Wouldn’t it be great if you could create a website for your business and, just like that with no inbound marketing strategy, you’re easily found in Google, your content is consistently shared along all social media platforms, and you’re a brand as recognized and respected as Coke or Kleenex? Also: Pigs will fly, up is down, and the Vikings win Super Bowls.

Naturally, it’s never that easy (just ask Gary Anderson – or any pig, I suppose). If you’ve had the pleasure of visiting our homepage, you may have seen the graphic, “You have to crawl before you can fly.” While this is an analogy that fits many situations, it’s particularly apropos in the context of digital publishing. Essentially, this graphic outlines the path from digital obscurity to online brand recognition, and today we’ll take a deeper look at this process.

Crawl: Establish An Online Presence

inbound marketingAs we’ve mentioned before, a dazzling and relevant website is the first step to online brand recognition. But, as you know, just having a website isn’t enough. How integrated is your message? How easily found are you? On what other aspects of the digital world must you put your stamp?

Establish social media accounts for your brand right away. Make your Twitter handle creative and suitable for your brand. Connect your company’s Facebook page to your Twitter account. Think about having a LinkedIn account, and don’t forget (as some of us do) about Google+. If your product or service offering would benefit from visual exhibitions, consider a board on Pinterest and/or a YouTube channel. The more connected your brand, the further your reach and the bigger your footprint.

Walk: Enrich Content

inbound marketingSo you’ve established your presence – now what? Content, content, content. As Hubspot brilliantly said, “…blogging is one of the strongest marketing tools in [your] kit.” Having a blog on your site that is frequently and consistently updated is the most important part of digital brand growth.

The frequency with which you post content to your blog will depend on your budget and the size of your company. You may have the manpower to post two to three times a week, but content creation is time consuming and you might be able to only post once a week. Don’t worry! The important thing here isn’t quantity – it’s quality and consistency. Create an editorial calendar to ensure consistency, write what you know, describe the particulars of your product or service offering, offer helpful materials and tips, and provide commentary on the happenings in your industry. These are the things that will establish you as a thought leader in your line of business.

Run: Engage Online Influence

inbound marketingNow you’ve established your online presence and you’re creating fresh content on a consistent basis. How do you take advantage of this to bring traffic to your site to grow your business? Becoming influential online is the outcome of correctly executing a variety of factors. The two most important:

1. Site Optimization

Are you executing successful SEO practices sitewide (including within your blog)? While having baseline knowledge of search engine optimization is a requirement for every kind business across all industries, many companies engage the services of firms that specialize in SEO. Again, if this is something you can find room for in your budget, do it, especially if you’re in an industry where tech is just blossoming. Right out of the gate, you may have an edge. Regardless, optimizing your site is a necessity and according to Search Engine Journal, “75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.” So get your site on that first page by executing the best SEO practices you can afford.

2. Social Share

One way to accelerate the path to that first page of search results is by extending your social reach. You have a Twitter handle, a Facebook page, and accounts with other social networking sites pertinent to your industry – but are you using them? Share your blog posts and make sure you have share options for site visitors. Each page should give visitors the option to share your content on at least the big three networks: Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

In addition, interact with the titans (and the peons) of your industry. Follow them on Twitter, ‘Like’ their Facebook pages, give them a +1 on Google+, share content with them, invite them to discuss things on all channels, ask questions…embrace your community!

Fly: Embrace Community

You’ve established your presence online, you’re posting consistent and fresh content, you’ve optimized your site and you’re engaging socially. Congratulations – you’re a part of the community!

Of course, it’ll take time to build up your following and really make your digital mark in your industry. Continue to be a good neighbor, though, and before you know it, you’ll fly.

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