Branding is the personality of your site. Your brand has a name and a look, just like you have a style of writing and topics you cover. In all likelihood, your blog’s brand is reflective of who you are off-line too. Your blog is your brand. To attain brand recognition and get to the next level, you need consistency in your branding. Recognition breeds familiarity, which then breeds trust and loyalty.
Your readers, both the loyal and new, should know what they are getting when they come to your site. For example, they should see clearly that you do product reviews, provide delicious recipes or give tips to save families money. Your brand may have some secondary topics too as long as it fits within the context of your brand’s personality. How your messages are being communicated to your audience is all part of your branding.
Fadra Nally of all.things.fadra.com and socialdialect.com, who does a terrific job of consistent branding, says in a post regarding product reviews, “Do people come to your blog because you’re funny? Because you love to write about your frazzled life? Because you can paint a beautiful picture with words? Whatever the reason, know your style and apply it to your review…. You’ve built up a community and brands rely on you to use your voice to take your opinions to your community (and hopefully get them engaged).”
Consistency in branding does not mean that you must stay stagnant. Our blog’s mission may evolve over time as our lives, businesses and even technology evolve. For example, parenting bloggers may take on new topics as their children get older just as lifestyle bloggers may develop new interests and passions along the way. As Fadra also puts it, “Your blog is your voice. If you’re lucky enough to find an audience that loves that voice, you’ll want to keep your readers consistently engaged. Even if your voice, your blog, your presence changes over the years, you’ll want to make sure you bring your readers along with you.” You will still want to communicate that element of brand consistency, that core personality that brings readers back to your site in the first place.
Your visual branding can certainly evolve over time too, as long as it is done with purpose and without alienating readers. Julie Meyers Pron knows this firsthand, as she took precise, purposeful steps during her recent brand changes that brought readers right along with her to the JulieVerse. “Consistent branding helps identify who you are and makes it easy for readers, fans and followers to recognize a personality. With inconsistency comes confusion and, eventually, less implied power and professionalism.”
Some of us did not start out intending for our blogs to become a business or perhaps had Twitter handles before we had blogs. That is perfectly okay too, as long as you can develop consistency once you have decided upon your branding. As Jill Berry of musingsfromme.com says, “I started out using ‘Mom on the Run’ as my screen name when I started writing for TypeA in 2009. My blog had a crazy long blogspot name while my twitter was @MusingsfromMe. It never occurred to me that I should be consistent with my brand until I was told that already was someone using ‘Mom on the Run.’ I changed my blog name and online persona to MusingsfromMe.com in 2010. Best move I ever made.”
Consistency in branding also means making it easy for others to find you. All too often, a blogger uses only their first name on their site and has a Twitter handle which has nothing to do with their blog. Whether you use your blog name, your real name or a combination of the two, make your brand easily searchable via all social media by tying the two together. If you use your real name as your Twitter handle, use your site’s name and personality in your profile, and vice versa. You are making it awfully difficult for potential clients to find you if your site is eatsleepblog.com, your name is Jane, your Twitter handle is @MomofLucasandLily and your profile says, “tired mom who blogs”.
“I think that using the same name EVERYWHERE is imperative while building your brand. I use “The Rebel Chick” as my username/handle for every social media platform (except for FB because of a snafu) and more people know my brand than my actual name!” Jenn Quillen therebelchick.com
“In our fast paced world where we are all moving 1000 miles an hour you need to make it easy on people to find and keep in touch with you. That means consistent branding across all your social media platforms…. I even extend this to the Pure Natural Diva avatar – the avatar is the first thing people see when you communicate with them in social media, when it changes it causes confusion, so I keep it that consistent too!” Tania Reuben, purenaturaldiva.com
Additionally, make it easy for others to learn more about you and how to contact you. Do not hide from potential clients! Make your email address easily available and have an About page that reinforces your branding, personality and your mission.
As bloggers, branding consistency is vital to the way we present ourselves and our brands. Consider the same overall look or having one consistent element of your brand’s personality across your site and over all forms of marketing. Keep in mind you can contribute to your brand’s recognition by giving it consistency not only in the message but in the marketing too.