Like so much else in life, the secrets of a successful business – and personal – blog are a lot simpler and more common sense than you may think: good branding; smart marketing; knowing what your audience wants; and creating quality content that stand out from the rest. Here are a few helpful, no-cost strategies for ensuring your blog gets the attention and results it deserves.
- Understand what a good brand is.
Many new entrepreneurs really struggle with this concept. A brand with impact is a strong and unique identity that speaks with one consistent voice in everything it does. Ask yourself what image/impression you want your business to portray and stay true to that in all your output. Your blog, like everything else, should reflect and reinforce the core message you are trying to promote. If you need advice and help with understanding what a good brand is, consider seeking advice from marketing experts rather than battling on your own. It is not worth the risk of destroying your brand and business.
- Ensure your content is original, relevant and interesting.
And of course, well written. It shouldn’t come across as just a marketing ploy but should offer something memorable, informative, or entertaining that visitors come away with. More importantly, it must deliver the same quality from post to post. One hastily dashed off piece that misses the mark can lose you your carefully cultivated audience, who are spoilt for choice and will simply hop on to the next blogger bus.
- Stand out from the crowd.
This is not as difficult as you might think: just be yourself. Develop your own distinctive style, one that is uniquely yours and that you are comfortable with.It may take you a while to find your own voice. Keep going till you do.
- Do your research.
Look at sites that work for you and sites that don’t (competitors too). Ask yourself why. But don’t copy them. Establish yourself as a trendsetter in your own right and a good, trustworthy source of information online. This will greatly benefit your brand.
- Understand the power of the image.
We’re living in a visual age. A site design that conveys the right first impression is crucial. Don’t choose something frivolous if what you’re trying to convey is more serious, and vice versa. A good logo that brands your blog or business appropriately is important, especially when attracting new consumers. Think of famous ones like Coke, Apple, Firefox etcetera, where the visual has become synonymous with the brand.
- Talk to your audience.
Is your blog delivering the right message? Is your logo and design hitting the spot? Or is there a disconnect between the way you view your brand and how it comes across to others? The best way to find out is to consult your followers. Their feedback can be invaluable both in redirecting currents efforts and tailoring strategies in the future.
- Get cosy with other bloggers.
Establish relationships of mutual benefit with those who are not direct competitors. Be generous with your post sharing, in both directions. Guest posts that you write on and that others write for you will help to make your name better known and circulate wider. Wherever you can find a niche to insert your brand, do so.
- Make use of the many open source tools at your disposal
Ethics is vitally important in this context. Whenever you share anything, whether a good quote, someone else’s content, or a graphic/photo from a free source or paid, always acknowledge the original creator or source. There is nothing more hurtful for the artist or photographer than not having their name credited.
Yes, it can be tough out there, but it doesn’t have to be painful. There is lots of competition, all vying for the same piece of pie, but also lots of free help from experts who have earned their success and have really good advice to offer.
Look out for a new eBook that Act-On are publishing July 2016, all about “Branding and Marketing your Blog for Business”, which includes contributors from the Content Marketing Institute and other expert bloggers and online marketing gurus.