Blog Branding

It’s a word that prompts excitement, frustration, determination, and even eye rolls.

And those are all reactions from me, depending on how my blog and mood are doing that day.

But it’s also a word that demands attention. Because this shit matters.

You think your skills make you special? I’m sorry, but they don’t. I mean, you are special, but that’s not why.

I can write a mean piece of content. Objectively, I’m a good writer. But I’m not stupid enough to think that my writing skills make me special.

It’s what I do with them that matters. How I use them, the things I create with them, how I position them – that makes people take notice. After all, there are millions of other great writers doing the same thing I do. I have to stand out somehow.

And that, my friends, is branding.

Embracing your brand

Building a brand is going to be the best thing you ever do for your blog. Branding is what takes something from a ‘thing’ to a ‘thing.’ It makes stuff matter.

And you know what? You have a brand whether you like it or not. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has said “your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

So really, it’s not a question of whether or not you’re going to have a brand. If people talk or think about you (which you want), you have a brand. But they established it, not you.

The question is, are you going to care about it?

You can choose to ignore your blog’s reputation, or you can embrace it and learn how to leverage it for growth.

Actively branding your blog means thinking about how you’re perceived, and making sure that (a) it’s accurate, (b) it’s enticing, and (c) it’s built for growth.

Benefits of strong blog branding

If people are going to talk about you anyway (queue Neon Trees), why not just let them talk? Why bother trying to impact those conversations?

  • Recognition: when you start paying attention to branding, your blog becomes consistent and unified. That makes it more recognizable and more easily associated with the thoughts and emotions that define your blog’s brand.
  • Word-of-mouth: considering the conversations people will have about you helps you create a blog that people will talk about more.
  • Visual appeal: while you shouldn’t get caught up in the myth that branding is looks-only, there is a science to visual branding that becomes a user’s first impression.

Think of how it plays out:

You consistently use the same headline formula for your blog post titles. After a while, readers will start associating that headline formula with your blog.

When they’re telling a friend about a post, they can easily remember which blogger published it. When they share it on Pinterest, it will stand out to anyone who recognizes it.

And since your blog is visually appealing, once those two events drive someone to your blog, they’ll stick around and the cycle continues.

A strong brand can do so much marketing for you. And it’s almost passive – branding makes it easier for your blog to market itself, totally organically.

It’s not just your logo or design: components of your blog’s brand

Components of Your Blog

Too often, bloggers get caught up with the visual aspects of branding, and totally forget that your brand is more than your logo or WordPress theme.

Your brand is the sum of all parts of your blog.

Think of it like a person. Yes, a person has a physical appearance or convey certain things through their looks, but it’s not the entirety of who they are.

So, I could never list every aspect of your blog’s brand (that would be like describing every single aspect of your personality), I can tell you the biggest things to pay attention to:

Logo

This one’s a given, the one pretty much everyone knows, so let’s get it out of the way. Your logo is a huge part of your brand. It’s probably the most present aspect – it’ll be on almost everything. So there’s a good chance it’ll be part of the first impression your blog makes on a reader, regardless of how they find you.

Name

Now, let’s look at what’s in your logo. There are a lot of different ways you can go with your name, and it always should say something important about you or your blog. It can either be your name, what you do, or who you serve. But since it’s one of the most prominent, present, and encompassing part of your brand, it should be good.

Honestly, this is something I’m waffling with right now and need to improve. My URL is straightforward (my name), but I consider the name to be Blog Bolder. That gives you an idea of what the content’s about (blogging), as well as part of the blog’s value and purpose – boldness.

Website design

Once someone lands on your website, your design will be the first thing that hits them. It’s what everything else is sort of contained in, and it’s a pretty large canvas to work with. That’s a great opportunity to show readers who you are and drive conversations and opinions where you want them to go.

Social media profiles

How you’ve set up your social media avatars, cover photos, bios, how you format your posts, etc. is as important as web design, if social is important to your site. The way your design encompasses your blog’s first impression, your social profile branding does the same for readers who find you on social. And if that’s a lot of people, you need to make sure it’s great.

Colors

The colors you use in your main visuals (logo, web design, etc.) should be present everywhere for your brand. From social media to content upgrades to emails – even things like invoices and receipts.

Color psychology is a main component of blog branding, because it’s one of the easiest ways to trigger memories, thoughts, and associations. Some suggest up to 90% of someone’s initial assessment of a product or item (like a website) is based on color.

Voice

Now, let’s get talking. Literally (badum chhh).

Your words are another huge thing that people will associate with you. Like right now you’re probably associating me with puns and bad jokes. And I’m cool with that, I encourage it! It’s who I am, so it’s part of my brand.

Are you quippy? Sarcastic? Use a certain word or catchphrase all the time? That’s part of your brand. Your overall tone, as well as specific words you use. That’s why I’m all about writing with personality.

Personal story

Both your personal story and that of your blog or business have made it what it is today. You know how all those cheesy inspirational pins talk about your past defining your future.

Your history and experiences have brought your blog to where it stands. For example, your college life may not seem relevant to you starting a blog a few years later, but maybe that’s where you discovered how much you love writing.

Your interests and hobbies play a part, too. I talk about pop culture all the time in my blog posts (and have even written dedicated posts about Friends and Parks and Rec), as well as dance and my friends and family.

Sharing this side of yourself, while not always 100% relevant to the topic at hand, is key to building a connection with your readers and building a lasting community.

Value proposition

What do you have to offer that’s unique? I can go to Google and find 100 web designers in a few minutes. If you’re part of that group, what would make working with you different than the 99 others?

Maybe it’s your careful planning and efficiency that allows you to offer quick turnaround. Or perhaps your psychology major in college helps you ensure a client’s branding evokes the right emotions.

Whatever it is that makes you special, own it.

Purpose

Once you’ve pinpointed what you do that makes you unique, think about why you do it. Always start with why. Your why touches everything you do, from the content you write to your ultimate goals. This part of your brand may be more invisible, but don’t mistake that for not being important.

Target audience

Who’s reading your blog makes up its overall identity. After all, who you hang out with says a lot about you. Remember when your mom would tell you that as a way to to say “stay away from the troublemakers”?

The people your blog are associated with – from guest bloggers to commenters and the rest of your community – perceive how you’re seen by others. Especially those that share your posts and talk about you in other ways.

Reputation

This goes back to your audience. When other people talk about you, that will have a much bigger impact on your branding than anything you could say about yourself. People will trust it more, because everyone things great things about themselves.

Sure, your ‘hire me’ page might say you’re amazing to work with, but will someone really believe that when 3 people have told them personal experiences suggesting otherwise?

Policies

It’s not just your public words and voice that influence people’s opinions. All written/business communication, rules, and policies play a part. For example, if you want your blog’s brand to say “honest and authentic,” then have a policy to be really open and transparent about how your blog makes money. You see that a lot with income reports, stories about failure, etc.

Better blog branding

Want to learn how to improve your blog’s design, voice, and more? Join Tati and I for our Better Blog Branding webinar!