Does your blog need a brand?
Yes it does. Here’s why. Your readers need to know who you are and if they can rely on you. Wait, let me take a step back and give you a quick explanation of why brands exist.
Basically, brands help you from going crazy when selecting a product from a shelf with hundreds of alternatives. P&Gs branding efforts reminds you that Crest is uniquely suited for your family's dental needs. P&G's competitors work equally hard to convince you to try an alternative. Essentially, smart marketers create brands to attract specific customers and entice them to be loyal repeat purchasers.
Successful businesses understand that a good brand is an emotional promise. A brand says “I promise that you will feel this way if you buy this product.” The best brands reliably deliver on this promise. Think about Red Bull, Disney, Pixar and Southwest Airlines for excellent examples of successful branding. These brand's customers and prospects understand what their purchase means and they are confident that the brand will deliver.
Your blog also makes brand promise. It let’s your readers know how they will feel when they are finished reading a post. You can promise happiness, contentment, wonder, irritation, even anger. Whatever you choose, your blog has to deliver.
Unfortunately most blogs have zero brand presence. They use cookie-cutter templates, generic headlines, and a presentation style that fails to fascinate or motivate. To be fair, these blogs are following a popular model which says that emotion and personality are risky marketing tools. So the blogger opts for being safe, intelligent, and non-controversial. This would make sense if the web was packed with fire breathing provocateurs, but the opposite exists, everyone is competing for the title of “most cautious.”
You, my friend need to follow a different path and establish a brand that speaks, at an emotional level, to your readers.
Here’s what I suggest:
1. Champion an Emotion: Pushing Social champions ambition. Each post is tailored to plant the seed of ambition in your heart. I want you to say “hell yes” I can do this. What emotion does your blog sponsor?
2. Achieve Alignment: Your blog’s brand should tease, inspire, and support your adopted emotion. The layout, fonts, headline titles, sidebar color scheme, even link color scheme should serve the goal of creating a specific emotional experience for your readers.
Aside: Simply adding a cute logo to your theme won’t achieve this alignment. You need to start with a clear vision of your brand and carefully choose each element of your theme to match.
3. Chart a Unique Course: I made a big mistake when I first launched Pushing Social. I tried to be Chris Brogan. The effort almost killed me. Not because Chris Brogan isn’t a crazy talented business thinker, but because I needed to compete through innovation not duplication. Fortunately I shifted my strategy to embrace my ambition-focused strategy. You need to do the same. Find your own course, and use your brand to communicate your vision to your readers.
Aside: Feel free to model and adopt ideas from other innovators. Be careful to adapt and align the idea to your brand.
4. Say “No”: There’s many things that you could add to your blog’s design, hundreds of topics you can tackle, dozens of products you can offer. I’m convinced that 99% of those things are absolutely wrong for your blog’s brand and your business. Get in the habit of saying no to options that don’t clearly articulate your brand.
5. Dream for your readers: I admire Marie Forleo, Danielle Laporte, Chris Guillbeau, and Tim Ferriss because they dream on my behalf. That means, they seem to have a clear destination of where they want to take me as a reader. Their brand is a vehicle for getting me there. I’m a happy passenger.
Do the same for your readers.
It’s Easy to Ignore Blog Branding
If your blog’s design and marketing is off track it’s because you’re brand is still buried. Instead of finding “Brand You”, you are searching for a magic system or tool. The best thing to do is to stop and get serious about the 5 points we just discussed. Let me know if you are stuck. I can help.