Educating Your Audience Is the First Step in Growing Your Online Community

November 14, 2015

2:00 pm

Your company’s steadily been getting traffic. Your positions in search engines are growing and you even have a bunch of dedicated clients on board. Yet, you feel like something essential is missing. A dedicated online community of fans, supporters, and product evangelists is the secret ingredient behind the world’s most popular brands, but how do you get there?

1. Educate Your Audience

How do you turn casual browsers into loyal customers? By strategically bringing value and educating them about your product and the great benefits they will get.

Content marketing is on the rise for a good reason. People go straight to Google when searching for answers to all of their questions and woes. Be their hero, be their lifesaver by offering them the knowledge for free, expecting nothing in return.

Well, almost nothing. Social shares or clicks to your products would be much appreciated and are likely to come if you create the right type of content:

  • Research relevant long-tail keywords that people type into Google in search for a quick answer.
  • Create a sweet “how-to” title offering a fast win e.g. “How to Grow Your Blog’s Audience in Less than a Month”
  • Craft the master copy walking them through each step in the most detailed way possible.
  • Somewhere along the lines drop your product mention. Soft sale, just offer to have a look, not to buy.

2. Get Others to Promote You

Bringing in other experts is a great way to relieve you of some of the hard work. Make a habit of inviting guest posters who have engaging stuff to say. Interview experts in your niche. Set up reciprocal posting with those related to your niche and when you find super content that has been created, ask the creator if you may re-post it. They are likely to fall in love with you for doing this and will certainly willing to work with you on promoting your brand on their blog in the future.

Building goodwill builds community.

“Even if you just mention someone in a post, let them know you have done so. Chances are they will access your post and then share it – after all, their name is in it.If not, well that makes a great query to contact them later on with another request e.g. for guest posting, interview or collaboration offer”, — suggests Scott Cohen CEO of 180 Fusion.

Find blogs where you can guest post – review the guidelines, create or re-furbish a current post (where appropriate) and submit it for publication. Include a link back to your blog, and you will get visitors that you can then bring into your community.

3. Promote Your Expertise Locally

So, in what area are you a guru? Where are you located? Go to local media outlets and tell them how they can benefit from featuring you on some of their targeted shows – radio, TV. Get to know the journalists and the PR people on networking events and become their go-to person for an expert quote or opinion.

Any appearance you can make as an expert in your business niche gains an audience that can be converted to members of your community if you play this well.

4. Time Is Your Friend – Embrace It

Online marketing is wonderfully inexpensive and really levels the playing field for starting out businesses that want to grow. But, in the end, you have to realize that developing and growing a loyal community takes time.

If only nine people read the first post you create, love those nine people, communicate with those 9 people, and keep them engaged. You never know how many more people those original nine folks can bring on board.

The community will grow if you remain engaged and enthusiastic.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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