Have you been keeping track of your blog and social media stats for a few months? Are you unhappy with the growth and monetization of your blog? Do you feel like you are spending hours working on content but not seeing the results?
Two factors contribute to brand growth – purpose and consistency. I’ve written about how defining a clear purpose helped me grow my brand and shared my FREE Find Your Focus worksheet to help you identify a distinct brand. However, today, I wanted to talk about the second component – consistency. It is incredibly essential to building a successful brand.
1 | On Topic Messaging + Content
Defining your mission, niche, and the tribe is essential components to growing your brand. In the #SmarterSaturday Facebook group, we’ve had a few discussions about this topic. My position is that if you continue to blog about all different subjects, you do not come off as an expert and reliable source. Thus, what and how your content services your readers is unclear, and subsequently, do not refer you to friends and colleagues.
Here’s an example: You have a food blog, but you want to write about other lifestyle and entertaining topics. That’s fine, but each post should be focused on the main purpose. Instead of doing a bunch of different posts. Each new post should be a recipe. In that post, include details that are related to lifestyle and entertaining. This approach guarantees to your reader that you will have a recipe each time. The additional content is consider “value-added“. It is a differential from other food blogs.
2 | Reliable Frequency of Content
In 2016, this point has been a particular struggle for me. If you work, run your blog, and have a life, it’s hard to do it all. When clients ask me how frequently they should post, my recommendation is to build a bank of five posts (one a week). If they find they have more time, then add another post each week. It is more important to be consistent than go through lengthy periods of no posts followed my series of 4-5 posts in one week.
When the frequency of your message is consistent, readers know when to expect new content from you. Readers look forward to your posts on x day. You also convey yourself as a professional and an expert. Regardless the type of blog you have, we want people to associate our content with those two characteristics.
When also thinking about your content frequency, also consider the “after the post” steps on social media and with your newsletter. You want to make sure you can optimize your post thoroughly. Four under-optimized blog posts do not equate to one fully optimized blog post.
3 | Aligned + Unique Branding
People respond to visuals, and one of the biggest challenges that brands face is not extending their visual brand identity throughout all components of the brand, especially for blogs. Your site design is not independent of your daily blog content. Both components need to work together seamlessly.
- Brand Identity + Site Design: Your logo and blog design set the tone of your brand; the should create a reaffirm your distinct point of view and content message. Fortunately, you do not need to spend a lot of money in this area. Premade blog headers and themes are a great way to set the tone. It will be the daily content of your blog post graphics, newsletter, and social media that will give you that distinct point of view!
- Blog Post Graphics: Each post is an opportunity for your to contribute to your visual brand identity. Blog post templates are a great way for your to achieve this objective. If your content is more photo-centric, then ensuring you have a consistent photo style is also important. Out of all the areas discussed, establishing a consistent brand identity for their daily content is often the biggest struggle. Your blog graphics don’t exist on your site only (like your website design); they are also tools for promoting your content on social media, especially Pinterest. Readers and clients have commented that they can clearly identify my content on Pinterest due to my consistent branding (more on this below).
- Social Media: The graphics and content you share on social media should also align with your overall brand identity. Social media is a way to extend your presence beyond your domain name. Compatible images and graphics set expectations for your brand. When people click-thru to your site, you are meeting (and often exceeding) their expectations.
- Newsletter: Email marketing is more effective than social media marketing, and therefore, it is critical that you also extend this visual identity to your sign-up forms, email templates, and email marketing content. If you are an online retailer, your biggest conversions will likely come from email campaigns; so, it is vital your visual brand identity aligns with your primary brand. Useful Post: Seamless Extension of Your Brand Identity
4 | Active Social Media + Email Marketing
The final component of a consistent brand experience is social media and email marketing. The content you share on both channels should align with your overall message, and you should share content daily. If you are like most people (including myself), you might not have the time to do this each day. That’s where scheduling tools come in. Some of my favorite resources include Coschedule, BufferApp, Tailwind (for Pinterest), and Lategramme. All of these tools allow you to build up a bank of social media posts. I’ve found it is easier for me to batch schedule content, then do it daily. Each Friday, I ensure that each platform has a bank of posts for the next week. Some of these are day-to-day, and other’s are not! It just depends on what works for you.
As for email marketing, if you are collecting emails, it is vital that you send out a newsletter either once a week, every other week or once a month. You want to stay fresh in people’s inboxes. You can do this in a couple of different ways either with RSS emails or with a weekly newsletter. Maybe instead of writing a blog post, you can channel that into a newsletter series.
You might be thinking, I do all of these things, but I’m still not seeing results! Get an outside opinion of your content from your readers. The downside about blogging is that you are a team of one. There is no debate about content or direction. Feedback is passive (lack of growth), instead of active. That’s why a Reader Survey can help you refine your brand and see outside of the box!
In my #SmarterSaturday newsletter in December, I talked about how my Reader Survey helped me refine and improve my content. Since implementing those refinements, I have seen significant growth to my website and blog. The 2016 Blog Planner can help you not only plan your content but create a meaningful survey. You might also benefit from going through my previous posts on the Brand Audit.