If you’re blogging, you’re branding an image and building a following. You might not be marketing a product or service. If not today, maybe someday. Maybe never. And it doesn’t have to be product or service to be marketed. Anyone can market an idea. It doesn’t have to be an idea to sell—it could be a cause to support or an awareness to spread.
My point is that everyone is branding an image, and everyone has something of value to market.
Is it working?
- I recognize many bloggers just by their Gravatars. That’s a visual brand that you’ve created, which other people recognize.
- Sometimes, I also remember what your header, photo, or product looks like. Your visual branding efforts have gone a step further.
- I also recognize many bloggers by name. In this case, your name (or pseudonym or user id) has been branded.
- For some, I know what to expect in the way of content when I visit your site. You’ve branded more than just your image and name.
- For others, I know there is something special that I will find at your site. Your branding is distinguished in some way.
- There are some sites that I really look forward to visiting when I see a new post (and sometimes, when I see you’ve left a comment). You have me hooked.
I’m not in everyone’s target audience, yet I have experienced the branding that occurs here at WordPress.
WordPress is an amazing community:
- There is much supportive interaction available here.
- In some ways, it’s better than a magazine, yet it’s FREE and isn’t packed with all those obtrusive advertisements.
- The ambiance has been, in my experience, very positive.
- Blogging has many wonderful benefits, like creative expression, trying something out, finding your voice, meeting and interacting with fascinating people, sharing your passion with others, getting your mind off your problems, developing confidence, and so on.
- You get your very own personal space in the blogging universe, and a lot of freedom with what you choose to do with it.
- You are branding an image through your blogging.
- There are many wonderful benefits of blogging.
This gives you a golden opportunity.
If your branding is working here at WordPress, then what you want is more traffic on your blog from your target audience. You want more than a one-time visitor.
Spread the word about the many benefits of blogging to others. This will help increase the blogging traffic (and those people will enjoy the positive benefits of blogging). If they start blogging because of you, chances are they will follow your blog and interact with you here, too.
Include a link to your blog at the back of your book, on your other sites, and on your marketing materials. More than just a link, include a line that might attract visitors to your blog. When you interact with people, mention what a wonderful place your blog is. Market the benefits of blogging. Encourage others to read blogs, even if they don’t want to start their own blogs.
You don’t have to be a writer, artist, businessman, salesman, photographer, or celebrity to enjoy the benefits of blogging. Anyone can do this. Everyone has something that he or she enjoys—like a hobby, special skill, or sport—that he or she can share.
You don’t even have to make your own posts to benefit from blogging. Reading posts right on my Reader is, in some ways, better than a magazine. When I read a magazine, I loathe having to sort through all the advertisements to find and read an article. And the magazine costs money, whereas a blog is free. (Imagine if we tried to publish books that were so loaded with advertisements.)
I must also say that I enjoy several blogs which are amazingly well-written. Very often, the blogs that I read are edited better than books. The words and ideas tend to flow very well, too. Many bloggers also excel at making their blogs visually quite appealing.
And there is good reason for this. It’s easier to edit one post than it is to edit an entire book (even if you post several times per week). If you are marketing something, you want your blog to be impressive.
The WordPress community isn’t just awesome in terms of interaction and support, there is a good deal of wonderful content here, too.
Not all of the content will suit everyone. But the beauty of the Follow button is that you can easily find content that appeals to you in your Reader.
I contend that, for me anyway, WordPress is better than a magazine. Here is yet another reason why. Imagine that you’re sitting in an office, waiting to be called. You could pick up a magazine that many other hands have touched recently. Or you could get out your e-reader, iPhone, tablet, or laptop, and check out posts from your favorite bloggers.
Market the many wonderful benefits of reading blogs and/or starting a blog. Many people may appreciate this once they really get started. Remember, there is much to gain even for people who don’t make their own posts. It might just help you get a little more out of your own branding efforts.
Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)
Have you heard about Read Tuesday? It’s a Black Friday type of event, but specifically for books.