20 Tips to Brand Your Blog

Blog Branding – How To Ensure It’s Not Just Another WordPress Blog!

Is your blog branded? Instead of thinking through their blog’s brand, many individual bloggers build their website and create content without considering the image they want to present.

By contrast businesses often just extend their corporate branding to their blog, overlooking the opportunity to enhance their brand. [To help your thinking on this subject, here’s how to adapt your brand for social media.]

As a blogger, regardless of whether your blog’s focused on your business, solopreneur, media entity or personal subject, take the time to think through your brand and its implications for your content going forward.

To help you, here are twenty tips to get your blog brand on track.

  1. Pick your blog’s name with care. Unlike a rose, a blog by any other name may not yield the same results. In addition to reflecting on your brand, your blog’s name sets the tone for your blog and has search implications. Among the questions to consider are: Is your blog’s name related to your firm or product brand? Will you use your personal name if you’re a solopreneur? Will you include search-friendly terms in the name?
  2. Choose a memorable address. While options such as WordPress.com and Blogger are freely available, it’s highly recommended to start using your own URL. Therefore in addition to selecting a name, it’s critical to get the URL for it. Alternatively, you can integrate your blog into your website. In this case, you can use another name for it.
  3. Give your blog a tagline. A tagline adds insight into your blog’s personality and content that is integral to your brand. Consider your blog’s focus and keywords. For example, this blog uses Actionable Marketing to define the type of information presented.
  4. Select your blog’s theme. As your blog’s underlying architecture, a blog theme provides the basic structure for your blog’s presentation. One of the major options a blog theme sets is the use and location of columns. The theme provides parameters within which you build your blog and related brand. (Note: Some are free and some have a fee. Make sure you change all of the prototype text. You don’t want your blog to state, “Another WordPress Blog.”)
  5. Determine your blog’s color palette. Color is an important element of branding. Don’t just skip this point because you’re not the graphic artist. Think about the statement you want to make about your blog. Limit your palette to two or three colors. If you’re going to use them for headlines and type make sure they’re legible. Do you want it to be forceful or delicate? Consider how your readers will react to the colors, especially if you choose extreme shades like hot pink and lime green. You don’t want potential readers to skip onto the next piece of content because your color choice has scared them away.
  6. Create a set of graphics and visual cues. If your blog is part of a business, it’s a good idea to extend your business branding to your blog. But you should modify it to distinguish your blog from the rest of your content. If you’re starting your blog from scratch, think about how you want to graphically represent your blog in terms of icons, backgrounds and elements. There are low cost design kits available online.  [Here are more blog design tips.]
  7. Determine the typeface. The actual font and size say a lot about your brand. It’s important to minimize the number of typefaces you use as well as the variations. Before choosing special typefaces, realize that not all machines can read them. Also and more important make sure it’s readable for your target audience.
  8. Decide on photograph presentation. Start with the use of color versus back and white photographs. [Here’s more helpful information on photographs.] Will you focus on specific subjects?  Will text be incorporated into the image like a comic strip? Do you plan to include captions with each image? These type of choices help build your blog’s brand. Additionally, don’t forget to include search relevant text with each photograph on your blog.
  9. Set guidelines for other media format use. Will you incorporate video, audio and/or presentations? Where do they appear in a blog post and how will you reference them?
  10. Choose your bloggers. Who will write your blog posts? Will you be the sole author? If it’s company or group blog, who will write and how often?  Will there be a set of guidelines to ensure that the content is consistent? Will you use a copy editor to help achieve this?
  11. Create your blog’s personality. Often this is associated with the main blogger. Think about how you want your blog to engage and be perceived. This is revealed in the content created as well as how you interact with others on your blog and other related social media platforms.
  12. Determine the topics your blog will cover. When in doubt, make your subject more narrow in focus since you want to be able to dominate a niche. This choice influences your blog’s brand in terms of what it covers and how it approaches its subjects. Remember your don’t want to be a BORE!
  13. Chose how you’ll present content. To certain extent this relates to your target audience and your blog personality. Is there a specific angle you always show or a specific way you want to present your information. Further will each post have a photograph or graphic image? [Here’s how to create compelling content.]
  14. Create a voice for your blog. Think in terms of how the posts will be written and how they will sound to the reader. Remember they must sound like a human being is writing them. Who is the writer and what is his perspective?
  15. Determine the language used. This means will the writing convey the local way of talking, as well as whether slang will be accepted. Regardless, it’s important to use good grammar and correct spelling.
  16. Select the blog’s main keywords. Keywords influence your post subjects and titles as well as your categories. As a result, they’re important to your blog.
  17. Decide how blog posts and static pages will be formatted. Think in terms of making your content easy-to-consume. Short paragraphs or bullet points are usually good. What will you highlight and how?
  18. Consider post length. This supports your blog’s image. As an expert on a topic, you may opt for longer posts while high profile celebrities may just share a few sound bites.
  19. Set a publishing schedule. While many bloggers just write when the spirit moves them, from a branding perspective you want to be consistent. Determine the days and frequency based on your audience and subject matter.
  20. Write your blog legalese. How you define your terms of use as well as the language you use reflects on your brand. While Creative Commons is a good starting point, decide if you want to let others use your content or not and under what circumstances. Also include your house rules for guest bloggers and comments.

It’s helpful to determine as many of these points as possible before you start blogging. Understand that not creating a brand for your blog is a form of branding, albeit a not very strong one.

Are there any other blog branding points you would add to this list? What are they and why would you add them?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbanwoodswalker/4029336310/


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