Blog Review Part 1 of 5: What’s Your Brand?

In the (relatively short) time that I’ve been blogging I’ve done heaps of research and learnt lots about developing image, expanding content, using social media, building an audience and keeping track of it all.

This is part of a five-section ‘how-to’ for writer/bloggers. Each article will be published at the start of the week for the next five weeks. The aim is to help bloggers to conduct a self-review.

This series came about through my own experience in self-reviewing, and questions I have had about being a writer and blogger.

What is your ‘brand?

It’s your image: it’s how your blog – and YOU – are perceived by the public. It’s dynamic: it doesn’t stay the same, especially when you’re new to the game.

How is it developed?

Your brand is based on how people perceive you, so you don’t have full control over it. However, you can push things in the right direction.

It’s built through everything on your site: your blog title, your blog’s URL, your style of writing, your content, your About Me page, the theme and colours you choose, comments from readers, activity on other sites & social media. Your brand takes time to build, which is good as it allows you a small period of experimentation at the beginning.

Whew, that’s a lot to think about! Where to start?

The best way to start is to figure out what you want your image to BE. I used this article from Your Writer Platform to kick-start my thinking (thanks, Joy Findlay, for the link).

My brand brainstorm.
My brand brainstorm.

I started with a brainstorm about how I wanted to be perceived as a writer, without thinking about what my blog or readers are currently. I included all the words that I wanted to be associated with, established authors whose work shares similarities with my own, how I wanted to be seen as a person, how I wanted my writing to be seen, formatting, and topics I enjoy writing &  reading about. Looking for common themes, I used highlighter to categorise these. I ended up with four over-arching themes I wanted my blog to reflect: quirky but deep writer, an honest blogger, well-crafted writing, and overall professionalism.

It is important that you let these themes occur naturally. If you force them, you will not allow your true brand to come through, and this will be perceived in your writing.

Your Task

  1. Decide on your author brand by brainstorming all the ideas, words, authors, styles, topics etc that you want to be associated with. Remember, this is a brainstorm, so there are no right or wrong answers. You can always cross things out or add things in if you change your mind.
  2. Get 4-5 highlighters, and look for common themes. They will be there. Make sure you think about broad categories, and limit yourself to FIVE. It’s too hard to build a brand around 20 different topics.
  3. Look at these themes. Does your design and content reflect these categories? What can you do to better create the image you want to build for yourself? Think about different topics you can post on, new sites to visit, personal vs. writing posts, your tagline and the colours / theme of your site. List the things you can do to build your brand and ACT on them!
  4. Share your thoughts, ideas, changes and questions with me. You can comment below, or send me an email at zeesouthcombe@gmail.com – I’d love to hear from you!

 

11 thoughts on “Blog Review Part 1 of 5: What’s Your Brand?

  1. Thanks so much, Zee. You’ve given me plenty to think about.

    My blog is still in its early stages and has only recently begun getting followers. It has a slight identity crisis so as you said; sometimes the type of people who follow your blog often dictates its content and goals. I have to remind myself not to get too self-indulgent, but at the same time write something I am passionate about.

    At the moment there are two themes, my personal likes and dislikes, and my journey through the world of writing, although a third theme has recently reared its head in the form of teacher. I used to teach my younger cousins how to play guitar when I was a teenager and I always found that you learn more through teaching than you do by doing, and I find that the same is true of writing.

    But I have a lot to think about with regards to my blog, and this series will help tremendously. Thanks again, Zee.

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    1. Thanks, Ben. Yes, and I think the fact you don’t have complete control makes it more exciting (can you tell I like a challenge? Lol). We’ll look at how we can influence this more in part 4.

      Could you elaborate on what you mean by getting too self-indulgent? I’m curious.

      I have two main themes as well, writing & self-reflection, but these are fairly broad categories.

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      1. Sure, by self-indulgent I mean; rambling on about the guy at the end of the street who parks in my parking space, or my boss who is a major head-ache. It is difficult, because blogging is a great way to get things off of your chest, and sometimes it is nice to let off steam, but ultimately, my problems with the human race are of no interest to anyone but me. Plus, once I start ranting I can’t stop. lol.

        A way around it is if something like that effects my writing, such as a demanding work load, then it becomes relevent to my blogs ‘brand’ at the end of the day, dealing with lifes challenges is all part of the writing journey.

        I think self-reflection is paramount to writing (I should really do this more.) You can only ever be a good writer if you are honest with who you are and the only way to do that is to take a closer look at who we really are.

        I’m checking out ‘Your Writer Platform’ right now, thanks for the link and thanks again for a great post.

        Like

        1. Ah, I see. I tend to burden my partner with my venting, so (hopefully) it doesn’t come through on my blog.

          If you want to rant about something, consider focusing on what can be learnt from it. Or write it as a short piece of fiction (bonus points for killing off Caremark-stealing-guy *evil laugh*).

          I’ve always been big on self-reflection so I guess it grew quite organically as a topic. Also visit annerallen.blogspot.com. She writes frankly about her opinion of writers using social media and blogging.

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    1. Thank *you* for a great site, and stopping by to comment. I’ve used the info in your site, along with others, to continue to improve my site. It’s not quite where I want it yet, but it’s definitely getting closer!

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