6 Major Mistakes Bloggers Make With Their Brands (and How to Fix Them)
06 Jul 2015
I love all things branding and believe that we are all “brands” whether we realize it or not. After spending 15 years building and transforming other people’s brands, I’ve realized it’s important to first dispel the myth of what a brand is. A brand is not your logo. Or even your web site. It’s not your brochure, or your style. Quite simply:
Your Brand = Your Reputation.
There are many other definitions out there for branding; however, I have found that when you understand your reputation is your brand, it puts things in context much quicker.
The other really critical thing to understand about your brand is that it’s not what you say you are, it’s what your audience and customers say you are. But the great news is that you have a lot of control over that.
The key is to shape your brand very deliberately by taking into consideration everything that defines it.
Here are just a few of the things that make up your brand:
- web site/blog
- email signature
- voicemail greeting
- social media platforms
- printed collateral
- colorsGet your copy of the powerful “Secrets to Creating a 6-Figure Blog” program to start building a successful blog today!
There are so many more components, but this will give you a good idea of how many moving parts there are to your brand. Now that we’ve defined what it is, I’m going to outline some of the most common mistakes I see with bloggers who are working on building their brands, and how to fix them:
1. You’re inconsistent.
When building your brand it’s important that you’re consistent. Everything you say/do/write/publish/design should be aligned with your mission and your message.
I’ve seen blogs that have a different look and feel than the social media platforms of that same blogger. Then when I look at the colors, logo(s), fonts and/or style of images used, I can’t tell that it’s even from the same brand.
Whether you’re on your blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, or even Instagram, be clear on how you want to show up in their world, and then use images and messaging that reinforce that vision.
2. You don’t engage often enough with your audience.
Many of us use automation tools (i.e. Hootsuite, Buffer, etc.) to make it easier to post on all our social media networks simultaneously. That’s great; however, make sure you’re not using the “post-and-run” strategy as Christine St. Vil of Purpose Driven Media likes to say. Meaning, don’t schedule your social media and then not look at it again until the mood hits you.
It’s called social media for a reason. You should be responding to re-tweets, comments on your posts, Facebook comments, etc. The reason people engage is because they want to get to know more about you and your brand.
One blogger who has ridiculous online engagement is Luvvie Ajayi of Awesomely Luvvie. If you check out her posts, you’ll see that the real action takes place in her comments. And she’s just as active on Twitter. Luvvie has built a strong community from recognizing that:
engagement is key to building your brand as a blogger.
3. You haven’t optimized your blog for mobile browsing.
In case you weren’t aware, Google recently made changes to their algorithm that will give a boost to mobile-friendly sites. This means that if your site is not optimized for mobile browsing, you will be penalized or downgraded. Considering that 60% of internet access is mostly mobile, it would be wise to update your blog theme to one that includes a responsive design. Whether someone is looking at your site on their computer, smartphone or tablet, the site will automatically adjust to their settings and provide an optimized experience.
As a blogger, it’s important for your brand to be known as one that keeps up with trends and technology.
Make sure your readers have a great experience with your brand no matter what platform they’re engaging with you on by making your blog universally user-friendly.
4. You haven’t defined your audience.
I wrote about why I decided to scrap my original blog and start over here. So often, we worry about pigeonholing ourselves by narrowly defining who we want to serve. So instead, we decide we want our audience to be everyone we think wants to hear our message—from the new college student to the new mother. But that’s almost never the case.
This is kind of where I was before I re-vamped Bold & Fearless. But, once I identified the demographics of my audience and decided my readers were professional women of Africa and the Diaspora who were passionate about discovering and living out their purpose, it changed everything. It underscored the fact that:
the most successful bloggers focus on a profitable niche and stick with it in order to dominate in that arena.
5. You’re not being authentically you.
We live in a world of copycats. The unfortunate thing about that is when you’re constantly trying to be like someone else, the world is missing out on your unique voice and perspective. I’ve seen so many blogs that look and sound alike that never have anything different to add to the conversation.
However, one blogger I’m loving is Laura Burge at Cosmic Medium. Laura’s gift is her art and she’s chosen to create an illustrated fashion tour featuring her favorite bloggers in high-fashion illustrations. Check out one of my favorites!
This talented blogger chose to incorporate her fine art skills into her message as a unique way to express her passion for all things art.
The world doesn’t need more copycats. The world needs you to get clear on your gift, your message, your voice—and then bring it!
6. You’re not willing to re-invent yourself.
Although I had never read her blog before, this recent post by Necole Kane had me thinking: “Now that’s how to be bold and fearless.” Necole started her blog in 2008 and worked hard to build an audience and brand that thrived on the latest in urban celebrity gossip and entertainment. In recent years, she began to feel restless with the topics she was writing about and realized that she gained more fulfillment from empowering young women than she did writing about celebrities. She knew that God was calling her to do something more significant with her influence. It was time to move on.
It takes guts to decide you’re going to shut down a brand that has brought you money, fame and respect, to pursue something completely different. How many of us stay stuck in the box we’ve created for ourselves, not being willing to admit we may have outgrown our brand and it’s time to dream bigger? Don’t allow your brand to become stagnant because you’ve lost the passion for what you started out doing.
Assess whether it just may be time to re-think, re-discover and re-invent yourself—and in the process become even more authentically who you were created to be.
Building a brand as a blogger is hard work. So often you’re figuring it out as you go. Use these tips as a guideline for creating a brand that will stand the test of time. And then make sure to get your copy of the powerful “Secrets to Creating a 6-Figure Blog” program to start building a successful blog today!
Photos: Jason Howie (social media icons), Wesley Fryer (license plate)
What additional advice would you give to bloggers who are trying to build a successful brand?