I will begin this exercise by first explaining my understanding of what a brand is, why I think it is important for a blog to be branded, and I will share my tried and tested method to nail the brand for your blog. Plus, I reiterate just how to stay on brand as much as possible.
What is a brand?
A brand is more than logos, colours, fonts, or style. A brand is a feeling. It’s about how your audience feels about your business. A brand is where all those elements come together to convey a meaning about a business.
Colours, logos, fonts, tone of voice, style are all elements of communications. A brand, however, is about the values and mission statement behind those communication devices.
The biggest brands in the world all invoke a feeling and they are successful because they offer a sense of security, understanding or even nostalgia for the brand’s meaning. Successful brands are easy to recognise and they makes us feel good.
A brand let’s an audience know what they’re going to get, they feel safe in that familiarity.
Why is a brand important for a blog?
A strong blog brand offers a consistent message across all of your communication, from your blog and social media content right through to your email and in-person conversations.
There are thousands, if not millions, of blogs on the internet, so how do you stand out? How do encourage readers to come back for more?
You will be able grow your blog by having a strong and consistent brand where your readers know what you stand for, what they’re going to get, and how you’re going to make them feel.
How to brand your blog
It’s time for an exercise! Much like the core purpose exercise (read here) you need to grab a pen and paper or open up a digital note ready to brainstorm your ideas and responses to the following brand your blog questions and prompts:
1. What is your blog niche? Or theme?
You may have a specific niche (such as adventure travel, vegetarian food, thrifty fashion) but if you struggle to niche down perhaps choose a theme that ties together all of your content? What is the essence of your blog?
2. Who is your target audience?
3. What makes your blog unique? If you struggle to think objectively about yourself and/or your blog perhaps ask a friend, peer or regular reader.
4. List key words that summarise your blog.
5. How do you want people to feel when they read your blog?
6. What key personality traits are your proud of? What part of your personality do you want to amplify?
7. Write a list of what your blog is NOT. A great way to differentiate what your blog is, is to define what it is not.
8. Draft a brand/blog mission statement. What do you want your blog to achieve? (Look at your core purpose and blog objectives from the previous exercise)
TAKE A BREAK!
Now you’ve filled a page or two with the answers to those questions, take a break from it all. Go make a cup of tea, take a walk, or put it away for a few hours. Allow those ideas to percolate or switch off completely. Either way, come back to the brainstorm at a later time and look at what you wrote with fresh eyes.
Now revisit your brainstorm and draw out the repeated keywords, ideas and messages that leap off the page. These will form your brand keywords and messages.
These keywords (I recommend picking no more than 3-5) form the fundamentals of a strong blog brand.
Write a final brand mission statement for your blog that captures the brand keywords. It should include what your blog stands for, what it doesn’t stand for, and the key messages.
Now you can decide on the design and communication elements to support your brand mission statement and key words.
How to maintain the blog branding
Branding should inform everything you do as a blogger. It will help you with consistency from content to communication style. Every decision you make regarding your blog you need to ask yourself, do this serve my brand? Does this reinforce my brand? Is this what my brand needs? If not, say no.
Do not agree to anything that conflicts with your brand key messages. Stay on track!
You want to be reinforcing your brand values in everything you do from content creation on the blog, social media, and video, all the way through to how to speak to others at events, and in emails.
Let me know how you get on with the brand your blog exercise and I hope it helps!