Many people use the phrase “personal brand” without any real idea of what a brand actually is.
In this installment of Coffee Break Blogging, let’s talk about what a BRAND actually is – and the 4 essential elements you must build into your blog in order to create your brand. Once those 4 elements are in place, they should also follow over into Twitter, Facebook – and essentially everywhere you appear.
Today, we are going to talk about a very important component to creating that profitable business online and that is your “brand”. Now this is something that we want to think about at the beginning. Like the domain name that we spoke about in the last session; the brand is something that you can adjust over time. But it is something that you want to think about especially when you are choosing your domain name because it goes hand in hand.
Table Of Contents
Built Over Time
But this word “brand”; a lot of people use it when they don’t really know what it means. A lot of social media people use the word “personal brand” a lot. And it is almost as if by simply being out there and tweeting some stuff, you have got yourself a personal brand. Then that is not true at all! A lot of people out there just bloviate on social media, but that does not make them a personal brand. A personal brand is something that is built over time. It is something that is done with intention. So before you understand what a personal brand is, let us talk about what a brand is. It is a very important component of marketing that you want to understand. It is actually really simple though.
What A Brand Is
Here is what a brand is: It is essentially a mental image picture that is formed in the head of the person that you are speaking to when they see your business. That is what it is. Now, the marketing that you set up, needs to be set up in such a way that when they see it, that that is the mental image picture which formulates in their head.
Now, a really well-known example of this is Nike. Nike does a fantastic job of branding and basically, they always use images of runners and people who are doing athletic things. And so now, whenever you see that word “Nike” and that little swoosh, that is immediately what you think of. That is successful branding. They are very, very good at it. And so that is what you need to think about with how you set up your brand. You want to set up a mental image picture.
What is that, really? I mean, at the end of the day, many of us think in pictures. We do not think necessarily in words. Just usually a picture that is in your head and then you kind of assigns the language to it. Now the picture is the most basic way that we think, typically. And so when you are creating this brand you want to formulate that picture. And in that picture, that idea that your brand represent is going to follow you around in all the marketing that you do.
Now, a very important thing about that brand and that mental image picture is that you want that picture to represent and be something that your target audience aspires to, that they want to be “that”. That your target audience is going to need and want certain things and you want the brand and the picture that comes to mind to be something that represents that transformation. Now we look at Nike and again, Nike does athletic products. Well, their images are people who are in good shape and they are doing athletic things and they are running and they are doing all the things that many of us were not exercising as much as we should; aspire to be that. It is the same idea with what you are doing.
So when you look at these guys who are doing personal brand and they’re just kind of randomly tweeting, they do not have a brand unless they have some rhyme and reason to what they are doing and they are creating a mental image picture on the receiving end of what they are doing. And that mental image picture needs to jive with something that the target market wants. If they are not really thinking about that, then they do not really have a brand.
Now, as you set up your blog; the design of your blog is very much going to be done so that it communicates that brand in the proper way.
But there are 4 elements of it that really come in to play when it comes to that brand. And those 4 Elements are the logo, the tagline, the name and the primary imagery.
Now let us review those:
The 4 Elements In Creating Your Brand
1. Name Of Your Site
Now, that is obviously a very important component to the brand. If you think of Nike, it is the word “Nike”. Now, they made that up, I have no idea what the origin of the word “Nike” is. It does not really matter. The idea is that you can basically brand anything you want. The word “yahoo”, I mean.. yeah, we go “Yahoo!” that meant nothing until Yahoo made something with it. You got the word “Google”. I know where it came from. It kind of came from the big number but at the same time it didn’t really mean anything important until Google came along and turned it into a brand. So you can come up with a name; go back to the prior episode about your domain name, and that is a good stage to be thinking about your name. But the name is just kind of like an empty slate until you put the brand behind it and you back up that brand with everything else that you are doing. But the name is one of the 4 really important elements of your brand.
2. Your Logo
Now that logo is important. It is something that you want to put a little bit of thought and effort into on your blog. And if you are not a graphic designer I would recommend that this might be an area where you want to pay somebody to create a logo for you. It does not have to be very expensive. In fact you can get free decent one sometimes done even on Fiverr. But consider it if you are not a graphic designer because that logo is important. It is one of the first things that people are going to see when they come to your site.
So you want to ask yourself how this communicates my brand. Now, it is probably going to work very closely in conjunction with the name of your site, obviously because the name is probably going to be in the logo. But many logos have some imagery to them and you want to ask yourself what is that image in that logo communicating? The other thing is the overall mood of the logo. You know, there are some logos that are kind of “cutesy” and the thing is if “cutesy” and lightheartedness is part of your overall brand, great. Make your logo that way. But if you are trying to make your logo more corporate, more serious, more professional; maybe you do not want to go with the cutesy type of a logo. So you want to look at the mood of the image that you are going to be making and make sure that it matches the brand that you want to create.
The tagline is very important. This one often will show up right underneath the logo or somewhere at the header of the site. But the thing is, what a lot of bloggers do is they make that tagline real cute. Almost like they are trying to be tongue-and-cheek, they’re trying to be like, hehe… all that kind of stuff. But the thing is, that is not really where you want to go with it. You want the tagline to communicate.
Two things: One is the brand, secondly; as clearly and as plainly as you can say what the site is about. And that is where a lot of blog owners drop the ball is that in their quest to make the tagline kind of cute and kind of tongue-and-cheek they fail to make the tagline clearly communicate who the site is for. And it is really hard to build a brand if it is not immediately obvious who your site is catering to when they arrive. And the tagline is an extremely important component to communicating what that is all about. So, what is your blog’s tagline? I know WordPress by default; I think that tagline is set to “just another WordPress blog” or something like that. Well, don’t leave that default. You want to type something else in there.
You need to put some thought into that tagline. You can make it smart, but it needs to be clear what it is about. I think as of the time I am recording this; my tagline for Blog Marketing Academy, I think it’s “Blog smarter, make money” but the whole idea there is that it very clearly communicates what the value proposition of my site is. “Blog smarter, make money”, okay? I am not trying to be humorous in it. I am just trying to clearly communicate what it is about in a very short, succinct way. And that is what the tagline is really about. So you need to put some thought on that one.
4. Primary Imagery
The last of the 4 components of your brand is the imagery. Now the imagery is very important. As I said, at the end of the day your brand is primarily a mental image picture that you are creating in the mind of your reader and your potential prospect and customer. And the imagery is the most direct pathway to that.
So when they arrive on your site, what are they going to see in terms of images? What is the image actually communicating? Now this is something you should think about on every image that you use on your blog even if it is just an image inside of a blog post. Don’t just go and get some random stock photo and stick it in there. You want to think about “how this is affecting my overall brand?” What images are you going to have in your site’s header?
Don’t just put something out there because it is pretty. You want to think about it because of how it is actually communicating the brand that you are creating. Any images on your homepage; I mean, if you are a very important component of your own brand, whether your site is called your name or not… if you are a very important component of it, maybe you want to have a nice, professional picture of yourself on the homepage. That would be more effective than just going out and getting some stock photo of a flower or something. You want to have something that is not just there to look good but is there to actually communicate the brand. This image is a very direct pathway to that mental image picture of the brand which is what we are trying to create.
They All Work Together
So here’s the thing: These 4 things, they work together in unison. Each one in and of itself is probably not going to do the job. It’s the logo, the tagline, the name of your site and the images on that site; they are all going to work together to create an overall brand. And that is very important.
So you want to ask yourself, what is it that you are creating with that? What is the mood of that brand? Are the pictures that you are creating; do they represent where your audience wants to be? Does that represent that transition? Does that represent the journey that you are in the business of delivering? All these that we talked about in the prior episodes of Coffee Break Blogging when it came to your niche in finding what it is to make money and all these… Go back to the episode; I think it is in Episode 42, maybe. That is a very important one. There it talks about that journey that you are in the business of enabling people to travel, and your products and your blog posts and everything are all going to be in line with enabling people to travel that pathway and get that transformation. Well, your brand; these images that are communicated by your brand need to back up that transformation, needs to back up the outcomes and be something that they aspire to. And that is what a brand is.
So once you have created this brand and you got these 4 elements in place, then you want to use them everywhere. You want to set them up on your blog but you want to also have the same basic message in imagery and logos and everything being used out on social media whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, everything. Wherever your brand shows up, you want to make sure that that brand will be seen there so that it is consistent. You want people to associate you and your blog with that idea and that is what you are building.
So think about the brand that way. Next time you see some people talking about their personal brand but they are out there just randomly doing things, realize they are probably just using personal brand because it is kind of like a buzz word out there in social media circles and not because they truly have thought about what it actually is.
So I want you to actually think about what that is when you are setting up your blog and be a little bit strategic in the 4 elements; the logo, the tagline, the name and the images that you use on your site. Okay?
Hopefully this is something you can put to use right away because it is a very important topic. And I will see you in the next episode. I believe the next one coming up will be Episode 50. Wow! Back when we first started this whole thing, the idea of getting to Episode 50 didn’t really occur to me. We’re blowing through 50 and we will keep on going here. So, Episode 50 I think coming up on the docu here we are going to be talking about the biggest design mistakes that bloggers make on their site. So that will be fun! I will see you on Episode 50 of Coffee Break Blogging and until then… Be productive, Blog well and put some thought into your brand! Okay?
I’ll see you then! 😉