Promote yourself online by NOT talking about yourself

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the conversation
Talk to people. But I mean really talk to them.

Building a web presence is a lot like building your offline reputation; it’s a long term effort. Reaching your online publicity and traffic goals involves understanding the user perspective – give them things they want, and they will remember you for it. Give them what you want, and you will quickly be relegated to the trash heap of me-me-me companies out there.

Recognizing that what your organization wants to say may not be the same thing as what your users and customers want to hear is sometimes a difficult, but nonetheless critical, step on the path to a truly successful website and web presence. What this means practically is that you need to move your focus to creating and sharing content that is helpful and valuable, and not necessarily directly related to your products, mission, services, or any of the other things you want to promote through your website. Offer people good content that is related to your industry or skill set, and start to enjoy the fact that they come back for more. While seemingly counter-intuitive, this is actually a great way to promote your organization since it helps you build lasting, stable relationships with prospects and clients.

This point is especially important for non-profits, who rely strongly on values of goodwill and public service. Since the people behind non-profits often feel like their organization is their baby, they cannot help but talk about themselves. While people do want to know that your non-profit is a success, it gets tiresome hearing repeated stories about gala fundraisers and the hundreds of children you have helped. Instead, get up-close and personal and transform your stories from statistics to actual people. Interview your staff and the people you help. Also, talk about your field or industry. For example, if your non-profit is related to education, discuss developments in the world of education. Show people that you are an expert, and give those passionate about your field a reason to stay in their relationship with you.

Great content builds your organization, even (especially) if it’s not all about you.

This post is co-written by Miriam Schwab and David Danielson, our intern

Picture credit: The Conversation by polandeze on flickr

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