How to Earn Links by Building Brand Mind Share

by Jason Acidre on October 8, 2012 · 33 comments · Content, Search

Mind share is an element that denotes how powerful a brand is to its market. It is commonly a result of highly effective promotions, which makes the brand really popular, making its target consumers very aware of the product/service/solution that the brand offers.

As an objective for marketing campaigns, having a strong mind share is definitely vital these days as it can stretch a brand’s reach in several ways, such as:

  • Becoming an industry leader, and often becomes a brand that’s on top of people’s minds when asked or when they think about a certain product type or category (which can result to virality and/or word of mouth).
  • Becoming a brand name that can as well serve as a generic industry term, due to its uniqueness or popularity (ex: bandaid, Xerox, Coke, etc…).

Catapulting a brand to this kind of state – whether on or offline – can extremely influence how its audience sees it, and on how it can continuously grow its popularity (and sales).

Best of all, in our case, placing a brand in that position can certainly lead to attracting ton of high-powered and hard-to-replicate links.

This topic was actually covered on my presentation last week at Mastering Online Ranking Conference, and I just thought of sharing this part for those who weren’t there to see my presentation.

So below are some of the methods that your online marketing campaign can execute to achieve better mind share for your brand, and attract/acquire natural links along the process.

Focus on Upselling the Brand’s Unique Selling Point

I really liked Jason Goldenberg’s first advice to entrepreneurs (which I believe also applies to marketers) – “to find your company/brand’s one thing”. That one thing that will set you apart from your competitors falls at the intersection of these three aspects (as explained by Jason):

  • The one problem your brand is most passionate to solve.
  • The one thing the brand has a realistic shot at being the best in the world at.
  • A huge untapped market opportunity.

These things can point your business to a direction where it can have greater mind share, with lesser efforts needed to be exerted.

Focusing your marketing efforts to heavily demonstrate its USP alone will help you achieve better results in a short period of time. Because this component of brand identity is easily retained by those who have utilized or experienced the brand’s expertise/offered solutions.

Building Mind Share through Inbound Marketing

Start promoting your brand as an expert in that specific niche of your industry (that you have high potentials of being a leader). Since there are so many inbound marketing channels that your campaign can utilize to get to your target audience’s radars.

The more people see how passionate the brand is in giving solutions to that one particular problem/niche in its industry, the more they’ll be able to tell how authoritative and useful it is. And that sends strong brand signals to your audience that allows your name to be retained by their memory.

Develop content assets that can solve most frequently asked questions in your niche

For instance, I’ve been an online marketer for over two years now. But half the time of working on and promoting my own brand was somehow focused on writing comprehensive posts about link building (which is only a small fraction of the whole profession).

Why? Because I believed that I had better chances of getting up the ranks in this area of online marketing.

So when people started finding, reading and sharing my stuff, most of them immediately perceived that my blog is a resourceful content hub that specializes on link building.

It’s important to make the most out of your content assets by:

Be everywhere through Brand/Content Seeding

Once your foundation is already solid and ready to exemplify its greatness to its audience, you can start disseminating your brand’s USP through getting content placements from the right places.

When your campaign’s goal is to build a strong mind share, prospecting sites where your brand can get more exposure is easier (though getting them would be more challenging).

Step 1: Find related domains that have high search share

Search share would be the most important metric for this type of campaign. Because pages from domains that have high search share can easily rank on search results (especially for keywords that you might also be targeting).

By getting content placements from these sites, your brand will have continual exposure, as the pages where you have seeded a branded content in can continuously get search-traffic.

You can use SEMRush to identify domains in your industry that have high search traffic.

Step 2: Seed branded content on their pages that have high potentials of ranking for competitive terms

Upsell your brand’s unique selling point through your content contributions to establish authority and your expertise in your field. Because the more people in your industry see you participate and provide valuable insights on these channels, the more you can attract them to knowing more about your brand.

Content may come in various forms (it’s not just about guest blogging). Like standing out on community discussions by sharing high-utility inputs on forum threads, Q&A sites and/or blog comment threads.

For example, that comment was placed on a post on SEOmoz that’s currently ranking for the keyword “link building strategies” (which is obviously very relevant to the audience I’m targeting).

And that comment is sending continual traffic to the blog post I’ve highlighted on the discussion.

That can simply mean that some of the people who saw my comment and clicked-through the link may think that I know a lot about link building.

What more if I’ve built dozens or hundreds of spot on comments on pages that are consistently generating easily-engaged traffic?

Another method is sharing your expertise through guest blogging/authorship on sites that have strong search share. This branding/link acquisition technique can double the impact and efficiency of your campaign.  Particularly if you’ll focus on sharing posts that blend with your brand’s USP.

Hosting content on strong domains can easily allow you to (technically) rank higher for some of the search terms that your brand is looking to rank for.

For instance, my guest post on SEOmoz is currently ranking #1 for the search term “linkable assets”:

Why? Strong search share.

Try to get content placements on other strong domains in your industry and focus on topics that can really build your brand as an authority.

This is pretty similar to what I’ve done with my own guest blogging activities. If you’ll notice, most of my recent guest posts cover topics related to link building:

Because by the time I absorb their readers, they’ll be already acquainted with what I’m really good at.

Bonus: Utilize popular web 2.0 and user-generated sites

You can also use popular websites (like Youtube, Slideshare, Scribd, etc…) in distributing content that targets your campaign’s competitive keyword(s). This can also help in spreading brand awareness and in reaching more targeted audience.

Getting the links you deserve

Continuously providing usable content concentrated on validating your brand’s USP – on or off your site – will eventually make your brand be associated with the niche you’re trying to dominate.

The things that you do excessively, but precisely (the content you provide), will make you be on top of mind, when people come across the term often used to describe your niche/category.

Adding up all the contributions you do to solve your market’s problem(s) will result to constant acquisition of natural brand mentions, particularly when being cited as a resource for others’ works or when curating the best resources in your field.

Pick/create your own niche, and then scale

A good approach to building mind share is creating or reinventing a niche in your industry, in which you can slowly build your brand as its thought-leader.

This is very doable, especially to companies/individuals who truly understand their market’s needs and can provide the best solution to those needs. Here are a few examples I can think off at the moment (mostly from our industry):

  • Inbound Marketing = Rand and Dharmesh
  • Scalable Link Building = Ross Hudgens
  • Agile Marketing = Jonathon Coleman

But choosing to focus on an already existing niche/category and proving that your brand’s value proposition is best and can’t be matched by its competitors is not impossible.

And once you’ve succeeded on putting your brand in a good position on your chosen niche, it’ll be then much easier to explore other aspects of your industry – and have a dominant presence on those areas as well.

For instance, I’ve been recently invited on a group interview about conversions (even though I’m more known in the link building scene).

Building your brand as an authority in a specific part of your industry will open more opportunities for growth. It’ll just be a matter of how you want your brand to be seen in the future.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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