These days, it seems like everyone has a blog. In fact, when you take into account the fact that most students are taught to design one before they finish middle school, it’s safe to say that, indeed, everyone really does have a blog. But when you blog professionally, the key to success is moving your site from being “just a blog” to a full-blown brand. That means becoming recognizable in terms of voice, visuals, and products that keep your readers coming back.
Know Your Niche
One of the prime factors that sets apart a successful brand from a run of the mill blog is that is has a clear niche. Typical blogs lean heavily on personal content, current events, and the whims of inspiration, but professional sites have a unique niche and voice centered on a topic you have authority to write about. There might be a gap in the market for a real estate site, for example, but if you’re an expert on day trading, why would you not capitalize on that knowledge?
Focusing on an area in which you have a wealth of knowledge is important because it will help boost your reputation and increase your readership – and if you have prior freelance experience or a career you can feed off of, you may even bring prior followers along with you. Authority is at the heart of branding success and is what will enable you to make your blog a business.
Pitch A Product
Considered loosely, a blog is a collection of writings or images, but may not offer much more. A brand, on the other hand, is typically organized around a product or service. This is key to developing a consistent, repeat readership base and monetizing your site.
So what kind of services can you offer? Obviously they should be consistent with your site’s niche, but ideally, you want to develop a service or product that can be provided remotely as well. Lexington Law, for example, has built their brand around offering credit repair services, appealing to individual creditors as well as credit bureaus on behalf of their customers.
Other websites sell actual, physical products, rather than services. America’s Test Kitchen, for example, provides services like cooking lesson videos for home cooks and product reviews, but also sells kitchen equipment. Every field has a potential product or service associated with it and you just need to find yours.
Rebrand With Caution
If you feel like your brand isn’t working as well as it could, it might be time for a rebrand, but do so carefully, as the rebranding process can disrupt your SEO. While you’re rebranding, be sure to block your new website from crawlers while you’re working on it and do your best to maintain your domain name. The less you disrupt your overall web presence the better. Rebranding is an opportunity to address and shape how you relate to customers but it shouldn’t tear down your past work.
In many cases, the best approach to rebranding your company is to create a new logo, adjust your visuals and color scheme, and roll out new content in addition to what’s already on the site. This helps maintain a sense of continuity while refreshing your presentation to keep the site current. It also prevents you from losing backlinks and otherwise compromising your wider web presence, which is key to sustaining the sense that you’re a brand, not a blog, demonstrating that you’re in this for the long haul.
Blogging is a hobby, but brands are associated with businesses. Are you doing enough to sustain relevance and recognition for your brand?