So you’ve built a blog, you’re getting some traffic but you want to take things to the next level. That’s a great goal and I am here to share some tips on how you can grow your blog and your brand.
I may write about silent films but my day job is in graphic design and marketing. I am going to share a few tips to help you understand the blogging process with the goal of increasing your readership.
(This post is aimed primarily at film bloggers but it can apply to other topics as well, for example if you’ve just started up your own small business and you’re looking to get branding out by the means of promotional pens or the likes.)
Wait, isn’t branding for big corporations?
Earlier, I mentioned building your brand. It can all be summed up in these questions: Out of all the blogs on the internet, why should people read yours? What’s your angle? What makes you special and sets you apart from the crowd?
The answer is your brand.
Furthermore, to really get ahead, you should also make sure you regularly update your social media sites to really establish your image and voice. Facebook for example provides lots of opportunities to continue the feel of your brand in an online space. This goes for business blogs as well as personal ones. A good place to start is with an attention grabbing header – just make sure the facebook cover photo size guidelines don’t hold you back!
So let’s start. What is your blog about? If your answer is that you write about classic movies or science fiction or musicals, then we have some work to do. It’s not enough to simply write about a particular topic. To repeat: what is your angle?
No angle: I write about science fiction.
Great angle: I write about science fiction from a scientist’s point of view, pointing out how the technology of science fiction reflected the culture of its day.
No angle: I write about classic movies.
Great angle: I write about classic movies with an eye to how they influenced (and continue to influence) modern cinema.
Or your angle can be in the way you write. Maybe you are a newcomer to a genre or time period of film and want to write from a beginner’s perspective. Perhaps you feel that your topic is dry and stodgy and your goal is to make reading about it lively and fun. That is my goal in writing about silent films, a topic that is utterly crawling with fuddy-duddies and pedants. After hearing the twentieth person complain about a frame jitter in 1:34:56, I was going quite mad. (On a side note, silent movie writing is also overrun with people completely obsessed with the sex lives of the stars. Um, no. Shoo. Scram. Skedaddle.)
If you feel there is a shortage, there probably is
I started my site because I felt that silent movie writing was in dire need of silliness, goofiness, irreverence and general mischief. There are some great sites out there but there are also some idols and myths that are in dire need of smashing. And we need to have fun with these movies! Why so serious?
Maybe you feel the same way and that is why you started your blog. Own it! Perhaps you feel that a certain performer or genre is not getting their proper due. Bring in a bit of that revolutionary spirit. Obviously, you don’t want to be a devil’s advocate or disagree for the sake of shock but if you think there needs to be an alternate opinion, maybe it’s up to you to put it forward. (Garbo is overrated! There! I said it!)
Put simply, if you look around and notice that there is shortage of the type of stuff you like to read, be prepared to step up and be the one to write it.
You do the work
Understanding your blog’s brand is one of the keys to popularity. If you can’t explain what you are trying to say, how can you expect your readers to understand?
Let’s take orange juice as an example. If you’ve always bought Tropicana, you will need a reason to change brands. Maybe the store brand is cheaper. That’s their angle. Maybe that new organic brand promises no pesticides ever. That’s their angle. And maybe you just want to stick with Tropicana because you’ve always liked their juice. They market themselves as a classic and established brand. That’s their angle.
Products don’t wait for consumers to guess what their angle is, they tell you. “In business for 150 years!” “Always natural and organic!” “Save money!” We know immediately what they are trying to sell and what they want their brand identity to be. If we don’t, that product will likely not be on the shelves for long.
It’s up to you to choose your angle (or angles) and then communicate that branding to your readers. If you’ve never done anything like this, give it a try. If you’re already doing it, congratulations. If you think this is hooey, hey, you have the right to your opinion and thanks for reading!