To optimize your blog as a business tool, you need to not only establish a personal brand, but you need to stay “on brand”. I discovered the terms “on brand” and “off brand” at Jibber Jobber’s review of Trent Hamm’s The Simple Dollar. I’ve been wondering whether my posts at Grow Your Writing Business were straying too far off topic. Am I trying to cover too much? Is is relevant or of interest to freelance writers? After all, freelance writing is a huge area to cover.
On Topic vs On Brand
I had a “Eureka” moment when I read the Jibber Jobber post. I’d been struggling with thinking “on topic” rather than thinking “on brand.” There is a difference. Liz Strauss at Successful Blog and Wendy Piersall at eMoms At Home both cover quite an eclectic range of topics around their central themes of personal development and business. They have developed strong and very effective brands around their names, personalities, credibility and blogs. They do not always stay “on topic” but they always stay “on brand”.
The concept of staying “on brand” is a freeing one rather than a confining one. When you find your niche or brand, stay consistently true to it. Stay “on brand”. By reinforcing and strengthening your brand rather than diluting it, you can be more effective with your online promotion. Also, if you develop information products such as ebooks, readers will know what to expect.
The interesting thing here is that you and your blog have a brand, whether you think about it consciously or not. Your blog brand is what readers, colleagues and prospective clients associate with your blog and you. It’s why they visit and what they’ve come to expect. It’s about you too, as a writer and as a person.
At Essential Keystrokes, Char says her main blog income is not from ads, but from the value adding her blog brings to her core business – web design. Prospective clients come to know her through her writing and interactions. She posts consistently useful information about her area of expertise – web design, marketing, web tools and related issues. We know the old adage of preferring to do business with people we know.