Securing Your Blog’s Identity is key to maintaining a consistent message and loyal readership. Read on for some tips on how to do so. Technology has transformed the global informational landscape in recent years from consisting of mainly newspapers, books, magazines and websites, to include a significant number of professional and personal blogs. The total number hovered near 180 million at the end of 2011.
Running a blog can range in scope from a minor hobby to a six-figure enterprise, depending on the topic and level of following. Blog templates, affordable web domain and hosting and a growing egalitarian and transparent marketing trend is making blog ownership easier than ever.
If you are leveraging a blog’s financial gains, or projecting the potential to do so in coming months or years, following a few sage suggestions from four expert marketing, business and legal professionals on protecting your blog will help you maintain a consistent message and loyal readership.
1. Legal protection
A steely, logistical approach to the legalities of business ownership is a route that a grounded type would readily accept, but could be difficult for a new blog owner more interested in having fun or supplementing a professional website without a readily accessible business attorney nearby. A registration and trademark protection of a business name is required to avoid a lawsuit or potentially even worse, changing a business name after doing the work to make it recognizable to your blog’s readership and public.
To ensure a lengthy and legitimate relationship with your blog name and brand, trademark attorney Josh Gerben recommends ensuring it is not already owned by another blog before beginning to invest time and money into your blog. Gerben suggests, “I would strongly recommend conducting a trademark search on the desired name of the blog before you begin blogging. It is important to ensure that the name of your blog will not infringe on the rights of a pre-existing blog. If the trademark search does not show any conflict, you should then take the steps necessary to file a federal trademark application. This will protect the name of your blog in all 50 states.” Once the legal details are complete, you can move on to the internet presence logistics that will pave the way to the more creative side of blog ownership.
2. Streamline and secure your brand
Maintaining the logistical details that allow you to present a consistent brand across all social media sites can be particularly challenging for a privately run blog. A small business owner or entrepreneur may not have the time or budget for polishing the smaller details that convey a professional image. Establishing consistency across the necessary web elements, including domain name, email address, user names on social media websites, and location details on local search results, is challenging, but worth the effort. You may need to sacrifice a favorite name in favor of one that is available in all channels to accomplish this goal.
According to Sierra Friend, a professional consultant on “The blogsite Coach”, the step is significant for projected growth. She recommends the following for social media websites, “As a best practice, be sure to register your personal name, business name and any products or services that are unique (or trademarked) to your business. This is especially important on the sites you are, or will be, most active in (think both short and long term).”
3. Communicate the face behind the blog
Impersonalization and withholding a blog host’s presence and personal brand from an audience is a lost opportunity and can burden a blog’s potential growth and momentum. It can exist in varying degrees depending on the owner’s credentials and the intimacy level of the blog’s subject. For example, if an Italian cooking blog is owned by a former chef from Rome, including professional and personal details would engage the readers by enhancing the blog’s authority and human interest. While if the blog were centered around a more vocational and ideally objective topic, such as technology or the validity of religion, limiting the personal details more to only include those that are relevant to the blog’s purpose would be appropriate.
Ways to include a blog owner’s personality in the content include:
- An “About” page and bio excerpt at the end of each post
- Infusing a blog post with first-person experiences or observations
- The blog owner conducting Q & A interviews with friends and colleagues
- Photos that demonstrate a blog owner’s commitment to and enthusiasm for the blog topic
According to Caron Beesley, Community Moderator at the SBA.gov, including personal details or infusing the content with your personality can help your blog succeed. She suggests that you “find ways to make sure your customers know you and connect with the face behind the business. Businesses really thrive when the energy of the owner is there.”
4. Remain Relevant
A blog can offer many attributes to the audience reading it, but its value would become thin without relevant content. Publishing frequent posts, remaining abreast of topic trends, and maintaining connection with the readers’ needs and field’s experts is essential.
As Catherine Alford, owner of Budget Blonde, suggests, using a systematic approach will give you the structure many entrepreneur’s need to stay consistent and the only true path to success – hard work. Alford advises, “Just like any other company, building a blog brand means staying relevant, posting every week, expanding your community, and maintaining the qualities and characteristics of the brand that you started out with.” Sure, you may not have lofty goals for your blog now, but you may change your mind in the future as your audience increases. Staying true to your path and on top of mind will increase your audience and create a solid, identifiable brand.