Weekly Challenge: Branding

Hello everyone and welcome back to the weekly challenge!

I apologise for getting this up so late this week but I’ve been out of the country so just catching up with all things blog related!

The next most popular topic that you guys wanted to focus on was having another look at your blog’s branding.

What is a brand exactly? Well I asked good old Google and the Business Dictionary gave me this answer…

Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind. Thus brands help harried consumers in crowded and complexmarketplace, by standing for certain benefits and value. Legal name for a brand is trademark and, when it identifies or represents a firm, it is called a brand name.

So your brand is far more than having a logo at the top of your page. It should permeate through everything a visitor sees not just on your blog but on all the channels relating to it. The first part of this week’s challenge is to take a step back and think about what it is we want our brands to represent.

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Weekly Challenge: Social Media

Hi everyone!

This week we will be revisiting the beast that is social media. It is something I really struggle with myself and I know that I don’t use social media to its best so making it this week’s challenge with give me a kick up the bum to put some more work in it.

Here I’ve just listed some points you might want to think about to get you going, feel free to take them or leave them or add in your own points for discussion.

1) Which platforms are right for you?

I feel like there is escalating pressure with blogs that you also have to be present on every social media platform. Some times this is just not feasible and other times some of the platforms are just not compatible with our brand. So my first suggestion to you is to serious think about what you are trying to get out of social media and how each platform helps you to achieve your blogging goals.

2) Tackle one at a time

One of the best pieces of advice that I have heard repeated is to break ‘social media’ down and focus on one platform at a time. Actually you may decide that your blog could benefit from you having a Facebook page, twitter, instagram, Pinterest, Tumbler, this, that and the other but if you don’t know how to each use each one individually for its own advantages you will end up with lots of profiles which all look impersonal and spammy where you’ve copied content over and not adapted it to be suitable for that platform.

Choose one to start with and put some serious effort into it. If you’re choosing:

Twitter learn the hashtags that are most used in your subject, follow some leaders in the field and start interacting with other active users. Join in Twitter Chats and get experiment with the kinds of tweets you publish. Go exploring, what tweets grab your interest and why? See if you can mirror these style of tweets in your own style. You can even look into using a scheduler like Buffer to help keep you posting regularly.

Instagram see if any of your favourite bloggers have an account and what they post pictures of. Pay attention to the ratio of posts that relate to their blog as apposed to random photos, do you think they have a good balance? Try finding an alternative photo editing app like Photo Grid to make your photos more original than sticking with the options on Instagram. Try and think of some innovative ways to visually represent your blog topics.

Facebook. Do you already have a Facebook page for your blog? Would it benefit from having one? What would/do you use it for? Visit other blogger’s Facebook pages and make a list of what you like and what you don’t like about it. Think about what other content you can share on there alongside your own blog posts to keep it interesting. Think about whether paying for Facebook promotion is something you would be interested in trying to attract a higher amount of traffic.

Pinterest. Explore and identify the topics that you are interested in. Make a list of topics you could create a ‘board’ around, some that reflect your blog and others that you just fancy for extra fun. Create a selection of new boards with relevant titles and start ‘pinning’ pictures that others have posted which are relevant. If any users repeatedly show up follow them, as they clearly are interested in similar topics to you! Now start thinking about creating some original pins of your own. Try and create at least one in for each new post your right. Get into the habit of pinning random interesting things you find whilst searching the wider internet. Pinterest, so I can tell works best when you have a good library of boards for people to browse, but again, interaction with other users is the key to gaining a good following.

3) Ensure they all work together

Think about creating a social media strategy. Like we did right at the beginning of Blogging 201, this should include at least 3 social media specific goals. You may also find it useful to try writing a mission statement. If you’re not sure where to start with this, think about questions such as: What do you aim to get out of using social media? What are you going to post and how often? What are you going to offer your followers? How will you keep your messages and branding consistent between platforms?

Do you have any tips for the platforms I have mentioned above or any others? Which is your favourite and why?

What are your social media aims and mission statements?

What do you struggle with in social media that others here may be able to provide some advice on?

 

 

Weekly Challenge: How to Engage your Audience

After asking what you would like to focus on the most common request was how we encourage our passive viewing audience to become regular active participants on our blogs. Many of you wanted to look in more detail about how you create a readership that not only visit your posts but comment on them, so this is what we are talking about this week.

First of all, before we begin, I want to say outright that I am not an expert in the field. I am simply going to present some points for discussion and things that have really been helping me in engaging the people that happen upon my blog and some of them might work for you guys too.

So here goes:

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A quick update!

Hi everyone, thanks for all your feedback on the topics you’d like us to cover here. I’ve been collating them all and putting some ideas together for challenges. A few people have been asking about how this page is going to run so I thought I would share my plans with you (it’s a working progress so bear with me!)

  • Weekly challenges, some will be more detailed than others but these will come from discussions on the group of what people are asking for help with. I plan to put these up on Mondays, the first one being 10th November once everyone has had a chance to feedback on what they would like covered and I’ve got the site up to scratch.
  • Resources. I plan to build a page with useful links to anything and everything blogging related so we have our own little library of blogging knowledge.
  • An “Editorial Team”. At the moment I am the only administrator on this group. I thought this would be easiest whilst we get going as I can keep track of who has been added etc but I am working on defining a couple of roles for this group to create a small team that will over see the running of The Bloggers’ Network together. I’ll keep you posted.
  • Logo: at the moment, as you can see, I’ve just stuck the Blogging University logo on our site but I think we should have our own identity! If anyone is particularly gifted in Graphic Design and fancies creating us a logo let us know. If there is more than one then we can have a vote on the designs, I’m a fan of democracy!
  • Other widgets/functionality: I’m working on sprucing our site up a bit so hopefully it’ll look a little more inviting and useful. Watch this space.

I think that’s all for now but wanted to keep you in the loop!

Just want to share a…

Just want to share a little success! I set out in my initial goals in Blogging 201 that I wanted 150 followers by the end of the year but when I checked this morning I’ve already managed it!! I know that it is completely due to the community engagement on the course and I’m very grateful we’ve found a way to carry on sharing the love!

www.racheltrieslife.com

Let’s choose our first challenge…

I really want everything we do on here to be a collaboration and I want to make the content what you will all find most useful, so in the spirit of this I’d love some opinions! Can you leave me a comment with answers to these questions and I’ll create us some new challenges from your answers:

1) What was the best task of Blogging 201 and why?
2) What areas to do with blogging would you like more help with?

Let’s Get Started

Firstly, I would like to say, I am not an expert in blogging. I was just a Blogging 201 like everyone else but felt that continuing our online community was an opportunity not to be missed. I will do my best to run this group but please bear with me whilst I get the ball rolling.

Everyone that has left their username should have now received an invitation to be an author on this group. Once you’ve accepted the invitation you will be able to write new posts as you did in Blogging 201. If you have not received an invitation yet I may have missed you so apologies! Leave a comment here with your username (not your URL) and I’ll get you added as soon as possible.

Feel free to write posts on anything blogging related but I will also be posting weekly challenges and/or discussion topics to keep us engaged and developing our own blogs. However please continue to abide by the guidelines set out in Blogging 201 to keep this space on track:

Commenting Guidelines
Please do not post entire original pieces of writing here. If you’d like specific feedback on something, either share a link to your own blog or copy and paste this template into a post, adding your details:

Excerpt: A passage or short post you’d like us to read and focus on.

Goal: A brief summary of your goal.

My Questions: One or two questions. The more specific you are, the more we can help.

Link (Optional): The full post published on your blog, if applicable.

This makes it easier for everyone to respond to your request. Please note that we will remove original pieces posted in their entirely, but you can always retrieve them from the dashboard here.

If you’re not looking for specific feedback and would like to share a post from your blog or elsewhere that’s related to what we’re working, feel free to post a link with a brief description of what you’re sharing and why.

Please:

  • Avoid posting photos or videos here; they can slow the site down considerably for folks on slower internet connections.
  • Don’t share unrelated or promotional content — it will be removed.
  • Keep all your comments respectful and supportive.
  • REMEMBER TO POST YOUR BLOG URL ON YOUR POSTS SO WE CAN FIND YOUR BLOG!

Happy blogging everyone!