You know of brands as in companies and big name celebrities who try to expand their name and status in the public eye in order to get that profitable endorsement deal or to market their own products. The success of that usually comes down to how their brand is being perceived. Your blog is no different! Since you already have a name, an idea and a concept, you’re most likely ready to take the next step. Turn your blog into a brand and ultimately enhance your blogging career.
What is a brand? Why do I need to brand my blog?
During the iFabbo social media conference, experts of the PR panel have discussed the importance of having something to offer when reaching out to PR agencies and companies. A great media kit is a start, but what is even more appealing seems to be a blog that has a message and clearly shows structure. If you think of a certain skin care or fashion company, you immediately associate a certain image, a vibe that comes with the name. That is exactly what you want to achieve with branding your blog. Your name should be recognizable and should be associated with a specific image.
Step 1 – Definition
Creating a brand means essentially to think of some cohesive core values that represent you and your blog. Who are you, what is it you do and what does that mean? Once you can answer these questions, you have found the foundation of your brand – the identity of your blog that can be recognized in just a glimpse of an eye.
Define the terms you use to describe your site. Exercise: Imagine you are being interviewed and someone asks you to describe your blog in one short sentence. What would it be? Include the 2-3 main attributes you want your brand to stand for.
Tip: Many companies have a slogan or a mission statement written on their site. Why not write one for your blog as well. It can help to keep track of your core values.
Step 2 – Design
To start off easy, think of a specific theme. What are the main colors on your site, what style are you using? Main factors like that make it easy to visually create a cohesive base from where you can move forward. Branding your blog starts with a design that is recognizable. Choose one theme and base every other media outlet or marketing effort off of that. Many WordPress themes are extremely customizable to really let your personality shine but even Blogger can get you all the basics you need to make your blog your own.
Try to pay special attention to your domain name, a logo, headline and tagline. Those details are some of the first things people will see and likely the one thing they will remember. Choose a name that people can actually remember because it´s short, catchy and possibly relates to your blog content.
Tip: A tool like Kuler can help you decide on your color theme. Find here a post on how to pick the best blog design.
Step 3 – Content
As important as the appearance of your blog is, the content should be equally important. If you are a beauty blogger and you have a regular schedule and certain way of writing, stick to it! If you are a fashion blogger and have a very specific way of styling or way to compose your photos, stick to it! The one thing that makes you unique, be it your writing style, language, your layout or your post schedule, it should be cohesive so people will recognize it over time and know what to expect.
Are you planning on incorporating videos or other types of media? Their presentation should align with your overall page style including font, color or photo composition. Your blog layout and posting style also says a lot about your brand. Short and to the point or longer and informative? Evaluate what kind of message your blogging style might send to your readers and always keep your core values in mind.
It is what people perceive that will stick in their heads and create an image of your brand.
Some blogs might be suited better to work with certain companies because of the way they represent themselves. It’s the tone you set on your blog that will determine how you are being perceived and e.g. if a company wants to work with you or not.
Step 4 – Community
Your blog doesn’t just exist on its own. You communicate with other bloggers, with companies on social media or with people on the street. Every single person you reach out to about your site online or offline will get an impression of you and your site. Linking back to specific companies or products in your posts shows your readers what you want, think and look for. Build on that! Start to communicate within your specific target group and get associated with the kind of brands similar to the one you want to build. Even if you only exist online, the topic you cover, the product you recommend, everything builds up to your reputation, your brand – networking in the right niche is key!
Even better: Become an expert in your niche! When people think of vegan beauty bloggers, do they think of you? When they need to ask a question about minimalistic design of the 21st century, do they come to you? Establish yourself as an expert or semi-professional in a specific area and people will start to connect your site, your name with it, which will ultimately help build your brand.
Planning on using guest bloggers? Make sure they are aware of your brand and follow similar rules in terms of content, language and media presentation.
Don’t forget to monitor your brand’s online presence! What are people saying about you and your site in the online world? It’s important to keep track! Tools like Mention or SocialMention make that really easy.
Step 5 – Consistency
Once you have defined your brand, your blog’s identity, started networking to establish your blog and started to promote your business, there is one last step to keep in mind. Consistency! Keeping a clear and consistent message up over a long period of time is crucial. Changing small things in the beginning of a blog is normal but should not be the norm after a year. People will get confused and it shows indecisiveness. (That also goes for domain name, email address or Twitter name etc.)
What if you really don’t like your blog’s design any more? You can always strategically re-brand your site and use it as part of a whole new marketing plan.
Are you branding your blog? What are your essential steps? Do you think bloggers need to brand themselves?
Want to know more about branding and working with PR agencies? Watch the PR Panel of the iFabbo Social Media Conference via PPV and get the scoop from the experts. Click here.