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The only way for you to succeed and grow your blogging business is to solidify your branding for your blog.

When A Thousand Words Aren’t Worth a Picture: The Importance of Branding for Bloggers

Why do bloggers need branding. It’s simple. You want readers. Audiences need someone to trust. Is that someone you?

Branding is Important.

“Branding is important not only because is it what makes a memorable impression on consumers but also because it allows your customers and clients to know what to expect from your company.” — Elizabeth Smithson, Branding Magazine

Branding is achieved through specific, deliberate, and consistent messaging in visual, verbal and non-verbal customer experiences. Branding communicates value and shapes perceptions about the company and its products or services. Poor branding breeds confusion and ultimately reduced value and sales. Effective branding breeds pride and loyalty. In other words, good branding can elevate while poor branding can destroy.

One great example that most people over 40 will remember is the fall of Beta Max. Some may argue that Beta Max was the superior product. “Sony kept Betamax proprietary, meaning that the market for VHS products quickly outpaced Betamax. Though Betamax was technically superior, VHS won out by simply being ubiquitous” writes Ben Gilbert, businessinsider.com. A quality product (superior or not) lost its foothold in the market altogether to its competitor that focused on making the technology widely available.

Similarly, Microsoft skyrocketed to the top because of its accessibility. It was a third or even a quarter of the price. Regardless of the glaring differences in performance and overall quality, Microsoft was the VHS of the late 80s and 90s. Microsoft began to dominate the corporate world and expanded personal computing to business applications. Apple re-gained market share when they clarified their position–a computer focused on high quality graphics and stability, which appeals to filmmakers and other creative artists.

“People don’t have relationships with products, they are loyal to brands.” — Scott Goodson, Forbes

The only way for you to succeed and grow your blogging business is to solidify your branding for your blog.

Why Bloggers Brand

Whatever you’re doing, wherever you are, it’s part of your brand. Whether you’re a business owner or a business employee, you’re a brand — like it or not. Selling services, products, or yourself, everything that surrounds an encounter and experience with you counts.

Without consistent and clear brand messaging, all of your hard work writing thousands of words for who-knows-how-many articles falls on deaf ears–ultimately going unread. Silence.

Then, what? What’s the value of your blog? What’s the point of writing it? While branding serves as the foundation and builds value greater than the sum of all of the parts for and of your business, there’s only so much of it you can control.

“Your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.” — Marty Neumeier

It lies deeply within those experiencing it and how they’ve experienced it. That’s a bit distressing. Therefore, you need to be hyper-vigilant about protecting that which you can control.

How-To Identify Your Voice and Brand Your Blog

Way to Emulate

Look to Brands Doing It Well

Have you ever been watching TV or listening to the radio and immediately known what that commercial is for or whose produced it? I have.

Brands I know instantly because of their consistent voice/tone are:

  • Target
  • Old Navy
  • Subaru
  • Intel

Target and Old Navy are great examples of consistency across all media. Their choice of lighting, tonality, and overall style for photographs and video are always the same, even when the content of the message differs.

Make note to be mindful of the choice of images and video consistency amongst them and with the message.

Intel has used the same series of notes and chords for decades now (yes, more than one decade now). I don’t even have to see a blue logo to know. That sound conjures the Intel message into my mind without the benefit of additional visuals or experiences.

Make note to use a consistent key, phrase, chord, or series of chords if using sound for podcasts, videos, or other experiences.

Subaru, well… dogs. They’ve hit the jackpot with the serial dog commercials. But, that’s a marketing campaign. Yes, it’s consistent with their brand, but what about it is consistent across the brand without the marketing campaign concept? Safety. Outdoors. Their marketing stories incorporate these two brand pillars into every aspect of its brand, including marketing and sales. It’s more than that. There are photo/video style choices that remain consistent across all media and over the years. It all lies within their brand standards, which they live and breathe. The brand standards are the yardstick by which they evaluate consistency. You can count on Subaru to heavily emphasize safety and/or outdoor adventures in everything they do.

Make not to refer to your own brand’s keywords when reviewing everything prior to publishing or distributing—does it fit within those keywords or standards?

These are some pretty big brand names with some big bucks behind them. So, what’s a writer and blogger to do to brand himself/herself so solidly?

Look to your heroes who are doing it well.

Whose style is most like your own? Emulate them. A few great writers I like are:

  • Jeff Goins, goinswriter.com
  • Kevin Rogers, copychief.com
  • Marie Forleo, marieforleo.com

Emulate your heroes (don’t plagiarize). If you’re unsure of how to identify the writing style of others, Bright Hub Education list of characteristics below may help; there’s more info on the site.

Key aspects in styles of writing include:

  • sentence length, structure, variation, and position
  • the use of sensory details, figurative language, and other literary devices
  • the use of sound devices–alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhythm, repetition
  • the use of dialogue
  • word choice
  • tone
  • the use of local color
  • the use of irony

Categorize Words as Your Brand Foundation

It’s pretty easy to set standards so you can be consistent across all media. Distilling your own brand and personality into a few words helps to clarify what you’re all about and what is of the utmost importance.

Start by defining your own culture

What is your business, office, and work life culture? Forbes Coaches Council provides a good list of steps to define your culture. “Culture is shaped structurally through norms, processes, rituals,” it is important to define and establish what those will be. Below are  the most essential steps in the process for building a company culture.

  • Know Your ‘Why’
  • Start With Your Core Values
  • Reverse Engineer The Culture
  • Clarify Vision And Strategic Priorities
  • Design Organizational Purpose
  • Explore Behaviors
  • Align Culture With Employees
  • Be Transparent With Your Definition
  • Start With The Front Lobby and Website

Many bloggers and writers don’t have employees; at best, they have teams of contractors or subcontractors. That’s why I use this Core method adopted from Jose Ca

Quick-Start

Identify 5+ one-word descriptors of your company culture. Then, underline your top three. Then, highlight the most important or strongest word. While all words may remain appropriate, this word will be the keyword for your culture.

Example:

  • Growth-minded
  • Collaborative
  • Innovative
  • Compassionate

Identify your blogging voice

“Nobody is born with a style or a voice. We don’t come out of the womb knowing who we are. In the beginning, we learn by pretending to be our heroes. We learn by copying.” — Austin Kleon

While your blog is delivered from you and represents parts of you, it is not a living, breathing being. However, it “creates a feeling within your reader and personalizes what s/he is reading.
” (Jeff Goins, ProBlogger) Therefore, you’ll identify the common words within your industry and your own writing that describe the style of voice you have and/or want.

Quick-Start

Identify 5+ one-word descriptors of your blog voice. Underline your top three and highlight the most important or strongest word. While all words may remain appropriate, this word will be the keyword for your voice.

Example:

  • Snarky
  • Critical
  • Curious
  • Irreverent
  • Precise

What impact does your blog have on your readers?

This is the answer to what you’re solving for your readers—the inverse of the pain points. Your message needs to be clearest on what you solve for your readers or clients. (For more information read Pain Points: A Guide to Finding & Solving Your Customers’ Problems.)

Quick-Start

Identify 5+ one-word descriptors of your blog voice. Underline your top three and highlight the most important or strongest word. While all words may remain appropriate, this word will be the keyword for your voice.

Example:

  • Increase revenue
  • Reduce expenses
  • Increase productivity
  • Provide assurance

Your Framework for Visual, Verbal, and Non-Verbal Branding

With these words, you have the yardstick by which to measure the appropriateness for everything you do, say, write, create, etc.

  • Does _____ demonstrate ‘growth’?
  • Does _____ provide critical analysis?
  • Does _____ provide assurance?

Using your heroes’ work as templates, you can start to grow your own brand and voice and be far more effective with your blog.

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