Blogging to Brand Yourself

Why Blogging Is So Important for Your Brand and How to Make It Work for You

Blogging to Brand Yourself - Whiskey and Red Small Business Branding and Website Design Packages - Woodland Park, Colorado

While blogging is by no means a new practice, having existed since pretty much the beginning of the invention of the written word but just in different formats (journalism, reporting, fiction and nonfiction writing), any form of free content meant to either entertain, educate, or empower others.

As a business, especially an online business, and existing in an era of tech-savvy entrepreneurs, it can seem like a blog might be a waste of time for your brand.

How many of you have ever had any of these thoughts cross your mind:

  • “Who would read this?”
  • “What will blogging do for me?”
  • “I don’t know what to write about?”
  • “I don’t have time to write a blog.”
  • “I’m not a writer.”
  • “Blogging isn’t a serious practice.”

If so, I could totally understand where you’re coming from when you’d ask “why should you blog?

But blogging is by far the best way to brand your business. You have the ability to address your audience directly, on your turf (aka your website) surrounded by all your resources, products, services, and contact information, creating opportunities for personal engagement, conversation, and even potential sales just through sharing your expertise.

Why Blogging Is the Best Way to Build Your Brand.

Why start a blog? Hmmmm… let me list the reasons, my friends:

  1. Thought Leadership
  2. Creditability
  3. Product/Service Promotion
  4. Client + Community Education
  5. Entertainment
  6. Thought-Provoking + Conversation Sparking
  7. Community Engagement
  8. Community Building
  9. It’s Fun
  10. Collaboration
  11. Networking
  12. Artistic Outlet

I bet together we could easily think of 1 million more reasons why a blog is an incredible brand asset to any business, but you get where I’m going with this. It gives us a creative space to utilize in any way that most supports our brands.

Let’s think about our business for a moment. What is it we do? Who is it we serve? Why is this important?

Blogging gives us a creative space to utilize in any way that most supports our brands.

Next up think about the different products, services, or value we have to offer through our business.

Are you a teacher, doctor, cook, coach, artist, student, freelancer… {insert your profession here}. No matter who you are, a blog opens up the chance to share your credibility as an expert professional in your industry.

It’s a great way to show that not only are we knowledgeable in our trade, but we also know how to teach it and pass on our knowledge to others. It helps provide a form of social proof, validating our role as a thought leader within our industry.

What Should You Blog About

Going back to that little question I asked earlier, what do we provide? What specific areas within our industry do we address through our business?

Break down the various focuses within your brand.

Your Turn

Action steps to success!

Take out a sheet of paper and start listing out all the various areas of expertise you have within your industry. For example, if you are a designer what areas of design are you most knowledgeable in and how could you potentially break those focuses down into segmented blog topics?

List out as many as you can and then evaluate which ones are similar to others and could be categorized together. Eliminate any duplicate sections and try to come up with at least 3-5 core categories of topics that your blog content could be broken down into.

Now, with your 3-5 core categories of topics in hand, brainstorm a number of post topics that could be filed under each of those categories. These could be post titles, examples, portfolio pieces, case studies, DIY, instructional pieces, recipes, anything that directly relates to your business, audience and will support the creditability of your brand.

I shared a post a little while back sharing my editorial calendar system and how I organize my blog content including my own editorial calendar and free post planning worksheets.

RESOURCE TIP! Check out Lemon Thistle’s “Never Run Out of Ideas Again” mini-course to help get the jump start on brainstorming ideas for your blog and business.

Guest Posting

Your blog is a fantastic place to attract not only clients and followers, but other professionals (experts) within your market or “neighboring market” who could be excellent networking and collaborative opportunities for you to expand your audience.

Experts become experts by sharing expert resources.

I am still in the new business category having only officially launched in January of this year, so understandably my reach will still be quite small compared to a number of other bigger brands. But by reaching out to other professionals, bloggers, and publications, I’ve created opportunities to reach beyond my own site’s limitations and engage with a much larger amount of people, drawing attention to myself, my brand, and my credibility.

My professional emphasis is on brand development so I share a lot of content directly related to building our brands. But I am also a brand and web designer so while my site is more targeted to brand and business development, I had the opportunity to reach out to a design-focused community over on Design Your Own Lovely Blog where I shared my personal experience and resources for developing a brand insurance policy aka style guide. It gave me the ability to share another area of my expertise in a way that directly related to that audience and promoted my brand and business.

Allowing guest bloggers on your own site is another excellent opportunity to bring in new engagement and strengthen your own blog’s credibility by providing more expert opinions and resources. This also alleviates some of the stress of having to constantly create new fresh exciting content. I know I am personally inspired by the creative professionals I’ve welcomed into my community through my blog. The subjects they present and the questions they ask are a huge source of inspiration for me.

Everyone thinks differently and digests content differently, so by collaborating with other individuals who complement our own brand and skillsets only makes the content we create together that much more valuable and engaging. Win-win if you ask me!

How to Pitch Your Guest Post

One of the scariest things about guest posting is often the “big pitch”, especially while we are smaller brands that don’t yet have the major traffic and attention that other bigger brands generally search out in their guest bloggers.

But they were once our size too and remember what it was like to have a bigger brand welcome them to their creative space and open up the chance to show the world wide web the creative genius you have to offer.

When deciding what brands to pitch to, a little pre-research goes a LONG way.

  1. First, make a list of all the brands with blogs that you admire most and directly relate to your target audience. What is it about those brands that would benefit you by contributing your content there and what would they gain by bringing you on as a featured guest?
  2. Next, go through their past posts and see if they even allow guest authors to contribute content to their sites. Not everyone does, but also don’t let that stop you from trying. If you have a piece you’ve written that would be PERFECT for a specific brand, but they rarely let guest authors on their site, I say go forth and ask! The worst thing they could say is no, but the best thing they could say is YES! Plus, even if they say no, you’ve shown your cards and introduced yourself personally acknowledging your recognition of their content and they’ll remember that. They might even hop on over to your site to check out your content further. And now, if in the future they ever decide to potentially welcome guest authors to their blog, chances are your name will be on their mind.
  3. While you are pursuing through their old posts, take note of what content they’ve already shared and what content they haven’t. What new idea can you present that hasn’t been covered already by that brand that could open up a chance for you to spark a new conversation for their community?
  4. If they clearly allow guest posters, check their site for any rules or guidelines for how they want guest posts submitted. Some sites have this and some don’t but showing that you looked just in case demonstrates how serious you are about collaborating with that brand.
  5. Personally engage the brand. Directly address the main brand owner (or specific designated individual if that is established). I recommend emailing them directly v.s. an open post on social media calling them out on whether or not they’ll let you post to their blog. Keep it private and keep it professional. Introduce yourself, give a little background to who you are, how you found them, maybe a past post that resonated with you, why you want to collaborate and what you’re ideas are. Remember that this post should be valuable for both parties so outlining what this collaboration will do not only for you, but for them and their creative community will really enhance the sincerity and seriousness of your post proposal.

For myself, when an interested brand approaches me to collaborate on a guest post and they’ve done a little research into my audience and what content I generally address, that speaks volumes to me! I’m like yes, this person is serious, and chances are I’ll be totally open to the collaboration.

I never recommend just throwing out there into the interwebs that you want to guest post. Have some post topics in mind and be ready to outline a potential post option for someone if they reach out in return. Never show up empty-handed and expect the other blogger to provide the content for you. If they have to do that then they mine as well just write the post themselves.

Discover more small business, branding, and website design resources on the W&R blog.

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