Overnight a company can be built up or destroyed by their branding.
Why does branding matter? Because in an online world where you might not know someone face-to-face, your branding is your personality and integrity. It should be as good as your word.
Many times when bloggers think of their brand, they just think of it as logo and website colors. Your brand is much more than a simple design. Your branding encompasses all of your online actions on behalf of your blog.
People should easily be able to identify you online, through your attitude and actions. Solid branding includes not only how you communicate on your site and your social media accounts but also how you reply to other’s comments, through your email, and even guest posts.
Readers who can look at your site and easily identify who you are, what you stand for, and what your site is about are likelier to become followers. Those followers choose your blog because of what it represents. If you randomly change your perspective, write wildly off topic posts, or don’t act consistently with your brand you will lose followers.
So how can you identify your online branding?
Planning. As the saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.
To develop a strong online plan you need to sit down and develop your goal for your online presence. What is your blog’s mission statement? What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?
Step 1: Determine your long term goal for your blog.
What do you want to come to people’s minds when they think of your blog? Do you want to empower women to feel naturally beautiful or do you want to educate people about beer? Turn this longtime goal into your short term road map to get there.
Do you find yourself writing about too many topics to determine an overall voice or message for your blog? Now is the time to trim it down. What are you truly not passionate about? Is there anything that you can easily weed out?
Writing these things down doesn’t mean that this is the path you are stuck on forever. Brands will change and evolve with time. However, you need a starting point and your long term goal will help you discover and polish your blog’s message. Changes in branding and your blog’s voice shouldn’t be taken lightly. Take time to think and really evaluate any changes you want to make to your blog’s branding in the future.
Step 2: Brainstorm and Develop
Now you know your blog’s online message but how can you turn that into a cohesive brand? Brainstorm different descriptive words and phrases that you feel support or describe that message.
If you write a blog about home organization than your brainstorming step might include: clean, declutter, well put together, white, minimalist, efficient and so on.
Now take those words and list out ways that you can use that online.
Should your blog posts be well put together and efficient? Rambling posts that are filled with clutter, will hurt your brand.
Is your website clean and decluttered or does it need a new look to fit the organizational branding?
How should your blog graphics be laid out? If minimalism fits your blog branding then consider developing a graphic template that will enable you to have clean modern graphics every single time.
Consider the overall voice of your blog. If home organization is your goal, is tweeting about going garage sale shopping to buy more items an extension of your brand?
It all needs to fit together to be a cohesive brand. Not just through your logo, site design, posts, and social media but also through any guest posts you do, your newsletters, comments on other’s blog posts and so much more.
Step 3: Weed Out What Doesn’t Fit
You know what your brand is, now you need to solidify what it is not. One of the most helpful steps you can take to create your brand is to list out what doesn’t fit. When you know where you shouldn’t go, it’s easier not to stray.
Agencies representing products and services that do not fit within your branding will approach you with sponsored post opportunities. It’s hard to look at the money or chance to work with a great company and pass it up. But when you know that it might hurt your branding, you will know why you must turn it down and saying no will be easier.
You do not want to lose the trust of your readers for money or a fun opportunity. Your reader’s trust is one of your blog- and brand’s – greatest assets. Your readers are who will share your site, comment on your posts, and support you through affiliate purchases or buying your products. Don’t kill their goodwill towards your blog.
Money isn’t the only factor. If you write a family friendly PG rated blog, but curse like a sailor on social media, you will confuse your readers and make them question your integrity.
Make a list of what doesn’t fit within your brand. You don’t have to print it out and tape it to your computer screen but you do need to know in your head what fits and what doesn’t.
Knowing what is outside of the boundaries of your online brand is just as important as knowing what your online branding is.
Once your online brand is established, you still have to work to implement it.
Creating your online brand is hard work. It’s worth the effort. A solid brand will see higher readership as people learn who you are, how to quickly identify your content and most importantly, that you’re worth their time and following.
Do you need help figuring out your blog’s brand? We’ve created these free worksheets for you to use!
Download the worksheets here –