Sunday, June 12, 2011

3 Ways to Brand Your Blog


There are a few things which separate the good blogs from the great ones. Among them are content, skill, dedication, and reach. A talented blogger with a unique and engaging perspective can capture the attention of thousands and develop the ability to influence readers, impact lives and even make money. But one of the chief characteristics that differentiate these kinds of blogs, is branding. The essence of being a brand is primarily a mentality; a way of viewing yourself as an entity with one core purpose and an encompassing message. However, translating this mentality onto a blog requires a few techniques and strategies.
A Logo
One of the major aspects which characterize a brand over just a website might seem like a minor detail. But incorporating a logo into your design is one of the first and biggest steps to becoming a brand. A logo is essential. It is one unique and distinctive graphic image that epitomizes your central concept. The goal of a logo is two-fold. To capture the overall theme of your blog or business but also to create one visual element that is easily recognizable and will breed instinct recognition. A logo can utilize pictures, words and colors to accomplish those goals. Everything matters, from color choice to font size, so never go with the first thing you see or design. Sleep on it, re-visit it, ask for friends’ opinions and make changes. Experiment, try different ideas, until you find something you love because it will be with your for the life of your blog.
When it comes to logo design, there is no real right way. If you have graphic design skills you have all the freedom in the world to design anything you can conceive. You can also search for creative logo designs over internet for your inspiration. Of course if you are someone whose graphic proficiency is limited to cut and paste you can either pay for a logo design or get one for free. When you pay for logo design, you have total control. From conception to execution you have influence over practically every line. However, if a cost-free option is more within your budget, the internet is loaded with free logo design creators. The down side of these is that the designs, while often professional and attractive, are rarely entirely unique. Also, each program varies and some are more user-friendly than others. If you choose a free logo the real cost is the time it takes to find a program you like to create something which is as true to your vision as possible.
Consistency
Another essential element of branding is consistency. Brands tend to be highly uniform with everything put out under their name. From website design to product packaging, brands are careful of utilizing images, colors and language which is consistent. But they also convey a clear and congruous message. For a blogger, the demand for consistency is no different, only the execution is. In addition to using a logo a blog should maintain consistent colors and formatting throughout. All social media networks should reflect the same logo, same style, and same tag-lines. Visitors should be able to recognize both a tonal and visual through line whether they come in directly or though social channels like Facebook or Twitter.
Aside from being technically consistent, a blog should be consistent in production and perspective. That means publishing new content regularly, but not just new content, material that reflects the singular voice of the blog. Whatever that voice may be, and even if it comes from several different writers, it is important to find it, define and remain true to it.
Professionalism
Whether you are branding a business or creating a personal brand one of the great challenges is to present with perpetual professionalism. The beauty of the digital age is that boundaries are literally fading around the worlds as we are all united. That reaches all the way to the definition of professionalism. The identity of a professional is no longer restricted to power suits and brief cases. No, computer based companies, telecommuting and the changing demands of consumers allow individuals to rise to expert status while working from home in bunny slippers. Professionalism now goes beyond the right clothes and the right demeanor. It’s a way of being. And it has a lot to do with knowledge, confidence and the way you treat people.
Professionalism in blogging translates in a few ways. Nothing says colorful language, humor and controversy are off the table, but if that’s who you are, own it and build it into the brand. What constitutes being unprofessional is anything that comes out of left field, and flies in the face of the conventions your readers have come to expect. That and engaging in flame wars or toll like behavior. You will have people who disagree with you. And when they do it’s usually better to take the high road. Leveling insults and being petty will only serve to diminish your own reputation. As a brand you must always think of yourself as a human representation of that brand, even when it means turning the other cheek.
There really is no trick to branding per se and these are only a few of the steps to becoming a successful brand. But they are important ones. The purpose of branding is truly about presenting a unified, consistent message in a professional manner. Once you have confidently conquered that, the rest is just about being true to who you are.

Sarah is a writer for a website that specializes in offering promotional products and branded items. She has been writing about online marketing and branding for several years.

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