Blogging to Build a Brand is Necessary in Today’s Competitive Market
These days you must have a blog if you want to remain competitive in your industry. In this webinar, I talk about the benefits of blogging, the steps you need to take to set up a blog, and provides tips and tools that will help you make the most of your blogging experience.
- Blogging has been around in various forms for almost as long as the internet
- The word “blog” is short for Weblog. It was first coined by John Barger in 1997
- Blogging as we now it today was started by Brian Redman. Members of his usenet group, mod.ber, would share interesting things they found online.
- At last count, there were over 126 million blogs online
- People are blogging for all sorts of reasons; online diary, news gathering, or marketing
Why Blog for Business
- Blogging is the best way to create a community around your business
- Unlike other social networking sites, you have more room to get into details
- Your blog can serve as a sales funnel that directs people to your products and services
- Blogging can help you build a reputation as an expert
- Blogs are easily branded
- Blogging can lead to opportunities to crossover into other media such as television and radio
- Social networking tools can be integrated into the blog that allow you to create a conversation hub about your business.
- Search engines loves blogs which make it easy to gain traffic when you optimize your blog correctly.
Setting Up Your Blog
- You have two options when setting up a blog; self-hosted and third party hosting.
- Third party hosting is free. Think WordPress.com and Blogger.com. However, some third party hosts limit the type of content that can be put on their servers. Also, if the service goes away so does your blog.
- Self hosted blogs require more effort to set up. However, the pay off is greater. You have control over the branding, content, and marketing of your blog.
- For branding purposes, it is recommended that you self host your blog on your own domain. You will look more professional.
- Purchase a domain name from a reputable registrar such as Namecheap. Use your name or a brandable business name.
- Purchase web hosting from a high quality provider such as Hostgator, WireNine, or Namecheap.
- Use WordPress for blogging. It is popular, easy to set up, and simple to use.
- To install manually, you will need to download a FTP tool such as Filezilla or CuteFTP to upload files to your web hosting account.
- Download WordPress from the WordPress.org site. The site also has step by step instructions for installing the blog software on your site. Be sure to follow directions perfectly or you may end up with problems.
- WordPress has a repository of free themes on their site at WordPress.org. However, it is best to either purchase a professionally designed theme or have one custom made.
- The criteria for a good blogging theme is that it must fit in with your business brand. It should be professional and give you enough space to advertise your business, integrate social tools, and be enticing to visitors.
- For a professional look, light colors are best such as white, cream, and grey. Good contrasting colors are blue, green, and black.
- Customize your header to your business name. You can do this yourself using a program such as Photoshop or hire a professional.
- Fill out your “About Me” page
- Once your blog is set up, install plugins that will assist you in building your brand and creating a community around your business.
- Sign up for Feedburner and integrate it into your blog so you can track RSS subscribers.
Your About Me Page
- Create a short biography of yourself for your “About Me” page.
- The bio should detail your expertise.
- Include a professional photo of yourself
- Most importantly, your bio should focus on how your knowledge and experience can help your blog visitors.
- If need be, include contact information for you. Do not put your email address or you will receive spam galore. Instead, point to a contact form on your blog.
- Only relevant information should be included here.
- The bio should not be longer than 400 words.
Good WordPress Plugins
- Facebook Likes – Allows visitors to like your content which will show up on their Facebook wall.
- Twitter Tools – Will automatically tweet your new posts to your Twitter accounts.
- Akismet – Helps manage spam
- All in One SEO Pack – Assists in optimizing your blog for search engines
- Dashbar – Allows you to move between the front of your blog and the back office with ease
- Secure and Accessible PHP Contact Form – Contact form that prevents spam from getting through
- TweetMeme Retweet Button – Allows visitors to tweet your content
- Subscribe To Comments – Helps visitors stay on top of the conversation by emailing them whenever there are new comments on a post.
- SexyBookmarks – Allows visitors to share your content on up to 50 other sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – Puts a section on your post that shows similar posts to the one the visitor is reading. Helps increase the time visitors stay on your site.
- Google XML Sitemaps – Makes it easy for search engines to index your content.
- Math Comment Spam Protection – Increases spam protection
- Pretty Link (Lite Version) – Great for hiding affiliate long affiliate links and encourage people to click the link.
Branding Your Blog
- Your blog’s brand begins with its physical presence. Take time picking a theme and color scheme that is attractive to your target market. Study other blogs in the industry for ideas and inspiration.
- Use an icon that is recognizable and sums up your brand. You can even use your own image especially as you are the face of your business.
- Integrate your social networks into the blog. Place a Twitter and Facebook widget into the sidebar so people now where else to find you online.
- The content should be of interest to your target market. You will want to try and stick with one or two main topics that interrelate. For example, marketing and business development.
- The tone of your writing should be yours. If you are a funny person then incorporate humor. When people come to your blog they should be getting to know you.
- Blogging more often is better. However, pick a blogging schedule that you can stick to. Consistency is better than quantity.
- Take an afternoon and draw up a blogging schedule for the month. A content schedule will prevent you from drawing a blank when it comes time to provide content for the blog.
- You can even write posts in advance and schedule them to post on the blog on certain days.
- Some of your content should be ever green. Meaning, it should be high quality and apply for years after the day you post it. An everlasting quality.
- Sign up for a email service and begin building your list. Put the code for people to sign up in your sidebar.
- If you are stuck for content, you can post articles from directories such as Ezinearticles on your site. However, people come to your site for your thoughts so post as much original content as possible.
- Always reply to comments left on your blog. This will help build up a community. In fact, you should leave comments on the person’s blog to build good will in the industry as well as develop traffic to your site.
- Make your posts more interesting by incorporating videos. Either make your own or pull relevant videos from YouTube.
- Create content around controversial topics to attract attention and links. Study what is happening in your industry and comment on burgeoning trends.
- To save time and money, take advantage of the services of a professional company who can set your blog up for you. This will leave you free to generate content and market your blog.
Marketing Your Blog
- Use Tweetmeme or Twitter tools to tweet your posts when they go live on your blog.
- Another service you can use is Pluggio which will post links to your content on a rolling basis.
- Integrate your blog with your Facebook account using their blog app. Links to your posts will automatically be posted to your wall.
- Comment on other blogs in your industry to get the attention of their readers. Leave quality comments, not spam.
- Collaborate with other bloggers to guest post on their websites and have them guest post on yours.
- Include a link to your blog in all of your marketing materials.
- Study SEO and use good keywords in your content to capture search engine traffic.
- Participate in Blog Carnivals and Blog Memes like Thursday Thirteen.
- When doing article marketing, make sure there is a link back to your blog in the author bio section.
- If you are on YouTube put a link to your blog in the appropriate place in the bio section.
- In fact, post your link on all of your social networks and any place that you can.
- Make sure your blog is pinging search engines and other blog tracking sites, like Technorati, whenever you post an article. Use Pingoat or search for information on automatic pinging on WordPress.org knowledgebase
- Bookmark your own posts on social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, Delicious, and Stumbleupon
- Create a Feedburner email widget which allows people to be emailed whenever you post something new.
Join National Trainer Dawn Connelly, VP of Training Rich Soviero, VP of Sales Stacy Kinney and MBS President Raul Santidrian.
May 5th at 6:30 Meet and Greet – Meeting starts at 7:00 PM
The Renaissance Fort Lauderdale – Plantation Hotel
1230 South Pine Island Road
Plantation, FL 33324
Libby is now an internationally respected executive coach, brand strategist and bestselling author. She has shared her success strategies on the Today Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, CNN, NPR, Oprah & Friends Radio Network, Fox News, CBS Early Show, and in Time Magazine, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, O Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Self and many more.
Personal branding is the process of promoting and marketing yourself. The reasons for personal branding center around promoting a feeling of trust in you and your capabilities for the purpose of enhancing your company or career, create an environment where new ideas and opportunities find you, and to shorten the sales cycle of your products and services.
To create a personal brand you need to market yourself as if you were some fantastic new product that your customers can not possibly do without. Step one is to believe that the above statement is true and act on it.
When creating a personal branding strategy there are several steps you can follow that will help you to be successful.
1. Decide who you are at what it is you want: This first step can prove to be deceptive in its simplicity.
2. Create a personal brand statement: Your personal brand statement is the short version of who and what you are. It should be used with every other aspect of your personal branding strategy. These simple one or two sentences should tell what you are or do, who you do it for and how you do it. For example a personal brand statement for someone who is in real-estate may be something like; John, bringing people together with their dreams in Florida since 1979.
3. Sell: Once you know who you are and what it is you want to be seen as an expert at it is time to sell yourself to others, which of course requires a personal branding strategy. The internet has made the ability to create a personal brand easier and faster than ever before. With the internet you can create a personal branding website, use social networking such as Twitter and LinkedIn, make video commercials and infomercials for uploading on sites like YouTube and most importantly create a blog where you can prove your worth.
4. Find and introduce yourself to at least ten strong personal brands: You are who you know is not just a cliché.
5. Comment on blogs with high readership in your niche: The more you can get your name and opinions out there the more people will begin to recognize your name and look for your opinions.
6. Interview as many of the top personal brands in your niche you can on your blog.
7. Volunteer to write guest blogs for other strong personal brands in your field. When others begin to recognize you as a strong personal brand you are half way there!
8. Link to other people and personal brands in authority in your niche. Again most people see people and judge them by who they hang out with, if you are seen with the top movers and shakers people will believe you are also a mover and shaker.
If you need some help with your personal branding strategy or reinventing yourself, contact me for a free consultation.
Why Is It Necessary To Have A Good Brand Design?
It will help us to attain an approach that how branding is designed to achieve the purpose and how good design can be easily achieved economically and efficiently while keeping it simple.
Before we move further it is important to understand what brand design exactly means. It doesn’t mean what the companies do; it has nothing to do with the company’s products or services. The successful brand would not reveal any of these things. You should understand the brand; it is an image, an idea, a promise, a belief. It means something in which your customer can trust in, so that they won’t regret to go to your competitors. Now to build a trust on your customers, first you need to trust and believe in your products and services.
While creating your custom logo design, you must communicate the real meaning of the product in a manner so that it leaves an emotive impact on the customers mind. Thus it is always advisable to consult a brand designer which would help you to have a good brand. So after deciding the name, think about the image or logo. The logo is a graphical representation of the word. Now what is required that you make it simple. Good brand must leave a memorable impact. So keep it simple. Redraft it, if you think it is not simple for any reason.
Now let’s see the importance of brand and how that affects your business. Let us understand that how a brand can remain modern and why it is necessary to invest in brand design. You need to look at the certain questions for example the uniqueness, what is different about your company? How you stand different from your customers. These points should be expressed in your brand.
The brand must have an essence of the business. You should understand what you want to convey through your brand. What should it focus on? If you are serious and what good results in future than think about the logo which will be last forever, your logo should be both timeless and unique, so do not follow the styles and trends which would go away quickly. It is important that you consult the professional who would understand the requirement of how to produce the logo and would give you a great deal.
Related Branding Design Articles
Brand Building Strategies
This is of the type one-brand one product. In terms of customer perception and information processing, the most effective way to designate a product is to give it an exclusive name, which would not be available to any other product. In the product branding strategy the brand is promoted exclusively so that it acquires its own identity and image. This way the brand is able to acquire a distinct position in the customer’s mind. The thrust is on making the brand acquire its ‘own’ set of associations and stand on its own. Product branding allows a brand achieve exclusivity and differentiation.
It does not share other products and does not take on company associations. The company’s name takes a backseat and the product does not get benefits from the company name. The greatest advantage in this case is that a brand can be targeted accurately to a distinct target market or customers because its positioning can be precise unambiguous. Customers connect easily with product brands since what the brand represents tends to be clear.
P&G have been follower of the product branding strategy. P& G’ s into baby care, beauty care, feminine care, health care, fabric care, home care, food and beverages, etc. P&G has been an ardent follower of the product brand strategy. Its brands are stand alones; people don’t even know that they all share a common root in P&G. the company does not share a common identity. Thus, a company following product branding is better positioned to venture into unrelated areas of activity without being a subject of market scrutiny.
Another advantage is that with an identifiable brand uniquely positioned and directed at a segment, the firm is able to cover an entire market spectrum by making multiple brand entries.
The drawbacks of product brands are essentially cost based. Creating individual brand is costly exercise. Only the firms that have deep pockets and long staying power can adopt this strategy.
This is of the type ‘One brand many products’. Sometimes a brand is launched with a distinct concept e.g. Lakme (“source of radiant beauty”) Winter Care lotion .The brand appeals to a distinct market segment who appreciate and like the brand concept. The core idea is that the brand connects with the consumer group. Now the customers do not tend to be content with the one product, which the brand offers. Rather they want additional product which go hand in hand with the brand concept or application; for example a Lakme user wants all the products which enhance beauty-beauty lotion, deep pore cleansing cream, lipsticks, nail enamel, eye make up etc.
Line branding strategy illustrates how well cultivated brand can be extended on to a host of related products under a common concept. This strategy seeks to penetrate the customer rather than penetrating the market. It seeks to fulfill all complementary needs that surround a basic need. Line brands start with a product but later extend too a whole range of complementary products. The products in the line draw their identity from the main brand. Marketing products as a line enhances the brand’s marketing power rather than selling them as an individual brand.
Colgate has a whole range of dental care products. Colgate Total, Colgate Gel, Colgate toothpowder, as well as the various toothbrushes.
Brand extensions, which are a popular means of introducing new products to the marketplace, fall under the ‘One brand all products’ type of brand strategies. In a typical brand extension situation, an established brand name is applied to a new product in a category either related or unrelated, in order to capitalize on the equity of the core brand name. Consumer familiarity with the existing core brand name aids new product entry into the marketplace, and helps the brand extension to capture new market segments quickly.
Brand extensions come in two primary forms: horizontal and vertical. In a horizontal brand extension situation, an existing brand name is applied to a new product introduction in either a related product class, or in a product category completely new to the firm. A vertical brand extension, on the other hand, involves introducing a brand extension. In the same product category as the core brand, but at a different price point and quality level. In a vertical brand extension situation, a second brand name or descriptor is usually introduced alongside the core brand name, in order to demonstrate the link between the brand extension and the core brand name (e.g. Marriott Hotels, Courtyard Inn by Marriott). Although a brand extension aids in generating consumer acceptance for a new product by linking the new product with a known brand or company name, it also risks diluting the core brand image by depleting or harming the equity, which has been built up within the core brand name. An inappropriate brand extension could create damaging associations, which may be very difficult for a company to overcome. The different types of brand extensions are:
Product form extension:
Product launched in a different form usually means line extension rather than brand extension. But if different product form constitutes entirely a different product category from customer behavior perspective, it would be called brand extension. For e.g. liquid milk and dried milk may not be perceived as the product category. Similarly chocolate bars and chocolate powder belong to different product categories.
Brand extension is in the form of companion products is perhaps the most common. The idea perhaps is to capitalize on product complementary. The consumer may view both products jointly and hence, provide scope for launching brand extension.
A marketer may extend a product range in order to meet the needs of a specific customer group. For instance, a company may launch a variety of products meant for e.g. nursery going school children. The focus here is not customer base but their diverse needs.
Brand extensions often come in the forms of different product category introductions using a common name but emanating from a common expertise pool. This strategy is particularly true in Japanese countries.
Many brands achieve distinction in the form of a unique attribute, benefit or feature, which gets uniquely associated with the brand. In such situations the company can work backwards to launch different products, which essentially cash in on this distinction. For example, Parachute may have the expertise of coconut nourishment in customers mind over time. This would give the company Marico the opportunity to launch a variety of products exploiting this distinction.
Brand image or prestige:
A brand extension may involve a foray in to unrelated product categories based on a brand’s exclusive image or prestige. Brand exclusivity or prestige bestows great extension opportunities. This is particularly true of designers and artist brands.
This again is of the type ‘One brand all products’. An umbrella brand is a parent brand that appears on a number of products that may each have separate brand images. Firms have a short-run incentive to reduce quality and save costs, as consumers can only observe quality ex post.
Videocon’s range of home appliances – air conditioners, refrigerators, televisions, washing machines, etc. Phillips also has a whole range of home appliances under the brand name Phillips-the mixers, irons, televisions, etc.
Umbrella branding scored well on the dimension of economics. Investing in a single brand is less costly than trying to build a number of brands. By leveraging a common name across a variety of products, the brand distributes its investment. Hence umbrella branding works out to be an economical strategy. Using an umbrella brand to enter into new markets (Tata making a foray into the automobile car market) allows considerable savings. The brand bestows the new product advantages of brand awareness, associations and instant goodwill.
One first explanation for brand extensions is that umbrella branding is a form of economies of scope, as it economizes on the costs of creating a new brand. Brands have an intrinsic value (status or otherwise) and are therefore like a “public good” in the sense that the more products are sold under the same brand the greater the total value created. A different perspective on brand extensions is that, in a world where consumers are uncertain about product characteristics (due to horizontal or vertical differentiation), brands may play an informational role. Umbrella branding may reduce uncertainty about a new product’s attributes, a fact that increases value if consumers are risk averse. Considering these factors it can be said that umbrella branding is a superior strategy when there is a significant overlap between the set of buyers of each of the firm’s products. This result extends the well-known notion that brand extensions and umbrella branding are only successful if there is a good fit between the different products under the same umbrella.
The main danger associated with umbrella branding is that since many products share the common name, a debacle in one product category may influence the products because of shared identity.
Endorsement branding strategy is a modified version of double branding. It makes the product brand name more significant and corporate brand name is relegated to a lesser status. The umbrella brand is made to play an indirect role of passing on certain common generic associations. It is only mentioned as an endorsement to the product brand. By and large, the brand seeks to stand on its own.
The brand gets the endorsement that it belongs to specified company.
Kit Kat gives the signal that it belongs to Nestle and Dairy Milk conveys that it belongs to Cadburys. Cinthol’s communication stresses that it is a Godrej product.
Though these brands enjoy their unique image, somewhere in the image the makers association is also a part. Endorsement branding strikes a balance between umbrella and product branding.
In case of Cadbury’s and Nestle, the brands mentioned above have their own unique position and image. Cadbury’s or Nestle support the brands to the extent that they transfer certain qualities or associations, which enhance customer’s trust. Brands are identified by their own name.