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Old 12-16-2009, 06:00 AM
bholus10 bholus10 is offline
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Default Credibility, Trust, And Your Name At Stake

The Internet is turning out to be a commercial engine based not on technology, but on trust. Ebay figured that out early, when it started rating vendors using its services according to how well they'd fulfilled the letter of their contracts. Most people today

prefer online vendors to have an offline store; it makes them seem more permanent if they have invested in creating a bricks-and-mortar business, even though it's just as easy for a business like this to fail as one online.

But this shows you something important: it's all about appearances online, and unlike appearances in the real world, an Internet vendor must work hard to create the proper one. More than with any other business form, you are really creating your online brand

identity. Because it's so easy for people to praise or castigate you online, your business practices online are more transparent than they could possibly be offline.

And yet your customers probably don't even know who you are - only your virtual identity.

The key is convincing your customers that they can trust that virtual person you show them online. You do this by demonstrating that you are an expert.

Creating A Guru

It takes time to build up a stock of trust in your customers, and is just as much an investment as anything you put into your company. The first thing you must do is show your expertise. You do this by talking about your product online. And the medium people talk in online is text.

Ideally, you need to create articles under your name - your byline - that demonstrate your expertise in your field of knowledge.

If you can't write, this might pose a problem. And that's not uncommon. You may know your field inside and out, and you may be able to talk about it for days, even sell it in person as if you were Andrew Carnegie. But online, it doesn't matter if you can't express yourself well in writing, or at least seem as if you can.

The ideal solution: purchasing articles. PRA (Private-label rights articles) are a good possibility; you purchase them in bulk, ten or twenty or fifty articles on your area of expertise or on a related one, and you own them completely. This means you can modify them to support your business, you can put your own name on them, and you can

add or delete any text you like. Another somewhat more expensive possibility is to hire a writer to create articles to your specifications, purchasing all rights in a similar manner and publishing them online under your name.

How Long Does It Take?

Once you've started putting articles up online under your name, if your customers like them and appreciate the information they're getting they will start building up trust right away. The key is to focus on a narrow niche market and figure out what they really

want to read about. You can do this in part by soliciting feedback on your site - perhaps putting a response form at the bottom of each article. This helps you target your articles closer to what your customers really want to read.

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Old 12-16-2009, 06:02 AM
bholus10 bholus10 is offline
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Just like anything else in business, it will take some time. If you publish a fresh article every week (leaving the old ones up as well), it could take six months before you start seeing a real change in your bottom line. But that also depends on where and how you publish your articles.

Where Do You Publish Your Articles?

This is where you can maximize your guru-building. Most people will publish articles under their own names on their own website. But there are dozens of other places you can publish them.

For instance, you can start an ezine and mail it out to your customers on a regular basis - this can be an amazingly powerful sales tool. You can compile groups of articles and put them together into an ebook for some serious added credibility.

Or you can go off your site entirely. Many experts and gurus publish articles to article directories, sites where thousands of articles on every imaginable topic are stored for free download to any webmaster who needs good content. You contribute your article;

in return, the webmaster retains your resource box with your name and your keyword-optimized link back to your own website. This gets your name out to prospective customers you would not otherwise reach, and it also gives your website a boost in the search engine ratings with that link.

You can also look at websites such as about.com, howto.com, or specialty informational websites covering your niche industry. Many of these websites are hungry for information, and will be overjoyed to get your good content. They will also include your resource box,

just as in an article directory, and you get both a very valuable link back to your site and byline exposure to a ready audience in your field through a site with which you are already familiar.


One Last Note

If you have a name that is somewhat common (you can figure out whether yours is by Googling your own name in quotes and seeing how many different people come up with your name), it might be wise to establish your byline identity with a middle name or even a nickname. The easier it is for people to Google you and come up with you, the more brand identity your name will have, even when divorced from your business name.
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