So here’s my to-do list for you on how to get your platform strong and solid now – and build that national audience you’d like for your dream work.
1. Research and carve out an ironclad niche. Get clear on who you are, what you do, and what pre-existing problem you solve. Then put that niche into words with a brand name or phrase. Don't be just another vanilla coach who wants to 'help people live authentically.' Research your niche on the Yahoo, Google and Amazon.com to find out just who else is doing similar work. Then look for ways to separate yourself from the pack.
2. Identify your market. Before you can begin connecting with your audience, you'd better find out who they are. Then you can best tailor your efforts to hone in and find them. What sorts of magazines do they read? What kinds of life changes are they going through? What sorts of websites would they hang around at? Create an R&D group of friends or associates to survey for this information.
3. Research your best keywords. Keywords and phrases are the meat and potatoes of Internet marketing, and a great entry point for finding your audience. Go to www.wordtracker.com and use their services for a day to really dig into which keywords get more traffic, and which get less. Experts advise using uncrowded key phrases that are a bit 'off' (i.e. 'New York literary agent' instead of 'literary agent'.) These will produce a steady stream of hits, but you won't be competing with (literally) 50,000+ other sites for attention.
4. Get the best URL. Try to reserve a URL and site name that reflect your best keywords. Yes, having a fun name can be helpful, but a clear name will do a lot more for you. Especially if it has a keyword imbedded in it (and in the URL.) That makes Search Engines happy, and will do lots to help you down the road as you distribute articles, etc.. Think benefit benefit benefit. Good site URL's we've found, for example, are "Successnet.org" and "Selfimprovement.com". Your target market is more likely to find you (at least in the beginning) through this, than through your name.
5. Get a terrific headshot. Not enough can be said for biting the bullet and hiring a genuine, professional photographer. (Not the guy at Sears with the veiny grey backdrop.) You can find location photographers who shoot portraits on the side through websites like alltimefavorites.com