Sunday, September 19, 2010

PR and Your Blog - Branding Your Blog - Know Your Core Values

(PR and Your Blog is a series written by Seth Hawkins (Debra's husband). Seth is a PR professional turned school teacher, who is sharing his knowledge of PR. Catch up on the first two segments of his column, PR and Blogs- a Mutualistic Relationship and Branding Your Blog- Creating a Quality Product.)
The other day I was eating at Jason's Deli, one of my favorite places to enjoy a bite to eat with my family. While savoring my delicious croissant sandwich, I couldn't help but notice a series of signs around the walls that proudly proclaimed the core values of Jason's Deli:

1. Be a great place to work
2. Hold the highest personal standards
3. Provide "out-of-this-world" service
4. Serve the highest quality of food
5. Be a healthy, growing company

In a world of marketing gimmicks, half-truths and rampant fraud, I was impressed to find a company that, first of all, had values, and had the courage to convey these values to their customers. As I thought on their values, I could see how these values shaped everything about the place.

So, what does Jason's Deli have to do with blogging? Everything.

As a blogger, you are creating a product for others to view. You have an audience who follow your blog and expect something from you. What is it they expect? Do you even know? For that matter, what do you expect from yourself?

Understanding your core values as a person and a blogger will allow you to answer those tough questions. Core values are rarely talked about these days. People used to have values and stuck to them, but in today's overly politically correct society, core values are often shunned in favor of vague and shapeless courtesies. This explains how easily companies can scam clients and customers without even blinking an eyelash.

What are core values?
Simply stated, they are the things you believe in and stand for as a blogger. To help you develop your core values, try answering these questions:
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Who are you writing for?
  • Why are you writing this blog?
  • What will you write about?
  • Is there anything you won't write about? Why or why not?
  • What do you expect from yourself?
  • What should your readers expect from you?

By answering these questions, you can compile a list of core values that will shape how you approach your blog. You may or may not choose to post these values, but having them written down somewhere will guide you as you write your posts.

Branding all comes down to core values. A company with a set of core values is solid and that shines through everything they do. The same thing is true of a blog. Your core values will guide what you post, how you post and how you interact with your readers, and your readers will know they can turn to your blog as a reliable source of whatever it is they are after; be it news, information, entertainment or leisure.

I'd recommend writing down your core values and doing a post about these so your readers can see them. It's a challenging task, but one that will guide your blog to greater success and more effective branding.
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