Not long ago I made this post about our online brand identity. I mostly covered the negative impact your actions online can have on your brand identity in that post. Today I’ll be discussing how to actually create a successful brand identity. At it’s base level, your brand identity is you and how you portray yourself online. This can be split into two key parts – your content and your image. In this post I’ll be covering content alone.
Some people will only post about certain things (technology being a good example of regular brands) and that says just as much about them as those that make highly personal posts. However, there are simple ways to establish your brand and evolve it so that it fits you better and keeps you and others more interested in your page. So lets start by creating your basic brand. To do this you’ll first have to ask yourself a question – why are you blogging? Not as easy as it looks is it? Sure, you can remember how you got involved in the first place, but have a quick look around this or any other site and you’ll soon find loads of people who started blogs and never got past their first post. So what makes you different? Why did you keep posting?
Once you’ve figured out the answer to those questions, ignore them as they wont really be helpful here. But you just learned something interesting about yourself, didn’t you? I thought so – consider it a bonus to this post. Anyway, whatever the reason you stayed blogging, you’re still here as proved by the fact that you’re reading this post.
Discovering The Core Brand
The fact that you’re still here means that you’ve probably made a few posts now. Have a look through them and look for common themes. This is your basic brand – the concept behind your blog. It’s the two or three topics that you regularly post about. The subjects that stand out from the others because you’ve spent more time on those posts or, in some cases, the only thing you’ve posted about. It doesn’t really matter what these topics are, because they’re obviously important enough to you for you to post about.
My own basic brand is a phone blog. I create my blog on my phone and write posts about phones and software for them. Mobile technology is my passion.
Establish The Brand Now that we’ve established what your basic brand is, embrace it. You don’t have to go quite as far as I have, so don’t worry if you’re a bit camera-shy. Just have a good look around the posts you’ve written about your particular subject (or subjects) and group them together by using a common tag (or tags) for them. People who come to your blog may be looking for posts on the particular subjects you’re passionate about, and now they’re easy to find with the tag, but let’s try making them a little more easy to find. Leave this post for a second. No seriously, trust me, you can come back in a minute by pressing the back button. But first, leave this post by following this link to my frontpage. Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you. Tum te tum…
Ah good, you’re back. Did you notice the photo of the phone on my sticky post? If you click on that image you’ll be taken to a list of my posts that are tagged with mobile technology. Clever eh? And simple to do as well. You can put a similar text link on your sidebar or your own sticky post easily enough and it’ll help target your readers towards certain content without having to constantly or exclusively post about it. Do you know of sites relevant to your brand posts? Include their links in posts and, once you’ve used them, collect the links in a section on your sidebar for easy reference. Those links are likely to show up in search engines when people look for something related to your brand, which brings in more targeted readers. Also, the miracle of trackbacks means that those sites themselves may start linking to you if they find your content adds to their message. It’s like taking out an advert in the local newspaper, but free.
On my sticky post I let new readers immediately know the main focus of my blog and have access to those posts.
Evolution Of Your Brand
Right, we’ve found your basic brand and we’ve started advertising it to anyone that’s interested. Now we’re going to evolve that basic brand into a brand identity and this, believe it or not, is the easy part. All you have to do to turn a brand of limited interest to other people into a successful brand identity is to post about different things. No I haven’t gone crazy, and I’m definitely not telling you to stop posting about what interests you. You probably wouldn’t stay here long if you did that. No, what I’m talking about is brand extension. You as a person have so much more to offer the online community than your basic brand. You have specific interests that you may not have posted about in any detail. You read books that we may not have read. You watch movies that we may not have seen. You eat food. You sleep and dream. You go shopping for clothes. All you need to do to turn your brand into a successful brand identity is to tell us about those things occasionally. Yes, the meal you just ate may be mundane for you, but to someone in another country (or even another part of yours) it could be the most exotic thing they’ve seen so why not include a recipe? So what if the movie you watched was really bad? Surely you should warn us about it before we waste our hard earned money to watch it. Yeah, you just spent five hours going round different shops and only came home with a pair of jeans. Tell us about the trip, how crowded the stores were and how rude the sales assistant was.
The effect this will have is to immediately increase the volume of your visitors. More posts on varied subjects will bring in more visitors looking for information on more varied subjects. More visitors will mean that your page will rise higher in search rankings, making you easier to find when people search for any subject you post about. Some of your new visitors will read your other posts or find the link to your “main” brand posts which increases your chance of interesting new people in your own passion. And isn’t finding like-minded people why we’re all really here?
What is mundane to you is guaranteed to be exotic to someone else. On two seperate food posts I’ve had to explain what Yorkshire Pudding (a regular part of my diet) is to people who’ve never heard of it and much of the conversation in the comments was about that.
And there you have it. Simple steps to turn your blog concept into a successful brand identity. Most bloggers follow these steps naturally but there are a few who get so wrapped up in delivering their message that they only post about that and tend to isolate readers by coming across as obsessive or preaching. Try this different approach for a while and you’ll find your visitors increase, you’ll meet new people who share your interests and you’ll get your message out to a much higher amount of people. In the next part of this mini series on brand identity I’ll be covering how to maximise the effect of a post so that all your new readers can each take away something different from it, and later I’ll be talking about the image portion of brand identity.