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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Expanding Your Reach

We've all been there (and many of you still are). You have a terrific product, service, Halloween costume, etc that you're extremely passionate about. You're sure it's a game changer. First-page-of-Reddit worthy, in fact! But, you're struggling to reach your audience. The internet is a place crowded with many interesting, bizarre, and sometimes scary things. How do you break through all that to find your market. Or rather, how do you let others find you?

Step 1 is making sure your website (step 0 is build a website!) implements the best practices for basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This can span a number of areas, from your URL structure to what you have on your page.

But lets say you've checked off all the basic TO-DOs. What's next? Today, it's all about content. Even Bill Gates agrees that Content is King. You need great content to drive people towards your site, which means you need content that people want and are excited about. That's the tricky part -- generating unique and valuable content that your audience craves, even if it doesn't directly lead to a sale.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways you can generate content and expand your reach. And a lot of them allow you to express yourself as an individual, not a faceless corporation. For example, you can start a company blog and encourage individual employees to make posts. They don't even need to be related to what your company does. But by showing the human side of your organization, you're going to connect with...wait for it...other humans! So unless your target market doesn't include homo sapiens, strongly consider creating a blog.

Podcasts are another exciting way to create material and let people learn more about you. It doesn't take much to start your own. You can create it directly through iTunes and record from your personal computer. If you have the time and energy -- and ideas you want to share -- go ahead and do some research on podcasting tips and tricks, then give it a whirl. Or if you don't want to start your own podcast, search for existing ones in your field and try to make a connection with the owners. Listen to a few of their podcasts and see if you can come up with a topic the host and their audience would enjoy hearing about.

Another often underutilized method of finding people is to physically walk out the door and start looking! No, I don't mean meeting random people off the streets. But sites like Meetup and Eventbrite let you search for all types of activity and networking events. These can be kind of hit or miss since you don't really know who's going to show up, but then again, you never know who's going to show up. You might make a terrific business connection or a new friend, or you might have fun hanging out and learning about other people. It's kind of a win-win. And by interacting with a diverse group of business leaders you're bound to come up with some new ideas for generating information.

In case you were wondering, we're not just giving out random advice we don't believe in. We practice what we preach. We go to meetup events to find new and interesting people and we participated in our first podcast recently. Clearly, we're fans of blogging, too.

So get started creating content and connections. You'll be amazed how much your reach can grow.

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