. Check out this video and blog on syndicating content by Moz, one of the Net’s most respected SEO authorities.)

What You Get

Content syndication gives you much the same benefits as guest posting does:

  1. A chance to increase your reputation
  2. A backlink that boosts your site’s status in the eyes of the search engines
  3. A new audience and some welcome traffic to your site

What You Give

This is where syndication has an advantage over guest posting: the content you write can be used to boost your own site, while still getting your name out in the wide, wide world of the Internet.

Effectively, you’re getting value for two (or more) blogs for the price of one!

SPOILER: In “Memoirs”, Chevy Chase’s character never finds a cure for his invisibility.

It doesn’t have to be that way for you. Choose a couple of the methods that stand out for you, start practicing them diligently, and you’ll become a “somebody” in your field before you know it.

This article originally appeared on Marketing. Read the original here.

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Read more about Australian Marketing Agency. 

John Singh
john@ausmarketing.com.au

John is the head of marketing at the 'Australian Marketing Agency'. John's expertise lies in creating outstanding and innovative solutions to help businesses reach their full potential by developing brand stories and user experiences which viscerally connects with the target audience and delivers mind-blowing results.

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