If you've watched any amount of TV, movies or talked to a boring businessman, you've likely heard of branding. It's a big buzz word that people throw around constantly without really understanding what it's all about. But, because it's such a buzzword, people want in on it.
Branding encompasses all the big and little things that make a company what it is. Arguably the most successfully branded company of all time is Coca Cola. They are one of the largest companies in the world and Coke is an internationally shared popular culture icon. Why? For starters, they have a great product. All great brands must start with a great product. But, there have been plenty of great products that haven't made it very far, so there is more involved with branding than a great product.
Coke is known for it's logo (the swirly text), it's consistent colors (red and white) and it's association with having a good time. Chances are, if you like the taste of Coke, you have some positive memory attached to the product. This isn't by accident. Coke's brand is fun, playfulness, togetherness. They market this message to you in the way they design their products, display their ads and commercials and its constant presence no matter where you go. Branding has made Coke huge and kept them at the top.
Now, the purpose of this post isn't to glorify the success of Coke, but to show you how branding can positively impact your blog.
For starters, realize that your blog is a product. You may not think of it in those terms, but that's really what it is. By posting content, you are providing a product or service to others. It's usually information or entertainment, which makes you part of one of the largest industries in the world. Your followers are people who enjoy your product. Stop for a moment and ask yourself, "What is it about my blog that makes people follow it?" Most bloggers will probably get down on themselves and wonder the same thing, as if it's some sort of strange miracle. It's not. People follow your blog for a reason. Perhaps they enjoy your writing style, maybe they know you personally, maybe they relate to your content or perhaps they are the type of person who follows anything and everything. At the root of it all, your followers follow your blog because you have a quality product.
That being said, you are on the path to successful branding. Feel good about that. But, a quality product only takes you so far. Your followers will continue to follow your blog only as long as they feel you are offering something worthwhile. Thus, it becomes your job to do your best to post relevant and meaningful content to your audience. This relates back to what I talked about with PR.
So there you have the first piece to the mystery of branding: creating a quality product. Stay tuned for next time when we'll talk about core values and identity.