Looking for Something?
Posts Tagged for

blog brand

Six Ways to Make Your Brand Shine in a Small Business Blog

Author:

Ask a dozen marketers what “branding” means and you’ll get a dozen answers. Why? Because it’s a word with many meanings, depending on who’s doing the defining. This blog alone shows 30 unique definitions, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What we do know is that branding is that it is the yin-yang of your business: You tell the world how you want to define your services or products, what differentiates you, and why people should trust and buy from you. Ultimately though, your brand ends up in the hands (and minds) of customers and prospects—they will be the ones collecting experiences and driving business to or away from you. Some even argue that companies have lost control of their brands altogether, unintentionally passing the baton to consumers, thanks to the power of social media. That’s why it’s even more important to exploit the brand equity you do have with the vast web connections, from your web site to social media presence to search, and anywhere else your business lives.

In the end, your blog can be one of your biggest brand assets, or do nothing to add value and attract business. Here are some top tactics to work it to your advantage:

#1 Mirror, Mirror On The Web

Starting from the outside in, your blog should walk the walk as a natural extension of  your company name, logo, color scheme, and all other tangible elements that make up your brand identity. The best way to stop that natural flow in its tracks is to publish a blog that lacks brand identity. A company blog should be a seamless transition from anywhere you’ve marked your (brand) territory: a real-world meeting where your business card was passed, a visit to your store, an eBook you wrote, or a transaction on your site. Make sure to give your blog a name—not just a “blog” section on your web site—one that reinforces who you are and what you do (My business name is LiveWire Communications and my blog name is Marketing Sparks. Get it?). And don’t forget about a tagline so readers know what your blog is about (Mine is “Insight about Advertising, Marketing, and Branding.”).

#2 No Blog-ots 

Of course your blog should not only walk like your business, it needs to talk the talk too. Speak in your brand voice at all times: Is it funny? Conversational? Whimsical? Even if you’re a number-crunching accountant, you can still let your personality come through (unless you’re crabby). The tone, style, and words that you use act as a conductor for your brand. Be true and authentic, whether you’re a storefront or a one-person shop. No one would question speaker and self-proclaimed “Unstuck-er” Erika Napoletano about this: Whether or not you like her cussin’, in-your-face style, her brand is illuminated in every word of her blog, even the four-letter ones. That also goes for your “About” page too. This is a great opportunity to showcase and reinforce your brand story.

#3 Stand Out From the Competition

It’s pretty easy to be a “Me Too” when it comes to blog topics for various industries. You can go outside the lines, but only so far. Your blog is a prime opportunity to bring out the uniqueness of your brand, no matter what the post is about. Marc Sheridan turned River Pools blog into what it calls itself  “…the most educational swimming pool blog in the country” through his efforts to educate and inform readers on the pool industry (which he turned into a successful content marketing/speaking career as The Sales Lion). Conversely, another tactic is to deliver contrasting point of views from industry bloggers. For instance, if all graphic designers are writing about the hottest trends in typography, write about the suckiest fonts instead—you’ll stand out for your knowledge in a different way.

#4 Dole Out Your Branding in Quick Hits

Another way to continue brand extension in your blog (and amp up your content promotion while you’re at it) is to leverage a thought-provoking quote, stat, or visual from a post and blast out to your social networks at various intervals. It will make a brand statement and also serves as a call- back to the blog while you’re at it. And don’t forget to make thoughtful, impactful comments on related blogs, this can be another great opportunity to put your branding stake in the ground.

#5 Hitch Your Wagon to a Like-Minded Star

Reinforcing your brand in your blog can be also be achieved by bringing someone else into the writing mix. Think interviews, quotes, or a guest posters. And I’m not talking about using a generic quote from Abraham Lincoln here; more like showing your affinity with a thought leader, industry luminary, or cheeky scofflaw who will draw attention. This will speak volumes about who you are (not to mention getting your blog some back links).

#6 Look Inside Yourself

Still stumped on how to bring out the essence of your brand? Conduct a brand audit to get more clarity. That may seem fancy pants if you’re a consultant or small business, but it can also lead to valuable insights. Do a free quickie one with a consultationdownload a tool, or ask yourself a few pointed questions. Doing these exercises can help reveal the true essence of your brand and point to any disconnects communicating to your audiences. If you’re strapped for time, try Wordle to visually capture brand descriptors and get a snapshot of who you are. After all this soul-searching, you may find that your brand is not reflecting what your small business is about, and it might be time to rebrand—but we’ll save that subject for a future post.

What tactics do you use in your blog to bring out your brand?

Overheard on #Blogchat: Branding (@sheilas)

Author:

Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night (or Monday morning), I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This week’s theme: Branding and Choosing Post Topics

I didn’t make it to #blogchat this week (still recovering from the flu), but I checked out the transcript and it was as thought-provoking and educational as ever. The topic tonight was branding and choosing post topics, so there was a lot to talk about. I found the tweets about branding especially interesting. This was one of the tweets that caught my eye:

sheilas: re: blog branding. Don’t get too carried away. Can you describe what you blog about in 1-2 sentences? You’re fine.

Branding is extremely important for your blog, but I think @sheilas is right – we can get too carried away. I know some bloggers who think of little else – everything to do is about brand-building.

In my mind, it begs the question, “If you have to put so much thought and time into branding, are you being genuine and honest with your readers?”

You can, of course, create whatever kind of personal brand you want, but it is always best when your brand is just an elaborated, exaggerated, clear version of who you already are. If you’re a hometown, traditional girl, branding yourself as an edgy blogging rock star will be a stretch, for example. In other words, don’t dye your hair black for your blog if you love your flowing blond locks in every other part of your life.

If you’re new to blogging, don’t worry if it takes a little time for your brand to develop. It’s okay (good even) to have a clear picture of the brand you want to build, but stay flexible as you grow into your blogging shoes. Even if you are an experienced blogger, don’t be afraid to allow your brand to constantly evolve. You don’t want to confuse your audience by changing every few months, but blogging is not stagnant, so your brand doesn’t have to be stagnant either. Even major consumer brands (think companies like Coca-Cola or Nintendo) are evolving to keep up with growing company vision and consumer need.

So, what @sheilas is saying makes a lot of sense – branding needs to be important, but don’t get bogged down in thinking about it too much. At the end of the day, this is as much of an organic process as it is a process you can plan, so focus on being yourself and creating great content. Great branding will follow.

Learn About NMX

NEW TWITTER HASHTAG: #NMX

Recent Comments

Categories

Archives