BLOGGING FOR BRANDING


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Making your business, product or service stand out from the pack as a trusted name is the key to success. When people automatically purchase your products or services and try new offerings because they have learned to trust what you have to offer, your path is assured.
Putting yourself on this path calls for building your brand. This is more than a logo. It involves building up an inherent trust and an instinctual belief in the quality of a product or service based on the brand name behind it.


Consider some of the products you purchase in everyday life strictly because of the logo on the label. When you recognize a product from its logo or are willing to go out on a limb and try something new because a company you recognize sponsors a product, that’s a result of successful branding. It is a proven, effective way to build rapport with customers and gain repeat business.


While branding does involve a number of facets, today’s Internet-based world has given rise to a new tool to get the word out and make the connection with clients. A blog can serve as an “in” to help you reach out to customers on a more personal level as you seek to gain and build upon their trust.


Many companies large and small have turned to the Web to boost their own branding efforts. Blogging is one of the most powerful ways available on the Internet to add to branding efforts for a few key reasons. When these often conversational vehicles are used to reach out to customers and potential customers a sense of connection is gained. When the general public feels “connected” to a product or service, they tend to bring repeat business.


Creating your own blog to boost your company’s brand is not a terribly difficult task. It does require a minimal amount of technical savvy, solid planning skills and a willingness to reach out beyond the traditional boundaries of conventional advertising.


Blogging itself has gained immensely in popularity over the last few years. Where only a few blogs existed on the Internet in the 1990s, the blogosphere is now filled with thousands of sites. Blogs today are written for a wide variety of reasons. Some bloggers write simply to connect with their own friends and family, others share political views or discuss
hobbies, still others use this unique tool to promote their brand and foster a connection with readers (customers). When the latter is the focus, a well-defined plan can ensure that this less formalized means of reaching out to people serves the purpose and builds the brand, its reputation and its popularity.


It honestly does not matter what type of brand you are trying to build, blogging can serve as a vital component in a marketing plan. When a blog is well written, updated on a consistent basis, promoted properly and contains useful information for visitors, brand recognition will go along with it. Businesses of all sizes are using blogs in growing number to connect with their own clients and you can, too.
If you’d like to learn how to create a blog to promote your own brand, you’re going to need a plan to make it happen successfully. In this eBook, we will go over the basics of what you need to do and why. We’ll also discuss how to make blogging fit into branding plans no matter what type of business you happen to have – even if your business is blogging itself. In addition, we’ll get into some of the technical details and cover some of the options you have available to you for launching and maintaining a blog. While a brand blog will take dedication to really pay off, you do not necessarily have to do all the work personally.


To fully understand the potential power of a well-developed blog, it does help to have a handle on some of the key components of this format. When a blog is used to its full advantage it will not only enable you to reach out to clients and potential clients, but it will give them the ability to reach back. This two-way communication can serve as a powerful means for developing rapport, trust and repeat business.
Blogging is a very effective way to boost an overall branding plan. If you’re ready to learn more about this communications tool, we’ll show you step-by-step how to make it work for your business.


2 WHAT BRANDING CAN DO FOR YOUR BUSINESS


Take a look around your house at some of the products you purchase on a regular basis. Why do you choose a particular brand of maple syrup or toilet bowl cleaner? Chances are you recognized the name on the label or the logo and on the packaging and were “presold” because you connected that name or logo with quality. You may not have even read past the name to make the decision to purchase.
That’s the power of branding. When you can connect your product or service with a reputation of quality and trust, you catapult yourself into household-name status. It doesn’t matter whether your business targets only a small geographical area or if you market on an international level, the power of branding can be immense. Blogging can help this effort along greatly, but it is not the only thing you need to consider. There are several other components that must go into a successful branding effort to make it pay off.


INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESSFUL BRANDING


Blogging and other marketing efforts can build up the hype behind a brand and really get people talking about products and services, but more is needed to make this kind of effort pay off. To establish the kind of trust that is required to create a positive reaction in clients or customers, the products or services behind your line must also offer:


Quality – Branding builds recognition for a product, but that product must still have the quality needed to impress customers. You simply cannot gain positive brand recognition unless your products and services offer the kind of quality needed to elicit trust in your customers.


Excellent service – Customer service is everything in business and has been for a long time. When building a brand, customer service can boost word-of-mouth advertising. This, in turn, boosts referrals and helps a brand grow even more. Even in businesses where no product or service is sold directly, such as blogging for a living, customer service still matters. People will trust the authority of a blog if posts are written with authority and integrity. These 7 – things can also be built upon with timely and well thought out responses to comments from readers.


Value – This is a big buzz word with customers these days. If your product or service comes at a price, make sure buyers get the value they are after. Value doesn’t mean “cheap;” it means quality for the price point. Even free blogs that host advertising can have “value.” In this case, the information shared needs to be accurate, informative or entertaining. In short, readers need to feel like they haven’t wasted their time by visiting.
Branding simply builds on all the key ingredients in a successful business and puts them in a package customers can readily identify. When you offer solid service, high quality and value, your products will begin to speak for themselves. New products or services will be more likely to have instant footing in the market simply because of the brand. In short, branding enables you to build on previous successes to grow your customer base and launch new offerings more effectively.

BLOGGING IS JUST 1 PRONG IN A CAMPAIGN
While blogging is a highly viable and important piece of the branding puzzle, it is not the only component that should go into an overall campaign. Beyond the written support found in a blog, a solid effort to create a brand presence may also include such things as:
 The use of an identifiable logo to create a visible brand
 The use of the brand logo in any/all advertising efforts, including print and television
 The use of the brand name in sponsorships and contests to generate a buzz and a sense of good will toward customers
 The use of a brand logo on letter head, business cards and other written materials
When the desire is present to build a strong branding campaign, the use of brand identifiers should be widespread. The more the company, product or service logo is seen by the public, the better.
Branding can help take a good product and the company that puts it out and turn it into a household name. The creation of a well-designed blog can boost efforts greatly and give a company an avenue for getting the brand name out to the public on a regular basis. When this format is used
to its full advantage, it can help catapult a brand while developing a rapport with readers.


JUST WHAT IS A BLOG ANYWAY


Blog is a funny word that only recently came into existence thanks to the Internet revolution. The word itself is technically a shortened version of “Web log.” While blogs can take on many forms and may adopt a variety of writing styles, they are essentially written communications vehicles that exist on the Internet. Unlike other forms of written communication that are limited in reach by print runs, blogs have a nearly limitless potential for reaching visitors or readers.
Although blogs exist on the Internet as a “Web site,” they are different from standard sites. Whereas a typical corporate Web site will have content that remains mostly static – a home page, an “about us” section and so on – blogs are fluid and ever-changing. As new entries, or posts, are added to blogs their front pages and even the very images on them change frequently. The fluidity of blogs invites the potential for more traffic (greater exposure) and also for repeat visits (a greater chance to sell).
While blogs can vary greatly in formatting and appearances, there are some traits that tend to make this style of online communication recognizable.


TRAITS THAT DISTINGUISH BLOGS


While not every blog is alike, most share a few common threads that help distinguish them from other Web sites on the Internet. Some of the basic features found in many blogs include:
Short posts – Blogs are not generally designed to accommodate long posts. In most cases, blog entries run between 200 and 1,000 words. This makes them fairly easy to update and provides readers with information in a quick fashion.
Frequent updates – Well-run blogs tend to contain a lot of content (articles or posts). These posts are updated regularly to give visitors reasons to keep coming back for more.
Conversational style – While some blogs are written in a more formal, newsy manner, this format is ideal for the conversational style, as well. In branding, the conversational style can greatly help build a feeling of direct communication with readers (customers), which can help build a sense of loyalty and a connection.
Commenting ability – Not every blog enables readers to post comments and ask questions of writers, but many do. For branding efforts, this can prove quite valuable. When comments are enabled, readers and the branding company can open up two-way dialogue, which can prove extremely useful for developing rapport.


OTHER FEATURES FOUND IN BLOGS


Blogs can vary greatly in specific style and inclusion of special features. They may, for example, exist on their own, separate from a corporate Web site. They may also be found attached to or even built within a corporate site. Other features that can help make them more appealing for readers and useful for branding efforts include:
Photo images – Full color images are often used to support individual posts. These can be especially helpful when working on a branding effort. When the products and/or services in question are put out on the Internet in full color, recognition for the brand can grow.
Videos – It is not at all uncommon for videos to also be used within the blog format. In branding, videos may be used to show off a product or service or even demonstrate how it is used.
Forums – This takes standard blog comments sections to the next level. Rather than limiting communications to small fields, an auxiliary forum can promote an even more open exchange of information.
Auxiliary newsletters – Some blogs are supported by the creation of auxiliary newsletters that are e-mailed directly to visitors who subscribe. The inclusion of a newsletter signup on a blog is an excellent way for a company to gain its own preauthorized emailing list. It is also excellent for backing up branding efforts with one more communications tool that is affordable.
There is no set-in-stone format for what a blog should be or must be. That’s part of the beauty of this type of vehicle. Companies, organizations or individuals who are working on branding efforts are perfectly free to customize their creation to fit their own specific strengths and needs. This makes the tool extremely flexible and appropriate for just about any type of branding effort.


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