From successful entrepreneurs to small business owners to middle school students, just about everyone everywhere is working on building their personal brand.
Teens and tweens are doing it on TikTok. Beauty experts are doing it with YouTube tutorials. Influencers are doing so with Instagram posts. We could go on and on …
But the individuals and companies who are serious about personal branding know that having their own blog is one of the best ways to take their brand to the next level.
Blogging is a key component of every strong content marketing strategy.
It’s a way to connect with existing customers and fans. It’s a way to attract new customers and new followers. And it’s a way to increase sales and ROI.
If your content strategy doesn’t already include blogging, it should — and the time to start is now.
Blogging Is a More Powerful Tool Than You May Think
Back in the ‘90s, when blogging first began, most blogs were merely online diaries where individuals shared their personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences. By the mid-2000s, sites like Huffington Post and BuzzFeed started melding the art of blogging with journalism.
Some people read blogs for entertainment, while others didn’t quite see the value of it and sort of poo-pooed it as a waste of time.
But now, the entire perception of blogging is quite different.
Whether you’re into fashion, photography, tech, medicine, or SEO, you can find thousands of blogs about every topic imaginable. Data shows that as of January 2021, there are over 570 million blogs on the internet. (Not even kidding!)
Like it or not, blogging has become one of the most powerful tools for brand building and conducting online sales.
And we are BIG fans.
Blogging is a way to build brand awareness, drive traffic to your site, and increase sales. It’s also a way to position yourself as an expert on a given subject — expertise that can turn you into a power player in your specific industry or niche.
But not all blogs are created equal.
There are four main types of blogs that can help you scale your business and grow your brand:
- Viral content
- Thought leadership content
- Sales content
- Pillar pages
Blogging isn’t only about generating sales. It’s also a way to build authority which, in turn, helps to build brand awareness. This is where viral content comes into play.
To better understand what viral content is, think about what a viral video is. It’s a video that generates lots of attention because it’s liked, shared, and viewed millions or even billions of times. Viral blog content is similar in that it’s designed specifically to be shared and viewed over and over again.
A blog written with the intent of going viral shouldn’t be crafted to sell a product or a service. It should simply bring awareness to the topic you’re writing about.
The better your article, the more likely you are to get other bloggers and websites to link back to it or share it with their followers. The more backlinks you get to your article, the more authority it will give you. Ultimately, that authority will help to drive traffic to your site.
Here’s how to create viral content:
Write an article on a topic that people actually want to learn more about. You can choose that topic by researching keywords related to your niche and your audience. Research the topic thoroughly and provide your readers with an in-depth piece of content that helps to educate them on the subject at hand.
Post your viral content on your own website and promote it on social networks to drive traffic to your article. You can also publish your article as a guest blog on sites that accept guest posts.
The trick with viral content is to make it as informative as possible so that it’s read and shared over and over again.
Thought Leadership Content
One of the best ways to grow a small business or build your personal brand is to build trust with your audience or customer base. One way to do that is to create thought leadership content.
When it’s well-written and informative, thought leadership content can position you as an expert in your niche. If you want to be taken seriously as a thought leader, there are a few different formats and approaches you can take to structuring this type of blog post.
One option is to detail a step-by-step process. This could be anything from how to organize a closet to how to make the perfect cappuccino to how to replace a light fixture.
Another avenue for thought leadership content is to make a prediction or share some expert insight into your specific industry. You can forecast where your industry is going (just be sure to have solid, legitimate reasons to back up your claims). You can also share your unique perspectives, personal experiences, and inside tips to show your audience that you’re an expert in your field.
Or, you can create an in-depth breakdown of a specific concept or trend in your industry.
For example, your article could teach readers how to create and inspire a sales force for a small business. You could write about how to manage a remote team of freelance writers and graphic artists. You can explain how to create online courses, format a webinar, or start a successful podcast.
Thought leadership content can be about anything that you have insight into and experience with.
Every industry and niche has its thought leaders, and you can become one of them if your content is written effectively.
As with all of your blog posts, share a link to your article in social media posts. Depending on your industry, you can also share it with your email list and contacts on Linkedin. Another way to give yourself more exposure is to answer related questions on Quora or Reddit and include a link back to your article.
Sales content is designed to do one of two things:
- Sell a product or service
- Inform or empower someone to become a customer in the future
These blogs should appear throughout your website to provide information to customers when they research your brand.
Plus, when existing customers give referrals to new customers, sales content will help them learn about your business.
Sales blogs, like all content, should appeal to your target audience, but it’s not the type of content that will draw people to your site. It can, however, convert visitors already on your site into customers.
Pillar content refers to written content that provides a broad overview of a specific subject. It doesn’t get into the weeds on any specific sub-topic. Rather, it serves as an overall guide to a topic.
Pillar articles should be structured with multiple subheadings, each of which can be broken out into their own full-length article at a later date.
In simplest terms, this is the type of content that echoes the pillars of your brand or business.
Let’s say you’re branding yourself as a wedding planner. Your pillar content can cover the general aspects of what you do, such as organizing caterers, florists, photographers, etc. You can then create a series of separate posts about each of these topics — one about working with caterers, one about choosing the right florist, one about finding a wedding photographer, etc — and link out to them.
The pillar page should give a brief overview of each section and link to the in-depth guides for those who want to learn more about each of those topics. Each in-depth guide should link back to the pillar page and other in-depth guides. This not only provides more information for readers, but it passes site authority from one page to the others.
No matter what your brand is, pillar content is a way to attract people to your website for a broad purpose. The thought leadership content you link out to will turn them into followers, subscribers, and customers.
Think Of Blogging As An Investment
Blogging, as part of an overall content marketing strategy, should be viewed as an investment in your brand. It’s one of the most effective marketing tools that exist … as long as you’re a good writer.
Of course, not everyone has strong writing skills. In fact, some people can’t even string two sentences together. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t be an effective marketer (you very well may be), it just means that you’ll need some help with the actual writing.
If you want your blogging efforts to be successful, you’ll need to churn out new content on a regular basis. Your writing ability will definitely be put to the test!
But there’s some good news here:
You don’t have to write your blogs yourself.
Lots of people hire freelancers and/or digital marketing agencies with their own content teams to do their blogging.
Don’t Forget to Analyze Your Results
Blogging doesn’t end with writing and publishing a post. Well, technically, it could …
But that will only get you so far. To make the most of your blogging efforts, you’ll also want to devote time to analyzing your results.
Why is analysis so important?
Because certain types of content will outperform others — that’s inevitable. Once you start blogging, you’ll want to know which posts are working and which ones aren’t. Without that information, you’ll never know where to focus your efforts.
If you’re a skilled writer with knowledge of SEO and the time to analyze blog performance metrics, by all means, do it yourself. But if you don’t have the skills, time, or ability to craft new content and analyze the outcomes, hire a professional content strategy team to do it for you.
Hiring an expert is well worth the investment. Professional digital marketers and content strategists know how to research keywords, and they know how to find topics and relevant search queries for your audience. They also know how to analyze data to measure content performance.
Your Blog Should Be a Reflection of Your Brand
All of the content on your website and social media pages, including blog content, should be a reflection of your personal brand. It should all speak to the same target audience, whoever that audience may be.
Whether you create content on your own or hire someone to do it for you, it’s crucial to maintain a consistent voice and tone. Without consistency in your language and themes, your brand can come off as being inauthentic and lacking in credibility.
Keep in mind that the voice, tone, and themes of your blogs should be consistent with the other types of content you publish. Every photo, video, infographic, ad, and blog you post should work together as part of a bigger picture.
Remember, your customers and followers are going to keep coming back because your content provides value. If you’re not consistent with your tone and messaging, you can turn your brand loyalists away.
Looking for high-quality content to drive traffic to your website? Learn about our content marketing services.
If you’re looking to build a strong personal brand, blogging is a must. But you can’t just write any old thing and post it on your website. High-quality content is the only kind of content that works.
All brands need a content strategy, and that includes blogging.
So, start generating viral content that can be shared over and over again. Start creating thought leadership content to position yourself as the expert in your field. Create sales content to explain what you do and include pillar content to serve as an overarching snapshot of your brand.
You can increase your brand visibility tenfold simply by incorporating blogging into your marketing efforts. Just make sure it’s high-quality content — that’s the only kind that works!