Before you start the journey of turning your blog into a brand, consider the following Chinese proverb, "Every journey begins with a single step."
You've probably heard it before, but did you know there's an alternative translation?
"Every journey starts with the ground beneath your feet."
Why am I telling you this?
Because wouldn't it be foolish to take your first step if you don't know your direction?
You could, but odds are you'll get lost!
To find direction and learn (how to transform your newfound blog into a brand), consider your blog as the ground beneath your feet.
You see, to go from blog to brand, you first have to understand what you've got, this will give you your direction, then every step you take will be towards success.
First, there are two things you need to know:
1. The actions you need to take.
2. The tools that'll help you make them.
Let the transformation begin!
1. Create an eye stopping logo
One of the first things a visitor will look for when they visit your blog is your logo, their eyes will automatically seek it out. Because this is one of the first elements that visitors interact with, it’s important that it makes an eye stopping first impression. If your logo is poorly designed (an afterthought), you won’t come across as professional, or worst still you might be perceived as untrustworthy.
Many bloggers make the mistake of trying to design their own logo, but unless you have a graphic design background I would not recommend this. Having a logo design is not as expensive as it once was, and their many options available to have one created.
- ONLINE LOGO DESIGN TOOLS – Don’t have design ability or a big budget you can create your logo with a logo maker. They are fast, and you get lots of design option.
- LOGO DESIGN COMPETITIONS – There are platforms for logo competitions. You give your design brief and multiple designers will create designs – the best one gets your business.
- FREELANCE LOGO DESIGNERS - Many of the sites where you can run a logo competition will also have freelancers you can hire independently. You can see their previous work and read reviews.
2. Create a distinct brand image
Have you ever noticed how some people stand out in a crowd?
Usually, it's because they have a unique look, and this is what your brand has to have, so it doesn't just blend in with the thousands of others that viewers swipe past every day.
You can give your brand a unique look and stand out by creating a recognizable visual identity. Once you have your identity, people will instantly recognize it regardless of what platforms you're on or marketing strategies you're using.
HOW TO CREATE YOUR VISUAL IDENTITY:
- COLOR – Choose a color that both fits your style and your audience, then use a similar color palette throughout your branding to create familiarity.
- IMAGERY – Sales on social media platforms are image-driven, especially Instagram. There are different styles you can use that will add to your identity. Pick ones that match your brand, then use them on all your posts.
- TYPOGRAPHY – Unless you're putting videos out (and you should be), people can't hear your voice. Choose fonts that suit your message, and again, use them consistently.
- VOICE – Speaking of voice! You have one, so use it on everything you do. It's how you write, what images you use, the products you promote. Don't fake it; be who you are, and people will love your brand for it.
Add all of these together, use them consistently, and you'll soon have a brand that's recognizable on every platform, this leads to trust, and communities buy from brands they trust.
Did someone mention communities?
3. Write content your target audience is looking for
Writing without knowing precisely who your audience is, would be like joining a dating app and not posting a picture; chances are you're not going to get a bite!
You must write content that's relevant and interesting to your audience, and you can find out what that is by knowing who's reading your blog.
There are tools to help you do that, the best for me being BuzzSumo.
HOW IT CAN HELP YOU:
- CONTENT DISCOVERY – Enables you to see which content is performing so you can get more likes, shares, and links.
- CONTENT RESEARCH – You can analyze billions of data points and sharpen your marketing strategy.
- INFLUENCERS – Identify the right influencer for your brand and use them to boost your marketing campaigns.
- CONTENT MONITORING – Track comments and trends in real-time and interact when needed.
All of this information gives you what you need to focus on the audience that's most likely to provide you with the highest returns when it comes to monetizing your blog with your brand.
You now know who your target audience is and how to reach them, now it's time to be seen.
4. Build a Community and watch it grow
When you have your audience, it's time to build a community.
Your primary goal might be to monetize your blog by creating a brand, but if you don't have a community, you're in for a long and lonely journey!
By creating and nurturing an interactive community, you'll have legions of followers that will know whenever you post something new, market a product, and, most of all, they'll trust you.
Growing your community takes commitment; it's a two-way street; you have to give a lot to get a lot. Always be available to your followers, answer their questions, solve their problems, and at all times, post quality and relevant information.
One crucial factor that influences how quickly your community grows is the regularity of your interactions and content posting. One excellent tool that can make this job a whole lot easier is Hootsuite.
THEIR SERVICE PROVIDES:
- All IN ONE PLATFORM – Ease of use.
- CONTENT CURATOR – Create and write your posts.
- CONTENT SCHEDULAR – Choose when to bulk schedule social media posts.
- MEASURABLE STATS – See what's working and where.
- ADD CAMPAIGNS – On 35 social networks.
The Hootsuite user interface has an easy to use dashboard that you can run off any device. They support social network integrations for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
By being there for your community, you'll build a strong network around your niche, and before long, your blog will grow into a brand.
5. Stay relevant with your community
You don't have to reinvent the wheel to turn your blog into a brand, but if you want it to be successful, you have to stay relevant with your community.
Regardless of your niche, you need to publish fresh, unique, and innovative content that will keep your readers coming back for more. By doing so, you are laying the foundations from which your brand will stand on and grow.
You were probably doing this for your blog, yeah? So, what's different now?
The difference is you've got to start thinking like a brand and how you can make yours unique from all the others already serving your market place. Start by looking at experts within your niche and what marketing strategies they are using, content, offers, and products they are already providing, and how you can add or improve on them.
It could be as simple as providing better content and images than your main competitor or innovative product improvements. Whatever it is, you have to bring something new to the table that will distinguish you from the crowd.
6. Develop a monetizable product
To turn your blog into a money-making platform, you need one of two things (both would be even better), truckloads of traffic, or a seriously loyal community.
When you have either (or both) of those, you can start thinking about monetizing your new brand.
But what is a monetizable product, and how do you sell it?
- The first one is easy to answer. A monetized product is anything you can sell (digital or physical) via your blog or other platforms, simple enough.
- The second answer has many layers, which means you have many options!
HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN SELL AND TOOLS THAT HELP YOU DO IT:
- ADVERTISING – Agree on a deal with an advertiser and put them on your platform. AdRotate is a plugin that looks after all the graphics, code, and ad scheduling. There's also a feature that promotes a new add every time a viewer refreshes the page.
- AFFILIATE MARKETING – The most straightforward way for your brand to earn money is by selling other people's products. You advertise them, sell them, get a commission. Most major e-commerce companies have an affiliate program. Choose ones that suit your brand, install the codes and images, and you're good to go. You can also use affiliate marketing platforms like ClickBank, Commission Junction, Linkshare, and Share a Sale.
- E-COMMERCE – Selling physical products is a little more complicated as it involves shipping, taxes, and credit card payments. Here are two tools that help simplify the process. Shopify – Turn your blog into an online store and connect it to your website or social media platforms. Woo-Commerce – A Free plugin that enables you to set up an online store on your website, it's mobile-friendly, and open source.
- EBOOK – Compile all of your best posts and create an eBook, or write one related to your brand. Pressbooks is a software service that enables you to import your posts, edit, and export as Mobi (for Kindle), Epub ( for Nook, iBooks, Kobo), and PDF (for printing).
7. Multichannel Marketing and how it can help you
Increase your traffic and monetize your blog by branching out into multichannel advertising. These channels will enable you to reach and engage with a much broader audience.
Traditional multichannel marketing usually involves offline solutions such as physical stores, catalogs, direct mail, and TV, as well as online solutions, your website, blog, social media platforms, text messaging, and email marketing campaigns.
These types of marketing campaigns are usually run long term and require precise planning and allocated funding. However, the good news is with the increased popularity of social media, setting them up, and getting results has become cheaper, quicker, and more accessible.
MARKETING CAMPAIGN TOOLS:
- EMAIL MARKETING - SendinBlue is an easy to use email marketing platform that enables you to create highly engaging and beautiful emails, perfect for beginners.
- SOCIAL MEDIA - SoGro is a tool you can use on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. It picks your target audience for you based on your niche and stats, all you have to do is load your content, and you're marketing.
8. Rise to the top by being consistent
If you're not consistently updating all of your brand's platforms with relevant content, quality images, and videos, you'll fade quicker than an X-Factor contestant.
So, saying that, how do you find the time to do what's required? SCHEDULING TOOLS are your answer.
Social media scheduling tools queue up your posts and release them based on your pre-planned marketing strategy. However, they're not a one-trick pony; the right one can help improve your efficiency by managing your entire social media marketing process!
And here's a list of some of the best:
All social scheduling tools have one thing in common; they save you time, and who doesn't want more time!
At this early stage, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed, even questioning if you can go from blogger to brand. That's understandable, but you've already taken the most crucial step, you wrote about something and put it online, that's a considerable achievement, give yourself the credit you deserve.
Now all you have to do is choose the strategies that best suit your niche, start with one and see it through, then move onto the next. Take it one step at a time, and if you fall or become disheartened, which we all do, look back at what you've achieved, then put one foot in front of the other and keep ongoing. Eventually, you'll arrive at your destination; you'll have a brand.