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Branding Your Blog for Success

Branding Your Blog for Success
Branding

    Why Brand Your Blog?

    Do you get frustrated when visitors to your site don’t convert into subscribers? For many bloggers, not all, success equals an engaged and high volume readership, and/or making money from their blog. If you fall into either of those categories then you can benefit from improving the brand of your blog. This post will show you how.

    Gaining a High Volume Readership

    What makes a reader want to subscribe to a blog? Simply put, they understand what your blog is about, your brand, and they are attracted to it. If a reader doesn’t understand what you are serving at your blog, then they won’t know if they will like your future content. By having a clear brand, readers will know what to expect from you in the future. If they like that then they will subscribe. A stronger, more clear brand will yield more subscribers.

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    Bookmarking vs. RSS

    What makes a person bookmark vs subscribe? A bookmark says “I like what’s on this site and I want to be able to return to it later.” Subscribing says “I don’t want to miss a single future post of this blog!” Subscribing only happens if the blog is very interesting or very valuable to the reader. Bookmarking is great, but subscribers are better because you will have a more involved community which will drive more traffic. When your site is a happening place, people will link to you, return to see what’s going on and to socialize. This is what you want.

    How You Can Use Branding to Increase Your Blog Traffic and Make More Money

    Branding your blog will make clear to your readers what your blog is about. You want them to be able to put into words what your blog is all about. Otherwise how could they ever want to share your site with others or subscribe if they can’t describe what your blog is about.

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    How to Brand Your Blog

    You will need to sit down with a pen and paper and brainstorm the following questions. For each question write down your answers and then write down ideas about how you can communicate this or put it into action on your blog. Think in terms of your layout, colors, logo, content, ads you use, images, and all other elements of your blog.

    BLOG BRANDING QUESTIONS:

    Who are You?
    Readers like to know about the author. It makes your writing more interesting because it adds context. How much you reveal is up to you. Some blog authors choose to reveal themselves only between the lines of their posts. Others spill their souls completely and let us know everything on their “About” page. How much you reveal is a part of who you are.

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    What is Your Blog About?
    What is the theme of your blog? What is your message? Do you have a mission statement or a manifesto? What can people expect to see there? What are your major categories? Is your focus broad or narrow? What medium do you use: words, music, video, images, all of the above? What is the culture, style, and feeling you want on your blog? Does your blog clearly communicate this or is your site confusing to your readers? See if you can tighten up your message to be more explicit.

    Why Does Your Blog Exist?
    Why did you bring your blog into existence? What was the impetus? What drives you to bring such information to others? What is your passion and why? Is your source of motivation a constant or has it evolved over time? Do you expect it to remain static or change, and if so how?

    How Does Your Blog Work?
    How often do you publish posts? Does your blog have a schedule for it’s categories like ZenHabits? Do you run regular “specials” such as contests, memes, a series on a particular subject? What is your comment policy? Is it anything goes or do you want to encourage a certain atmosphere of civility?

    Who Is Your Audience?
    Who do you want reading your blog? How do find those people and bring them to your site? What do they like? How age are they? Male, female, both? What kind of work do they do? What are their hobbies? Do they have children, pets? What are they passionate about? Where do they hang out physically and online? Who are you linking to?

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    What Makes Your Blog Unique?
    Surely there are other blogs that cover information similar to yours, yes? What makes your presentation special? What makes your blog remarkable versus mundane? Maybe your subject matter isn’t intrinsically flashy. How is it that a mundane topic like recipes can be a major hit for one blog, and a complete bomb for another? It’s your combination of all these elements listed above, but how will you communicate it? What is your elevator speech about your blog? This is your 30 second description of your blog. Will it win someone over with such force as to compel that person to subscribe? It needs to!

    Why Should I Subscribe to Your Blog?
    Otherwise known as “What’s In It For Me?” What real value will your reader gain by subscribing to your blog? Subscribing does have a cost even though it is free. The cost is time, and as we all know, this is our most valuable resource. Why should I spend some of that valuable currency reading your site? Tell me how I will benefit and I just might sign up!

    Conclusion
    There is a lot of creative heavy lifting to do in terms of branding your blog. Each of these answers needs to be translated into the physical elements of your blog. But isn’t that part of the fun?! I think so. Good luck and happy branding.

    K. Stone is author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements. A few of her most popular articles are 7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Financial Life, Make Money with Your Blog: The Ultimate Resource List, 5 Keys to Happiness, and How to Keep Your Child from Ever Smoking.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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