You guys are in for a double whammy today because I’ll be posting last week’s missed Biz Notes later this afternoon, but I’ve got so much to say on the blog front- I just couldn’t miss a week!

We’ve talked about “finding” time to blog, how to ensure you’re creating vs. just curating content online, and now I’d like to talk about building your “blog brand.”

When I set out to start a blog, it really wasn’t a well thought out process. I loved to cook and wanted to share that passion online, so starting a blog made sense. It wasn’t until years into blogging that I started thinking about the brand behind my blog- the brand that encompassed my overall content. Now, though, since blogging has become such a “thing,” and there are so many in depth resources online, any newbie blogger actually has the ability to be really proactive in building their blog brand from the get go. Before getting into how to be proactive, let’s first clarify the exact meaning of a blog brand.

To me, it’s your story. It’s the story that serves as the consistent thread throughout all of your content. And establishing that thread is crucial when it comes to creating a blog that’s destined to grow. My original story was clearly very vested in the Barefoot Contessa, but it has since grown well beyond that- and that growth is specifically outlined in our About section:

“Though we do still love Ina dearly, the term ‘Contessa’ has taken on a much broader meaning around here. We believe it to be someone who exhibits a classic and sophisticated way of living, eating, cooking, and entertaining.”

That is our story, and I look to those two words- classic and sophisticated- when working to ensure all the content on CC consistently reflects our brand. Beyond that frame, I work to only include content that fits within my personal manner of cooking, eating, entertaining, and living. That signifies everything from preparing food naturally to not including any DIY or crafting posts on CC. It’s all intentional, and it’s all part of the overall brand.

So- how should you go about building your blog brand? Here are my recommended steps:

1. Solidify Your Story: And do not tell me that your story is “I love….(to cook, craft, shop, etc.)” Clearly you love it! You’re starting a blog. Get more specific, then capture it in words (i.e. your brand statement), and use it as your guiding force when it comes to your voice, style, and content.

2. Be Authentic When it Comes to Content: When you have a blog, people often have a lot of opinions about what you should cover. That’s all well and good, but you should only be posting content you truly want to write about. It’s also really easy to feel swayed by what you see online- that’s why is so important to focus on creating original content. Exploration is key though, so don’t feel as if you can’t try something and if you don’t want to go back to it, it’s in some way a failure. It’s going to take time to figure out what content is right in the long term, and more importantly, how to introduce new content in the right way so it fits within your already established brand.

3.Stay True to that Brand: Blogging is all about evolution and growth, so your content will change and your story will likely shift over time. The important thing is to be consistently conscious of that story in order to both keep content in line and identify if that story has changed. Staying true to your brand really comes into play when working with sponsors, but that will be a whole other topic for another week!

That’s my two cents. Anyone else familiar with growing a blog brand? Would love to hear your tips in the comments!

Image Source: Kate Spade Shoes via Glitter Guide

  1. I totally agree, but I do wonder if new bloggers are taking brand building way too seriously in the beginning. There are definitely way more resources out there now than when I started, but I’m glad I wasn’t thinking about my blog brand in the beginning, because it was only through all the experimenting I did that I figured out my style and what I really liked sharing. I do think it’s helpful and important to think about why you want to blog and what you want to get out of it in the beginning, but I think it’s also important to just create and explore and see where it leads you. The best brands aren’t forced, they’re developed over time. I think if I could do it all over again, the one thing I would do differently is to create a regular posting schedule and stick to it from the beginning — it wasn’t until I was creating something every day that I really developed my skills and could find that point between what I liked sharing and what others responded to, which helped me create my brand.

    Sorry for the novel, guess I have a lot to say this week!

    • Clara

      Hi Lisa- I SO appreciate your comment! And very much agree with a lot of you are saying. Exploration is key and there has to be a balance when it comes to putting too much pressure on ourselves upfront to establish that blog brand. I do think it’s important though to really think about your story up front- or at least understand the purpose of honing in on that story overtime, and how exploration should lead to that. I also think it’s important to be honest with one’s self upfront and not feel like you need to force yourself into a certain content category to gain readers or grow your blog. I know I tried doing that and it didn’t really help in the long run! Anyway, thanks so much for your input- love having you as a reader! xx

      • Oh, I definitely would have saved myself some time if I had kept some sort of purpose in mind from the beginning! I remember reading Yuli Ziv’s book, and something she said in the beginning really clicked for me — ask yourself what kind of person you want to be, and use your blog to answer that question. If I had at least done that from the beginning, I would have developed my brand a lot sooner. But on the other hand, I was such a perfectionist at the time that if I had really tried to develop a purpose, I probably would have never started haha. Love this discussion!

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