Personal branding is crucial in establishing what differentiates you from the other players in your field. It highlights what your strengths are, and what defines you as an influencer and as a brand. It helps you craft a strategy to create high quality content that adds value and is personalized according to the image you want to project.
When creating a strong personal brand, it’s important to make sure that your online reputation is pristine. As an aspiring blogger, you may not have much of an online presence yet, but whatever presence you do have should be carefully evaluated to determine if it will positively or negatively affect your online reputation.
Bloggers are influencers, and having a positive online reputation that lines up with your personal brand is extremely important when you’re an influencer. Not only will you have to clean up your online presence, but you’ll also have to constantly monitor your online reputation to avoid having your name and brand associated with any negative online content.
Once you’ve assessed the current state of your online reputation, you can follow the steps outlined below to help craft a personal brand that’s uniquely you and will allow you to create more engagement for your blog:
1. Define your brand voice
The first step to defining your brand voice is knowing your audience. It’s recommended that you build a profile or persona for each segment of your target audience, so that you’ll have an idea of who exactly you are talking to. Think of what he or she will look like, what his or her interests will be, what he or she will be doing for a living, and what he or she might be looking for in your blog.
Then, you can create a test group that resembles your target audience from among the people you know, and have them give you feedback on your blog posts. Their feedback will be valuable in knowing what to put and what not to put in your blog.
You can also find a blogger within the same niche or industry whose voice you would like to emulate. You can also study how the blogger interacts with his or her audience, as this can help you clearly identify the voice you want for your own blog persona.
2. Be authentic
Don’t be afraid to share your story—even if it means sharing your failures as well. This will make you more relatable to the public, and people are almost always interested to find out more about the real person behind the blog.
Being authentic also means staying true to the philosophy of your brand. Once you start your own blog, be mindful of what you say and always protect your brand. Make sure that everything you publish on your blog (or anywhere on the Internet) is consistent with the brand you are trying to craft.
3. Define your niche
So you call yourself a fashion blogger, a business blogger, or a food blogger. That’s fine. But in order to brand yourself effectively, you’re gonna have to be more specific than that. Aside from your specialty, you also have to think of your niche. Which specific area in your specialization can you call yourself an expert of? Or if you’re not yet comfortable with calling yourself an expert on something, which area are you most passionate about? Are you a fashion blogger who loves to showcase your vintage clothing finds? Are you a food blogger who is passionate about healthy vegan recipes? Choosing a sub-category within your chosen niche can help you focus your content, and in some cases, it can help you stand out among the rest of the other bloggers in the same niche.
Doing this will help you establish yourself as an authority in your chosen field, and create more personalized content to help you reach a specific target audience.
4. Network wisely
Interacting with other bloggers is a great way to build credibility in your chosen niche because it opens you up to possible guest posting opportunities, which would allow you to obtain high-quality backlinks. Since these links will serve as powerful credibility signals that will help Google determine your authority in your niche, it is definitely a great idea to do some networking.
Additionally, guest posting and commenting on blogs that are similar to yours (and have the same target audience) will allow you to reach more people and hopefully gain new readers on your blog.
However, make sure that the bloggers you associate yourself with are aligned with your own ideals and values to ensure the integrity of your personal brand.
5. Use the right images
Images can dramatically increase the appeal of your blog posts. But in addition to that, people respond more favorably to content with a compelling visual aspect, which means they’ll be more inclined to read your posts—and read them all the way to the end—if there are lots of photos and graphics inserted within the blocks of text.
Look for images that work well with your blog’s visual aesthetic, but take care to select the best ones that will help explain or illustrate the points you outline in your blog posts. Choosing the right images enables you to craft blog posts that appeal to all types of readers and allows you to catch and hold their attention much longer than if there had been no images at all.
6. Utilize various online communication platforms
As a blogger, you will most likely be considered an expert in your field by your readers. Due to this, your readers will want to interact with you and ask you questions.
Make sure to turn on commenting for your blog posts to give your readers a way to communicate with you and provide you feedback on your posts. You can also give them the option to send you a message through email or a contact form if they have any questions or concerns.
But most importantly, create public social media profiles and promote them on your blog so that your readers can easily find you and connect with you outside of your website.
7. Use offline marketing methods
Although blogging is an online platform, there are many effective ways to market your brand offline as well. One of the most popular options nowadays is through scheduling meet-ups. If you don’t have a lot of followers yet, you can invite your friends (who fit your target audience) along with your readers. You can also tell them to invite anyone who would be interested as well. It’s a great way to build relationships with your current readers while attracting new ones.
Other ways you can market your brand offline is by selling merchandise such as shirts, caps, and the more.
You can also try sticker marketing, which is another tried-and-tested approach that has been used in offline marketing over the years.
8. Produce high-quality content
A well-designed, visually appealing blog will not be able to build solid engagement without high-quality content. Therefore, make sure that the content you publish on your blog adds value to the lives of your readers. Create content that answers a common problem, provides inspiration or entertainment, evokes a specific emotion, or delivers thoughtful, well-researched information on a certain topic. Whatever you decide to publish, make sure that it serves a purpose for your readers—otherwise, it will just be ignored.
Also, if you decide to accept sponsored posts, strive to craft them in a way that still makes the posts informative and helpful to your readers. You may also want to add a disclosure notice at the top or bottom of the blog entry to ensure your integrity.
9. Use credible sources
With the bulk of information available on the Internet, it’s easy to get confused about which facts are true and which are not. Before using any data for a blog entry, check if the websites you are getting the information from are reliable. Depending on the field, usually websites ending with .gov and .edu are the best choices.
Reputable news sites can also be a great source of credible information.
10. Preserve your values at all times
It’s important to live and breathe your brand’s philosophy. Once you create a blog, you automatically become a public personality. People will watch your every move and you have to make sure that whatever you do (online or in real life) reflects the core values that you stand for in your blog.
11. Target the right companies
As an influencer, you will most likely have to work with different companies who will want you to use, review, or promote their products and services. There’s definitely nothing wrong with this, but it is important to work with the right companies that are aligned with your own values.
If you want to work with a certain company, show how passionate you are about their product or service by mentioning them in your blog posts or by purchasing one of their products (or availing one of their services) and creating an honest, unbiased review.
Let your posts reflect how compatible your personal brand is with a specific brand that you want to work with. This should allow you to get noticed and possibly get the partnership that you want.
12. Collaborate with other bloggers
One way to strengthen your brand is through collaboration with other bloggers in your field. They don’t have to be in the exact niche, but at least make sure that their values and the values of their target readers are aligned with yours.
If your try to get exposure just for the sake of it, you won’t be able to reach the kind of audience that you want for your blog, and you’ll end up wasting time and effort.
13. Monitor your online reputation
As previously mentioned, it’s important to monitor your online reputation in order to protect your personal brand. This is extremely necessary, because when you start a blog, you become a public figure. And chances are, there will be certain people who will want to talk negatively about you or even spread lies and rumors in an effort to taint your reputation.
If you don’t stay on top of these things, your online reputation can take a serious hit.
Get to the root of the problem before it’s too late by regularly monitoring your online reputation. Do a Google search of yourself to check the articles or comments published about you. If you don’t have time and you’re just doing blogging on the side, you can even find online monitoring services to do all of this for you.
14. Clean up past social media posts
You cannot use “being young” as an excuse to justify any insensitive tweets or comments you may have posted before that are bigoted, sexist, or racist in nature. The same goes for photos or videos of you drinking, partying, and doing crazy things that may be scattered online.
Save yourself from being perceived the wrong way by cleaning up past social media posts and accounts that do not fit your personal brand or the image you are trying to attain as an influencer.
15. Don’t give up
It can be hard to build your brand and attract readers to your blog. Most of the time you’ll put in too much work and end up with very little results—but don’t get discouraged. Just continue working hard on your brand and your blog, and it’ll eventually pay off.