This is a guest contribution from Olivia Rose
How much time have you spent on the branding of your blog? If you haven’t branded your blog, you may not realise what you’re missing out on.
Branding a blog is extremely important but it is also a bit of a nebulous concept to those who are not professionals in the marketing industry. The first step is to understand what a brand is and how it can help you develop your blog and reach and retain your audience. You also need to understand how to properly build a brand, or when rebranding may be necessary.
So let’s start at the beginning.
What is a Brand?
A brand is the essence of a thing. Your blog’s brand contains its tone, humour, character, colour scheme, visual logos and much more. A brand needs to be a cohesive thing and the actual thrust of the brand should be something simple that encapsulates what your blog is about. Your brand will also need to be about; who you are, and what your blog means to you and your readers. Once you have answered these core questions you will be able to begin connecting with readers who identify with your blog’s brand.
Why Should You Brand Your Blog?
Branding offers some very simple benefits, such as the ability to merchandise. However, it also offers subtler benefits. Customers will know what to expect from you and will understand who you are and what you represent. The power behind your brand will lead you into larger overall market exposure that can help expand your readership. Virtually every successful blog out there has a very clear brand that is emphasised and developed.
How Do You Brand a Blog?
Branding a blog begins with brainstorming. You will need to ask yourself very important questions, such as what your blog is about, what your goals are and how you want readers to engage with you – emotionally. You will then want to narrow this down to a few core concepts that form the foundation of what your brand represents. From there you can develop a name, slogan and logo, and a blog colour scheme and style.
How Do You Design a Brand?
Branding is so much more than a colour scheme, but the colours you use are important so it’s worth spending some time on this issue. After all, it’s much harder to change things once your blog is up and running! You may wish to study colour theory and choose colours that are best associated with your core principles.
WordPress themes are an excellent way for you to develop your brand quite quickly. A WordPress theme allows you to create an entire design and scheme almost immediately, and then you can base all of your additional branding and media off your chosen theme. Many WordPress themes are extremely customisable, which means that you can change the colours and add a logo of your choosing. It’s worth working on new themes or theme modifications when the majority of your readership is not active, because it is always possible to crash your blog.
How Can You Develop a Tone of Voice?
Equally important to the physical aspects of a blog is the actual content of the blog. You will need to determine the tone of voice of your blog early on and be consistent. As noted in a previous post about branding, if your tone isn’t well-suited to your brand and consistent, you will dilute your brand. If you’re aiming at professional journalism you should stick with a very professional and dry tone, whereas if you are aiming for a funny entertainment website you will want to remain light-hearted and entertaining.
A consistent tone of voice is very important in letting readers know what they should expect from your blog.
Can You Avoid Branding?
An important point to remember is that a lack of brand development does not mean that your blog does not have a brand. A blog will still have a brand because it is, in large part, a conceptual thing that exists in a reader’s mind. However, a blogger that doesn’t actively develop their brand has absolutely no control over what the reader associates the blog with.
Creating a brand allows a blogger to take control over the image of their blog, and not creating a brand essentially relinquishes this control.
Is it Worth Branding Your Blog?
If you are in the blog industry for success and readership then there is really no choice but to brand your blog. You may not even realise that your blog already has a brand of sorts but it simply isn’t a concise or directed one. You may be able to take your existing blog brand and develop it further. Using an existing brand to create a new brand is a simple and easy conversion process that can build new readers without losing old readers.
What Do You Do After the Brand?
It is worth mentioning the most important part of having a brand: sticking with it.
Even an imperfect brand will gain momentum over the months or even years that it is in use, but changing your brand over and over will simply confuse your readership and dilute the impact of any further brand developments. It’s very important for you to find your brand and then stick with it for as long as is possible.
Have you branded your blog? Is it something you’re considering?
Olivia Rose’s hobbies are cycling, playing tennis and blogging. Her favourite thing to blog about is business- especially branding! She suggests a Print Management business such as Hague Print if you are thinking about branding or rebranding your business.
Awesome info, Olivia!
With out a doubt I agree that branding is an important step, my problem was focusing in all the steps to properly brand. You have cleared that up for me :)
Amen Cody. I have to agree. However its good that you have steps, there must be a plan behind it. Mine has been been in the works for months. You don’t want to just create content without putting it in your overall blogging plan. At the same time you have to blog and not be quiet.
Sometimes is good just to have a rough plan and work towards that. You can always go back to content and tweak it.
Love this article. I am still struggling to brand out my new blog, and it surely provides a better path to move ahead.
That’s a good article, thank you for investing the time to crank that out and congrats for getting approved on ProBlogger; I know that wasn’t easy! :)
By the way, I’d not say it’s easy or hard to brand your blog – it just takes time – but branding is something which you adjust overtime, and based on your vision and target audience – it’s not something you know or do in a morning, after you woke up, is it…
I noticed you’re having a strange resource box. I’m an experienced guest blogger and niche marketer, and I know one thing. Somebody pays you to blog, or you’re doing it for another company, isn’t it? LOL
Nice information Olivia !
Strongly agree with your words on choosing a color scheme for a brand. Truly said that its much harder to change things once the blog is up & running :)
In my point of view it is based on niche of the blog.For example i’ve one technology blog and my friend have job notifications blog.So for job notifications blog it is easy to brand the blog because most of the people wants it but in tech niche there are already many of the blogs available.
For those trying to understand branding and its implications, it is quite simple. The goal of your brand is to create a heuristic in your audience’s mind to remember you by. This is usually made up by a logo and tagline, then reinforced through subsequent messages. Basically your brand is your blog boiled down to a simple, memorable message that your audience can put in their memory bank.
A couple tips for branding:
Consistent- Your messages, logo, and tagline must be streamlined, consistent, and neat. Your messages should all “go” together and reinforce the same main theme. Pick a theme and stick with it or you will confuse your audience.
Simple- The main goal of your brand is to be remembered. A complicated logo or message will not be remembered. Your audience is hit with an enormous amount of content. They have a limited space in their memory bank to remember you by. Make it simple and easy to remember.
Unique- The goal of marketing is not only to communicate value but to communicate differentiation. There are a dizzying amount of blogs in cyberspace, what makes you different? Why should they read your blog instead of the other blogs in your niche? Why is your blog better?
A good brand is a bloggers best friend. It will enhance your blogs value and breed a loyal and passionate audience. If you aren’t doing the things above, you are missing out on an huge opportunity to improve your blog.
Great advice, many thanks for sharing!!
I’m a beginning blogger on a Big mission and would appreciate your feedback on my ‘garage’ efforts at branding Noosagoals.com? Any feedback or tips highly appreciated and respected?
I’d be curious to know more about building a new brand off a current one and not sacrificing old audience for new audience. That’s been a major struggle of mine and something I’ve written about recently. Great post/article nonetheless!
How I’m moving forward with branding my blog is something I’m constantly thinking about. Very timely article as I’m trying to figure out the best way to update it so it stands out more in my audience’s mind.
Great post. I may just add that in my experience, the most often overlooked branding components for blogs are:
a) a lack of visual style consistency and
b) a compelling tag line.
A tag line should form part of your branding (near the logo is a good spot) and clearly communicate what your blog is about, and who it’s for. Short and sharp.
If your blog has multiple authors, consistency of tone is a common issue. An internal style guide can be a good resource for more mature blogs, covering both visual style and tone of copy.
Thanks for sharing this this with us. Branding helps blogs to stand apart and I really appreciate you taking the time out to emphasize these points.
Branding our blog is the coolest thing, and it is very interesting to design a brand of something we belong too.I must say you have given the awesome ways to create a brand, thanks for the article :-)
Great article. For the last year, I have been trying to find a way to brand my blog, and also, brand myself. I think I have finally found a way. My name is Charles Mundi. My last name in pronounced like the day of the week. However, when I was younger, people would kid me, and call me “Charles Money”. Even though this was in the back of my mind over the years, an idea came to me about two weeks ago. Why not create a web site and call it Charles Money. This is exactly what I did. This way, hopefully I will brand my blog, and as a by-product, also myself. What do you think of this concept?
Very nice post , perhaps the best thing about this post was your idea of ‘sticking with the brand’
I think long-term and established image of your blog reflects its brand; for example if we talk about problogger.net the first thing comes into our mind is Darren Rowse and then its high quality unique contents and then easy to navigate and quite simple layout and design. Similarly if we refer shoemoney.com the first the comes into our mind is uniqueness and to some extend little freakness with fans sensational photos in sidebar that refresh the minds of readers and put new spirit of life into them to do more work and be like Jermy Shoemony.
Brand building is an important element of business success, therefore it is practical that successful blog owners have invested precious time building their blog brands. I didn’t start my blog with a business notion or a particular concept to start building a blog brand and advertise it by doing so.
Building a brand for our blog is more important than any other aspect. Thanks for these awesome tips. It is not difficult to brand once you find the sweet spot.
However its good that you have steps. Consistent- Your messages, logo, and tagline must be streamlined, consistent, and neat. Your messages should all “go” together and reinforce the same main theme. Pick a theme and stick with it or you will confuse your audience.
I think my brand is probably the best thing about my blog. Because of it my blog punches above its weight. I’ve actually had the best opportunities and paid jobs based on companies buying into my brand, rather than the size of my audience. I now face the challenge of re-branding myself so people don’t think of me only as Crash Test Mummy!
well, to make your blog a brand, or to make your website a brand, you must have a strong belief that you can produce some quality work and you are different from others. If you copy others, you can not become a brand.
Guess what? I found a site that’s giving iTunes card codes away for free! http://freeitunescode.org
Well to make your blog brand you need to put lot of efforts into it
branding is needed for our blog, the same as a product that is sold commercially but is quite difficult to make a blog has the branding. all require hard work, effort and time. hopefully I can do it on all my blogs
thank you, your article was very enlightening
To make your blog or website brand you need to maintain the quality first. And the perfect way is digital marketing. Digital marketing is the best way to make your blog or website brand easily.
Just like with consumer goods products that are largely commoditized and rely on bulk sales to make profits, a brand can offer immense benefits in terms of awareness and marketing power. For CG products brands allow retailers to charge more and offset low margins. With a blog I think it builds trust and helps when a blog post isn’t that great. i.e. This post is no good but I’ve heard of the blog from several others so I’ll give it another chance. It almost gives the blog some cushion or safety net when trying to build a future audience.
Great article Olivia. Thank you. I remember studying about brand equity a few years ago during my MBA and you’ve explained it very nicely in terms of a blog.
I’ve branded my blog with a logo too. I’ve gone for a bluish minimalist theme. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how I could improve it
Nicely written about branding. Totally make sense. I believe brands are bigger than their products. Products can fail, but brands cannot. Products can remake, but brands cannot be re-brand.
If the reputation is gone, so does your business.