Your digital presence is your new business card

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People form an opinion of you within seven seconds of meeting you in person. They give you 0.05 seconds on the internet.

With such a short window to offer a first impression, why present yourself online — the world’s window into your organization — as anything less than your full value?

Your digital reach became your new business card after COVID-19 upended commerce the way we knew it. Customers and employees form an impression of you within a fraction of a second of seeing your website, how you appear in online publications and on professional social media.

Your online presence precedes all future interactions, whether virtual or physical. An ancient or no website, media placements or social presence signals to the world that you don’t care about your business, whether or not it’s true.

It’s never too late to reverse course and demonstrate the specific solutions you offer to your specific market within 50 milliseconds.

Start by attracting search engines to your website with words that reflect how you talk to other people in your industry. You can research the terms for which people search on platforms such as Google Trends, Ubersuggest and Mozbar. Also write with words that are unique to you and your product to better attract those you want to attract.

Update your “news” or “blog” section on your website regularly with more relevant language. Search engines like Google, Yahoo! and GoDuckGo scour the web with crawlers at unfathomable rates to find questions people ask about your industry. You should appear higher in results pages because search engines reward websites that accurately answer questions.

Words matter, especially with voice search trending upward. Look up the coveted Google Snippets box for an example of the power of appearing at the top of search results.

Your efforts will provide your customers and talent with the easiest route to your precise products and job openings at the precise time they need them.

Take your words and actions farther by reaching out to legitimate online publications in your market with newsworthy information.

Journalists and editors who cover your industry want to know how you help their readers. Your news can be as simple as announcing a new leadership hire to acquiring a global competitor.

Anything you send must meet the test of whether it’s relevant, timely and compelling to their audience. An employee celebrating their dog’s birthday won’t cut it. A new product line that improves efficiencies and creates jobs would.

You distinguish yourself online when disinterested third-party authorities such as newspapers and trade magazines write about you. You can bet your competitors are working hard to get themselves known in that same scarce space.

Next, incorporate the same language into your LinkedIn.com posts to further engage your audience. LinkedIn is where you share information such as new blog posts on your website and feature the media placements you earn.

Publications appreciate it when you help spread their news on your social channels. It increases the number of page-clicks — and therefore advertising dollars — to pay their own talent and bills.

Finally, ask your customers to write reviews of their experiences with you. The wealth of positive comments about your superior service on your website, online review sites in your industry and LinkedIn will far outweigh the gadflys you will never please.

Engaging writing and presentation amplifies your fine work product, services and culture. You wouldn’t physically sell your wares from anything less than the best facility you can afford, so why try distinguishing yourself online in a rotting potato barn?

Serious leaders at strong companies want to work with other serious leaders at strong companies. Employees devoted to certain core values want to work for organizations devoted to similar core values.

You never get a second chance to impress your customers and employees the first time they see you. With only a fraction of a second, inspire them with your new digital business card.

Dave Yonkman is president of the digital public relations firm DYS Media, a former Capitol Hill communications director and former Washington correspondent for Newsmax Media.

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