6 Major Mistakes Bloggers Make With Their Brands (and How to Fix Them)

Six Major Mistakes Bloggers Make with Their Brands
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:

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.


social media icons2. 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.

A graphic from the illustrated fashion tour of Laura from Cosmic MediumHowever, 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)

Secrets to Creating a 6-Figure blog

What additional advice would you give to bloggers who are trying to build a successful brand?

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Julian B. Kiganda

I hope you enjoyed this post! A little about me: I’m the founder of Bold & Fearless and a Transformational Brand Strategist. My gifting is in helping purpose-driven women transform and build million-dollar brands. I’m also an author, transformational speaker and multi-passionate entrepreneur. In 2014, I published my first highly-acclaimed book co-authored with my sister: Whose Shoes Are You Wearing? 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be available on Barnes & Noble and Amazon. To learn more about how you can connect or work with me, visit www.julianbkiganda.com.




Comments

  1. Great tips, and thanks for the mention! I definitely agree with all of the above, especially the point about engagement. I teach it all the time: it’s about quality and not quantity.

  2. Great information, thanks for sharing. Consistency is definitely key!

  3. Great tips! I’m pretty good at engagement on social media (why not I’m on it all day anyway lol) but my consistency to blog posts and my YT channel are in grave need of help. I need to get my schedule together and commit to it.

    • Julian B. Kiganda Says: July 12, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Kara, sometimes it takes focusing on one platform at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Consistency is definitely key. Good luck!

  4. I heard you and I’m working on it!

    Thank you for sharing these tips….we all need a little reminder sometimes.

    • Julian B. Kiganda Says: July 12, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      And that’s what matters Kerri…that you’re working on it 🙂 Some progress is better than intertia.

  5. Awesome tips sis! I think I could probably work on my engagement though I try really hard. I’ll check and see what Awesome Luvvie is doing.

  6. Awesome Tips, as always, a lot to think about…I would add the power of genuine connections, it is something that I am passionate about and it makes a difference, connect with other similar bloggers, to create strategic partnerships.

  7. Thanks for making it really kindergarten for most people. Your brand is your reputation!

  8. I agree that branding is your reputation. Everyone has a personal brand whether they want to believe it or not. I put this post in my pocket app so I can share it with my community. Thanks for sharing so many valuable and practical tips.

    • Julian B. Kiganda Says: July 13, 2015 at 7:35 am

      You’re welcome Siobhan! Glad these tips are helping you. Let me know if there are ever any additional marketing/branding/business topics you’re interested in reading about. Happy blogging!

  9. These are all awesome tips. So many things to keep in mind. Being authentic is huge! It can be pretty obvious when you’re not being yourself – even online.

  10. Excellent post, Julian! #2 is partly why I haven’t made it a habit to automate or preschedule posts. I know it helps with consistency, but the few times I’ve done it, the scheduled post or update will run and I’ll be like: Oh yeah….I said that, huh? lol I like posting things organically, but also want to make sure I stay present through automation.

  11. This was a pretty straight to the point post. Everyone has a personal brand, it is just a matter of how you package it.

  12. These are great topics and tips for building a brand. I am definitely adding a few of these to my to-do list. Thanks for sharing.

    • Julian B. Kiganda Says: July 13, 2015 at 7:37 am

      You’re welcome Ramona. Looking forward to seeing how implementing some of these tips help your site grow!

  13. Great tips. All very true and things to always keep in mind.

  14. Defining your audience and engagement is key. I think you have to engage and people have gotten away from that. I need to reinvent myself as we speak so I am getting ready to come from behind the shadows so people can see who is behind my brand. Can’t wait to to do that.

  15. These are very helpful tips. I think I’ve mastered a few items on this list. I’m still working on a few more. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Josselyne Says: July 8, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Thank you for posting. Its always good to know where you can improve. Sometimes one feels they have to be on all social media platforms. But as a business owner who wears many hats, its not feasible. I have 3 that I am just about able to be consistent on and I have allowed myself to believe that its okay. Its better I have 3 and be successful than 8 and be absent right? lol.
    Thank you for the post. Great read. Going to read some other posts now 🙂

  17. Omigoodness…I thought the same thing about Necole Kane! I hadn’t read her blog before, but I came across her letter. And it really warmed my heart that she was leaving all the success she’s gained to build a legacy of inspiring others. Such an amazing story.

    • Julian B. Kiganda Says: July 7, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      Isn’t it interesting how God works? You can be on your merry way doing what looks good to the rest of the world, but then that still small voice starts calling you to something bigger and more purposeful than yourself. I’m excited for her and where her career is going to take her next! Really loved reading about her story. Powerful.

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