|In establishing an online brand, you want to become synoymous with a common solution to a problem. So how is this achieved online?
- Identify your marketIf you don’t know who you’re talking to, you’ll have a hard time figuring out how to communicate to them.Who is your market? Just becuase you’re online doesn’t mean it’s the whole world. Think about who your ideal client is, and be where they are. Talk to them in forums and through your blog. What do they want? Why are you the beet choice to give it to them?
- Find out what positive solution you want to represent Once you know who you’re targeting, you’ll realize what their problems are. And if you’ve done your market research during product development or the planning of your service offerings, you know what problem you’re solving.So all that remains is finding out what the conversation is, and where it’s taking place, then tying your solution to the conversation about the problem.
To sum it up in one sentence – what benefits do you want to become known for?
Once you answer that question, create a consistent way to convey it. The slogan, the logo, the mantra, everything that markets your site should evolve from the chosen brand identity.
- Discover that conversation online and enter it in a bold waySome of the greatest blogs to read either start a new conversation or have a fresh angle on the solutions. But it’s not just about the blog.It’s about the main website, the publication, the logos, the product, the blog, the podcasts, the articles – everything that comes from your company, whether that is through your actualy website or not.
You want to say something different – and you want to be as distinct from the next guy as you can be. If they aren’t blogging, you can be the first. If they are, you can integrate podcasting, or add more RSS channels.
Use pictures in your blog, use color. Use sound or video by podcasting. And as your idenity is established, deliver those messages in a way that is consistent with your chosen brand idenity.
- Go deep then wideHere’s a common mistake made by people who are branding themselves but don’t realize it. It stems from the failure to choose your branding message consciously.That mistake is trying to “be” two unrelated things at once. I’ll give you a fictional example that I often see in Internet Marketing.
Shoeford writes a book about setting up an internet ebook business. He becomes known as the internet ebook guy. Whenever you see his name, you know you’re going to learn something new and useful about internet ebooks.
Then suddenly, without any warning, Shoeford decides to start telling you about how to sell on ebay. You subscribed to hiss blog to hear when his new internet ebook products are coming out – not to read other people’s articles, or for ebay tips. So you take his feed out of your reader.
What could Shoeford have done better to avoid this?
If he knew with any foresight that he was going into that area, he could have branded himself as the ebooks sales guy. Then after a purchase about selling ebooks, a book about selling ebooks on ebay might have made sense.
If he didn’t know? He could have announced a whole different blog to his current audience and got some crossover traffic, instead of alienating his core audience.
The lesson? Choose a brand that can be expanded. Brand deep within the market you originally chose. When you’re ready to go into another area, find a common ground between where you started and where you want to go next.
- Amplify your brand statement in as many ways as you can We talked about how your ebrand has to do with every message that comes out of your company, such that it can be expressed or referenced online.Once you’ve begun to show that you’re different, you’ll want to say how you’re different. You may want to illustrate the reactions to your successful implementations with testimonials.
Or maybe you just need to add another promotional vehicle. If you’ve been getting your message out through article marketing, then perhaps it’s time for a podcast. Once you’ve been blogging, you may start to see that you’re not fully utilizing your RSS options.
The more ways you find to spread your message, the more of your target audience you may reach. Some people who won’t read your message might listen to it. Those newer to the net might find you in an article. More sophisticated – and often wealthier – net users are likely to run across your RSS feed.
- Monitor brand awareness and reactionBeing a blogger, and learning to use the tools of the blogosphere starts to show you conversation trends.You may start to find places where you are referenced and discussed. Once the message your brand sends starts to spread, you’ll also start to see the reaction to your message. Reviews may pop up. Questions may show up in forums, or in other blogs.
You can use those external discussions to spark dialogue in your own blog.
This isn’t a full picture of developing an online brand, and assumes, that to a certain point, you’ve done research on your product line or services, with particular focus on how they will be received online. However, it hits on the major points and can help you figure out what area you might need to revisit.