Last week we explored the idea of a brand pyramid as an effective tool in helping you to define and express your blog's brand. This week, we're looking at brand development from a slightly different angle, that of personal branding. If we assume that our blog acts as an an extension, or representation of our selves, then we can also look to this aspect of branding to establish a foundation from which to clarify our blog purpose and personality.
Mark Suster, Partner at Upfront Ventures, cautions that personal branding is “simply the most important way to proactively control your career development and how the market perceives you.” Sounds pretty important, right? To help define your personal brand, we'll be using the Reach Brand Pyramid model. Similar to the traditional brand pyramid, in that it builds upon itself to produce a clear brand essence, the Reach model focuses more on individual characteristics than that of company values and benefits.
How to Create a Personal Brand Pyramid
Much like in the traditional brand pyramid, the personal brand pyramid guides you through a variety of questions to help you define different aspects of your brand.
Foundation: In order to have a successful personal brand, you must personally be capable of paying your personal brand the time and attention it is due, as well as creating space to creatively nurture its growth. What are the foundational elements that allow you to do this? It might be your education, your work schedule, or family support. Likely it's a mix of elements that give you the mental wherewithal to put your intentions into practice.
Aspiration: We all have hopes and dreams, goals and “wouldn't it be amazing it's.” What are your personal objectives? What about your blog objectives? What do you hope to create, accomplish or be known for. Simply put, what do you hope to contribute and to what purpose?
Differentiation: It's not easy to make our mark without taking some time to celebrate and own what makes us different and unique. Your quirks, personal experience and yes, style point of view, are absolutely crucial. Your differentiation amongst a sea of other bloggers and fashion lovers is your ticket to success. Think about who you are and what you offer. Be introspective and take what you find and stand out, proudly. Also consider your readers' perspective, that of other bloggers, press and any brands you have worked with. What are people saying about you and your blog?
Visibility: Where are you visible? Online and offline? What strategies do you employ to be discovered by more people? Where on your blog do you communicate what you are all about? This might include leaving comments on other blogs, attending events, writing guest posts or even being represented and pitched by an agency.
Connection: In today's socially-connected world, the idea of connection has never been a more important one for brands, and individuals to consider. What is your network? How do you stay connected to your blog readers, brands, press? Your weekly newsletter, reader spotlight and pitch letters all get mentioned here.
Congruence: What are the key indicators, both visually and expressively, that help people to understand your blog as an expression of your personal brand, and vice versa. It might be a signature red lip, a sarcastic tone or a mess of big curls. Bold, successful brands are built on the element of congruence, where every possible touch point, from website to Pinterest board to pull quote is explicitly on brand. For a few examples of bloggers absolutely killing it on congruency, check out Gala Darling, PS. I Made This, and Jess Lively.
What do you think about this approach to branding your blog through the idea of personal branding. What fashion or style bloggers have reached congruence in your mind?
With every post you encourage me more and more that offline visibility is just as important! Never thought about congruence though. I’ll have to give that more thought…
I’ll definitely agree, from a Copywriter’s perspective, that a client’s blog needs to have a pyramid-like structure for branding. But the most important aspect, I believe, is building the foundation. Sometimes, it is hard for some clients, and they need help building content that reflects their brand’s voice and maintains their brand’s presence on the web. But, that’s what I’m for! Building a foundation for brands is also the job of content developers. It also helps develop the aspects of differentiation and visibility. http://acardonac.elance.com
Totally agree – first comes strong personal branding, as it’s the key point for building your blog’s DNA. What is funny, that everything may change – one day you just realize that your previous “image” just dont fit you anymore or something else may brings about in your life.. Unfortumately even personal branding can’t be buildt once to last forever.
Such an important point! Just when I think I’ve figured out my plan (and my brand) I realize I’m ready to evolve again!
This post really shows all the different parts of branding one’s blog and how important branding is in general. I would say the hardest part to define is congruence, but all parts will take time to truly define.
This post is so helpful in explaining everything xx
Personal Branding is key no doubt and as I build my site I begin to realise that more and more. For a Client though, sometimes it takes them finding out the hard way to understand exactly what it means to build their content in a flexible, non-intrusive way.
This post is truly inspiring, had a lot to learn from it!
Thanks for this! I actually just wrote a book on blog branding based on my experiences from my blogging days entitled Go From Blog to Brand in 30 Days. Check it out on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I59VFPC
Blog branding is so important, but so many bloggers ignore it! Why? Sending a consistent and powerful message to your readers is one of the best ways to increase traffic. Still, I like the pyramid concept. Unique!
I definitely agree that you have to have a strong foundation for your personal brand. You highlighted a few important parts of having the mental wherewithal, dreams, goals, and differentiation. All of those can be discovered with finding your inner Purpose for life. Through the clients we’ve helped in the past, it’s been shown that by finding your inner Purpose, it’s easy to create a fulfilling, differentiating, sustaining personal brand. If you’re interested in learning more, be sure to visit our website!