When I first got into internet marketing I initially started a blog. I used to love how professional, sleek, and consistent other blogs looked. I didn’t know it at the time but what I admired about those blogs was their branding.
I tried to recreate the looks of those blogs but failed. Somehow my blog looked childish and screamed ‘AMATEUR!’ but I couldn’t figure out the problem. Thankfully, I was able to research the issue and discovered the steps I needed to take to improve my branding with a few simple changes and they are things you can apply to any business (and yes, even if you are just trying to monetize your social media you are now under the umbrella term of ‘online business’).
If you are struggling with branding check out these simple tips to help you create the blog and look you’ve always desired.
What is Branding?
Before we go into how to brand your business, let’s go through what branding is. Branding is the process of creating a unique name, message, and image in a consumerís mind.
The goal of branding is to differentiate yourself from others in your niche to attract and retain customers.
There are actually many elements that go into branding including:
- Your Logo
- The Personality or voice you use in your content and marketing pieces
- Website colors, header, and layout
- Mission Statement
- Tagline and Message
- Images used in content and marketing materials
Your brand is communicated through every piece of content you put out. It’s communicated in your content, in marketing materials, in social media posts, and with any interactions you have with your followers. Your brand is an essential element of your marketing success.
How to Create Brand Consistency
The only way to ensure your readers will remember you is by repeated exposure through multiple channels used during your marketing efforts and social media.
Your brand should provide your readers with the same message and experience each time they see your content. If your brand is different on social media than it is in your email messages, the end result is confusion which can drive people away.
Tips for Creating Brand Consistency
- PROJECT A CONSISTENT LOOK
Make sure that your logo is used on social media, in your autoresponder messages, on your blog, and on your marketing materials. The colors you use, the style of your images and the look/feel of your marketing materials should all help your reader immediately identify you.
- USE A CONSISTENT TONE AND VOICE
You have a voice and a personality. Make sure to express it in every single marketing piece and communication you share. For example, if you’re witty on your blog then you want to make sure that your social media communications share the same style.
- USE A CONSISTENT MESSAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
If your brand is about exceptional customer service then that message needs to be integrated into your content and marketing.
Consistency is about making sure your prospects and customers never doubt who you are. Each time they come across your blog or business your readers receive a branding experience that further solidifies you in their mind. It’s about creating expectations and then meeting them every time you make contact with your reader.
As you create your marketing strategy and plan, make sure that your branding is consistent across all of your tactics and channels. Branding is comprised of words, actions, and visuals.
How Your Reader Perceives Your Brand
A brand is more than colors, fonts, images, and a tagline. Your brand is a unique, voice and a consistent style which both play a role in how your readers perceive you.
Humans are visual beings. We create impressions in our minds of a blog or company based on their visuals. Before your prospect reads a single word, they’ve created a definition of who you are and what you’re about.
This means the visual elements of your brand not only need to be aligned with your brand definition, they also need to be strong enough to speak on their own. So what goes into a brand? What are the visual elements to consider?
- Logo– A logo should be simple and memorable
- Colors– Colors evoke emotions so make sure the colors you choose reflect how you want your audience to feel.
- Font– The font you choose is important. If no one can read your font, then they can’t read your blog but it should also convey the right image. For example, a tax accountant shouldn’t use the font Comic Sans because it’s more whimsical than professional.
- Photos/images– There are different photographic and image styles to consider. Some businesses use a cartoon or drawing style for their images, while others are more stylish or traditional. The images you use also need to support your brand definition and relate to the topic you are writing about in some way.
Words and visuals work together to create a consistent and cohesive brand message. As you create your blog and marketing materials, keep your brand definition in mind.
What Is a Tagline?
A tagline is a sentence or phrase that shares your brand message and identity. It’s designed to communicate who you are and what you do in just a few words and is sometimes referred to as a slogan.
Next to your business name, the most important element of your branding is your tagline. Unfortunately, many blogs and businesses fall short of creating a tagline that truly defines their brand.
Tips for Writing a Good Tagline
- BE MEMORABLE
Use power words that evoke emotion.
- KEEP IT SHORT
Try to keep your tagline shorter than eight words.
- SPECIFY HOW YOU’RE UNIQUE
Your tagline should explain what makes you different and how your readers will benefit from you.
- BE APPEALING
A good tagline grabs a reader’s attention.
The best way to start formulating a tagline is to write down a list of words, phrases, and sentiments that you want others to associate with your business. Then work with your list of words, phrases, and sentiments and start drafting potential taglines.
Draft as many taglines as you can think of- aim for about twenty. Then set them aside for a couple of days.
The next time you read over your list, identify a few that resonate with you and feel powerful. Then start asking others for their input and advice on potential taglines. You can even poll your audience and see which tagline they feel best represents your blog or business. Your tagline is important, so take your time with this step.
IDENTIFYING GOALS FOR YOUR BRANDING
In your branding and marketing strategy, youíll want to both identify and prioritize your goals. Decide exactly what you want to achieve with your branding. There are many things branding can achieve including:
Tips for Writing a Good Tagline
- CREATING CREDIBILITY & TRUST
Your brand can be used to create and sustain your reputation. Keeping your brand strong helps to set and maintain customer expectations. This is a challenging metric to track and measure but setting a goal of establishing your brand as a trusted resource can take your business far. It’s a good priority for coaching businesses and service-based organizations.
- CREATING AN EMOTIONAL CONNECTION
Brands can tell a story and connect with your audience on an emotional level. Again, this is a difficult metric to track and measure but you can look at engagement on social media as one way to evaluate branding and emotional connection. This is a good priority for blogs or businesses that have customers who buy based on how they feel about the products or services you sell.
- BUILDING BRAND AWARENESS
Your brand is an opportunity to increase recognition and this goal requires that you invest heavily in marketing channels frequently. You want to reach your audience often wherever they hang out most.
- MOTIVATING PURCHASES
People buy from people they know, like, and trust and your brand is you. You can set a goal to brand and market your blog or business in such a way that you measure and track sales based on branding.
BRAND RECOGNITION & AWARENESS
Once you have a defined brand, one of your goals may be to increase brand recognition. Brand recognition is when someone sees your logo, hears your tagline, or thinks about your products or services and immediately connects that concept with you.
Brand recognition is defined as ‘the extent to which a consumer can correctly identify a particular product or service just by viewing the product or service’s logo, tagline, packaging or advertising campaign.’
Brand recognition is a lofty goal because it actually takes several impressions for someone to begin associating your brand with your company. There are different marketing and advertising models that say it can take anywhere from seven to twenty impressions before a prospect develops brand recognition.
So how do you ensure you get your brand in front of your prospect often and consistently? How do you create brand recognition?
The first step is to ensure your brand message is consistent across all of your marketing channels, from email to social media.
- BEING PRESENT ON MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS
The more marketing channels you utilize, the better chance you have of reaching your prospect repeatedly. You might reach some of your readers on your blog, via social media, and as a guest blogger.
- FREQUENCY MATTERS
Whatever marketing channels you use, use them often. For example, don’t send one email a month; send one a week.
Consider how you can engage your existing customers in the conversation. Encourage your readers to share their story and leverage their positive feedback. Word of mouth makes a strong and memorable impression on your audience. Let your readers market and build your brand for you.
BRANDING MISTAKES TO AVOID
- NOT STAYING TRUE TO BRAND
Your brand should permeate everything that you do. It should be part of your email marketing, customer service, blog or business layout and design, social media interactions, and all communication you have with your readers or prospective customers. Keep your brand in mind when creating marketing materials, content, and customer service feedback.
- NOT KEEPING YOUR BRANDING STREAMLINED
It’s easy to get carried away with your brand. However, the simpler the message, the easier it will be for your audience to recognize it, trust it, and engage. If your branding is complicated, it may confuse your audience. Clean and simple elements tend to be the most memorable.
- NOT BEING SPECIFIC
Simple doesn’t mean vague and you want your branding to be specific and clear. Why? Because generic branding isn’t memorable. Strive to make your branding clear including your logo, tagline, and imagery.
Building a brand doesn’t have to be hard. Take things one step at a time and you will have your brand set in no time and, more than anything, consistency is key.
Need help getting started branding (or rebranding) your blog? Head over to my resource library and download my Brand Your Blog Checklist and start working through the steps to create your brand now!