There’s a great analogy I’d like to share about the importance of how to brand a blog – and in doing so helping you create a successful blog.
Your best mate is acting strangely.
He’s speaking in a different accent. He’s wearing a tracksuit when he always wears jeans. He’s dyed his hair purple. And now he’s skateboarding wherever he goes (and he is definitely past acceptable skateboarding age).
How do these out of character changes make you feel?
Suspicious? Concerned? Confused?
That’s what happens when the way someone’s acting is incongruent with their usual self.
And if your blog isn’t in line with your brand, your audience will be left with these same feelings. They’ll lose trust in you and drop you like a hot potato.
We’re going to delve into the different elements of blog branding that will keep your blog relevant, making sense and cohesive with your brand.
#1 USE A CONSISTENT VOICE
Consistency couldn’t be more important when it comes to tone of voice.
You’ll have spent time crafting a tone of voice that resonates with your readers. They’ve come to know it well. So suddenly employing a completely different tone of voice simply doesn’t make sense.
You know when your Dad tries out a new slang word and you cringe like no one’s business?
That could happen to your blog readers.
Your tone of voice expresses your brand’s personality and values, so keep to them.
A great way of sticking to your tone of voice is by creating Brand Voice Guidelines. Brand Voice Guidelines are essentially your bible that all your copywriting needs to fall under across all channels, whether it be social, website, or your blog.
The guidelines will also be handy for if you need a copywriter to get to know your voice quickly and easily.
Take a peek at some of these brand voice guidelines from Harkable, if you want some inspiration.
TONE VERSUS STYLE
At first glance, these seem to be the same thing.
Different marketing channels will need different copywriting techniques to make them effective.
You can afford to be more conversational in a blog post for example. But if you’re writing a landing page, you’ll need to be more salesy with classic conversion copy techniques.
Your tone will stay the same. But your style will change.
The tone is the attitude you’re conveying. The style is the technical aspect of the writing.
For example, you may want to use a copywriting technique such as storytelling in your blog post, but that doesn’t mean the tone will change.
#2 TALK ABOUT THINGS THAT MAKE SENSE TO YOUR AUDIENCE
You need to make sure you’re communicating with your target audience by keeping your blog content relevant to them.
A mistake many brands make is to launch a blog casting the net far and wide for topics.
You need to make sure that you’re not going rogue.
A great way to do this is with a thorough content strategy that delves into your audience using buyer insights and to plan topics accordingly.
Most marketers mix up ‘user personas’ with ‘buyer personas’. They create hypothetical archetypes of their buyers, with detailed descriptions of their personality and daily routines.
Usually, these hardly offer any value at all when it comes to brand messaging and creating content that convinces and converts prospects.
Carrying out buyer interviews will allow you to get these super-valuable buying insights, including:
- The main reason that this buyer persona chose to search for a solution like yours.
- The results and outcomes that they hope to achieve with a solution like yours.
- What attitudes or concerns prevent this buyer persona from investing in your solution.
- What the top three to five factors this buyer uses to compare alternative solutions before making a decision.
- The sequence of events leading up to the purchasing decision (whether positive or negative), including the role of this buyer persona in the decision-making process and who else impacted the decision.
Although your blog won’t be self-promotional, off the back of the interviews you will be able to create content that addresses their triggers and pain-points.
The result? Highly valuable content that’s in line with your brand and audience.
We also always suggest that you don’t spread yourself too thin with topics.
Your readers need to know what kind of thing to expect from you. For this reason, we use a handy tool called ‘content buckets’ to ensure the even distribution of relevant topics.
Content buckets are essentially just themes that our posts fall into. Defining content buckets is a great way to focus, organise and manage all of your content for all content channels (including social media) moving forward.
They should be created with the different buyer personas (and those who influence the buyers) in mind, as well as ‘sharers’ and ‘referrers’.
All content created, shared and curated will then fit into these 4 overarching categories, and we should aim to divide our content topics up equally between the four buckets.
Here’s ours: Copywriting, branding, social media and blogging.
They are all things that our audience want to hear about. They create value for our readers and they come to expect top-notch posts under these umbrellas that they can take into their everyday lives.
#3 KEEP YOUR PURPOSE IN CHECK
You need to have a clear picture of why you’re blogging. Why are you creating your blog posts? What is the purpose of your blog?
The purpose of your blog should reflect your brand.
Let’s say your brand sells eco-friendly, vegan shoes. Your brand purpose is to create sustainable, on-trend shoes that transform how people shop.
So your brand cares about the environment. One of the core values is to protect the world and reduce your carbon footprint.
When you’re looking at the purpose of your blog, it should be along a similar vein of caring so it truly reflects your brand.
For example, the main purpose of the blog could be to educate people on how to live sustainably. You could demystify all the cloudy views around actionable sustainability.
Here’s a task for you: try and write down the purpose of your blog in 1 – 2 sentences.
It’s tricky but useful as it will serve as a beacon whenever you need to get back to basics.
#4 GET THE RIGHT INFLUENCERS
Getting influencers on board with your blog is always a winner.
Asking influencers to guest post for you can be a great way to reinforce your brand values and personality while also exposing your blog to the masses.
Influencers have pretty great credentials. They tend to have a lot of sway. Even more followers. And people trust their opinion.
If we’re talking about creating value for readers, then getting regular influencers to write for your blog is going to be a big draw.
However…they still need to be on-brand.
Would you get Little Mix to write a four-part series on AI for example?
Probably not, because it’s seriously off-brand.
The moral of the story is, even if you have a high-profile influencer keen to write for your blog, if they’re not on brand, it can leave behind a whole lotta confusion.
Here’s what you need to be looking for:
- Tone of voice and brand personality. Does your influencer fit your brand’s characteristics and the way it speaks? For example, if you’re a young, cool beauty start-up don’t choose a stuffy corporate blogging bloke as your influencer of choice.
- Target audience. Do your audience know and relate to the influencer? If he or she is irrelevant to them, you’ll want to steer well clear. Even if they’re a global superstar (think of Mendes and the big data).
- Values. Do they share the values of your brand? For instance, if you’re a vegan clothing company, don’t go for someone who’s known for their meat-eating ways.
An influencer needs to enhance and protect your brand, not muddle it all up. All of those building blocks you’ve put in place to form your brand need to remain intact, not get obliterated by a wildcard influencer that doesn’t make any sense.
Sharing on social can be a big gamechanger for exposure. Suddenly, your post is exposed to all your influencer’s followers, who are actually likely to be your target audience.
Subscribers will be flooding in, for sure.
AND DON’T FORGET…
Whatever you do, don’t go rogue on design.
I know, I know, we’re a copywriting agency. But because of that many times I see brands, with perfectly good web design, go completely in a different direction for their blog.
Remember our good friend ‘consistency’? Don’t ditch her at the last hurdle.
TIP: Not to be confused with your brand voice, but on a similar thread, invest in some Brand Guidelines that will help to consolidate your brand. This should include your brand colours, fonts, values, purpose etc, so everything will be nicely tied up.
And lastly, make sure you engage with your readers. Encourage them to comment and interact with your blog and answer them accordingly.
Keeping in contact with your readership is the best way to find out what they’re enjoying, what they find valuable and therefore you can discover what’s working (or not).
There’s always room for improvement after all.
Konrad and The Creative Copywriter team xx