HOW TO BUILD YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE: 

The Definitive Guide

How to Get Started

You know you're supposed to do it, right?

No matter what your industry is, you're supposed to build a strong online presence if you want to improve your brand. If you want to take your website (and business) to the next level. And especially if you want to convert more visitors into paying customers. 

"But what if I'm in a fairly boring niche like accounting?"

Even better.

Because realistically, your web presence has more to do with what you do outside of your website than what you actually do on it. So even with a "boring" niche like accounting, you can position yourself as the go-to person the more "out there" that you are.

Think of it like this:

"Does that mean your online presence outweighs backlinks? SEO? Even content marketing?"

Yes and no.

While those things are important to help your content rank, your overall presence online ultimately makes everything much easier.

And in this comprehensive guide, I'm going to show you EXACTLY how to build an online presence that'll drastically increase your exposure. And when you strategically combine it with strategies that will help rank your content, in no time, you’ll witness your website, and your brand, reach new heights.

 

The Painstaking Truth About Building an Online Presence (and What You Need to Know First)

Here's the thing ...

Building your online presence is extremely time consuming. Sure, once you have it, there isn't too much to worry about except maintaining it. But getting there is the actual issue.

For example, I've been known to put in 20+ hours for one piece of content. In fact, when I wrote "Website Credibility Factors: 53 Tips To Improve Your Influence Today", I put a whopping 42.6 hours into it.

Although this was spread out to a few weeks, it was grueling.

And guess what?

That was even before I spent a considerable amount of hours creating the Infographic to compliment the post:

Even with that, I still had to be extremely active on social media during that whole time AND much more active when the post was finished.

And that's what you have to remember. When you're trying to build a presence online, you still need to do things like:

  • Engage in conversations on social media
  • Create extremely valuable content
  • Repurpose your content amongst various channels
  • Actively promote your brand

I'll get into more detail with each of those later in the guide but can you see how time consuming it already is?

That's not to say that you shouldn't try to manage it, but there's a smart way (and not so smart way) to go about it.

An example of a smart way would be exactly what Pat Flynn did to grow his brand and make him into one of the most recognizable marketers in the world.

How did he do it? pat-flynn-online-presence

As you could see, he's a big believer in being everywhere.

This involves actively participating on social media (which he does), producing content on several platforms where readers can easily consume your information (again, he does this) and constantly putting yourself out there.

You might be wondering:

How can I build my web presence the smart way?

That’s what I’m going to cover in the rest of this guide.

Keep reading…

CHAPTER 1:

How to Choose the "Right" Social Channels

Before we dive into the step-by-step process of choosing the right social media channels, it’s important to know why they're important.

When it comes to choosing a social media platform, one of two things can happen:

Yes

Thing #1: Your ideal audience is on the same platforms you choose

This is key because when your ideal audience is active on that platform, it makes it easier to connect and build a relationship with them. Also, when you promote things to them, they're more likely to share on that platform. 

No

Thing #2: The audience just doesn't fit with what you're trying to do

This tends to happen when you try to be active on too many platforms. If your ideal audience is active on 3 platforms, there's no need to try to be active on 7 of them. Not all platforms have the same type of audience -- so choose carefully.

 

Size Doesn't Matter (as Much) When Choosing a Social Network

Relying on size can be extremely dangerous.

Here's what many of you are thinking:

"The more people that's on X platform, the greater the chances I have to reach my target audience. And that will help me increase my reach"

Although that line of thinking isn't entirely flawed, you need to be strategic when it comes to choosing what social media platform to use. But sometimes, just plain ol' common sense works too.

For example:

Imagine you were in the gardening niche

 

It's safe to assume that the large majority of your content would contain pictures of various things you plant in your garden, no?

Which would mean that the majority of your target audience would be on Pinterest.

As opposed to Facebook:

Large social media numbers doesn't always mean there's a lot of activity happening on that social network. In that case, your goal should be to figure out where your audience is actually spending their time.

In other words, go where most of your demographic is.

Most Popular Social Networks (by Active Users)

 

According to Statistica, here's the top 10 social networks in 2017 ranked by monthly active users:

It's clear to see that Facebook is a powerhouse, right?

But what's really interesting is that a site like Twitter has 322 million monthly users -- when the site has 1.3 billion total registered user accounts.

That's just under 25%.

But when you break down who actually uses each platform, that's where it gets interesting. The Pew Research Center conducted a study in April 2016 that provided some very telling data:

Note: Facebook aside, you can a really good indication of where your audience spends most of their time. And if you really want to be effective, you need to know your audience inside and out. And that do that, you need to create a persona.

Creating a Audience Persona

 

An audience persona is a nifty way to help you determine the type of content your audience would typically enjoy.

This will help with the breakdown of your audience and how to target them. Ideally, you want the persona to include:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Approximate income
  • Things that they struggle with
  • Their goals

Unfortunately, this isn't a clear indicator that you'll learn ALL of the social platforms your audience is on, but it helps. And it serves a dual-purpose because you can use this same persona to help determine what type of content to create.

More on that later.

Now, depending on your industry, you may have several different audience personas. But for the most part, you'll have just one.

For example, if your niche was in the real estate field, here's how your audience persona might look:

The audience persona plus the survey information from the Pew Research Center will help you give you a better understanding of what social networking platforms they'll most likely use.

And once you find that out, you just need to be active on them. This includes:

Bottom line: The more you use those platforms and are active on them, then the more you increase your odds of building an presence online.

CHAPTER 2:

Start Connecting and Building Relationships

 

It's no secret that to really have success in the online world, you need to build relationships.

But here’s the deal:

Although there are many ways to build relationships online, not all are effective.

The question is:

How can you reach out to and build relationships without damaging it from the getgo?

Read this chapter to find out.

1. Find out who you want to connect with

There's no way around it: a lack of online relationships will have a major impact on your online presence.

Think of it as the more people you connect with, the greater chance you have to grow your brand.

Why? Because the greater the relationship you have with them, the more they'll help you build and grow your presence. Whether by sharing your content, linking to your content, promoting you in podcasts, including you in roundups etc.

And there's a simple strategy you can use to find them:

Make a list of all the people/websites in your niche that you'll love to connect with. You can find this by going to Alltop and doing a general search for your topic.

So, if your topic was dentistry, you'd do a quick search:

This should bring up a page full of websites that touch on the topic.

The mission here is to connect and build as many relationships as possible.

You could also reverse engineer the sites that you find to get even MORE sites and relationships to build.

For example, you can easily check out how many domains actually link to that site using Ahrefs.

Just pop a URL into Ahrefs and check out its "Reffering Domains":

This site has over 1,000 sites linking to it -- so there's plenty of opportunities to connect with similar sites.

2. Find their email address

When you find a website, it's time to dig for their email address.

Here's how:

One site you can use is Hunter.io. All you need to do is enter a website into the tool ...

... and it'll show you all of the email addresses associated with that domain:

Another one I recommend is Rapportive.

First, you need to download the Chrome extension that will sync up to your email.

And you just enter the persons name and domain and if it's linked to a LinkedIn profile, an image will popup.

(Note: There may be times where you may have to try different email addresses such as admin@madlemmings.com, contact@madlemmings.com, etc. until you find an email that works)

3. Organize your list

This might sound simple, but stay with me ...

After you spend the time researching, you want to create a spreadsheet to organize your list. This will essentially be the main list of websites and individuals you want to connect and build relationships with.

Start by using Excel (or Google Drive) to create a spreadsheet with a list of websites in your niche.

(Note: Finding the email address will be the most difficult field to fill in. Mainly because some websites will have it readily available on their site, or social media profiles -- but that’s not always the case.)

4. Start connecting

You found the websites you want to connect with and have their contact information too.

Now is where you have to start contacting them and getting to know them.  And one of the best ways to do that is to “greasing the wheels” with a personalized email.

Something like this would work pretty well:

“Hi [Name],

My name is [your name] and I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I really enjoy your website.

I just wanted to say thank you for your work. I know I'm not alone when I say it has made a difference in my life.

Hope you have a great week.

[Your Name]

Simple, right?

But, don’t stop there.

Continue reading their content and become a presence and promote them on platforms that you're both on. And when the time is right, and you want something from them, simply reach out.

As you might expect, I do this type of outreach a lot. I connect with them initially, build up a relationship with them for months, and then send a simple email with an ask.

Here's an example of it in action:

Notice how personal it is?

CHAPTER 3:

The Skinny on Next Level Content

 

Believe it or not, there's a certain criteria needed for content these days. With all the trash that's out there, can't say I'm surprised.

Now, if your goal is to create "next level" content, it's important to know what that entails. This will only help you get the best results possible from your content.

#1: Extremely Detailed and Provides Value

This should be a given, right?

If you want your content to have an impact, it needs to be head-and-shoulders above everything else that's out there.

In other words:

Detailed content that's extremely actionable.

Why does this work?

Think about it.

When you create something that's just packed with so much meaty content and information, it benefits your readers. Especially if it problems that they're frustrated with.

And you can easily do that with your content by following the steps in the Actionable Content Pyramid.

#2:Provides Fresh New Ideas

Google is a real stickler for providing searchers with results that are relevant and recent

While it's important to keep your content as fresh as possible for Google, it's equally important to make sure your content isn't stale for your readers. 

For example, if you were searching for blog post ideas, you'll probably come across the usual suspects, right?

  • Use a topic generator
  • Brainstorm ideas with a thought bubble
  • Search relevant hashtags

Same ol' tired ideas recycled every couple of weeks by different marketers. But just like Google, readers don't want stale, regurgitated information either. 

That's why, when I wrote this post, I made sure to include some unique strategies -- like visiting the agenda/schedule pages of conferences. 

 

#3: Worthy of Being Shared and Linked To

Probably the most important part of creating next level content. 

Even if you create something that you believe is valuable, if people just won't share it (and more importantly, link to it) it won't have an impact. 

And ultimately, won't help you build that online presence you want. 

So how can you start creating share-worthy and link-worthy content?

Simple, start creating content that A-Listers in your niche would want to share. This will start a ripple effect because once they start sharing and linking to your content, their followers will also.

Dr. Jonah Berger explains it perfectly.

In other words, the more you create "out of this world" content that makes others look good for sharing it, the more your online presence will grow.

Now that you know the kind of content to create, it’s time to actually start creating it.

CHAPTER 4:

Find and Create Content Using the Content Remix Method

 

Believe it or not, there's a certain criteria needed for content these days.

With all the trash that's out there, can't say I'm surprised.

Now, if your goal is to create "next level" content, it's important to know what that entails.

This will only help you get the best results possible from your content.

Content Remix Method

 

What It Is:

A proven strategy that helps you find content that has done fairly well before but allows you the opportunity to drastically make your content much better.

How to Use It:

Step 1: Find Popular Posts on Other Sites

If you want to create content that moves the needle, you can't always write about topics you want. You NEED to find content that’s done fairly well before — and ethically steal it.

Using a tool like Ahrefs, you can enter the URL of a site that produces content similar to yours:

Click on the 'best by links' button under the "Pages" tab:

And finally, sort by "200 ok" tab to sort by the posts that have the highest number of referring domains.

Note: While you could also find popular posts based on the number of shares they have, a large number of shares doesn't always mean higher rankings. And if you want to have your content ranking in search engines, you need to get backlinks.

So in this case, backlinks are greater than shares.

Step 2: Research the Weaknesses in The Post and Make Yours Better

Here’s where you actually start getting to work.

Finding any unanswered questions on the topic is crucial because that's how you'll ultimately make your content better.

But to get to that point, you'll need to do some serious research. And that involves using tools like:

  • Quora
  • Twitter
  • Forums
  • Past blog comments

After that's done, simply make your content better than the original by:

  • Making it more visually appealing
  • Making it more relevant
  • Going more in-depth

Step 3: Gain Exposure With Strategic Outreach

Why is getting the word out about your content important? Because the more exposure you have, the more reach you'll gain. And that will lead to more shares, backlinks, etc. which will only improve your web presence.

How do you get started?

First,  you find a list of influencers within your niche that you want to connect with.

Once you’ve ID’d them, send them a simple script.

Here's a script I recommend:

Hey [Name],

Hope you're having an awesome day. 

I'll keep this short since I know you probably have a lot of emails to go through. 

I'm going to be publishing a post about [Topic] very soon that I believe you'd be interested in. 

Would love to get some quick feedback on it before it goes live.

Mind if I send you the link?

[Your Name]

CHAPTER 5:

Types of Content to Create

The type of content you create plays a minor role in building your presence.

But, some content types are more effective than others because they're more memorable.

Here's a quick rundown of the types of content you can create and their effectiveness to build your presence online.

Podcasts

What It Is:

A piece of content where you record audio that is solo (by yourself) or interviewing someone that people listen to.

Why It Works:

Podcasts provides a unique way to consume information. Rather than stare at a screen, you have the option to download the podcast and take it wherever you go.

This image by Edison Research should give you a much clearer idea where people listen to podcasts:

Also, according to a study that Edison Research conducted,  listeners spend an average of 4 hours and 10 minutes each week on podcasts.

Real Life Example:

Convince and Convert is one of businesses out there that uses podcasts very well to grow their web presence. Understanding that podcasts are a powerful way to build your brand and reach new audiences, they have 7 different podcasts that allows them to maximum exposure online.

Video

What It Is:

Content that's focused on sharing information through video.

Why It Works:

The world is becoming more visual and video content is a major part of the way people consume content.

In fact, the team at Animoto conducted a survey that found out that consumers preferred to watch a video about a product than read about it.

Clearly video is something that needs to be in your marketing plan.

Real Life Example

Video content that's not only entertaining, but chock full of information can help you rank and get traffic.

Marie Forleo is an excellent example of this. Not only are her videos chock full of her personality, but also full of actionable takeaways too. 

Here's a quick video:

And having over 300+ videos on her channel, video has certainly become a major part of her business:

Infographics

What It Is:

Graphic visuals that contain knowledge or data meant to present information quickly and clearly.

Why It Works:

Infographics are a great way to pack an insane amount of original information and research.

A study by Changing Minds, found that people retain information almost 4 times more when it's visual.

Real Life Example

I never understood the potential of Infographics until I created my first one, and now I'm sold on them.

But Marketing Profs has been using them for years and they're masters of using infographics on their site.

Most of the time they create their own content, but there's the odd time they'll partner with another marketer and showcase their infographic on this site. 

But you certainly can't argue with the results. To date, the "16 Ways B2B ..." post has been linked to over 6,000 times.

Case Studies

What It Is:

Research that tells the results of an experiment, a process or a situation over a specific period of time.

Why It Works:

Content Marketing Institute's 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America, found that case studies were the 2nd most used marketing tactic.

Which makes sense, right?

When you read a case study, and see someone showcased that has had success, you feel as though if you take action, you could achieve great results too.

Real Life Example:

Brian Dean is was really the first marketer I've discovered that effectively used case studies.

When Backlinko was fairly new, he started publishing case studies of various SEO and backlink experiments he did, and shared the results.

Brian's presence online has positioned him to being a link building mastermind and go-to SEO expert all based on his excellent content and case studies.

Slideshare

What It Is:

A platform that allows you to share slides, PDFs and various other formats.

Why It Works:

Slide presentations are highly shareable. The key is to not overload each slide with too much information. Digestible, bite-sized chunks works the best.

Real Life Example:

Ana Hoffman, from Traffic Generation Cafe, was the first one that really got me interested in creating Slideshare presentations.

Back a few years ago, she published her own case study, "SlideShare Traffic Case Study - From 0 to 243,000 Views in 30 Days." And in it, shared some explosive results:

White Paper

What It Is:

Long-form content designed to provide detailed information or promote the products or services of a business.

Why It Works:

As a marketing tool, these papers use selected facts and logical arguments to build a case favorable to the company sponsoring the document. B2B white papers are often used to generate sales leads, establish thought leadership, make a business case, or inform and persuade prospective customers, channel partners, journalists, analysts, or investors.

Real Life Example:

Influence and Co. is a marketing agency that really pushes the use of white paper content that their clients thoroughly enjoy.

Not only is their resource library full of valuable whitepapers:

But even their 404 pages actively promotes whitepaper content.

Now that you’ve figured out what type of content to create, you need learn if what you're doing is actually paying off. 

How?

By tracking everything.

 

CHAPTER 6:

Track Everything

This guide to building an online presence wouldn't be complete without a chapter tracking your success. 

Because even if you're creating valuable content and have a presence on specific social media platforms, how do you truly know what's working or not?

Let's briefly cover the two most important metrics you should be tracking in this chapter:

Social Network Followers

This is likely your biggest metric to track.

If you want to have a good online presence you need to have a great social media presence.

To do this, you need to set goals and keep track of your followers each month. So for example, let's say your goal was to get 1,000 new followers on Twitter each month ...

... but for some reason, this month, you only managed to get 400. Because you are tracking your following you can quickly adjust your strategy to get back on track.

Top Referrers

Obviously, the more you know where your readers (and traffic) is coming from, the better.

Why?

Because this confirms if your audience persona is accurate. If you're getting a lot of traffic from other platforms but you put most of your effort in Pinterest, then you know you should be spending more time networking on those other platforms.

 

Now It’s Your Turn

 

I hope you thoroughly enjoyed my guide to building an online presence. I would love to know what you thought of the guide. 

Let me know by leaving a quick comment below right now.

25 responses to “How to Build Your Online Presence: The Definitive Guide”

  1. Whoa! This is amazing Andrew.

    I can’t believe what I just read. I’m going to be sharing the crap out of this.

    You left me wanting MORE of your content. Just wow .

  2. Wow. What a guide. This is probably one of the pest posts I’ve read EVER.

    I’m going to change my strategy and start focusing on choosing social channels my audience is actually on.

  3. Hy Andrew,

    Very informative post right here on your Blog.

    I so much love the second part that talks about building relationship.

    That’s a good way to start.
    I’d sure check out the other chapters.

    Have a nice day!

  4. Hi Andrew,

    Very informative article about building a presence.

    I’m really impressed with this. Will be trying some of what you said on my own site.

    Thank you.

  5. Hi Andrew,

    Building relationships is something that I’ve just recently started doing.

    You’re definitely correct, you have to first work on building that relationship before you reach out to contact them.

    I’ve started reaching out to people after sharing their content for a few months.

    It definitely works, people will respond and get back with you if you’re sincere and do something for them first.

    Relationships are extremely important. I’ve definitely come to realize that.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post and I have no doubt that it will help anyone understand what it takes to build up their online presence.

    I’ll be sure to share this and pass it along.

    Have a great day 🙂

    Susan

    • Thanks for the share, Susan.

      Building relationships is super key. And is something that everyone should be actively doing at least every week. Because those relationships (or lack there of) will determine your online success.

      – Andrew

  6. Hi Andrew

    What an amazing guide. Very informative and I love the design touches too.

    The ‘Content Remix’ method is tried and tested. I’ve used it myself to great effect. It takes a lot of work to produce the best content out there on a particular topic, but its worth it.

    Will be sharing this one!

    Clement

  7. Wow

    I just stumbled onto your site and this post and I love your content.

    I re-read this twice, that’s how good it was to me.

    I’m going to be following you and see what kind of content you continue to write.

  8. Andrew – I love this post! There’s so much useful information in here – it is visually beautiful, and I can just go on and on and on.

    It is obvious you spent a ton of time creating this – and thought a lot about how all the concepts worked together.

    Thank you for putting this guide together – there are a ton of moving parts when it comes to building your online presence, and this guide serves as a practical guide for connecting all those dots together.

  9. This is epic Andrew. You’ve provided some really great examples that are unique and under the radar. I love the Content Remix method too. I believe when it comes to content marketing, creating the strategy, identifying the right topics and focusing on the buyer’s journey is critical. I see too many businesses creating “great content” but it’s either been done to death, regurgitated and doesn’t position them as an authority. This is a great guide for newbies and pros alike. Have tweeted and shared.

  10. Andrew,

    This was amazing.

    I’m really impressed by the amount of time and effort you put into this post. It’s really amazing and well written.

    Building an online presence is truly important and something people don’t put enough attention on.

    Superb guide.

  11. This is a very informative and helpful post, very honest and practical advise. Thank you so much for a detailed post. It’s very helpful for all .Specially this complete information will be helping to all. Thanks!

  12. Ultimately, after spending many hours on the internet at last we’ve uncovered somebody that surely does know what they are. Thank you for sharing wonderful article. Great post. I will be your regular visitor.

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