Nearly two decades into the 21st century, most of us have watched the Internet transform into a critical tool for nearly every facet of our modern lives. Perhaps the most fascinating development is that so many people are now able to work their dream jobs as writers, editors, and publishers of their very own material — as long as they can run a successful blog.
Maintaining a blog, let alone a popular and prosperous one, is not easy. The Web is saturated with millions of blogs, ranging in theme from business marketing to home baking to world travel. The key to owning a thriving blog is becoming special in the eyes of your audience. And the key to attracting your audience’s attention so dramatically is cultivating a noteworthy brand.
What Does “Branding” Mean?
At its most basic, a brand is a symbol or characteristic that is used to identify a certain product. Still, in recent years, the marketing community has expanded the definition of “brand” to include every aspect of a product, from company reputation to customer experience. Hundreds of factors affect an audience’s reaction to a brand; the colors of your site, the fonts you use, the images you feature, and (perhaps most importantly) your written content all influence the development of your brand.
Every person with a product — whether it be a physical item or online presence — already has a brand. However, not every person has control of that brand. The act of branding is the conscious manipulation of the elements that govern a brand to cultivate the image you most desire. By wielding control of your brand, you can attract the audience you need to find true success with your blog.
Why Does a Brand Need Protection?
Brands are intensely powerful. For example, though Pepsi-Cola wins taste test after taste test against Coca-Cola, Coke continues to have substantially higher sales because customers simply have a stronger bond with Coke’s brand. Bloggers can generate the same intense loyalty with their brands — which is why it is so important that you keep your brand safe.
There are various ways you can protect the material on your blog from illegal activity. First, informing your readers of your copyrights — and how they can reproduce your information legally — will thwart most plagiarism and theft. Additionally, you should consider seeking a trademark for any graphical logos or phrases you make use of. This will prevent sham bloggers from impacting your reputation by using your brand assets on their sites. With the right precautions early in your blogging career, you can save your brand from illegal and unjust exploitation.
Who Needs Branding?
Not every blogger has a brand-appropriate site. For example, a writer who publishes her thoughts and opinions like diary entries may not need to worry over strict control of her brand. However, those bloggers who own a site with a unified image, who are looking to achieve notoriety and success from their blogs, likely are worthy of developing a more finely honed brand.
How Does One Create a Brand?
As previously noted, every aspect of your blog impacts your brand, so you must be attentive to every step of your blog’s development. Here are some tips for creating the most important elements of your blog’s brand:
- Name. Even with killer content, a blog with an ungainly name will not succeed. Your blog’s name should be obviously related to its theme, include search-friendly terms, and may make use of your own name.
- Color palette. You can select an appropriate color scheme even if you aren’t a graphic designer. You should limit yourself to three or four colors max, and you should consider the emotional meanings behind certain colors — blues and greens are calming, reds and oranges are stimulating, etc.
- Media formats. An all-text blog is a thing of the past. You must consider how your blog will incorporate alternate media, like audio, videos, slideshows, and more.
- Bloggers. You may be a solo-preneur now, but when your brand blows up, you may want to hire a staff of writers. You may want to decide what qualities are most important to you in co-bloggers.
- Schedule. Your devoted audience always wants more content, and you should be able to sate their appetites with a reliable release of new blogs on certain days at certain times.