Most bloggers feel that writing about a topic is enough to not only get Google to rank the content but to also get readers to trust the source and convert to sales. However, without a unique angle, your website’s blog is little more another blip in the cyber sea. Spend the time to create your unique angle (also called a unique selling proposition) to let the perfect reader find you and buy from you. Anything less is generic and will take a lot more effort to develop as a business.
Website Branding 101
There are many components to establishing a brand that includes the niche, the logo, the demographics your products target, colors, and messaging (or voice). Every blogger who wants to be a business owner should consider brand development as early as possible. While it is always possible to rebrand, and many companies do so regularly, it takes time, money, and can lead to potential confusion with your existing customers.
Here are some things to consider when branding your e-commerce store or blog:
I write a mom blog about all the craziness that happens and raising kids.
This has to be one of the most common blog topics I see – every single day. Why? Because most moms are desperate to do something productive other than changing diapers and cleaning clothes or dishes all day long. Yes, we moms need fulfillment outside of our children and blogging becomes an outlet. I get it – I have a mom blog too and one of my very first writing gigs was a weekly column called My Domestic Side for a small print publication. It was everything imaginable that I found shocking and entertaining going from the corporate world to a stay at home mom.
It isn’t enough to just write about being a mom if you want to stand out beyond your family and friends. You need to have an edge, something that makes you different. My mom blog is Single Mommy Tribe with the angle of single moms, support, and rebuilding your life. That’s still a pretty competitive niche, but it at least gives me a better shot at targeting content and finding my tribe (literally in this case).
Logos are tricky because they change as technology changes. State Farm changed its 90-year old logo, one of the most recognized brands in the world, a few years back to be more aligned with digital media. Essentially, they needed to be better seen in the sleek modern world of pixels.
Many logos fall into two traps: trying to say too much of a story and becoming busy or being trendy in a way that won’t last more than a few years. Apple’s first logo was of Sir Isaac Newton sitting under the apple tree where he supposedly came up with his genius theories. Apple has come a long way to redesign its image and create one of the most intriguing logos of all time – something that has nothing to do with computers but represents all the genius and community behind it.
Think about your brand logo in a way that is easily recognizable and generally, has a way to convey the core values of your company.
You’re going to target Millennials differently than Baby Boomers. Just think about how quickly social media moves and who is the first and last to embrace it. It boils down to understanding demographics. Thanks to MTV and now the speed of the internet, every generation expects life to move faster. But it’s more than attention span when we talk about demographics.
Different generations have different problems, values, and needs. Your 50-year-old is thinking about retirement while your 20-year-old is thinking about the value of a college education and the potential student loans that it would come with. You can have a financial planning blog but how you target one group is entirely different than another. Some products and blog content will naturally align with one demographic compared to another whether because of age, gender, religion, political views, or education level.
We could write a book on how colors affect your brand. The bottom line is that your audience will see colors and that, in and of itself, will evoke an emotional response or connection. For example, yellow is associated with happiness while green is related to growth. Don’t fall into the trap of just using colors you like. Find colors that will resonate with your audience and build that emotional connection with them through the visuals of your blog.
Messaging is how you write, what you say, and the ways you call action to your products or services. A doctor might not be considered very reliable if he keeps talking about punking his patients with a fake diagnosis before he gives them a reality. We expect doctors to have a certain air of professionalism. On the other hand, a mom talking about a toddler tantrum can probably get away with some off-ball humor because it’s often necessary to survive parenting and makes it relatable.
Your messaging really is the crux of your unique angle because it builds upon all other components and then literally speaks to your readers through their own inner voice.
Branding = How the Public Sees You
You can do all of these things but without an audience, you still really don’t have a brand, at least not a good one. Good branding means when people think, I need XYZ, your company comes up. My goal with my brand for Single Mommy Tribe is to have people think of my blog as the place to go when a single mom feels she needs to support in rebuilding her emotional and financial life. That’s the goal and where the work starts for me.
What Makes Your Different?
When you are starting out, this could be the single biggest question you answer that leads to your success, expedites the process, or simply keeps you from quitting. While there are thousands of blogs started daily, there are thousands that are abandoned as well. Here’s a quick way to find out how many others had your great idea and quit.
Try to buy the domain name that perfectly describes your blog; it’s probably taken. If it is, then go look at the blog. I own more than 40 domains for various reasons. I can tell you that many of them are derivatives of things I really wanted. Many of the ones that weren’t bought to be resold have blogs that are years old, with only 10-15 posts from years ago. Nothing is current; they got bored or frustrated and moved on.
Don’t be this person. Give yourself every reason for this success and be a long-term success.
The Recipe to Finding Your Unique Angle
When I’m looking at finding an angle for either one of my properties or a client’s, I take a systematic approach to it. I consider the topic and niche, the audience, and a bit of the personality of the company or the person leading the company. Here is the recipe I use when finding an angle.
Step 1: Preheat the stove to … (oh sorry, wrong recipe).
- Step 1: Specific Niche – look online at what others are doing in the space. Read their blogs and make notes about what I like, don’t like, agree with, and disagree with.
- Step 2: Targeting the Audience – does my audience need something that I’m not finding already out there. Meaning, is the existing information very technical or is there a way to simplify things and provide more relatable content?
- Step 3: Personality – This is where the fun really begins because this is about you. Are you very straight-laced or do you have an edge? If you have an edge, does that live in humor, cynicism, optimism, grittiness?
That’s all there is to it really. It’s not rocket science and I do realize that the recipe itself is simple but the work behind it can be hard. You need to develop an eye to discern what other sites are doing and what will make you stand out. On top of it, you want to stand out in a positive way that attracts readers.
Read Other Blogs
Knowing what works and what doesn’t work is so important. Not everyone in this world will be our friend; we all have different personalities and attractions. The same is true with your brand. You want to attract your tribe while helping others self-filter away from you if you aren’t a good fit. No one should seek to be in a bad relationship and your blog brand really has a loose tangential relationship to this. You don’t need people to come and comment because they are offended. You may still get that, but if you do a good job with branding, you will minimize this – at least until you are topping SERPs but that is a good problem to have.
Expanding After The Brand is Established
One of the biggest questions new bloggers have is narrowing topics down because they feel the won’t have enough to write about or they want to share other things. Here’s the thing: what is Coca Cola known for? They are known for amazing sweet satisfying soft drinks (don’t start with that Pepsi crap or give me a lecture on health – it’s my vice and I choose to live with it even if it isn’t logical).
We all know Coca Cola for its primary soft drink, yet the company has more than 500 different brands. According to Stash Invest, these brands generate more than $1 billion in revenues annually. Pretty good for being the step-child to the main brand.
Why does that work?
Because the Coke soft drink has established itself as an industry leader and allows new brands to gain credibility or financial stability when getting rolled out. Notice there are two components to that. Brand recognition include things like Sprite or Dasani water being correlated to the parent company: where Coke is sold, these are sold. The other component is the financial stability to establish a new brand with market research, development, and marketing.
What Coca Cola Means To You
You have a lot within you that you want to write. I get it. I do too. But start with a brand you can build and then expand from there. Once you have readers, not only do you have an audience to write other things to and for, but you can survey them to see what topics are truly of interest. This all starts with your unique angle.
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