Why Bloggers need a Brand Plan

Bloggers, wondering how to make your blog better?  You’re already creating great content, promoting via Twitter, Google+, Facebook etc., but still want to do more to build your blog. 

Why not create a Brand Plan?  What is a Brand Plan?  This definition ofBrand Strategy by CarlyStec sums it up nicely. 

“Brand strategy is a plan that encompasses specific, long-term goals that can be achieved with the evolution of a successful brand — the combined components of your company’s character that make it identifiable.”

In short, your Brand Strategy is what actions you plan to take involving your Brand to grow and/or strengthen your business – in this case – your Blog.

Part 1:  Why?

But what does a Brand Strategy do for your Blog?

  • Helps you Connect with your viewers
  • Makes your blog (& products, videos, apps, books)stand out
  • Creates confidence/trust in your words
  • Gives a clear & consistent message across all channels to create brand loyalty
  • Increases laymen’s recognition of your expertise as the one to trust 
  • Consolidates Brand image across all media to provide consistent visuals to viewers
  • Creates a brand that: loyal consumers can’t wait to share & Influencers can’t wait to quote
  • Builds a community around you as the brand
  • Allows you to surprise and delight with your brand
  • Creates a rubric (set of rules) to follow for each target market and each social media outlet to make sure you are reaching your readers clearly
  • Helps to monetize your blog
  • Increases lists of followers to get a larger audience

Look for next post from Small Business, Big Brand containing the 
Quick guide to creating a Brand Strategy for Bloggers to come in Part 2!

Having a strong Brand Strategy will help you consistently surprise & delight your customers, making them not only loyal but advocates and promoters of your Brand. 

Target Marketing 101

Basic techniques to find your high value customers

Given that marketing is becoming more personalized, the key to success in business is reaching your high value target market.  So how do you find your target market?     
Use these Basic techniques to get closer to your target market… so you can give them what they want…
and grow your business. 

FIRST List the qualities of your ideal customer

  • Who are your most loyal customers? 
  • What problem does your product/service solve & who needs your product service most?
  • Where can you find customers that use your product/service?  Locations offline/online, geographic, industry
  • Why do they love your brand & who else is similar?
  • Who else could become part of your target market that isn’t already?
  • Think beyond basic demographics of age, location & industry to include life stage, hobbies, & values

NEXT  Create a target market communication plan 

  • What forms of media do they enjoy and use regularly? 
  • What advertising are they motivated by:  types of content, message type & form of media? 
  • What is the cost of reaching your target market for each media type? 
  • Which ones are in budget & likely to succeed? 
  • Use a small sample to test your communication in multiple forms of media & with multiple messages. 
  • Choose the one that works the best. 

FINALLY  Listen to your target market

Now that you are sending out your message…

  • Use comments, social feeds, social media listening, your sales team & customer service to:
  • Hear what your target market thinks of your brand, product/service, & marketing communication. 
  • Adjust your campaign with this input as needed to stay 1) relevant & 2) ahead of what your target market needs.  Anticipate what will make them value your product even more. 

Let these techniques help you find your target market so you can reach them with the products and services they want and need for better business results.

Repeat this process with any new products to make sure you invest wisely in successful advertising, social media and marketing.

“Target Marketing means you are putting your customer and their needs at the center of your focus and attention.  You are making your customer the most important aspect of doing business, so your products/services are the best they can be. “ 
– Heather H. Bennett, Creative Brand Coach

Here are a few expert resources to keep in mind for more information about target markets.

The Future of Marketing: 90% of Marketers Say It’s All About Getting Personal

from @MobileMktrDaily

My take: Marketing is moving to individualized message.  Therefore it is important to know your audience to get the individualized message right.  

Don’t Spoil Secrets with Retargeting: 5 tips 

by Bryan Pearson Simply collecting information isn’t the answer to understanding your customer and building a lasting relationship. Marketers need to use this data wisely and keep their customers’ needs and desires at the center of the business. The post shares 5 tips about how to do that.  My take: Clear tips to understand your target market.

Four simple steps to defining and reaching your target market

by Paula Hutchings & @TalentedLadies 

My take: This group sets the bar high for useful, helpful & practical business knowledge.  A terrific set of steps to help guide you to your target market

How to Use Laddering By Henk Hoets
Quote: “You use laddering to develop unique selling propositions in your ads. “

My take: Using laddering to better understand your target markets, useful to creating content specifically for your audience

7 Steps to Create a Brand Strategy

What is a Brand Strategy and how do I create one?

This definition of Brand Strategy by CarlyStec sums it up nicely. 

“Brand strategy is a plan that encompasses specific, long-term goals that can be achieved with the evolution of a successful brand — the combined components of your company’s character that make it identifiable.”

In short your Brand Strategy is what you plan to do with your Brand to grow and/or strengthen your business.

How to create a Brand Strategy

Step 1:  What is your Brand? Ask yourself these questions to find your Brand

  • What are your brand’s likes and dislikes… What would always be seen as your Brand? What would never be seen as your Brand? What is authentically always true about your brand.
  • What can your followers expect your brand to be, stand or, sound like?  
  • What five words describe your brand?  What 5 words will never describe your brand?
  • What does your Brand do better, more uniquely & different from your competition: other brands in your industry?
  • Does your current business mission statement match the answers above?

Create a Brand Identity Statement:

My Brand _____________ will always be seen as _________, _________ and __________.  Brand X’s followers expect Brand X to do ___________, be ___________ and never _____________.  Brand X promises its loyal followers to provide _____________ in the time frame of ________________with these qualities: ______________, ________________, and ____________.

You may not be able to or need to fill out the entire Brand Identity Statement.  Take time to revisit this every few months to make sure your Brand is communicating consistently and staying true to itself. 

Step 2: Get feedback from followers and rewrite your Brand Identity 

Email, tweet or message to your customers announcing your Brand Identity

  • What do they love about your brand? What do they expect?
  • “Customer service “, retweets and comment sections are especially helpful with this. 

Step 3:  Create A Brand Location Check List 

List everywhere your Brand is present

Social Media, products, other blogs, customer forums, trade shows, books, webinars, guest blogging, Public Relations, press releases, websites, flyers, online community groups etc. etc. 

Ask friends, employees, & trusted colleagues to help you create this list. 

Step 4:  Using your Brand Location List, check how each interaction matches your Brand Identity

Are there areas that your message or image is not consistent, needs update or rewriting?

This is a great opportunity to create a new logo that works everywhere, identify photography, design elements or writing style that is inconsistent and clean up any communications that stray from what you are trying to achieve as a brand. 

Step 5:  Find your Target Market

Now that you know who your brand is, what your brand stands for and where your brand is located… Figure out who your brand should be communicating with.

Who is your target market?

  • What is the perfect customer for your brand? 
  • What problem does your product, Brand solve and who needs that solution? 
  • Who is actively seeking your Brand and loves your brand? 
  • Who else could become part of your target market that isn’t already?

Rewrite your Brand Identity Statement with all you learned from determining your target market. 

Step 6:  Create a list of Goals your Brand wants to achieve

Add these to the Brand Plan if it makes sense.

Step 7:  Create your Brand Strategy

Answer the following in a few words to instantly create a Brand Strategy.

  • What is your Brand?
  • Who is your Target Market?
  • What does your Target Market expect from your Brand?  What does your Brand promise?
  • Where will your Brand be found?  
  • How will you communicate with your target market? (social media, voice)
  • What will your Brand’s communications consistently say?
  • How will your Brand uphold the promises it has made to its target market?

Having a strong Brand Strategy and clear Brand Plan will help you consistently surprise & delight your customers, making them not only loyal users, but also advocates and promoters of your Brand.