Create a Branded Blog

Create a Branded Blog

Creating a Branded BlogThe most successful and influential bloggers out there learned one important thing; Don't just write, create and when you create, create your unique message for your audience! They learned the importance of the Branded Blog post and how to just be themselves.

What does it mean to have a Branded Blog?

It is a fact, you cannot speak to everyone and create rich content for everyone. A common mistake a lot of beginning bloggers make is in trying to be generic and appeal to a very broad audience.  They are so eager to get a universal message out there to catch any eye they can, they spend a great deal of time and effort on writing flat generic posts. Most professional business analysts are pointing to the growing demand for niche business. The ones in demand are the ones that “get their customers” and there is no better way to do that then to really stay on point with your brand. Know what your target audience wants and needs even before they do and there is no question they will follow you. If you want to create a blog and make money on line you will need to speak to a niche and brand your blog to your personal style.

What's the best blogging platform?

There are many to choose from. When I started out, I used Blogger since it came free with Google. It worked okay but it did not allow for creative flexibility and I soon had the need to really brand the blog to match my entire website. It was an okay way to get started but not where I needed to be for the long haul. At least it allowed me to start getting content up!

WordPress blogs tend to be the most popular and you can find a lot of versatility in design Templates (I use Divi from Elegant Themes )  so that you can customize your site to look the way you want. By use of Posts, Pages, and Projects, you can actually make a very robust overall website. The sky really is the limit since you can take control and make it as complex or as simple as you like. You will want to have the consistency that a branded blog can give you. From matching the message of the blog to the theme of who you are, what you stand for and what your business is about.

You can create a branded blog that will give you the professional edge over everyone else. Start your own website with content look and feel that matches and don't forget to use images and colors that tie it all together in one over arching theme.

You can do this, you really can. If you want to surround yourself with positive encouraging people to help motivate and inspire you on your journey, follow the links below.

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“Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.”

How to Write an About Page

Ugh! The infamous “About Me Page”. Just about every website and blog has one. Probably the hardest content you can ever write is your about page! Especially if you are shy or if you are a self proclaimed social misfit or an introvert. Personally I don't care to write them either. I don't even like the question in conversations! When I am asked, they usually get a blank stare back from me.

 

The conversation goes something like this:

 Person: “So tell me about yourself.” (putting me on the spot)

Me: blank stare…. (like a deer caught in the headlights) yet my internal dialog is usually “What do you want to know? In relation to what? How much do you want to know? What are you trying to find out? How far back do I go? Why are you asking? and on and on…” On the outside, if they are still standing there, my response is usually a laugh with a response that brushes away the question.

Most of the time, this is how we all end up writing our “About” page. We attack it from the position of “defending our lives”. You see, traditionally, this is where most people place a “resume” and list all of their achievements and accomplishments and accolades. For companies, same thing usually led by the mission statement. Sure, that's great if you have an impressive “resume”. But what if you don't? Or you don't feel like you do, or that just doesn't matter to you? And, after all, does it really matter for the Entrepreneur?

I was on a coaching call with one of my clients and I was inspired to write this post to help you as well. I flipped the script for them and I hope to do the same for you. My client has been working with me in creating their foundation for their business and they are well on their way. They had been in the re-design phase of their business and their website and all of their social media.  They were on a role and the transformation is thrilling. For the first time, they felt at home on their website as each page transformed with them. They knew exactly what they stand for and what they are here to bring forward for others. Then came the revamp of their “About” page. The one they had was so not who they are and what they are about.

So let's talk and get real about: How to write an authentic About Page you can be proud of (and live every day).

I could go list my degrees, my professional career, and the fact that for the past decade I have owned and run my own self funded companies.

But does that really matter?

30336597804_67f2096dd6_hNo! My achievements have little to nothing to do with yours and my bank account or sales volume don't either (at least it shouldn't). I know there are people who would disagree with this, but I often find the objections are self serving in the end. If you have ever been coached in athletics, the best coaches were not the ones who got the gold medal, they were the ones who pulled out the greatness in others. They worked behind the scenes to help develop the future gold medalists.

Does it really tell you anything?

Somewhat, but not really.  It can drop clues about me, but it doesn't tell you the really important parts. You might guess at some things (like my tenacity), but the picture of how it is (or is not) relevant for you does not show up in the model.  In fact, this can really backfire if you get too braggadocios. I don't know if you have ever tried, but it is very difficult to work with a braggart and frankly, when I see a long litany of achievements I wonder if they have the ability to set themselves aside to serve me.

So what does matter about me?

You! That's it, pure and simple. You matter.

People who work with me work with me because they desire a solid foundation for their business (and yes their life). They are on an individual  journey to grow personally and professionally.  When they read “About” me, they are reading from the personal perspective of how it relates to them. Are we in alignment? Can I add value for them? Can I help them achieve the goals they have in their life and business?

So when you write your own “About” page, flip the script and make it about the audience. The people you serve, the ones you want to attract, your tribe. Write about them. Speak to them. Even if you have no followers yet, speak to the ones that will come.

So here is your handy 5 point checklist to write by:

  1. Lead with the recipient in mind. You know who they are
  2. Guide with transparency. Be your authentic self.
  3.  Write as if you were talking to a friend. Your words should flow from your natural diction
  4. Show your values. What is important for you is probably going to hit their top ten as well.
  5. Tell the truth. They will find out eventually so honesty up front is the best policy.

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“Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.”

How To Create a Blog and Earn Money Online

outerlimitsIf you are just getting started with your business on line then welcome! You are in for the experience of a lifetime! The internet opens up so many possibilities for you and your reach can be global. Imagine being able to reach people on the other side of the world and inspire them. The goal of any online business, heck any business, is to attract your tribe to you and the to serve them with value. You might have a product or a service that would be of interest, and that is what you are selling. But before you ever sell an item, you need to establish a relationship. It's great to get followers on social media and it is important, but more important than social media is your blog and your website.

This is the “real” real-estate for you as a business owner. For internet home business, it is the only real estate you can ever own:  your domain. As a business owner you know the importance of ownership and the true value behind what you can control verses what controls you.

There was a show a few years ago (maybe more than a few now) that had a great opening.

 “Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity.”

The Outer Limits was the name of the program and Vic Perrin was the voice behind the narration. As a kid, it was intriguing and a little bit scary at the same time but it got my attention. That coupled with a spinning dial to mesmerize and pull in your attention. Funny, business is like that; sometimes scary yet always intriguing and a huge pull on your attention.  If you never saw it, or if you want to remember The Outer Limits

Think of your blog and your website as your own “Outer Limits”. This is the place where you control the content and the look and feel. You set the overall tone. When people come to your site or visit your blog, this is your chance to control the environment. To customize the experience so that you can engage your audience at a deeper level. Sure, you create a blog to earn money, after all that is what you are in business for, but engagement will equal revenue over time. If you are here to create a sustainable business, one that can be a legacy, then take the extra care. Think of your website and blog post as an extension of who you are, what you are about, and what your business purpose is.

If you are a beginner, getting started can seem overwhelming but don't panic, there are lots of people who were just like you at one time. Your blog space is where you can create and curate content that your particular  audience is mainly interested in. Don't overcomplicate things just keep it simple when you are getting started. Clear, crisp, lean content with a couple of images and lots of white space.  There will be plenty of time to get complicated as you gain momentum. You can do this, you really can. If you want to surround yourself with positive encouraging people to help motivate and inspire you on your journey, follow the links below.

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When is the right time to start Branding You?

timebrandinguIn my book, the sooner you get in touch with your brand the better. Notice I said “get in touch with your brand”?! That was not a typo. You already have a “brand”. You have had one for some time, long before you ever thought of making a business for yourself. In fact, everyone you know has one they just don't realize it. Once you realize yours, you can use it to your advantage as you begin to build.

After all, what goes into a brand? A brand is the artful combination of words symbols and signs that transmit (or reinforce) the customer or consumers perception of a product or a service. The value and the quality of the goods or services become closely aligned through reputation to the point that the consumer or customer may build a deep attachment and an unflappable loyalty to the company behind it. That connection is the ultimate driving goal for anyone in marketing or sales efforts. It usually means you have done really well at establishing brand loyalty. When you are getting started in your business, chances are you are wanting to be financially successful. In order to do that, you need to get noticed and what gets you noticed is your unique brand.

So if you translate brand to look at what a personal brand would be, you could say it is your image, your speech, your inflection, your associations, your behaviors and the combination of them that transmits who you are as an individual to the world around you. It lets others know if you would have any common interests or values, if you share enough to build a bridge to really connect with them. brandurockstarThink about the last time you went to a concert or a large outdoor festival. Remember back to all of the people there. Did you notice how much you had in common? How many were dressed alike? How everyone could sing along with every song as if it were their own. How similar people were (even though they were individuals). How “At Home” you felt in a massive crowd of strangers. That is Brand Affinity in action, or should I say “Band” Affinity!

Imagine harnessing that for yourself as you build a sustainable business. That is why so many smart business‘ work on the brand from day one and carefully nurture it in every action. It does mean that you pay very careful attention to what you say and do. It is the colors they choose, the image or icon, the font they select, the website look and “feel” (layout and navigation), in every piece of content from the smallest of tweets and meme's to the content rich blogs and website. It is reinforced in every bit of the product or service they provide.

So when do you think you should start branding yourself?  The sooner you start the process of aligning with your customers the sooner you can build a sustainable business. I coach my customers to set a solid foundation and we weave the brand with the product and/or service. The result is a more cohesive presentation to potential customers. So the real question you should be asking yourself is when do you want to start building? That's when you start branding.

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Are you selling yourself short? You may be killing your business & brand

SalesKillingAre you selling yourself short? Stop it! You may be killing your brand.

Do not read this if you are a discount dealer and your desire is for fast cash at any cost. If you are looking to build a solid sustainable business, then this is for you!

You may or may not know that I have a couple of consumer product companies that I own and operate. Every year, like clockwork, I start seeing the alerts from advertisers and promoters telling product producers to hurry up and get on the super sales train. They come several times a year and they come on strong during one particular time of year. Every year I let that train pass me by.  But why would I do that when it seems like everyone else is doing it. Am I doing the “right thing”? Yes, for me, and let me tell you why I know this. I hope that it can help you answer the question for your own business.

The right thing is situational and it all depends on a great deal of questions you need to answer for yourself. It also depends on the industry. But perhaps the most important question it depends on is; who are the customers you want to attract and serve.  If you have been in my community then you already have worked out who you serve, you know who you are, and you know your uniqueness in the business world.

For consumer products, I can see where this is very tempting and even necessary at times. If they have over manufactured or the products have a self life, they need to move the inventory. With technology, they usually need to make way for the newer technical gadgetry. No one ever wants the phone from 2 to 3 years ago. So consumers and innovation are behind that. For the person selling, it means they are forced to cut into their profits and even suffer a loss.  For consumable products, it is a way to move stock with a shelf life and the “Sell By” date is approaching fast or the labels are off a bit (it happens).

There is an actual grocery store chain that opened up in my state that has the short shelf life as their core business. So you know when you go there, they are the cheapest. In the cyber world, there are several large brand “eTailers” that built their empires based on offering the lowest retail prices for products to the consumer.

As a consumer, I love a good deal and I love saving money when I can. As a consumer, I'll shop bargains so will anyone I know and we will tell others where the cheap deals are. The consumer mindset is “We all work hard for our money and we want to stretch it as far as we can”. As a consumer, I need to feel that the value of what I receive is greater than the money I am spending.

Let's look at this from an elevated vantage point. For a business owner, you need customers. Once you have your customers you want to keep them since it is easier to sell to someone who has already purchased from you. Those who buy from you once, stand a better chance of buying from you again.To gain and secure loyal customers you need to asure them of three key things.

In my lifetime as an entrepreneur and the corporate careers I have held, I have  been directly or indirectly involved in sales and marketing. Suffice it to say that I have a fair number of years in the arena. I can tell you from my personal experience that these three facts have never changed

1) People do not buy products or services. They buy solutions

2) Loyalty is given to those who earn it.

3) The consumers perception of value drives their decisions.   

No matter what your business is (product or service) or the model you operate under (you own it or are in a home business). You are not selling your time, your knowledge, your product, you are selling the VALUE of the result you can deliver for them. This is what they are paying for and value is perception! I rarely if ever run sales or discounts. It's not that I am cheap or miserly, in fact I can be generous to a fault. The reason I never run seasonal slashing sales is because of the value of what I create and my desire to protect my customers perception of that value.

I will find other ways to reward or gift my loyal customers and clients to let them know how much they mean to me. My prices are fair and the quality of what I deliver is very high so my customers and clients know they are receiving a high value return for their investment. You won't find my products or services 50% off. You won't see sales sheets where I pump up and inflate only to offer things at super low bargain basement price. I do love to “bundle' though and this is where I usually give the discounts, but they are discounts in exchange for a deeper or more expansive relationship with my customers.

I had read somewhere, long ago, that high prices reassure the consumer that you are the best and buying the best feels great for the consumer. There is also the fact that those who are more invested (willing to pay more) tend to drive more results (loyalty and future purchases) and are more responsive and engaged (customer feedback and participation). Think about yourself and how you would be if you purchased a Bentley vs a Pinto.

Who do you want to work with?

There is nothing wrong with bargain hunters and bargain business, just know that their loyalty is based on how “cheaply” they can get what they are looking for.  The solution can come from anyone (any brand will do), their loyal to the lowest bidder, and the value is how much money they can keep in their pockets

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