Who are you? Do you know?
When people visit your blog, do they know?
Lately, I’ve been doing some things to really learn more about YOU. It started with my quick offer of consulting sessions. So far, I’ve talked to 3 people. I’ve got a BUNCH of them scheduled for next week. Also, this last weekend, I ran that weird survey.
About that…. a quick update:
Before We Begin, A Quick Announcement
Thanks for everybody who filled out the survey for me. I am busy making some awesome stuff for you guys. Now, here’s the thing… what you guys told me you wanted is a lot bigger than what I had in mind. 🙂
You guys are really trying to make me work, aren’t you?! 😉
Anyway, I’m a man of my word. What I’m working on is going to be bigger than I thought, but I’m still going to hook you guys up with some meat from it – for free. It may be a lead-in to something bigger, though. Heads up.
Oh, plus we’re working on some seriously AWESOME stuff for Blog Masters Club. We’re prepping to relaunch it soon. You’ll get plenty of warning about it.
Here’s What I’m Noticing About You
You might not know who you really are. As a blogger, I mean.
I’ve checked out a lot of blogs lately. I’ve also talked to people. And one big issue I’m seeing is a sense of confusion on what one represents on their blog. This affects your BRANDING.
Can somebody arrive on your blog for the first time and, in mere seconds, determine exactly what you’re about and what you have to offer them?
If not, your blog is suffering from a sense of identity crisis.
I think some of it might come from a sense of confusion on which direction to go with your blog. Some, quite frankly, are trying to copy other bloggers rather than inventing their own rules. One can read a lot of blogs about blogging (including mine), get some great advice, but ultimately be pulled in so many directions that your blog looks schizophrenic.
Some examples I’ve seen around the web:
- Witty blog titles which mean something to the blogger, but to hardly anybody else.
- No blog byline. Or a byline which is so vague (or witty) as to be completely meaningless.
- Blogs running “make money” affiliate banners, yet have nothing to do with making money. Almost always a result of trying to copy other bloggers and make a buck. But, it splits the message up by putting those kinds of things on unrelated blogs.
- Trying to be all things to all people. Some consultant’s blogs end up defining themselves way too broadly in a mistaken idea that you attract more people with a wider funnel. It usually works out to the opposite, however.
- Packing too much on screen. And some of it being fairly useless. I had a blogger once argue with me about this. He told me that his retail background means you put something into their view and hope for the “impulse buy”. This kind of logic brought to a blog is asinine. Your sidebar isn’t an “end cap”. 🙂
Branding And Congruence – Fancy Words For Knowing Who You Are
In real life, most of us are interested in different things. On our blogs, you can’t talk about all of it. That is, unless you’re running a personal hobby blog, in which case do whatever you want but don’t expect to make decent money at it.
For a blog to extend into a money-making venture for you, it needs to have a BRAND. It needs to mean something in the minds of the audience. Visually, what goes on the theme has to fit with the brand and have a purpose for being there.
Let me point out these aspects of my own blog (this one). Mainly because I know it best, plus I don’t want to single anybody out in this post.
- This blog is attached to my name. I’ve give it a recognizable logo that I use on other things (for congruence). I also did it strategically because I wanted to brand my name as a professional blogger.
- The byline reads “Confessions of a Six Figure Blogger”. It is clearly visible at the top of the site. In less than a second, it defines the brand. This is especially important when using a name or a made-up word, because it won’t have a brand otherwise.
- The rotating photos are designed to show me living a lifestyle. The confession for you is that it was done for psychological reasons. The location of each photo is there, too. It shows I’ve done a lot of traveling. In the “make money” niche, it all usually boils down to increased freedom. Hence, the photos.
- Blueprint report is featured in the header. Backs up the branding. It was intentional to have my report be “Six Figure Blogger Blueprint” and my byline have the words “six figure blogger”.
- I don’t run ads on this site unless they are for my own product. I want to back up my OWN branding, not somebody else’s. Plus, it is smarter business than selling ads.
- My photo in the sidebar (under “About Dave”) is used pretty much everywhere else, too. On Twitter, on Facebook, as my gravatar when commenting on other blogs. If I ever change that photo, I will change it everywhere else, too. Again, it is about congruence. I want it to be recognizable regardless of the point of contact with my brand.
On a related note, if you head over to PCMech.com (the tech blog I run), you’ll not find a peep of any of this except in my author bio, where I do link to this blog. Why? Because nothing I talk about on this blog fits the PCMech brand.
Over there, I am a different character. Same me, but I only talk about what backs up the PCMech brand when I’m writing for PCMech.
Defining Yourself For New Readers
So, how do you apply this to your own blog? Well, the first step is to figure out who you are. What do you want to represent in the minds of your readers? It should be a rather singular focus, too. Imagine the confusion that would ensue if I tried to start talking about blogging over on PCMech.
[I know. I tried it once. It went over like a fart in church. That crowd doesn’t care about blogging.]
So, I encourage you to think about the following:
- Is the content you produce consistent with a singular brand?
- Is your blog’s logo unique and representative of your brand?
- Are you using a blog sub-title (or byline) which clearly spells out what you’re about? Remember, you need to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” for your reader. Because that’s what they want to know.
- If you’re using any images in your header, do they back up the brand? Do they mean anything at all? Don’t just pack images up there for the sake of doing it. Do it for a reason.
- Are you running ads on the blog which are completely off-brand for you?
- Are you using brand congruence among all your other online channels? Use same image across all social networks, for instance?
- When building your list, does the thing you give away tightly back up your brand? Can you title your giveaway to tightly fit your brand?
An Exercise (If You’re Brave Enough To Hear The Answer…)
Before I wrap up, let me leave you with an interesting exercise that will likely prove to be a very eye-opening experience for you.
Grab somebody who isn’t a reader of your blog and doesn’t know what it is you do online. Have that person visit your blog. Have them start talking out loud to tell you what their immediate impression is. Have them, in their own words, tell you what it is they think you blog about. Watch how they interact with your blog.
The answers may surprise you.
Here’s What I Want You To Do Now…
- Post a comment below and tell me at least one thing you’ve picked up from this post which you see you need to implement on your own blog. And tell me what you’re going to do.
- If you found this post helpful to you at all, share it with others using the retweet button to the lower right (or wherever you like hanging out online).
- Stay tuned, because I’ve got some awesomesauce on the way. 🙂