BRANDING YOUR BLOG: DEFINING YOUR WHY THEN WHAT YOU’LL DO

In Blogging, Uncategorized by admin

Just like any great person, product, or organization, the “personality” of your blog will either help or hurt your success from the start.  That personality is more commonly referred to as your blog’s “brand”.

Branding your blog

In this section, we’ll take a structured approach to defining the brand of your blog, your blogs purpose, mission, and objectives, and roll this into a concise idea of what your blog delivers and why.

By being able to clearly articulate this purpose your blog exists for, we’ll attract more readers that are in search of exactly what you are offering.

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • Define your brand and your “why” for doing this
  • Choose the visual elements of your brand
  • Define your blog’s mission and objectives
  • Decide how you will execute your mission and objectives through your blog

THE TAKEAWAYS & FACTS UP FRONT

  • The “Why” of your blog is the most important component of your blog’s brand.  Define it well and start with that why, and you will naturally attract “your” readers

 

With respect to your blog, what is a “brand” and how do you design the brand of your blog?

A blog’s brand is how it is perceived by those who experience it – the readers.

Though we could debate the essence of brand for hours and how to design a high potential brand, in this section we will take a simple approach to designing the image of your blog – the brand.

After you’ve given some thought to your blogs brand (why it exists, what it aims to achieve, and how it does it) we’ll dig into the more tactical elements of your blog’s brand (colors, fonts, and imagery) and define your blog’s mission and objectives in a way you can adhere to and communicate effectively to those wondering what your blog is about.

 

DEFINING YOUR BRAND USING THE “THE GOLDEN CIRCLE”: WHY, WHAT, HOW

There are countless exercises that can be done to define a brand, but we will use the “Why, What, how?” approach broached by Simon Sinek.

In this approach we will first ask you to think on the “why” of your blog, its purpose, and why it exists.

Second, we’ll think on what you aim to achieve.

Finally, we’ll think on how you aim to achieve it.


Whereas most brands and blogs explain “what” they do and “what” they offer, this can be informative but it tends to be very functional.  Very logical.

Our goal in starting with your purpose, your why, and your reason, and then explaining the value your blog delivers to the user based on that purpose is to strike an emotional chord with your readers.  In approaching your readers this way, they not only feel commonality with you and affinity for your brand, but that they also feel connected to your brand and rapport for your brand.  We aim to activate their emotions first, not their brains, and ultimately connect on a visceral level.

STEP 1: DEFINE YOUR BLOG’S “WHY” AND YOUR BLOG’S PURPOSE

Determine why you will create this blog and why you will do what you do for your reader’s by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What is your purpose?
    • What is the purpose of your blog?
    • What is your cause? 
    • What is your belief? 
    • Why does your blog exist?

By defining and communicating the passion behind your “why” you can better connect with your readers on a deeper, emotional level.

For instance, on our travel site “A Brother Abroad”, the why is clearly stated as follows…

“[…because] we believe that traveling adventurously is an exciting, enriching experience that helps us grow and that everyone should experience…”

This why communicates the driving idea behind all of the content on the travel site, and the passion that drives us to produce it.  This why hits on emotional level, deeply, in a place difficult to express in words.  That is what we aim for with our why.

STEP 2: DEFINE YOUR HOW, YOUR ASSETS, YOUR STRENGTHS THAT EMPOWER YOUR BLOG’S MISSION, AND HOW YOU WILL DELIVER VALUE TO YOUR READERS

Next, describe how your approach leads to the “what” and the value (which you will define in step 3) that you deliver to your readers.  You can explain this how by describing your unique assets and strengths or simply stating your methods.

To arrive at your “how”, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How does your blog or brand express its passion?
  • What are the unique assets and strength that your blog, writing, and information bring? (e.g., knowledge, an artistic approach, etc.)
  • How does your blog deliver content differently than any other blog within your niche (e.g., humorous, informative, engaging, casual, etc.)?
  • What unique skills do you bring to your blog that will be used to accomplish its mission?

Continuing with the example of A Brother Abroad…

Why:Because we believe that traveling adventurously is an exciting, enriching experience that helps us grow and that everyone should experience…

How: We aim to inspire and empower travelers to adventure further, to uncommon destinations for uncommon experiences, with small budgets and only two weeks a year.

In the example of A Brother Abroad, our “why” is because we believe everyone should experiences of travel, “how” we serve and express that passion is by writing to empower the travel.

STEP 3: DEFINE WHAT VALUE YOU DELIVER (PRODUCTS, SERVICES, ETC.) THAT SERVE YOUR “WHY” BY ACCOMPLISHING YOUR “HOW”

Now that you’ve define your passion (your “why”) and described how you serve and express your passion (your “how”), it is time to share your what you deliver, your products or services, that bring value to the customer (your “what”)

To define your what, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the major products and services you deliver?
  • How are those major products and services delivered in a way unique from the competition’s approach?

Finishing with the example of A Brother Abroad.

Why:because we believe that traveling adventurously is an exciting, enriching experience that helps us grow and that everyone should experience…

How: We aim to inspire and empower travelers to adventure further, to uncommon destinations for uncommon experiences, with small budgets and only two weeks a year.

What: By writing stories and guides of far off destinations that empower adventure travel, with any experience level and on any budget

AN EXAMPLE OF THE GOLDEN CIRCLE APPROACH TO DEFINING A BRAND: APPLE

This approach to defining your brand was presented in Simon Sinek’s TED talk on “the Golden Circle” and how brands connect with potential customers on an emotional level.  As a result of the “Why, What, How” approach, brands with the same talent, technology, organization, and resources as their competitors are able to outperform those same competitors in the market (think Apple vs. Dell)

A prime example of how the golden circle can be applied is with Apple. Simon Sinek gave this example onstage during the TED Talk.  We have summarized it below to help as you brainstorm your own “Why, What, How”.

Simon Sinek’s Example of Apple’s “Why, How, What”

  • Why: In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo.  We believe in thinking differently
  • How: The Way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautiful, easy to use, and user friendly
  • What: Which leads us to make great computers

NOW, USE THE “WHY, WHAT, HOW” APPROACH TO BEGIN DEFINING YOUR BLOG’S BRAND

Step 1: Define your blog’s “why” by asking the following questions:

  • What is your purpose?
  • What is the purpose of your blog?
  • What is your cause? 
  • What is your belief? 
  • Why does your blog exist?

Step 2: Define your how, your assets, your strengths that empower your blog’s mission, and how you will deliver value to your readers by asking the following questions

  • How does your blog or brand express its passion?
  • What are the unique assets and strength that your blog, writing, and information bring? (e.g., knowledge, an artistic approach, etc.)
  • How does your blog deliver content differently than any other blog within your niche (e.g., humorous, informative, engaging, casual, etc.)?
  • What unique skills do you bring to your blog that will be used to accomplish its mission?

Step 3: Define what value you deliver (products, services, etc.) that serve your “why” by accomplishing your “how”.  Ask yourself these questions to get there.

  • What are the major products and services you deliver?
  • How are those major products and services delivered in a way unique from the competition’s approach?

Piece the products of these three steps together and you know have a clear, verbal expression of your brand, your elevator pitch, and the basis of your blog’s mission statement. 

A NOTE ON HOW YOUR “BRAND” AND PURPOSE WILL CHANGE AS YOUR BLOG GROWS

Note: As your blog matures, you connect with your audience, and you realize the value that you deliver, your brand will adapt and change – coalescing into the best representation of your site, what you deliver, and what you do for your audience.  This idea (Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle) is a great tool for taking the first steps in defining your blog’s brand.  After this, use feedback from your core readers, intuition, and knowledge you gain as you blog to further refine your brand.

DEFINE YOUR MISSION WITH A VISION AND MISSION STATEMENT

We’ve dug into your brand with the “why, what, how” approach with the goal of understanding your passion, what you want to achieve, and how you want to achieve it with the ultimate aim of shaping how your blog and brand are perceived by your readers.

Your mission, or mission statement, is a solid addition to the pieces of information you’ll use to explain what you do (and why) and also check back on occasionally to ensure your actions are in line with your initial vision.

Luckily for us, you already have most of the elements of a good mission statement from the exercise above.

The vision is the big picture of what you aim to achieve

The mission is how you will achieve and realize that vision

Piecing these two items into one statement will give you the perfect “mission statement” about your blog for everything from the about page to explaining what your blog is about in casual conversation.

Continuing with the example of a brother abroad, the “Why” and “How” were as follows:

How: We inspire and empower travelers to adventure further, to uncommon destinations for uncommon experiences, with small budgets and only two weeks a year.

What: By writing stories and guides of far off destinations that empower adventure travel, with any experience level and on any budget

The Mission Statement of A Brother Abroad could be:

“At A Brother Abroad, we write stories and guides of far off destinations that empower adventure travel, with any experience level and on any budget”

And the continued Vision Statement of A Brother Abroad could be:

“…to inspire and empower travelers to adventure further, to uncommon destinations for uncommon experiences, with small budgets and only two weeks a year”


The end product is an all-purpose mission (and vision) statement of A Brother Abroad that describes what we do and why, telling readers why they should read our blog in a mere couple of sentences

“At A Brother Abroad, we aim to inspire and empower travelers to adventure further, to uncommon destinations for uncommon experiences, with small budgets and only two weeks a year.  We empower these travelers by writing stories of travel and guides for far off destinations and exciting adventures possible with any travel experience level and on any budget”

Now, apply your learnings from the “Why, What, How” exercise to create your vision + mission statement

DEFINING THE VISUAL ELEMENTS OF YOUR BRAND

Now that you’ve locked down the strategic elements of your blog’s brand, you’ll want to decide on some visual elements of the brand, for consistency.

Visual elements of brands serve the purpose of quick recognition and inciting the emotions we hope to be associated with that brand.  As reader’s become fonder of your content and brand, using the consistent visual elements of your brand will quickly rekindle that connection of “meeting with a familiar friend”.

Keep in mind that the visual branding for your blog doesn’t need to be perfect at the beginning, it is just a starting point.  Brands rebrand often throughout their lifetimes, and yours likely will too.  The important thing is to with a point of visual consistency with your blog. 

The elements of your brand that you need to decide on are as follows:

  • Colors (Use a color palette matcher with colors that emotionally align to your brand)
  • Logo (Don’t be scared to go informal, otherwise choose fiver)
  • Fonts

COLORS

Decide on 2 to 3 colors for your blog that will be used consistently throughout all of your content.

Ensure the 2 to 3 colors are “matched” and paired for compatibility.  Using a color scheme auto-generator is the best way to find your colors as you can pick a single color you love and visually compatible colors will be suggested.

Finally, ensure the colors align with the emotions that you want for your blog.  Generally, the following colors elicit the listed emotion.

  1. Yellow:
    1. Optimism, clarity, warmth
    1. Grabs attention
  2. Orange
    1. Confidence, cheerful, friendly
    1. Call to action, subscribe, buy, sell – beware it can seem aggressive
  3. Red
    1. Bold, youthful, excitement
    1. Creates a feeling of urgency, Energy, increases heartrate,
  4. Black
    1. Credible, powerful, professional
    1. Powerful and sleek, used in marketing luxury brands
    1. Definite, strength, precise, direct
  5. Purple
    1. Wise, Creative, Imaginative
    1. Used to calm, soothe, also used in beauty and anti-aging products
  6. Blue
    1. Trust, strength, dependable
    1. Clean, calming, focused, professional
    1. Creates a sense of trust and security
  7. Green
    1. Peaceful, growth, health
    1. Good for science and government related topics
  8. Grey
    1. Balance, calm
    1. Practical, timeless, solid, conservative
  9. For Men
    1. Yes: Blue, Green, Black
    1. No: Brown, orange, Purple
  10. For Women
    1. Yes: Blue, Purple, Green
    1. No: Brown, Orange, Grey

LOGO

A logo is an essential element for branding as it is a small, visual element that clearly identifies you and your blog and can be plastered anywhere without words while still achieving recognition.

Freelancing sites such as Fiver are a great place to have a starter logo drawn up for cheap.

If you’re feeling artistic and want to DIY, hop on Canva for free and try making your own logo.


FONTS

Fonts can be an excellent branding element, increasing brand recognition within emails, content, and plenty of other places while improving the user’s visual experience.

Picking a font for headers and a separate font for text is a common approach.

However, beware when choosing flowery fonts and going beyond basic as some “prettier” fonts are much more difficult to read and detract from the user experience.

I recommend delaying font choices and doing plenty of your own research on choosing font styles suitable to your brand before choosing a nontraditional font for your brand.

ACTION ITEMS FROM THIS ARTICLE

  • Define your why, how, and what
  • Decide on your vision and mission
  • Piece together your vison, mission, why, what, and how to create a mission statement and elevator pitch for your blog
  • Decide on two to three matched colors for your brand
  • Start the process of brainstorming inspiration for a logo, then outsource one or hop on Canva to create one

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