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What Do You Want People to Say About Your Blog? A Blog Branding Exercise

“A brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”—Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder.

This quote gets pulled out a lot by bloggers (I’ve used it three times in the last week myself) but I wonder if it might be time to give it a little more intentional pondering as we think about the brands we are trying to build around our blogs.

Whispers

Copyright Faber Visum - Fotolia.com

The brand of your blog is that lasting impression that people have of your blog. It’s the things people go away from your blog thinking—and, more importantly, talking about to others.

If this is the case, an important question to ask yourself as a blogger considering your brand is:

What do you want people to say about your blog?

Here’s a quick exercise that I’ve done recently that gave me a lot more clarity about what I’m building.

  1. Grab a sheet of paper, open a text document or mindmap, or go to a whiteboard.
  2. At the top write “What do I want people to say about my blog?”
  3. Spend ten to 15 minutes brainstorming answers to this question.

As you work on your answers think broadly about your blog. What do you want people to say about your content, the style you write in, your voice, the community and interaction on the blog, your approachability, etc.

Perhaps another way to ask the question is, “What words do you want people to use to describe my blog?”

Also pay attention to the feelings and emotions you want people to have while they’re on your blog. My suspicion is that feelings and emotions are a big part of a brand. Do you want people to feel:

  • a sense of belonging
  • content and happy
  • intellectually stimulated
  • that they’re not alone
  • informed
  • …or something else?

When I recently did this exercise for myself (I did it for my main two blogs), it gave me a lot more clarity about the types of brands I’m attempting to build. I hope that this, in turn, will help me communicate that to others, and actually make those goals a reality.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Harrison Li says:

    Well Darren, I think ProBlogger gives us the feeling of The Professional Blogger. :D

  2. Mikey says:

    Unfortunately, they say nothing, for the time being. I’ve had it a few months and I’m working on getting a decent theme and updating it more often. I have a few visitors trickle in here or there, but not that much.

    Once I get everything set up to my liking, then maybe people will talk. :)

  3. simonds says:

    Another great post…I love problogger thanks for the tips i will try to follow the Exercise

  4. I want people to feel like I’m in it with them, that they found someone they can trust, and they can relate to. As for ProBlogger, I think Harrison summed it up pretty good ;)

  5. Barbara says:

    I have to say that I’m pretty pleased to do your exercise and discover my brand is all right. I didn’t start out knowing anything about a brand or blogging in general. Your blog has been a wealth of information and I can’t thank you enough for that.

    Building community has come rather gradually and naturally for my blog and it is something I’m truly proud of. I’m going to share this post because I think we can all benefit from taking that moment to reflect and examine where we are and where we’re going.
    Thanks!
    b

  6. I’m not sure you can influence the way people see your blog. I know I’ve tried and failed.

  7. I want people to look at my site as a community…….for sharing experiences, best practices, and gaining support to meet goals. Who knows if that’s how people see it!

  8. Another way of getting an idea is to run a poll. I had a different perspective of what I want my blog to represent until I did a poll asking readers what the expect more of. The response changed the course of my blog (No! Not the one linked on my name).

  9. Holly McKIe says:

    Love this post! What do you want people to say about your blog? your product? your company?…your brand? Well witten too – Thanks!

  10. ferdian says:

    Really Great.You has explained the matter and most importantly, you really have mastered the art of article publishing. Good luck getting people behind this one. You got numerous positive points there. Thanks for taking time for sharing this article; it was excellent and very informative. As a first time visitor to your blog I am very impressed. I found a lot of informative stuff in your article. Keep it up. Thank you.

  11. A simple yet effective way to find out our business goal. After all what people want from us is what we need to be providing :)

  12. Ahmed Sharif says:

    having worked in branding-related market research for many years, I’ve developed the same sort of understanding about brands from a very practical standpoint…. its just that I’ve not really been serious enough all these times to band my own stuff…. this is surely an inspiring post, Darren…. you got me thinking again! :)

  13. a great reminder to all of us. everything can be customized to fit in with that image a blogger is trying to disseminate, from a blog’s design, color scheme, layout to the actual content and how it is created and conveyed. Ikenna supplements this nicely with the poll idea. ask and ye shall receive. if nothing else, just to ensure you are on the same page as your readership.

  14. Brian Yang says:

    For my blog, I want my audience to feel that they can really learn and follow what I’m doing.

    I want them to feel that they can do what I do and to feel connected to my beginner’s perspective.

    I want people say leave my blog feeling that they can share it with other friends that also want to get into internet marketing. “This newbie is breaking down all his successes and failures online, let’s see what he does next.”

  15. Carrie Smith says:

    This is a great exercise. Some people aren’t even sure themselves what they want to convey or why they even started a website. This brings it all back around. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Love this. Great post. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the most obvious things. Thanks for sharing. :)

  17. LAjuice says:

    I need to do this, like- right now!! As I built the blog and joined twitter, made a FB page, tried to get the blog listed in indexes and directories, made business cards, etc… I would include the blog description on the respective site- always slightly different.

    As a result, I have a word document filled with all my schizophrenic attempts to develop and settle on a “tagline” (or brand) for the blog. I never can choose which description/tagline I like best.

    The main thing I now struggle with is that sometimes it feels like the blog is still in its evolutionary stage and I don’t want to settle on a brand or a tagline until I know people will “take to it”.

  18. Good tips! I’m going to steal some of them. You’re right about a brand being emotional. In fact, I usually have my clients focus primarility on the emotions they want their website to emanate. Do they want to be seen as goofy, cutting-edge, clean and modern, things like that. It all comes down to how they want people to see them and feel when they visit. Spot on.

  19. What a great idea, Darren!

    It’s all too easy for bloggers to get off track and lose sight of what they want their blog to be. Aside from often getting off topic, many bloggers don’t even consider what feelings and emotions they want readers to get from their blog – which as you say is incredibly important.

    Thanks for the advice – I will definitely be trying this exercise out for my blog!

  20. Marelisa says:

    I want my blog to not only inspire people to get the most out of life, but to give them the tools that they ned to get out there and make things happen (be more creative, more productive, happier, and just more alive). Great exercise!

  21. That’s a fantastic approach. It actually took me 8 months to decide what my brand should be. I don’t know what people are actually saying but I am hoping they walk away with this.

    Time for some shameless self promotion ….

    Its a blog for bloggers who need inspiration to keep going, especially if they are newish or have less than 50 subscribers. Its where blogging meets personal development (problogger meets zenhabits or Darren meets Leo ;)

    Author (self) is friendly, very approachable, helpful and seems nice.

    Author has a colloquial, insightful and a slightly quirky, voice. She looks resourceful. She has a fresh take on things.

    If I am blogging because I am passionate about writing about a variety of topics, not necessarily looking into ‘professional’ blogging, this is an ideal place to hang out.

    Any takers?

  22. Laurie says:

    I went through this a while back and revamped the site, but it’s probably time to do it again. The summary I came up with was -
    “Common Sense Homesteading is using common sense to be more self-reliant, with an emphasis on home food production.”

    What do you think? Warm and fuzzy? Does it match the site? It’s niche thing, but I think more people are getting into it, and traffic has been slowly but steadily growing.

  23. rakesh says:

    This is very important what do you want from your blog known among the reader. If you are writing about each and every thing available, Very soon your blog will be lost in the crowd. Its always better to be master of one instead of jack of all. So focus on a single topic it ‘s my motto.

  24. Hi Darren,

    You are so right in putting up this very important aspect of blogging. If you don’t know the direction you want your blog to turn to, or what is the purpose of your blog, how would you be able to proceed ahead! And yes, it’s more about giving back and sharing information with your readers, so that they leave your blog content, happy, and having learnt something new- which in turn would make them keep coming back for more!

    Thanks for sharing!

  25. Ayo Oyedotun says:

    That’s a very intuitive post Darren.

    I want my readers to see my blog like a handbook, where they can quickly flip through to get the most up-to-date and relevant information for their small businesses. When they are thinking of how best to improve their businesses using the Internet, they should think of my Business Marketing Handbook.

    Thank you for the post.

  26. Dorothy says:

    Great post. In my industry of financial advice/taxes, many of my peers like to invoke fear to make people respond to their blog/services. I’ve decided to go the other route to just inform and inspire. But since I’ve only been writing 3 weeks, I’ll make sure to keep this branding exercise top of mind as I reach out in all of my biz interactions. Best to you!

  27. Barbara says:

    Thanks for this post Darren – I’m doing the exercise shortly. Would you recommend doing a poll on your own blog? I’ve often thought of it, but never had the courage; however, I’d like to know what my readers really think of my blog.

  28. I want them to say and remember that my blog is about Simplicity, and that is I really want to established on it! ‘Simplicity’ there means a simple layouts of facts that are pointed to Blogging Tips and Tricks! Simple but useful and easy for new Bloggers. And I find it very hard to do, that is why each day I am trying my best to find useful information like this! I always put in mind that ‘building a blog is like building a muscle’! I have to use it so that I would stay fit and healthy and so with my blog! As a new author, I am undergoing myself with a lot of reading and collecting information to equip myself to be a better blogger! And I know for sure, that Problogger can give me lot for this journey!

  29. Charlotte says:

    Hopefully, somewhere in most of my posts the reader will laugh. I like to try a lot of things and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. Show a life that lives everyday as if on purpose. A love for just being alive and dealing with it. I express anger and overcoming it. An inside look at how some local leaders make their decisions.

  30. Jeff says:

    Thank you for guiding us to ask such questions of our blogs. It’s been fairly easy for me to throw together a template & post some words here & there, but this really makes me think about how my blog looks vs. how I’d like it to look.

  31. Thanks for the great blogging tip. It is such a good tip to think about the feeling you want to evoke in your reader. It’s a really big part of branding. However, I would suggest starting with yourself first. What do you value, what is important for you to communicate and why, where do your passions lie? When you are clear about what YOU feel first, it is much easier to develop a clear, unique and interesting blog voice. When you have a clear, strong point of view, your brand becomes unique and you start to attract your ideal audience. Hope that’s helpful.