I am a huge fan of Gary Vaynerchuck ever since I read his book Crush It and now after reading his latest book Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook I am still convinced he is the voice of reason in this crowded and over-saturated online space. After reading his book and watching a few of his You Tube videos I was all fired up and wrote, 10 reasons why bloggers and brands should listen to Gary Vaynerchuck. After reading this post, I received quite a bit of feedback from friends and followers who wanted to read the book. If you were one of those people, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.You’ll discover that this is a book that spells out what brands are doing wrong and what they could be doing better.
So how does this apply to blogging?
Well, if you consider your blog a brand, if you are trying to reach an audience, and if you’re trying to make money from blogging, then these same rules apply.
Make sure you are putting out content that is consistent and matches your brand. This includes all forms of social media. People love knowing what they can expect from you time and time again. Its called brand recognition and the more you stay within your blog/brands lines the more people will start to become familiar with it. This does not mean just throwing your logo on anything and everything either.
Find a few blog idols
Find a few blogs and websites that are branding themselves well and watch what they are doing. If they are known for their very modern and minimalist design on their website, chances are they are using that same type of aesthetic in everything they do. Everything should have a theme and be in sync with your brands image, branding and voice. If you look closely their content probably has a certain style and aesthetic. If they do step by step tutorials, there is probably a format they follow and certain fonts and colors they alwasy use. It’s little things like this that can add up to make a big difference when trying to stand out in a crowded online space.
What is your brand selling?
Everyone’s selling something. And if you’re not selling something then you’ll have a very hard time turning a profit. Just know that selling your personality, wit and charm can look harder than it seems. There are still some skills involved and a solid work ethic. Plenty of people have a huge following based on their personality and way of the word, but if that makes you money then there needs to me some marketing plan behind it.
One thing that I have learned over the years is that there is fine line when you mix in who you are with your brand. This of course is where professional blogging can get tricky. If you started your blog as Jenny’s Musings then defining your brand, is trying to define yourself. Which may mean putting yourself in a little box and staying safe inside those walls. And sometimes Jenny the person just can’t be defined or understood on a crazy Tuesday morning for that matter. When you look at what Jenny’s Musings as a business things change and it’s not all about you and your glittery shoes.
That being said, today you can be your brand and this is why so many bloggers have gained huge success, because there is an authentic person attached and people fall in love with not only the product but the person. Be careful not to remove yourself too much from the brand you are building. (This is another blog post entirely).
Building a personal brand as a business
Brands that have done this well are clearly the mother and grandmother of all personal branding, Oprah and Martha Stewart. But look at these other women achieving success and packaging themselves along side their brand or reinventing themselves. Jessica Alba and the Honest Company, Bethany Frankel and the Skinny Girl brand, which sold for millions! As far as bloggers that have done this exceptionally well, Tip Junkie, Scary Mommy, Inspired By Charm, Camille Styles, Joy the Baker, Design Mom, Skimbaco Lifestyle, and the Picky Pallette, just to name a FEW. This list could go on and on, there are plenty of great examples out there. The point is, find a few that resonate with you and keep tabs on what they’re doing. Watch and learn.
*Tip: Get outside your niche. Look for examples in other areas so you do not go down the rabbit hole of jealousy and try to measure up. See what fashion, foodies, tech or travel bloggers are doing.
So is your blog a brand?
Before you admit that your blog is a brand, or that you want to make your blog a business you will want to read this. 11 Things I wish I knew when I started my business, by Stephanie St. Claire. It is one of the best business advice pieces I’ve ever read. It’s a growing your business punch in the gut and tells you to “grow your ladyballs”.
One of my favorite quotes from this is; “Does Madonna walk around the house in cone bras and come-f*k-me bustiers? She’s too busy planning D-Day. Madonna does not identify with “Madonna.” Madonna employs “Madonna.”