Posted on: February 16, 2021
What does it mean when someone says, “I’ve heard of you”? It means that your brand has value, and hearing that only adds more positive capital to your brand (unless you’re known for the wrong reasons).
If people have heard of you, then the power of “word of mouth” is working in the background, on your behalf. The sales pitch is already on its way. You are not starting from ground zero.
Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight. Building and cultivating a brand can take years, if not decades. Perhaps you may even have to re-brand, which takes even more time. The talking points have to change. As Warren Buffet famously said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
Truer words have never been spoken. So, the question becomes: What do you need to do for people to “hear about you” and recognize your brand?
Here are 10 ways to get yourself heard:
1. Build your online profile. The first place to start is LinkedIn, where professionals come to connect. Set up a LinkedIn profile that engages others, and make sure that you have a robust summary section with keywords related to your target audience. Consider writing weekly blog posts on your area of expertise to engage that audience.
2. Build out your connections. Connect with as many people as possible, on LinkedIn and otherwise, who are current and prospective customers and clients, vendors, neighbors and supporters. Even if they are just friends, it never hurts to make your social web as large as possible. Who knows what could come of it.
3. Engage with those connections — daily. Reach out to others by liking, sharing or commenting on the content they are posting. This will help raise your profile among your target audience, but it needs to be done on a daily basis. If you do it too sporadically, people are more likely to forget about you.
4. Personalize your outreach. When you send an invite to connect with someone else, personalize that invite and let the other person know how you know each other. You want to come across as warm, and not just a hustler in search of personal or professional gain. Tailor your message, and keep it friendly.
5. Leverage your organizations. Everyone belongs to an organization, if not more than one. Tap into those networks, even if it’s just the alumni association of your college or other schools you’ve attended. Share your news with their monthly or annual newsletters. Education is a bond for life.
6. Correspond with local news. You can also share your news with your local newspaper, whether you secured a new job or a promotion, or you’ve won an award that deserves recognition. Local news outlets always seek out content that has to do with people in their backyard, and corresponding with them proactively can set you apart.
7. Write an opinion piece. Write an op-ed column or a letter to the editor that has to do with current events or new developments in your industry. This can go to a local newspaper or even a national one, such as the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. If your news isn’t interesting to a reporter, the opinion section is a viable option.
8. Don’t forget about handwritten notes. Whenever you meet a new person, either professionally or personally, send a note in the mail telling them how pleased you were to catch up, and make plans to follow up. In today’s day and age, handwritten notes have fallen by the wayside, but people will appreciate you for going to the trouble.
9. Set up coffee meetings with leaders. You can never go wrong with coffee, and cafe or virtual meet-ups are fun ways to get to know people who are leaders in your community or a given industry. Engage in conversation and really listen to their story, so you understand what they care about. People love a good listener.
10. Volunteer for a local nonprofit. Link up with an organization that interests you, whether it’s the local library, a sports team or your town’s historical society. Not only will you be able to network and make connections, but it’s also just the right thing to do. Give and you shall receive.
Once you start applying these tips, you will find other ways to raise your profile and become more well known for what you do. Clients will be willing to pay a premium for your services and they will be more likely to know, like and trust you. Having that kind of brand equity is priceless.
This article originally appeared on the Forbes Agency Council CommunityVoice in November 2020.