Building your brand

Public speaking
Credit: Halfpoint/Shutterstock
Savvy entrepreneurs understand that branding and marketing is an important part of the process of running your own business. How your company is perceived by the world is almost as important today as the products you make or the services you provide. But identifying and creating your brand is only the first step. Promotion is crucial. Yet there are other powerful ways to build your brand beyond setting your marketing machine in motion.

Brand-building tools fall into two categories – building recognition and managing brand perception. By using these techniques, you'll get your name in front of more prospects more often, all while leaving people with a more positive opinion of your brand.

Become an expert on Business.com.

Business.com
Experts on our sister site Business.com can share expertise with other business owners. Writing pieces on running a business, growth strategies, leadership, and even tales from the trenches of being an entrepreneur presents you as a knowledgeable business owner and gets your name in front of businesses that could use your help.

Attend and speak at Meetups.

Meetup
Speaking to a group certainly establishes your expertise. But if you have trouble presenting to a crowd, just attending a meetup or user group can provide new contacts and exposure for your brand. Find groups of interest at Meetup.com. Don't forget to look for groups whose interests are tangential to your business. If you're a contractor, a meetup of builders won't turn up new clients, but a meetup of real estate agents might.

Answer media queries at HARO.

HARO
Getting in front of prospects in ways that establish your authority and expertise builds trust. Being a source for a news article is a great way to let an unbiased third party help you establish that authority. The site Help a Reporter Out (HARO) allows you to register and pitch to reporters to be a source for their articles.

Answer questions on LinkedIn.

Answer questions on LinkedIn.
Credit: Miss Ty/Shutterstock
Beyond publishing content, being helpful and answering questions can also set you up as an authority. LinkedIn is one forum where you can provide insights to other professionals and continue to build your brand's reputation. Just remember to lose the sales pitch. Being helpful and knowledgeable will draw prospects to your brand, while hammering them with a sales message may leave a bad taste in their mouth.

Leverage Google Alerts.

Google Alerts
Many of these tools build your brand through establishing your expertise and drawing awareness to your skills and knowledge. While you build your position as a knowledgeable resource, however, you'll also want to monitor what others are saying about you and your brand. Google Alerts will let you know by email when someone mentions you or your company by name. You can choose the sources, frequency of notifications and how many results you see.