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How To Develop Your Professional Blog Brand
Many people think that branding only applies to big businesses with something to sell. To be a professional blogger however you also need to develop your blog as a brand.
Most people are put off by the word itself and it can be daunting when branding is often portrayed as complicated and expensive. It is actually very simple to brand a business, including blogs, if you know a few basic tricks...
What Is A Brand?
Put simply, a brand is your business or blog identity. I like to describe it as your blog's personality.
OK, so you have a blog or are thinking about starting one. If that blog was a person what would they be like?
To find out what your blog's brand personality is or will be ask yourself:
- What are they interested in? (niche topics)
- In what style do they dress? (images, colours, style, overall look)
- What features make them instantly recognisable? (logo)
- How would you describe them in one sentence? (slogan)
- Who do they hang out with? (network, affiliates, colleagues)
- Who do they influence? (friends, associates, dependents)
Design Your Blog Identity
So how do you go about developing the brand for your blog. Well start with the instant impact...how your blog looks.
Choose a look that reflects your niche(s). Once you have a look for your blog, use it across everything linked to it. Use the logo as your favicon, on business cards, for adverts, social network profile pictures and so on.
Giving a clearly defined look will help readers recognise you and remember your site. They will build trust with you, knowing you are consistent and have a clear message.
Brand Building Exercise
To understand building a brand better, have a go at this simple exercise.
1. Make a list of the products you use most and your favourite sites/blogs
2. Spend some time looking at them and ask yourself the following:
- Why do I like them?
- Who are they targeting by their use of colour, wording and style? (age, gender, wealth etc.)
- How would you improve their brand?
- What makes them instantly identifiable?
- What message are they putting across?
3. Now make notes on your blog. If you don't have one yet, don't worry, note down what you would like your blog to be when it is up and running.
4. Gradually make changes so that your brand is stronger and clearer. Refer to your notes frequently so as not to lose focus.
Your Brand Message
Having a strong brand will help you connect with your readers on a deeper level. When this happens they will start to become true fans who look forward to your future posts, be active in commenting and buy your products.
To connect with your audience you have to have a clear message that they agree with and believe in. It can be anything from a shared love of Italian food and upcycling clothes to parenting tips or supporting your favourite political party. I've seen many blogs that become popular for one particular topic and then suddenly deviate away from that. Readers become unsure, confused and angry, as it can come across that the original posts were just a marketing trick to gain traffic.
Have a Slogan. Create one sentence that sums up what your blog is about. Again use this across your marketing, including business cards and social networks. Keep focused on your slogan as it will help keep your writing within your niche.
Be consistent in your message, your style and in essence your blog's identity. If you have a blog and your slogan, posts and graphics all give off different messages you are not building a clear brand. Keep in mind that your blog is like a person with it's own personality building a friendship with it's readers.
Be genuine and keep focused. There is nothing wrong with exploring other branches of the same niche, if you find yourself getting bored or running out of ideas. Make sure you stay within your niche though.
Blog Networking and Attracting Followers
Get to know blogs in similar niches and build a working relationship with them. This is not only good for marketing as you can help each other, but it strengthens your brand too. Think of them as colleagues. If someone were to ask them something that they do not know, they may refer them to you as someone with the answer.
Be approachable. Treat followers as the individuals they are, not just a number. Respond to as many comments and messages as you can and give genuine answers. Thank them for choosing to spend their free time with you and remember they are there by choice and can leave whenever they want. Readers will remember you and appreciate you taking the time to take an interest in them. They will know that it is a two way friendship, not just another blogger trying to make a few quid and would be more likely to come back.