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It pays to have a strong reputation in your industry. If you’re seen by your peers, investors, partners, employees and even your clients as a thought leader or as someone with a ton of experience, you’re going to carry more influence. People will listen to you. They’ll give you a platform you can use to speak. And they’ll be much more likely to buy from you.
For some people reputation is a natural byproduct of other work. If you spend 20 years creating new inventions and building businesses, the reputation is going to follow. But what if you’re trying to build a reputation early as a way to market yourself and reach more people? And what if you don’t have much experience or notoriety to speak of?
Is there a way to build a reputation for yourself in a new industry from scratch?
Where reputation comes from
First, it’s important to recognize where your “reputation” comes from. Although we often think of a reputation as an earned consequence of the actions we take, that isn’t always the case. Instead, our reputation merely comes as a result of what other people think of us.
For example, someone might believe you to be a good mechanic even if you’ve never directly worked on their car. If you speak about cars with ample knowledge and you seem well-connected with other mechanics in the area, it would be natural for someone to think you’re a skilled mechanic — even without direct proof.
We’ll be working with this principle to help you build a better reputation for yourself in a new field.
Starting with a strong core
If you want your reputation to take hold, you’ll need a strong “core” around which to build. This is going to be your operational headquarters and the foundation on which you build everything else.
For most authorities, it’s going to unfold across some combination of the following:
- A personal website. Start your own website filled with information about your work experience, your qualifications and your personal insights. This will also be a great way to promote your books, public speaking engagements and other endeavors.
- A blog. Start a blog on your company website or contribute regularly to a blog you like. If you regularly write and publish well-written posts to an established audience, it’s only a matter of time before your reputation begins to flourish.
- Social media profiles. Make sure you remain active on social media at least occasionally. Syndicate your new work, comment on the work of others and talk to your fans and followers.
This is where people will learn of you for the first time — and where they’ll do research on you after hearing about you. Accordingly, all these channels need to show off what you know, what your experience is, and how involved you are in the industry.
Spend some time polishing your personal brand and creating strong content you can use to anchor the rest of your reputation building strategy. Strong content will include original research or unique arguments. It will be well written and well organized. It will speak directly to your target audience and link to other authorities.
Even the best core content will, in a vacuum, be insufficient for helping you boost your reputation. The only way to earn a better reputation in the industry is to earn recognition and accolades from other people in your industry (or people loosely connected to it). Fortunately, there are several ways you can do this, such as:
- Guest post. Write guest posts and get featured on a variety of different publishers, with a preference for publishers in your specific niche. Get your name out there and make people more familiar with you.
- Collaborate. Reach out to known influencers and authorities and see if they’d be willing to collaborate with you on a new project or piece of content. Sometimes, merely being associated with a known authority can help you get seen as an authority in your own right.
- Earn links. Earn more editorial links and get cited by well-respected sources. It’s an easy way to get more visibility and a better reputation for your site — not to mention an influx of traffic.
- Speak. Consider attending a personal speaking event (or several). Each appearance you make will add to your credibility.
- Network. Don’t forget to network; sometimes, simply having a bigger circle of connections or knowing the right people can make you seem like you have a bigger influence on this industry.
- Earn certifications. You may also be able to boost your reputation by earning more certifications or other measurable credentials. For example, can you get an advanced degree or become certified in a specific trade or process?
Nurture and grow
Your reputation won’t suddenly appear overnight. It’s something that’s going to take ongoing nurturing and development if you want to see the best results. Pay attention to how your fans and followers engage with your content and regularly reach out to new influencers. The more you invest into your own knowledge and notoriety, the faster your public image is going to grow.
Originally appeared in Entrepreneur