Blog Branding.

Caricature 202x300 Blog Branding.

I recently had a Twitter conversation with a blogger/trainer I adore (& whom I dont seem to get enough of in my life. I need to rectify that.) about the power of branding and creating a personal/blog brand.

(This concept is *definitely* something I thought about a great deal even before I was honored (& awed) by Entrepreneur.com.)

The most frequent question I receive is whether I planned my MizFit brand from its inception.

If I mapped out precisely where I wanted to end up immediately after landing on the name and blog address.

The answer is yes & no.

Yes I sat down, decided on a name, a caricature I adored, & the precise message I wanted to convey.

I took the time to create a blog mission statement which meshed with all the other mission statements in my life.

No I didnt map out my brand (short & long term) in a concise bullet point’y fashion.

That’s not my style.  Im the writer who doesnt storyboard either.  I tend to start with a beginning & end in mind (oooh! see? I do have an end in mind) & let the middle unfold as it may.

My approach may or may not be what works for you, however here are 6  pretty universal branding tips Ive learned along my misfit way:

  • Your blog-brand is merely your readers expectation of their interaction with you based on their *past* interactions with you. This is good news. You may be one of the panicked people who tweeted me thinking you have no brand—you do.  Look back at your blog.  Read your comments. Reread your posts. Take a moment and write down what *you* think readers expect when they stop by your neck of the ‘net.   This is your brand.   As Dr. Phil says: The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. In the world of branding predictability is a great thing.
  • Be consistent (hey look at that! It’s just like exercise) Focus on utilizing the same language, messages & voice everywhere you appear.  When I tweet, guest post, podcast, attend conferences, appear on radio shows etc. my message is always the same (there’s that mission statement again.  it’s crucial to branding).  At times it may feel as though you are repeating yourself—-you’re not.  People are drawn to brands which are consistent and know what message they want to convey.  TIP: if you find you are struggling with consistency step back and re-examine your message.  You may simply need to return, revise & redefine your brand!
  • Play to your strengths. Your brand is a gathering of your gifts. People frequently experience paralysis by analysis at the notion of brand creation when it’s pretty damn simple: what are your strengths?  what are your best skills? That’s a big clue to your brand.  Invest time in figuring out *who you are* (define those core values!) and be that person. In life and in your personal brand.  This authenticity will draw people to your brand and an added benefit is you’ll never have to think “how would my brand react to XYZ?” You are your brand & all you need to do is stay true to your core value system.
  • Check to see if others “get” your brand. I asked friends & readers for an HONEST answer to: what’s my brand? What immediately comes to mind when you hear the word MizFit? You might also explain your brand to someone & ask them to repeat back to you what youve said but in their own words. If people struggle to explain your brand to you then you might need to spend more time clarifying for yourself what your brand’s mission statement is.
  • You are not all your brand needs. This seems obvious yet I see daily evidence on Twitter of people who do not grasp this.  Your brand can not exist in a vacuum.  You need readers and interaction (and people who challenge your opinions) in order to grow.  A big piece of my brand is an emphasis on giving back.  Give in the manner which fits your personal brand—but give. For me this ‘giving’ takes the form of to the blogworld/twitter you may be one person—but to one blogger/tweeter you may be the world.  This phrase is part of my brand’s mission statement.
  • Patience. Building a quality brand takes time and effort.  We all know bloggers/tweeters who emerge on the scene like the proverbial house-a-fire & suddenly disappear never to be seen again.  Everything you do/every interaction is brand extension. That’s both a great & challenging thing.   As tempting as it can be to want to focus 24/7 on creating your social media footprint (or business footprint) you need to step back, wait and let your brand evolve.

(Speaking of PATIENCE huh? I know that was kind of a longdensepost.)

Now it’s your turn.

I can only share what’s worked for me and my blog-brand.

Is your experience similar to mine?

Completely different?

Am I truly as much a misfit as I surmise?

Please to hit me  up (the the manner most in alignment with yer brand) in the comments below…

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Comments

  1. says

    Mmm, lots to think about here. Your brand is definitely very distinctive and of course well-loved, Miz. I think I am only now finding my brand… and I must say, I like it. Of course, one can argue that it is because I am finally living according to my beliefs and one would be right. But also, I think it’s because the goals are so much more clearly defined now and I know exactly how to reach them. I just feel more ME these days and I think it shows in my writing.

  2. says

    Miz – It’s so funny you posted about this. In the past few weeks my blog has been REALLY picking up. I didn’t quite understand where all this traffic has come from but I read this post and realized I do a lot of the things you wrote about! I think a consistent voice is really important because if readers find they can associate with the way in which you “speak” to them time and time again, they’ll keep coming back.

    Oddly enough, I just write how I speak so I did this without thinking! YEA EFFICIENCY haha Thanks for sharing this! It really does have a lot of great points for new bloggers/people looking to take theirs to the next level

  3. Donna says

    Fantastic post MizFit.
    I have thought about starting a blog and been nervous because I do not understand the whole brand concept.
    Thanks!!!

  4. Amy says

    I like when you say play to your strengths.
    I read lots and lots of blogs and it seems so many attempt to imitate each other when it is not the bloggers strength.

  5. says

    Love this post. I admit that I never thought about the idea of my blog(s) being a brand when I started. But you are right that even if you don’t plan it you do have a brand. Although sometimes I’m still not sure what mine is entirely. ;)

    Great post!

  6. says

    Thanks for the information Miz! Sometimes I forget why I am doing what I’m doing…but overall I hope to be inspiring others to better their health.

  7. Nancy says

    I don’t have a blog but I think I use lots of these tips in my business.

    It is super important to realize that it can’t be all business and we need to give back.

    You do that so well, MizFit.

  8. Nancy says

    And thanks for the idea of asking my customers if they can tell me what my brand is!

    I have to admit the idea makes me nervous which might mean my brand is not evolved yet.

    Nan

  9. says

    yes. Yes. YES.!!

    It’s so important for your brand to have a strong, consistent voice. Mine is short and sweet with a healthy dose of sarcasm…just like me. ;-)

  10. says

    I guess I never really thought about it. My blog just sort of evolved. If a “brand” could be a color, then I’d say mine was Pink! LOL!

  11. says

    AWESOME advice. And, so true. You nailed it! For me, I agree, its being true to yourself and your strengths – being authentic – then branding comes naturally.

    Winks & Smiles,
    Wifey

  12. Stacey says

    I wonder too if a blog or writer can stick to branding too much and been too consistent?

    Does that make for predictability?

  13. says

    When I first started blogging I had NO plan. (As evidenced by my horribly designed site… ah good times.) That first year of blogging was a really steep learning curve – and one I couldn’t have made it through with your guidance! Hopefully I’m doing better5 with “my brand” these days but I def. need to go back through your suggestions and reevaluate. Thanks for the great tips!

  14. says

    When I started blogging there was no inclination that what I was doing was setting a path to branding. I was just putting words to the proverbial paper. Then something magical started to happen. The blog came alive it began to take shape and form into something I never imagined.

    Am I branded?

    You better believe it.

    Is it more then just a blog?

    Yes ma’am it is.

    Is alifechangingjourney going to change the world?

    Maybe.

  15. says

    I didn’t start with the idea of a ‘brand’, per se, but it really was just the terminology that changed. My message and purpose (a.k.a. ‘brand’) have been the same from the beginning. This may explain a lot. :)

  16. says

    The more “tips” and advice and “how to grow your blog” stuff I read the more I realize it always comes back to these core values.

    The thing I’ve been trying to do the most lately is adopt your “unapologetically myself” attitude to some extent. I’ve been expressing some opinion that I wouldn’t consider controversial (cause I don’t think that’s necessary), but I’ve at least been making my stance clear on some topics.

    This may bad but I actually use comments that disagree with me as a benchmark of how I’m doing. If I get 1 or 2 comments that disagree with me out of 25, I’m right where I want to be :)

    The other thing that really stood out to me was the vacuum concept. I think it kind of goes back to the vulnerability thing. We don’t want to seem unsure of ourselves or our message so we (and by we I mean me) don’t ask for feedback from our peers as much as we can.

    I don’t think we need to necessarily run a poll on our sites for every branding decision we make (that’s a sign of uncertainty), but I think reaching out to the people in our circle of trust and bouncing ideas off of them and getting their honest perception of what we’re about is super important.

    So many more thoughts on this. Is it really 6:30am?

  17. Miz says

    and now I have so many more thoughts as well :)
    Ill chime in later but really want your collective .02 before I do.

  18. says

    I started my blog just because my spouse was blogging and I felt a bit left out! I had no idea where I was going with it and I still don’t. I was posting weekly, then every couple of weeks because I felt that life was pretty routine I didn’t really have much to say. I guess I’m still searching for my “brand,” and my voice. I haven’t even been doing this for a year yet!

    I received some tips and ideas from a couple of other bloggers I admire and respect. I hope I can put their critiques and your advice together and find some structure for my blog!

    Perfect post today, Carla! Thanks!

  19. says

    So agree with your points Carla, branding is about being consistent and about being true to your voice. You can’t be what you aren’t, faking will just feel fake to anyone who happens across you. You won’t retain an audience.

    As far as appealing to the masses, don’t even try. Just be yourself and your people will find you. Be open to what’s out there and something unexpected and great will happen.

    Great post,

    Lisa

  20. CheAngela says

    Helpful advice at a very pivotal time (will tell secrets later :-))! I do have to admit, I envy your consistency in providing valuable information and love to the community in a format that is not overly pretentious. Very few in the industry do what you do without making me want to punch them in the face. I embrace your honesty and conviction. You are good peeps.

  21. says

    So thankful for this advice, Miz! :) I started my blog out two years ago with the idea of I wanted it to reflect who I knew I was ‘inside’ and who I was evolving to be again. I chose the little Healthy Loser Gal picture with great thought – and the name, too. But that was about it. The rest has all just evolved. Now I know I have some work to do! :)

    I think the one thing I have done is refuse to let advertisers/product pushers/etc. brand me for their own purposes. I’m not into certain things, I never will be, no matter who wants to send free product, etc. I have a ‘gut feeling’ about what I think is right for the blog and what isn’t. What say ye on these matters?

    You’re the best for putting this out here so clearly & simply!
    Jan/HLG

  22. says

    I have no idea how to answer any of these questions—do I even have a “brand?” I’m not selling anything. I don’t have ads on my blog. I don’t know if I’m consistent. I try to give back as much as I can, but sometimes I’m overwhelmed. I can’t do it all.

    But I love to write. And I love my new blog/space. I just don’t know what my message is. Le sigh.

    Still, this is wonderful food for thought. Thanks, Carla!

  23. says

    I will come back and read this again, because today, well, today it’s more than I can wrap my head around. I think it’s important and I need to focus and figure it out, so, yes, I’ll be back in a more contemplative state.

  24. says

    I can use my feedreader today! WooT!

    I’m always fascinated to what people might think coming to my site. But, I think there are obvious things that stand out.

    I don’t really consider myself as having an expertise. But, then there are things I do have experience in.

    I find it hard to resist things that may have fit in my ‘brand’ before but now do not. Is it bad to revisit the past, even though a product is not relevant to the current JBS?

  25. says

    Never even thought about blog brand. But when I think of Miz I think of your cute pink skull and crossbones and the caricature. And of course your wonderful arms and fitness in general. :)

    PS Coming to Austin this weekend to see Blue Man Group on Friday night. YAY!

  26. says

    It’s been great for me to watch your growth over the past 3 years! I knew you when, and I hope to know you when :-)

    Long may you run!

  27. says

    Thanks for the great article. I am just starting to figure out what my blog/personal brand is so this has given me great things to think about.

    I can’t comment on your brand as I just recently started following you but I can’t wait to read and laern more about you and your brand!

    Stephanie

  28. says

    Can I just say that I loathe the word “brand”. Why? Because for the life of me I just don’t get it. I look at my blog, read the comments, read posts after posts about branding, and still…I don’t get it. What’s my brand? I don’t have a clue so I just keep doing what I’m doing and maybe someday I figure it all out! Thanks for attempting to make it clear for me though!

  29. says

    I am not a brander/brandee/brandy. I write for other reasons and then some times no reason. I don’t want to be a bore. If I were to brand, I’d have to stick to one thing and I don’t wanna.

  30. says

    Ah, interesting topic, Carla, and very timeous as I examine my own blog. I have always viewed a blog brand as reserved for the blogs that have as their main focus the spreading of information and inspiration. In other words, not really the personal journals, like mine.

    I’d be very much interested to know if you feel blog branding stretches right across the spectrum of blog types.

    When I come across a blog, even a personal journal, focused on a specific interest, I’m always a little in awe, because I always feel that mine meanders over everything that I experience. If my blog has a theme, it is simply that it’s about my life, seeing the beauty in small things, learning from everything, and never giving up. I don’t always know if that’s enough.

    That said, I have *IMMENSE* appreciation for your visits and encouragement. It’s what makes you stand out from other big bloggers, in my opinion, that connection you establish. And for that, I want to give you a HUG and a huge THANK YOU!

    • Miz says

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I do believe that branding stretches over the spectrum of blogs. Which may or may lead to a debate ofnwhat the word branding means and if I’m misusing it (I am ;)).

      I look back on my years mommy blogging and while I gave not a THOUGHT to branding then—–I did indeed develop a brand over the years.

      I was helping a friend with her blog this morning and what we decided worked better for her was thinking of it as her blogs mission not brand.

      Food for brandingthought

  31. says

    When I first started out in social media about two years ago I didn’t even know what was meant by being a brand. I wish could say I was more strategic about the whole thing. But really all I can be is be myself and stick to my core philosophy of the last 30 years and be open to learning and evolving as a human being. Since I generally fly by the seat of my pants & am always looking for the next adventure, I don’t know if that’s smart branding. Thanks for causing me to ponder ;)

  32. says

    I never imagined my blog would end up where it is, and I never planned out anything ahead of beginning it…I think the one thing that has worked for me has been having a set number of days that I post. Other than that, I’m all over the place, much like my daily life, lol!

  33. says

    very helpful post… as a newbie blogger (started my blog over a year ago), i think patience resonates with me the most.. the success and development of your brand doesn’t happen overnight, it takes a lot of work and determination..i am definitely printing and saving these tips as a resource… thanks again..

  34. says

    This is some good stuff. I feel like I’m so late jumping onto this whole social media bandwagon and am just bumbling around with it. The thing that is starting to impress me is that this is a powerful form of communication and is definitely the wave of the future. I like that you can create a blog and facebook, etc. simply to do it, but you can also craft a career or business out of it as well. I feel I’m at that crossroad myself and your advice has definitely given me more interest and ambition in polishing and focusing my blog more to be more helpful/beneficial to more folks out there. Thanks!

  35. says

    I have a blog that I’ve been keeping for years about life, and I used to want it to be uber popular. Not so much anymore, so I’ve happily made it private. My weight loss blog I started solely to get the word out about Win, Lose, or Blog. I am so thankful for WLB jump starting my weight loss! But along the way I’ve found better encouragement than in real life for the journey, so I’ll be continuing for that reason.

  36. says

    (some) Editors desire to squash that unique brand voice when doing freelance. This is why my brand is no longer meshing too well with the freelance world. I’m tired of morphing my voice into what THEY want it to be, because I am not that person. So why deal with it? My brand shall prevail outside of the editor-squashing world. It takes so much more energy to write in a voice that is not mine simply to appease the print-article. ((rolls eyes))

  37. says

    One to add to the idea of blog branding would be “what inspires you?”

    I had an insightful chat with a food blogger last year on the creation of a vision board to keep nearby your “workspace / writing space”. I find color inspires me, so a color wheel is posted on the wall by my computer and infused into my writing / blog brand.

    As you’re thinking about what your blog brand / brand on social media stand for I think it authentically comes down to who you are and what gives you spark. If you naturally stay true to that then it also helps convey your “brand” to those in your proximity along with all of the fantastic tips Miz provided above.

    My two cents.

  38. says

    Miz,

    I want to thank you for everything I have learned over the past year of reading your blog. Your blog has serious purpose and that is what really attracted me.

    I appreciate your desire to teach others and to genuinely give. I hope to continue to build my brand and help others just like you!

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