What brand do you think of when you see the color combination of red & yellow? McDonalds or Shell gas stations. How about the slogan “Don’t leave home without it”? Even though American Express no longer uses that tagline as their main slogan, it is still instantly synonymous with the brand.
While your blog probably isn’t going to turn into an international media conglomerate, it is important to make your site instantly recognizable across all platforms. The more web savvy we become the more we should fully control our online identities and turn this presence into a strongly recognizable brand.
About.com’s Guide to Marketing lists the following 5 good branding objectives:
- Clearly delivers the message
- Confirms your credibility
- Connects your target prospects emotionally
- Motivates the buyer
- Concretes user loyalty
Marketing and branding strategies aren’t always applicable in the blogging world, so we’ve created our own top 5 list. Here are our top 5 beginner’s tips for solidifying your brand:
1: Create a unique look
Upon visiting your site, your readers should immediately get a sense of what your blog is about. Create unique graphics like banners and icons using a consistent color scheme and unique graphics. In our previous post on banner exchanges, we discussed the many free ways to create your own graphics. Find a vibrant photo representative of your blog for little to no cost on stock photo websites such as iStockPhoto. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even create your own font using tools like FontStruct and FontForge. The key is to make your site as distinct as possible while keeping your reader’s focus on your content.
2: Connect with your readers socially
Even if you have your own personal Myspace, Facebook and Twitter accounts, create one specifically for your blog. Use the graphics, logos and color schemes to instantly associate these spaces with your brand. Using these tactics will create a level of comfort and familiarity with your readers.
3: Spread the word
Actively promote your site(s) in your email signatures, and place links to social sites in your sidebar. Also make it ridiculously easy for your readers to subscribe to your site. Do everything short of placing a blinking arrow pointing at your subscription options. Customize your feed and email options to include as much of your blog’s look as possible. Consistency is key. Don’t forget about reaching out to other bloggers for link and banner exchanges.
4: Give them something to look forward to
Have a passion for lipgloss? Write a review of a new gloss product every Thursday. Are you a music junkie? Feature a new artist every Tuesday. Readers love consistency, in your look, your voice and your posts. Another way to draw readers in is free stuff. Readers love a good giveaway, and free stuff blogs love to link to them. Encourage your blogger friends to promote your giveaway by offering them additional entries for promotion.
5: Get to know your readers
If a tree falls in the forrest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Similarly, if you’re writing a blog and no one reads it, what are you doing wrong? Daily Blog Tips offers 5 strategies to get to know your readers. Reader loyalty is one of the most powerful tools your blog can have, but it’s not easily earned. Ask your readers questions, get to know them on and off your site, and make them feel important. If ad dollars, notoriety, and/or community are what you crave, your readers hold the key.
Everyone’s approach to branding is unique. What strategies have worked for you and what have failed?