5 Ways to Stand Out Online

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It's easy to feel like the tiniest drop in the vast ocean that is the Internet, especially when your business is young. You're desperate to get your message through to your target audience and to have them respond.

When you deliver quality products and services, you deserve to be known, not to be drowned out. So what's a person to do to be seen and taken seriously online?

Today we're talking about how to use our voices and our ideas to create content that stands a head above the madding crowd. With the flurry of activity in online entrepreneurship, our attention is frequently diverted from these fundamental concepts. So this is a list worth coming back to time and again, anytime you need to find some perspective and refocus.

It's not rocket science, and in the world of flashy marketing tactics it may not be "sexy" (I beg to differ), but these are the core qualities you need to embrace when creating your digital content. When you focus on these, you avoid getting wrapped up in all the noise and din out there, and you'll craft content where the value speaks for itself. Let's dive in: 

CLARITY

If a visitor to your site or your social media can't understand what you do and what you offer, they're not going to spent time with your brand. I find that this is especially true for businesses that fall out of the mainstream and have their own lingo. Make sure that your copy isn't inaccessible to newcomers. Be crystal clear when describing what you offer, as if you were explaining your business to someone you're just meeting for the first time (because that's what's happening, only virtually). Think about what questions that person would have in return, and address those then and there. 

Likewise, when you're blogging or writing articles, craft titles that describe the content inside. I'm all for adding a little fun and flair to a title, but mostly your title's job is to let a reader know what they're about to read. That's what's going to grab their attention and let them know that the content will be relevant to them.

AUTHENTICITY

This is a big one. I see it in the entrepreneurs I admire most, people who speak serious truth and have grown impressively dedicated followings. They did it by being their true selves in their business. They hone and communicate in their own voices, and what they say reflects their deepest values. Who wouldn't be attracted to that?

This is where the energy and life force of your business lives. Represent yourself honestly, openly, and with conviction, and your content will glow. Your audience won't be able to help but notice that your values align with theirs. This is where admiration and trust and loyalty come from. They're simply a wonderful side effect of being your authentic self online.

VALUE

As a business owner, your core value should be delivering value to your customers and clients. This also extends to your entire audience. When you show up online, generously offer the value that your readers seek. You don't have to give away the farm, but to earn their trust, you do need to prove your skills and expertise, the quality of your products or services, and your commitment to your customer. What better way to do that than by creating useful, helpful, insightful, moving, [insert your favorite adjective here], and entertaining content.

Don't be afraid to share from your wealth of knowledge and talents. I promise, you won't run out.

COMMUNITY

Everyone wants "followers" these days, but let's go beyond that and build community. Communities can come in all shapes and sizes and operate by completely different means, but community always means belonging, and that is a powerful force.

Think about how you can build community around your work. Create content that inspires conversation, and ask direct questions of your audience. Listen and respond to them; show that you care, and cultivate a culture of caring amongst your entire community.

CONSISTENCY

Perhaps the least sexy one of them all? But don't glaze over here, because consistency is so critical. When you show up and publish regularly, you communicate that you're engaged, reliable, and not going anywhere. Search engines learn and rank you, and people start to remember you. Your name comes easily to their lips when their friend needs recommendation for a website designer, or they know just the local artisan they want to buy gifts from at Christmastime.

So when you feel like you're losing the thread and all of the noise of the Internet starts to get to you, come back to this list for grounding. I'm not a get-rich-quick guru, I'm someone who believes deeply that honest work, solid communication, and diligence will get you where you want to go. So go out and put these qualities into everything you produce, and see how you start to rise above the rest.

What else would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments below. (You know I'll respond!)

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