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Out-of-the-box thinking with digital marketing is a great tool for setting your business apart from its competitors. Sometimes, getting ahead really is a matter of doing what your rivals aren’t, breaking new ground, and being the first to innovate.
Standing out on the Internet is more important for business than ever before. In almost every situation, the classic pillars of digital marketing (SEO, paid ad campaigns, content marketing and social media posts) are vital if you want to be noticed.
However, there’s often something to be said for a bit of lateral thinking. This can help you find an angle that your competitors haven’t even thought of.
In this post, we’re going to look at four less-commonly-used ideas for growing your reputation online - and how to get the best out of each strategy.
1. Start a podcast
Depending on your industry, a podcast could prove to be a potent marketing tool.
Of course, if approached poorly, your podcast could just as easily turn out to be a burden that needs to be marketed heavily in its own right. For this reason, it’s important to create the show in such a way that it will naturally attract an audience - by including your desired listeners in the production of the show.
Why not reach out to potential customers and ask if they’d like to be interviewed on the podcast? This will likely cause them to share the episode around to all of their contacts - and they’ll likely think of you first when they need work done.
There are many ways to get setup for podcasting. It can be as low-budget as an iPhone recording audio on a table between people - or a big-budget production with professional microphones, video cameras, and a soundproofed studio. You could set up a space for recording or your own premises, or rent a local studio for an hour to get the show done.
For most mid-range purposes, a decent podcasting setup can be achieved with a couple of consumer-grade microphones, pop filters, and a computer to capture and edit the audio.
2. Publish research
Everybody likes having data to back up their points.
By becoming a source of original research, your company website can become an industry authority that everybody else links to - citing your material as the basis for theirs.
What kind of research?
Well, for the sake of argument, let’s say you run a company that provides security services for commercial and office premises - security cameras, electronic locks, intruder alarms, and the like.
You could put together a report full of industry statistics and facts - how is the rate of security breaches affected by having cameras installed? What percentage of businesses report having security measures in place? How much do most companies spend on security, as an average? And so on.
This data can either come as the result of original research that you’ve conducted yourself - perhaps by collating all of your existing business records, or reaching out to customers to ask them to fill out surveys and questionnaires - or ‘desk research’, which essentially involves trawling pre-existing sources of publicly available data to see if it can be re-interpreted or combined to create new insights.
By publishing reports and infographics with these kinds of facts and figures, you can naturally attract links and become an authoritative source of data in your industry - giving great boosts to your SEO and your reputation at the same time.
3. Ask Me Anything
Reddit is a gigantic website that calls itself “the front page of the internet”, and has 330 million monthly active users.
Ask Me Anything - AMA for short - is a popular segment of the site where all sorts of people from interesting backgrounds offer to answer questions from the site’s users. Frequent appearances are made by celebrities, scientists and academics (and quite often people who coincidentally happen to have a new book coming out).
Notable past AMA sessions have included Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Edward Snowden, the creators of Futurama, Gordon Ramsay, and other celebrities - but also non-famous researchers, explorers, and people working in interesting fields.
Posts are published to the /r/iama subreddit, usually with a format along the lines of “I am Sally Whatshername, a leading healthcare professional with 30+ years experience teaching yoga and meditation, ask me anything!”
Of course, if your profession is something that might be of interest to the general public this can be a fantastic boost to your reputation and visibility - and it can also help improve your SEO standing through the magic of E.A.T (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness).
The best part is, it only takes an hour or two of your time and doesn’t cost a penny.
4. Behind the scenes
Many businesses want to present a super-cleaned-up, flawless image to the world, and sometimes that’s a good way to approach digital marketing.
However - perhaps unintuitively - there also can be real value in showing how the sausage is made, so to speak. By using your social posts to ‘pull back the curtain’ and show how things really go on in your office, factory, or premises, you can allow your customers to connect with you and see what your business is really all about.
Not only can this allow your followers to appreciate the hard work that goes into everything you do, they can get to know your team and connect with them as people. If your customers feel like they really know you and how you work, you’ll be top of their list when the time comes to order something.
Some businesses have really turned this up to 11, with full-on video series documentaries following the day-to-day goings on at their companies like a reality show. You may not want to go that far, but a bit of behind-the-scenes openness can go a long way to building trust and reputation.
This could take the form of a backstage tour of your factory or warehouse premises, frank and honest interviews with your team members, or process videos showing how you approach going about the work that you do (obviously without giving away any trade secrets you’d rather protect!).
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