The big advantage of building a blog (and business) is that you can influence how other people perceive you. You have a huge opportunity to paint the picture of your venture along the lines you want people to see you. This perception of other of your blog or business is called a brand. Neglecting it will mean missing out.
But many bloggers and business owners either do not care or simply are not aware of how they can influence their brand. And that is really sad as you can take some simple measures to guide your audience toward the image you want them to have of you.
What is a brand?
Let’s start by making it totally clear what we are talking about when we speak of a “brand.”
Jeff Bezos put it in simple words that get it quite well: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
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This is a very simple perception of quite a complex idea.
Your brand influences how your audience reacts towards you and if they will ever turn into customers. In essence, your brand is the public opinion of your venture. It includes all the trust you have built and all the images and conversations that come to mind when people think about you.
Branding can occur on multiple layers in your business. It starts with the name of your blog or business and the visual appearance, includes how you treat customers and clients, and considers your presence in various places or outlets.
Developing a brand for a blog may come as a new concept to you. But in reality, the moment blogs started to turn into businesses, branding became an issue – and a concept that pays back in hard money.
Why should you brand your blog
People like to connect with people they know and trust. Branding or rather the strategic implementation of a brand image for your blog or business will help you to build a relationship with your audience and grow trust. If that does not work, your efforts in branding are going the wrong way and should be reconsidered.
You should engage in branding with a goal in mind: Make people think and talk about you in a way you would like them to. Try to influence what people say about you when you are not present in a positive way:
- Oh, that image is from the blog with the awesome content
- Posts from that blog are always a great read
- That blogger always answers to comments
- That blogger knows what he is doing
If you get your branding right, you will have a much easier time to get people to sign up for your email list, listen to you and eventually buy your products.
Since you now know that good branding can fill your pockets with money, here are some ideas how you can brand your blog:
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1. Your blog name
It all starts with the name of your blog – or business.
Many famous bloggers use their name and recommend using their name. Some even rebranded half-way through their blogging venture to their name.
But there are also many other examples where the name of the blog works very well without being the name of the blogger. You want some examples? Smartpassiveincome, copyblogger, a pinch of yum, honeytrek – to name just a few.
What makes a good blog or business name from the branding perspective?
- Make it recognizable. Don’t choose a name similar to what already exists. You do not want your awesome content attributed to your competitor.
- Try to find a name that somehow relates to the niche or topic of your blog. Your blog name should already hint at what your blog is about.
- make it easy to remember. The better people remember your blog name the easier will it be for you to build a reputation.
2. Your blog’s URL
When you choose your blog name, keep in mind that you need a URL that relates to the blog name. Check your dream URL before you decide on the name of your blog.
You can easily check the availability of a URL with Godaddy. Play around with the idea you have and mind and see what domain suggestions are available for an affordable price.
3. Your blog’s Tagline
The tagline is the one short sentence used to describe what your blog is about. A simple witty sentence that explains at the first glance what your blog or business is about.
Especially when you use your own name as a blog name or a witty name that does not reveal the topic at first glance, the tagline is of high importance. It makes very clear what you are about – and will be associated with your name.
The theme of your blog provides the basic design of your website. You want people to instantly recognize that they landed on the right page. Returning visitors should instantly realize where they are. And your audience should be able to instantly see when they left your blog or website – because the design changed.
You do not need a paid theme or anything fancy. But the theme should provide you with a clear design and elements for each page.
The color scheme of your blog also adds to the recognizability. Once you decided on a basic color scheme for your blog, you can use it to make your social media images easier to recognize.
For instance, I use the color from our logo (orange) to brand our pins for Pinterest. It works 😉
Your logo can also help to make images, blog and social accounts easier to recognize. A logo will help you brand your images and other material that you create for your blog.
It should be very clear on every piece of content who has written it.
Is it always you? That will make it easy to brand the author.
If you are accepting guest posts, always state who the author of a piece of content is.
Do you have multiple writers on your website? State the author for every piece of content.
This is a complex branding mechanism. It starts with your blog posts and other pieces of content. The tone of your blog also shines through in each comment you answer and each social media post you create.
Make a decision right from the start: how are you going to treat communication? Is your content on the humorous side or very earnest.
Stay consistent with how you communicate with your audience.
A large part of your brand image will result from how you treat and respond to your audience. Make sure that you do!
9. About Us Page
The about us or about me page is the right place to tell some background information. Who are you? Why are you writing the blog? For whom is the blog and why are you the right person to listen to?
Image Source: Honeytrek
Here you can answer questions that people may have before they want to get into a relationship with you.
If people from your audience get interested enough to consider to signup for your email list or even consider buying your products, some of them will also take the time to visit your about page and get some background information on you.
You can brand your images with your logo, your URL or your brand name, colors or even graphics. The goal is that everywhere your image shows up, people can instantly see: This is an image from your blog.
If your images are shared on social media, no matter who shared them, people should see “Cool that is an image from the blog I love.”
If your images are cited on another blog, their blog readers should be able to recognize the original source of the image.
Making your images recognizable will help you reach a larger audience, build your brand image and grow your customer base.
11. Social Media Strategy
Some people always post funny stuff on social media. Some post cartoons. Some post quotes. And some post useful information. Some answer questions. Some initiate discussions.
Whatever your social media strategy, if done right, your social media strategy will become an active part of your brand building.
Take a look at the Twitter account Hilton Suggests. This is a purely communicative Twitter account, that helps to brand Hilton (and Hilton hotels) as friendly and helpful places where you can get all the answers that you have when traveling foreign cities.
The purpose of this Twitter account (and the blog behind it) is clearly to build a positive brand image for Hilton hotels.
Whatever you decide to do to brand your blog or business, make sure you act consistently. Don’t change your color scheme every few months. Don’t change your tagline or your background story too often. Stick to a social media strategy and make sure that your blogging voice is consistent.
Nothing confuses more than inconsistency in branding. Inconsistency can hurt your branding much more than not considering branding at all.
Final words on branding your blog
The need for consistency does not mean that you are not allowed to learn.
When you are starting out, you may need some time to figure out your brand image. Your blogging voice may need some time to develop. You may have to experiment with your blog images until you find the designs and layout that you want to stick with. You may, later on, realize that people have additional or different questions about you that you may want to answer on your about page. Even communication with your audience needs to develop. In the beginning, you will probably not have too many comments and questions to answer – that may change later on.
You have the right to develop – but do not change the complete image that you present to your audience, that will not help your brand reputation in any way.