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Defining Brand Essence: Key To Business Blogging Success
By Steve Lazuka, Zerys for Agencies
A while ago I tried to explain the principles behind business blogging to a client, including formatting issues, best practices and SEO conventions. Halfway through, she stopped me with “I really didn’t know it was so complicated!” She was under the impression bloggers “just wrote something,” and had no idea what was involved in creating an effective small business blog strategy.
Blogging Success Doesn’t Happen By Accident
This led me to realize that while blogging might look effortless, it isn’t actually. One of the vital keys to success is to start from the point of an accurate brand definition. This guides the blogger’s understanding of the brand personality, confirms how you fit into your industry and works to realize your blogging goals.
Ways to Define Your Brand
Your brand and brand name aren’t the same thing. Neither should you mistake your logo, packaging or website for your brand. Those are aspects of the brand, but the actual brand is the promise your company makes to your customers. It’s what they think when they hear your name. It’s the identity and personality behind your business and your products or services.
Here’s how to define what your brand is (or what you want it to be):
- Analyze your target market – who are the audience members and what image do they hold of your company? Is it the image you want them to have, or do you need to change the picture?
- Identify your company mission. What is your purpose and does your ideal customer know it and understand it?
- Determine what message your tagline and other marketing elements deliver about you. Are you a conservative, traditional company or an upbeat, modern and cutting-edge concern? Does your marketing reflect this accurately?
Your brand exists nowhere as strongly as it does in the mind of your customer, and that’s why it’s so important to your business blog strategy.
But let’s not jump the gun here. Before you can translate your brand definition into a blogging strategy, you need to define its essence.
Identifying Brand Essence
So what is “essence?” The essence of a brand is the intangible qualities that drive it, that make it different and give it unique qualities. For example, the Coca-Cola brand promise reads: “Coca-Cola: “To inspire moments of optimism and uplift.” It doesn’t even mention the product it sells. The brand essence, however, is one of fun and laughter, light-hearted and young. These associations are what determine the customer’s experience. And it’s from this information that a business blog strategy needs to evolve.
Determining Your Blogging Goals
Of course, you need to know what you want to achieve. What is your reason for blogging? Is it to:
- Raise awareness of your company and products
- Drive traffic to your website
- Generate sales leads
- Build a mailing list
- Develop thought leadership
- Create an online resource for users
Each of these goals requires a different approach to your blog, and therefore to your strategy.
Mapping the Findings to Your Goals
Ok, once you’ve defined your brand and you’re sure it accurately reflects the way you want to be viewed by your customer, and you’ve identified the essence that drives it, it’s time to match your findings to your goals. Let’s say you’re Coca-Cola, and your primary goal is to build a mailing list for future marketing communications. Your business blog strategy needs to aim at gathering contact email addresses from people who want to be a part of a community that is young, light-hearted and enjoys fun and laughter. So you’re unlikely to want to publish posts talking about how the drink is made and bottled, right?
Developing an Effective Business Blog Strategy
To develop your blogging strategy, examine the type of interests your target audience has that relate to the essence. Modern music, fun in the sun, desirable activities such as boating, skiing, dancing and travel exhibit characteristics of both the audience and the essence, so those would be a good place to start.
Select a few main topics and focus on making those the mainstay of the strategy for a specific period. Consider the times of the year when those activities are popular and create posts that your audience connects with. After all, what 25-year old interested in travel and boating isn’t going to give you his (or her) email address when you’re blogging about the Cape to Rio Yacht Race and offering to send them updates by weekly newsletter? None of them, I’m sure, which means blogging success for you.
Steve Lazuka is the founder of Interact Media, creators of the Zerys Content Marketplace and Zerys for Agencies content marketing platforms. Follow Steve @SteveLazuka
Zerys is a powerful content project management tool and writer marketplace that makes it simple to manage any content project from start (strategy planning) to finish (auto-publishing). Zerys for Agencies is a custom, private-labeled solution that allows agencies to manage all their clients’ content projects from one, simple dashboard. Zerys was founded in 2008, and is now used by thousands of businesses and hundreds of marketing agencies.
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