Branding is a big buzz word in blogging. So what exactly does it mean? Simply it’s the way all the elements of your blog (layout, design, blog name, URL, monetization, writing voice and posting style) convey an image to readers. You can think of it as your style or even your online reputation.
The important thing about branding is that it should be consistent everywhere you’re at both on and offline. For example, does you business card look similar to your blog? Does your Twitter background copy the design elements (graphics, color and type) of your blog? Most importantly, is your online presence the same everywhere?
Your virtual life
What I mean by the “same everywhere” is your user name. If your name is Jamie Jones and your blog is “Jamie’s Big Adventure” are you JamieBA (or something similar) on Twitter, Kirtsy, or Mom Bloggers Club? Or maybe you use your IRL (in real life) name as your online user name, for example JamieJones or JamieJ.
Then there’s Facebook. If you’re someone who changed their name after getting married, you may want to use your maiden and married names so friends who’ve knew you back in the day can find you. This is why I’m Anne-Marie Barnett Nichols on Facebook – and Facebook only. Usually I’m “amnichols” online because it’s shorter to type out, most people spell my name wrong or forget the hyphen, and many sites won’t let me use the hyphen – just a few things to think about when choosing your user name.
This is where I bring out the big disclaimer that states, “do as I say and not as I do.” True confession time – my blogging brand is a mess. All my blogs look different from my Twitter background. I’m “readablefeast” at CafeMom and “mamacooks” at FoodBuzz. My business is The Write Spot, LLC, but I’m amnichols most places unless you know me as mamarant at BlogHer.com. Ugh!
That’s what happens when you start blogging years before anyone thought about branding and trying to fit multiple blogs in one brand. However, I have some ideas about how to clean up my blogging brand and online presence:
One tool that can help this process is Knowem.com. KnowEm checks the availability of your brand name, user name or vanity URL on 120 popular social media websites. It can also help remind you where you opened an account or if someone could be posing as you somewhere else. (Now that’s a scary thought.)
If you have a business or feel your personal brand is important enough to invest in, for $64.95 (about .50 cents a name) KnowEm will fill out the registration on 120 of the popular social media sites with your user name and information in about 1 to 5 business days. That way you can avoid what they call “cyber squatting” or social media identity theft.
So what are you going to do today to clean up your online presence and brand?