Building Your Brand Through Your Blog
When did it all get so confusing? It used to be that you picked a domain name, patched together a blog on one of the various platforms and started writing. Putting a whole lot of thought into who you were writing for or making your style appealing to a particular brand wasn’t on the radar. You put words on the screen and hoped the readers would follow.
So much has changed even in the past five years since I started down the blogging rabbit hole. Competition for eyeballs has gotten even steeper. There are more blogs with more content for readers and brands to choose from. It’s no longer enough to fly by the seat of your pants if you want to be taken seriously.
You are Your Brand
Even if you’re only blogging as a hobby, everything from the style of your website to the tone of your writing reflects who you are and how you want to be seen. You may not think you are branding yourself with these decisions, but you are.
That’s why it’s so important to spend some time thinking through how you want to be perceived and who you’d like to attract to your site. Especially if you’re hoping to collaborate with brands on their campaigns, clarity goes a long way.
What is your Unique Selling Proposition?
Knowing how you are different from the competition and being able to express your value helps define your brand and makes it far more marketable. I know it may sound strange to think in terms of a USP if you’re a blogger who mainly writes about your everyday life, but it’s not so strange if we’re talking about you and your blog as a brand.
Take a look at Ree Drummond and her website The Pioneer Woman. She has built her brand around her life on a ranch with her family. What makes her unique is her spin on adapting to that life going from a “spoiled city girl to domestic country wife.” Her appeal is her confessional style and heartfelt approach to everything from cooking to homeschooling.
Show Some Personality
Part of creating a successful brand through your blog involves sharing your personality. Even if your blog doesn’t directly involve your personal life, visitors still want to get a sense of who you are and what your values are. People want to engage with people, not faceless websites. Make sure to add your photo somewhere in your site. Write a knock your socks off About Page that reflects your character. Pick a website design in concert with your writing style and subject matter. Script fonts and baby pink may not be the best choice if you’re writing about finances.
Or, maybe it is. It all depends on what you’re trying to say and who you’re trying to say it to.
One of the most important aspects of developing any kind of brand is consistency. Consistency of message and appearance help people identify with you. If you’re using a particular headshot of yourself as your avatar on Facebook then use the same one across all the social networks.
The same holds true for your writing. Work to develop a tone and style along with subject matter that people will begin to identify with you.
Expand Beyond the Blog
Take what you’ve created on your home turf and amplify your message with the help of social media. Obviously, social media tools are phenomenal ways of directing readers to your website, but they’re also good platforms for honing your branding skills. How much personality can you fit into 140 characters while still providing something of value to say? It’s not easy, but when you do it right, you’re able to engage with a broader audience who may find themselves wanting to read more of what you have to write.
Branding yourself and your blog doesn’t have to be confusing. It boils down to knowing what you want to say and who you want to say it to. The rest will fall into place with some patience and a bit of thought.
Jen Havice is a blogger, writer, and social media consultant. When not helping small businesses navigate the social networking jungle at Make Mention Media, she chases after two large dogs and rides an even larger horse. She and her husband call Minneapolis home. Connect with her on Facebook, Google+, and on Twitter.