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Beach Cottage Quick Real Girl Tips to Brand Your Blog

Fri 9th, Mar, 2012

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Brand Your Blog

G’day Beach Cottage ladies, did you watch the vlog here of the wild dark seas, pounding waves and brisk air from yesterday?  Amazing!

Anyway, as promised to those of you who get the Beach Cottage Newsletter, and due to popular demand ;-) a few blogging blog tips for you.

This one is about branding, for no other reason than everywhere I have been lately, not just in blogland but in the newspaper and on the tv ‘branding’ has been rammed down my throat…so it got me thinking about how that relates to Real Girls bloggers…blogging from the studies of old cottages on beaches…

Everyone knows about branding right?  But how does that fit in with your little blog that you slot into your life between being a mum or having a job, or both and doing the laundry?

Well, you might not think it is important at all, and I have to admit I didn’t deliberately set out to do any of the things that I have now learnt I actually did correctly…for once (!) but I’ve learnt that branding is very important.

So below are some super quick tips for getting your ‘brand’ out there for your blog…I think that the most important brand you have is yours…you don’t have to worry about anything else, whether or not Coca-Cola is ready to brand align with you or not…you are more important than any of that in my opinion ….you are chief of your brand and there is much you can do to enhance it.

But, do I really need that if my goal in blogging is not to change the world?  Do I really need it with my blog if I just want to make some friends from all around the world who also want to knit vintage style tea cosies & collect tea pots / paint things white and throw shells around?

 

Well yes I think you do…read on because branding, bottom line, helps one simple thing…connections and whether you are in this for the big bucks or not, unless the only person you want to blog for is yourself and your mum, you need, whatever your motives, to make connections…

 

Brand Your Blog

 

 

1. Brand Yourself

It’s nowhere near as intimidating as it sounds…

Sit down and have a think about what you are, what you are saying and how to broadcast that…mine obviously is ‘abeachcottage’ and this was a total fluke in my ‘brand’ because it was actually a joke between Mr BC and myself that the real estate tagged this place as ‘a beach cottage’ …when indeed it wasn’t on the beach and it was more a ramshackle hellhole with free rodents

….however ‘abeachcottage’ has in actual fact given me a lot of scope in this blog…being a wide all-encompassing name it has meant that I can easily try my hand at different things like recipes / fashion all under the umbrella of what does actually go on in this old cottage…

What I am trying to say here, is don’t hem yourself in too tightly, I have said that before in my ecourse and I think it is really important…

So get a brand and get it working for you…or work out how you are going to better use the one you have

 

2. Brand It

So the above doesn’t apply to you because you already have a blog, it’s going pretty well and you have readers coming back for more everyday, plus you are really happy with it, you enjoy it and it’s fitting into your life quite nicely…well make sure that you are working that…

Check your ‘branding’ is all over your blog…use the same few fonts, colours and text…and use them across the blog…

…whatever you do, say or promote on your blog and within your pages ensure that it has the same look and feel…it will say loads about your brand…

 

3. Brand Across the Board

OK, you have the colours set up – people know you by those colours & fonts now…use the same ones all across the board

…this is a simple, quick and effective way to further and enhance your brand whatever media you are using on the net…and all the Big Girl Bloggers are doing it very well…add these same colours and the same few images in all the places you are active on the net…mine are the chair in the water, my DIY bus blind in the kitchen and a couple of others plus sea green text, clean fonts & grey…they are on my Facebook page, Twitter page etc…it all adds up to simple Real Girl branding and it doesn’t cost a dime!

Don’t forget your email and more traditional items either…I only just added a decent signature to my emails, it only took me 3 years to do that…it looks about a million times better…and all my details are there in one little signature at the bottom of the email…plus it ties in all the branding on my blog

Brand Your Blog

4. Brand Your User Name

Another one where I didn’t think about it, but it’s worked out well for me….

Use the same name in all the different places you go on the web….an interesting point recently, there is this blog that I follow that is very popular, man I love that blog, it’s totally unrealistic and different to the day-to-day life that I am leading but I about suck it up every time there is a new blog post…what I didn’t realise (and I have been a regular reader for well over 18 months) is that the blogger is active on Twitter and Instagram…but on both those sites she is using a different name to her blog name…and I never could find her…not her best move

Ideally you want to have the same name across all platforms, whether you choose your name or the name of your blog is your decision but I would say always go for the blog..and add your name too if you like!

 

5. Streamline Your Profile Picture & Make it Your Brand

Add your picture to all your profiles – Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook…I use a couple of different ones, but mostly the same few…it gives your brand a face and a personal identity, I didn’t do this properly until quite recently…that was a big mistake – readers want to see who you are, they want to be friendly with a person…how many times have you clicked ‘About’ on a new company you have come across on the web only to be really disappointed and a little skeptical that this oh so wonderful company banging on about how good it is actually does not include a real person and worse no address…so include YOU in your brand…duh

I think this is very very effective in branding – have a look around and you will notice it on the big girl blogs…the really clever ones will also be dressed in something that says them or their brand or they will be doing something a bit kooky that makes you sit up, after a day of checking your blog reader in your pj’s and think, oh yeah, I remember her, the girl in the red dress, nice hair and good lipstick…I’ll read this one….

6. Brand Your Voice

I didn’t consciously do this but I have certain words on my blog and so do many other bloggers that I visit – so think about branding how you blog…different bloggers will use different ideas but their branding will run through their blog voice (which they will also use in social media) too

…for example I brande d my blog voice with things like  ‘Too Easy’ recipes (Mr BC thought that up for me) and using Mr Beach Cottage the Beach Cottage Crew and Beach Cottagers…all just my little personal quirks but what I didn’t realise they were doing when I started the blog and just wrote them was that they were building my brand…

…and, keep your voice consistent on all the social networks…this is tricky sometimes with Twitter with the character limit and Facebook..but be yourself & add your branded voice wherever you go…don’t try and be too clever or different to what you are…just do it

 

 

That’s it from my Real Girl blogging tips…these tips are Too Easy ;-) …you can do them in less time than it takes to catch up with your latest blog fix…I hope you find them useful.

Cheers big ears

 

Sarah

 

p.s. want more blogging tips from a girl who has been through it… Beach Cottage Sweet Blogging the E-Course here xo 

Brand Your Blog

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70 Responses to “Beach Cottage Quick Real Girl Tips to Brand Your Blog”

  1. Susan says:

    Good tips, Sarah – thanks for sharing.

    My blog started out as a cross-stitching blog, but I’m grateful that I didn’t use the words “cross stitching” in my blog, because now I’m looking at doing other things as well, and I think my blog name fits whatever I’m trying to do (I picked my blog name from a popular cross-stitch chart, but it means so much more than just a cross stitch design).

    I guess I should change my twitter name, and maybe add my own picture to my blog, but I like my little blue & white ginger jar (which is also in the header of my blog) :)

    • sarah says:

      Susan I didn’t add a profile picture at first, I used a vintage bus blind as my profile picture…I think it’s ok as long as you are consistent so it says you wherever you go…

      but I do think a profile picture is good to give you some personality!
      x

  2. Lisa says:

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts, Sarah! I know I need to stop fooling with my blog look and header but it’s kind of like my house….I’m constantly tinkering with it – but you are right, the look is part of the branding. One of the best things I ever read about blogging was to find your own writing voice and be yourself. I always try to be authentic and I hope that comes through as part of my brand.
    Your blogging tips are so helpful and appreciated!!

  3. Kirsty says:

    Loved these tips Sarah! I do some of these things without thinking about it either but there were a few I hadn’t even thought of so thank you!! I will have to go have a good look at my blog and see what I can do better, consistency in design/text/images is one thing I’m just getting the hang of, but it really makes the page look that much more streamlined! Great tips Mrs BC ;) xo K

  4. Beach Cottage Quick Real Girl Tips to Brand Your Blog | | Fashion World for She says:

    [...] original here:  Beach Cottage Quick Real Girl Tips to Brand Your Blog | Comments [...]

  5. Julia Reynolds says:

    I hadn’t thought about branding across social media, I have a Facebook page that is popluar but not a blog and so today I will brand throughout it more, thanks.

    I was one of the ones that emailed about the Too Easy recipe thing, I couldn’t believe it when I saw that, I had noticed the similarities (well actually stealing your whole blog idea) when I came across it and then when I saw that I had to get in touch.

    You were so kind to say it didn’t matter!

  6. Thanks Sarah. I have devoured all of the ‘real girl’ blogging tips, keep ‘em coming.

    I get what you are saying about having your picture out there, and how it builds a personal relationship with the readers. But I am self conscience about it, and have tried to keep pictures of myself to a minimum. I have my profile pic right on my blog front page (wearing big sunglasses ie: a mask), but nowhere else on the blog.

    This is something that I need to get over? I guess I don’t want my blog to be about ME, but rather the activities that are going down here. Maybe I need to work on some photos that I feel share a bit, but not too much. Not yet anyway.

    Thanks for the listen.

    • sarah says:

      Jay I felt the same…I didn’t have a single picture on my blog until about 18 months in…and then it was behind the camera…I was so worried about how I looked…not I do fashion posts…go figure!

      it is really important though and I think if you blog is going to get big you are going to have to get over it anyway cos people will recognise you etc so you might as well get used to it

      best thing I did was take some photos one day when I had quite a bit of time on my hands…I had washed my hair, styled it, put on some make up and nice clothes cos I was going out for lunch and then took the photos then….errm about a million times better than trying to get one of me on a regular day with no make-up…so that helps xxxx

  7. Claudia says:

    Just one thought to add: my facebook life is different than my blogging life. I work in the theater and have wide-ranging interests. I have no desire to brand that page with my blog identity (which is about nesting and home and gardening, etc.). Yes, some of my followers are fellow bloggers, but many of them have no idea about my blog and that’s just fine with me. So I can see why someone might have a different name for an Instagram or Twitter account. I do, too.

    My blog is one of my passions, a great passion – but I post on Facebook and Instagram for lots of people who might not necessarily be blog readers.

    I suppose the answer is to have different accounts?

    • sarah says:

      yes I think that is the answer…

      your blog readers would probably love it if you have a Facebook page and Instagram too…I know by feedback that some people like to follow just on those channel & they never come near my blog…plus it’s great for making friends from all different avenues

      x

  8. Cas says:

    Hiya Sarah :) Thanks for the tips. I think I’ve already done some of those things and others I will have to see about implementing, but today I think I’m just gonna switch the computer off and read a book (and maybe a bit of housework :))…..it’s all just doing my head in a bit at the mo ;)
    Cas x

    • sarah says:

      Cas, if I feel like that I go offline for a few days…one thing I have learnt is that it will be still there when you get back!

      enjoy the weekend x

  9. Marnie says:

    Great tips Sarah. Thanks for sharing…(not many bloggers do). I think I’m doing a few of these things, but want to implement them all. My biggest problem with blogging is organising my time better….
    I’m crap at that
    x Marnie

    • sarah says:

      I hear you Marnie, I wish I could wave a magic wand for that one…she types as another load of washing finishes and needs to get on the line ;-)

      x

  10. Karlee says:

    Grateful for your tips Sarah. Nice of you to share them with us xo

  11. Barefoot Liz says:

    Sarah! For those of us who have no idea what our ‘brand’ is yet, how do we decide?? I have a couple of choices but I can’t seem to commit.

  12. Caz says:

    Great tips Sarah. I have been seriously thinking of starting another blog for ages so I can get more involved in blogging rather than just as a reader and commenter. I started my original blog to really just have somewhere online I could send people to look at the hats I make and sometimes I blogged about other things but its pretty much all just related to hats and since I have been in a creative slump in blogging and millinery well my posts have just about dried up. I think you are right in having a brand that can encompass more variety as I’m sure that makes blogging way easier and also way more interesting for the reader.

    • sarah says:

      hmmm it’s tricky if you are in a creative slump I think…how about using a different kinda of social media to blog?? something that’s quicker and easier…say ‘blog’ a photo to FAcebook and add some your text there, or Instagram if you have an iphone…I love this kinda micro-blogging and it is a great way to make connections xo

  13. Veggie Mama says:

    Excellent points! As with yours, Veggie Mama was an accident but has worked out very well in my favour. People might not read the blog, but they’ve heard of me! It also gave me an umbrella with which to work, and a pretty obvious niche. And I didn’t think much of branding at first, but now that it’s become more of a help than a hindrance, I’m pleased it’s so accessible. And I’ve recently aligned with a big-name brand in a long-term partnership – and they were really keen to be associated with my “brand”. Win-win!

    • sarah says:

      no I didn’t think much of branding at first…but as I have moved on with this blog and different things are happening with it one of the best things I have done is making my blog first not another brand…

      I bet they wanted to be part of your brand ;-) and I hope you charged a mint for it :-)

      Sarah x

  14. Janelle says:

    You are very generous Sarah with youre blogging (and all other!!) advice. And very inspiring! I am SO tempted to be big and brave and start blogging myself. Hmmm…know of any good e-courses???!! xx

    • sarah says:

      haha well it’s a big old pond out there Janelle, I think really just diving headfirst in is sometimes the answer x

  15. Thanks for sharing these Sarah, I love the “Branding Your Voice” tips but always struggle with that one when I’d like to share my name but don’t really want to share family names, etc.

    • sarah says:

      well I think you can do it without sharing your family name you just have to find out what you are comfortable with and work it. x

  16. momstheword says:

    These are great ideas. I can’t brand myself until I figure out what niche my blog fits into. Right now I just don’t have time to blog much but even so, I still can’t figure out what my blog wants to be when it grows up, lol! The humor posts are quick and easy but they don’t really fit in with the whole “mom” thing.

  17. Christine says:

    Right on my cottage sister across the sea! I love your blogging tips. I will put them into practice soon with my new blog! You are such a help and inspiration and with every read of your ‘tatty old cottage by the sea’ post, childhood memories fill my soul!
    Big hugs, Chris

  18. One day I woke up and it appeared my blog had turned into a brand without me noticing. Now it’s got a mind of it’s own. Suger’s this and that and whatever.

    Actually the whole Suger thing itself was an accident. THAT says how much I deliberately set out to brand my blog. Turns out, it all worked out in the end. Knowing this at the start would have helped and I could have been more deliberate rather than bumping around into things. ;)

    • sarah says:

      hmmm yes it seems I bumped around too but I do think that for whatever reason you want to blog branding it works

      case in point I think of you as Suger …there you go x

  19. Rukmini Roy says:

    Very nice read Sarah. I have been in the digital agency for sometime now and our SEO and SMO specialists give very similar pointers. More than everything I think it is necessary to find one’s voice. I have seen you use a certain color combo and font and styling and high key photographs through out your blog. At first I used to think you like the style and color but its true that quickly the colors and lay outs and style become “you”.

    Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed!

    btw, I think once I did use that “Too easy” thing. It was seriously coincidental. Next tym, I’ll put a TM behind that. :P

    • sarah says:

      haha Rukmini I haven’t trade marked it lol

      yeah I didn’t think about the colour in the photographs too…I have had some people tell me they don’t like the colours in my photos, but that’s just he way I like them x

      • Rukmini Roy says:

        Lol. You know, my brother uses the word “depends” a lot. Evil thing made us put TM everytime. :P Except for exam papers. His logic is: “Verbal plagiarism should never be encouraged. ” He is a very funny guy.

        Btw, you kidding? I love the colors in your blog. If I ever get to work in a paint company, I’ll introduce a “Sarah” range. I lurve your blog and you get mentioned a lot in my home. Now my mum follows you too :)

        I have painted my refrigerator with chalk paint btw and its done :) Thanks for the inspiration. Peep in if you get time.

  20. Great tips again! I’ll work away at implementing them in the next bit. The profile picture will be the hardest one C:

  21. Amanda says:

    Profile pictures are like the picture your eyes first glance to when you read an ad. For many people, the picture decides whether you read on or turn the page. Your web profile picture is just the same!

  22. Sibylle says:

    I didnt know about the whole Too Easy Recipe thing, but you are right, it doesnt matter, imitation is still the highest form of flattery:-)

  23. alison says:

    I recently had to use my employer’s branding guidelines to format documents. Initially I thought it was the biggest joke but in the end I was totally fascinated by the whole process.

    alison

  24. Marie says:

    Always grateful for your thoughts on blogging, photography and such.

    Cheers!

  25. Kerry says:

    Great tips . . . thanks! I’m working really hard to get my blog up and going. Your tips help more than you will know!

  26. Mandy says:

    What a wonderful post. I can’t thank you enough for an inspirational read. You make it sound so easy I am encouraged! I must ask your advice though about posting daily vs. a few times a week? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated
    Mandy
    http://littlemaison.com

    • sarah says:

      Mandy I think you have to blog with what suits you.

      I think in the early days three times a week will keep your content very high as you learn the ropes…obviously though the more you blog the more hits you have…but it takes time to build it up and I have had many girls email me saying that going in too heavy on the posting makes them burn-out…in the early days I only posted 2 to 3 times a week

      hope that helps

      Sarah

  27. Love it Sarah – bloggers can learn SO much from you! Want to link this up on my post today? There’s no rules – just wanting to share all the blog posts about blogging every week x

  28. g’day sarah!
    i know your are have a fine saturday and would LOVE nothing more than to be a beach club member.
    please condsider me for membership.
    thank,
    janner nanner

  29. Debbie Panton says:

    Thank you for this post. Lots to think about. I was thinking about some of this last night. I added a post and pics to my blog and than I thought… why… what is this blog really about.. do these pictures make sense with what I want my blog to be about??? It’s hard at the start to just get a clear direction where you want to go. I hadn’t considered being consistent with fonts styles and colours either. I love to play around with those. When I have more direction with my blog, I had planned to use my ” blog name” when visiting other blogs and I do have a separate facebook page for my blog… just not much of a blog. I actually have 2 blogs ( they both have the same name.. I was just experimenting with the style options each one had… but until you upgrade to a professional level… ( pay a fee), you really don’t have access to all the options anyway. Than another option I looked at today was self hosting…. did you have someone to help you with the layout or look of your blog when you started? When you blog, do you prepare some posts in advance or do you have an idea what you’ll be posting on in the coming days or weeks. Feel funny calling a my few silly posts much of a blog right now. Did you spend more time in the early days of your blog… trying to get it to come together. Just curious … would you post a link to your first post?? Thanks again for sharing … much appreciated.

    • sarah says:

      Hi Debbie

      In the early days of my blog I just sat down and blogged what I was doing in this cottage and it was just a little place for me to come at the end of the day and really log what was going on, so I was surprised when people started commenting and following our journey. I didn’t spend much time on it at all but as I have gone along I have just learnt things so it is probably a lot quicker for me to get things together than say someone who is just starting…things like how to load photos, how to write etc…

      No up until recently I did all the design on this blog myself, including the header etc…it’s actually not too hard, including using free templates in blogger etc, as long as you keep it simple and clean…nothing beats a white header with text for me too!

      I don’t plan very much at all, I am a seat of a my pants kinda girl, I need to improve that really…but that’s just me…I have a rough idea of what I will post depending on what is floating my boat that week…and usually hint at that in my newsletter…
      x

  30. Great advice, Sarah! It is so “sweet” of you to share your ideas with us. How am I doing with my branding voice? LOL!

  31. Jasmine says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, so this post has come at a perfect time! I’m trying to streamline my blog, twitter and Instagram but ‘lavendersgreen’ seems to be pretty darn popular and that user name is taken almost everywhere! I’m currently tinkering with fonts and colours on my blog to find something that works for me. Next up is a better header – I did mine in PhotoShop a few years ago and while I like it’s simplicity I didn’t realise it was blurry until I got a Mac. I was horrified, haha!

    x Jasmine

    • sarah says:

      good luck with it Jasmine!

      I wonder if you can change your name just a bit to make it more unique to you if it’s already taken in some places?
      x

  32. I agree with you, except I’m not sure I can brand my voice!

  33. Hi Sarah,
    Loving the Real Girl blogging tips. (Well, I love your blog all of the time.) I’ve needed to a get a pic in my profile forevah! I’ve shared my mug in a silly blooper reel and such but I definitely need to get on with a nice photo of me. (I’m usually the one behind the camera.) Thanks for the kick in the pants to do that! I like what you had to say about blog voice. I used to call my friends (readers) Laundry Lovers but I thought it sounded a little…odd. ;) I need to do a nice signature too with the 31 social media links that I now have, get some pics on facebook, etc….Gee. I had better get with the program here. I’m still learning as I go along so I appreciate the tips!

    xo,
    Jami

  34. Love your tips! I’m thinking about the first one, and there are so many different “me’s”…I don’t know which one to brand! I love design, clothes, bungalows, my family, thifting, scoring!LOL. Every week I ramble on about God knows what. I even came up with a new logo that I can’t figure out how to correctly size to upload it. This may be the most challenging thing I’ve ever done…”huff!”

  35. Well said, thank you! I’ve linked this to my blogging post too today, your advice is great!

  36. Thanks so much for the tips! Seems that, overall, I managed to do a fairly good job of branding my blog. Woo hoo, go me! ;) Still working a few kinks out – for example, when I post this, my little icon probably won’t show up and I still haven’t figured that one out! Oh well!

  37. laurel says:

    While I try to stay true to a brand (as in me) on my new blog, I am kind of feeling around for my authentic voice right now. How long do you feel it took for you to get in the groove of it and find it? I am worried if I take too long, I will screw up the whole branding concept!

    • sarah says:

      I think just roll with it in the beginning…but for starters little things like the same photo across social media lets people know who you are x