Welcome back my wonderful readers! As our children begin to prepare for back to school, maybe YOU have wanted to dabble in the mom blogosphere. If you find yourself with more free time on your hands in September, maybe YOU have a message you wish to share with the masses. So, as our first ‘back to the grind’ post, a little branding and mom blogging for you.
Enjoy! Erica xo
By Guest Blogger Dena Enos
Congratulations on potentially starting a new blog! It’s a bold step to share a part of yourself and experiences as a mother with new readers. There are so many important details to figure out as you begin this unique content journey. What will your unique contribution be in the Mommy Blogosphere? Will you share photographs of your children? How will your partner respond to the content you write each week? Sadly, I can’t advise on these very important matters (only you can really answer them and maybe even then, the answers can evolve and change over time), but I can lend a helping hand on creating a fabulous brand without breaking your budget.
Here are five easy ways to build a brand that you and your new readers, will come to know and love.
1. Start with a Simple Brand
Creating a brand is like expressing your personality. It is a visual representation of the values, ethos and content you are sharing with the world. You can create the brand you always envisioned in a few different ways. Our own customers told us that “website or blog” was the #1 intended purpose for their shiny new logo design.
The most common way may be to use a graphic designer who fellow bloggers have used. Keep in mind that the pricing and quality of work can vary from project when working with an individual graphic designer or agency. If you are looking for a more economical option, it’s perfectly copacetic to decline using the very talented (but quite pricey) graphic designer your friend recommended. Create a logo yourself. By using a free logo maker online, you can get fabulous, professional results using a specialised software (think a logo-focused PhotoShop in the cloud) at an extremely affordable price point.
Make sure that your new design can be modified for a variety of placement types (more on this later, but it is extremely important to be able to easily adjust the sizing of your logo design without distorting the quality of the image). Whether you decide to create a logo yourself, or work with a vetted graphic designer, do yourself a favour and make sure that you receive vector files as part of the finished product. If you don’t receive these files, you may end up spending more time and money later when you are ready to expand your marketing.
2. Keep it Personal, But Always Professional
For many of us, blogging is a personal journey. But, this does not mean it can’t also be professional. I like adopting variations on rules-of-thumb from the corporate world to infuse professionalism into any creative project.
First, with every email you send, include your logo in your signature. This is a quick and easy fix that instantly makes your blog more professional and authoritative. Take your new logo design file and include it in your email signature, along with the your title and URL. Additionally, when you are commenting to posts on your own blog, or perhaps commenting on the blogs of other fellow moms, make sure you brand your presence. This creates a cohesive online presence, which makes your name and blog more recognizable and easier to return to as a happy reader.
Make yourself accessible to your readers, through an easy “contact me” process. This can be as simple as an email address or online form to submit feedback. It builds accountability and creates an invaluable line of communication between you and your ever-expanding audience.
3. Use Social Media to Extend Your Brand
Since you take so much pride in creating this unique, authentic content, make sure to share it on a wide variety of platforms. Figure out which social media platform is best for you. Picture-centric? Opt for Instagram or Tumblr. A fan of short witticisms? Try tweeting. Want to start on the most popular platform? Create a companion Facebook page for your blog.
You can use these platforms to share and tease your content, and drive return readers to your blog. You can also share slightly different or expanded content on these sites, such as additional photographs, that complement existing content on your blog. You’ll provide a well-rounded and more varied experience for your readers. Additionally, your readers will have the opportunity to comment, respond and easily share their favorite posts with their friends, connections or followers, exposing your brand to a whole new audience with every interaction.
As you set these pages up, make sure to continue building your brand. For most social media platforms, there are two separate images: a small, profile pic, usually 160 x 160, and a larger cover image pic, typically 851 x 315. While you can certainly make some creative adjustments with the brand you have started to build (perhaps modify the colours, layout or text in your logo design to customise it for this specific audience) you want to maintain the same professional look and feel, so that it is clear that the two pages are related. Feature your most popular post of the week as the primary message and include your logo as a secondary message to reinforce your brand. Or, make it relatable and personal, by featuring your favourite family photo of the week.
4. Give Your Brand to Everyone You Meet
Now that you are your own boss and brand, you are exclusively responsible for marketing and promoting yourself. Even with our personal and professional lives moving effortlessly back and forth between the online and offline worlds, business cards remain the easiest, most convenient and widely-accepted way to share your contact details with a new connection. Don’t skimp on this important brand asset.
Be ready for every potential connection, from a blogger convention to an interesting potential collaborator who was behind you in the line at Starbucks, by having at least 15 business cards on hand at all times. Showcase your brand and customize your business cards with non-traditional details that tie uniquely to your blog and editorial voice.
I love when bloggers share unique tidbits to separate themselves and their blog from all others. You can include your children’s names, and year of birth (if you choose to share those). Or, highlight key segments that believe are the signature of your blog and brand – maybe you are brilliant at gluten-free desserts or a whiz at getting tots to sleep. Include these details as special features on your business card. List your website on the front and back of the card, and make sure that your logo design is prominently placed on the front of the card. Include links to your other social media properties and your Twitter profile, if relevant, and your email address or other preferred contact information. Business cards are now easier and more affordable than ever to create online yourself.
5. Get Creative with Affordable Marketing Items
It doesn’t have to cost loads to create branding products for your business. Custom t-shirts or mugs, even canvas bags can all be created within 15 minutes at a variety of price points. My latest marketing obsession are custom pens. You read that correctly. They are surprisingly affordable and can feature a wide variety of messages and graphics (I’ve even wrapped my business card design around a thicker pen for fabulous results). Custom pens can include key information, such as your blog logo or name plus URL, and are easy to carry around in your purse or changing bag and even easier to share with new contacts. Every person that you share the pen with may hold onto it and use it for days, months, even years. I frequently come across a pen that was given to me many months later, at the bottom of my once-favorite purse, and I’m immediately reminded of that company, brand or experience (and that I need to wear the purse more often). Sometimes pens are passed around as well, exposing even more people to your brand and name.
Wishing you all the luck and success in the world in the Mom Blogosphere
Dena is the Vice President of Marketing for LogoMix, a self-service branding and marketing platform for small businesses, featuring the easiest and most powerful logo maker online. She has scaled global teams in customer acquisition, CRM, brand marketing, public relations and social media. She draws on more than ten years of senior leadership experience, from startups to publicly traded companies. She is the proud mum of Annisa Joy, age two.
I would love to know, have YOU thought of starting a blog? It’s a saturated marketplace, but if you have something of value to say, I say go for it… THE WORLD IS LISTENING!