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6 Blogging Your Way To a More Powerful Brand

Blogging Your Way To a More Powerful Brand - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit Pixabay

The best thing about a blog is that just having one is a step towards creating a more powerful, recognizable brand.Many businesses use content marketing through blogging a major part of their strategy, so you are already ahead of the game

Many businesses use content marketing through blogging a major part of their strategy, so you are already ahead of the game

So how do you become a blogging superstar, and get that brand up and moving? Here are some must-have tips to get started.

Build Bigger, Better Content

The common advice used to be that if you write it, they will come. That hasn’t been the case for a long time now. Creating content is about building something amazing that stands out from the crowd because everyone and their mom have a blog these days. Want to brand through blogging? You better be ready to go for the gold.

Having posts that really push the line will get you further, and one amazing post will equal to about ten ‘meh’ ones. Try expanding out into interesting new territories: slideshows, infographics, comics, expert roundups, series posts, extensive tutorials, etc.

Get Social (The Better Way)

There is nothing quite as annoying as a blog Twitter or Facebook account that only publishes links to their blog. Maybe those posts are incredible, I wouldn’t know…I never click on them. And if you look at the analytics that comes from those kinds of accounts, neither does anyone else. People may hit the favorite or like button, but they will probably forget they ever saved it to read later.

Your social accounts are a way to engage and connect with your potential audience. It is a place to show off your authority, likeability, and the tone of your brand. You should be interacting in a normal, one on one way. That doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) share links, but make it about more than that. Here’s a good list of social media tactics to build your blog and drive traffic.

I would recommend setting your posts to automatically post on social media. Then use a tool like Buffer to remind every few days for the first week. Everything between should be written in the moment.

Brand Through Color

Choosing the right color for your brand is probably the biggest concern as far as design goes. So why do so many brands choose the same color scheme? I have lost track of the number of modern startups that are going with blue, blue-green and green, it is insane.

You want to stand out, but also present an image that is true to your brand. There are some great color wheel tools out there that will let you select a unique palette that speaks to what your blog is all about.

My personal favorites are the ultra-simple Paletton wheel and the more thorough Adobe Color Wheel. The first is a nice way to just get a look at how the different colors mesh together and look in a sequence. You can get any shade or tone between two extremes. The second is great if you want to share your palettes, or look at those created by other designers. The gallery can be pretty inspirational. Head there if you are having trouble deciding on what colors to use.

Build Your Own Assets

Don’t spread yourself thin: It’s easy to focus on social media activity (which brings results at this very moment) and forget about building something long-term and solid that would become a solid traffic source one day.

An essential brand asset you should start with is definitely an email list: Your subscribers will become the core of your community, coming each time you call them.

GetResponse is the most efficient platform to build an email list. Its automation toolset is impressive and lets you automate your communication with subscribers in a most powerful way. Besides, GetResponse has come up with powerful marketing tools including webinars, analytics and landing page creator empowering your email marketing.

Blogging Your Way To a More Powerful Brand - Duct Tape Marketing

Spread Your Authority

Whenever someone tries to claim that guest blogging is dead, I roll my eyes and submit my latest guest post to one of the many sites I am lucky enough to work with. Guest blogging is one of the easiest ways to spread your authority beyond your own blog, connecting with audiences who are interested in what you have to say, but may not have come across your site before.

Branding is all about authority, because you have to prove you are the best of the best, and no one else competes. Writing for other sites that readers already trust is a great way to do that.

Monitor Your Brand Effectively

You have got to be able to properly keep track of what is being said about your brand, and to be up on the latest 411 at all time. Having a couple of tools on hand will make that a lot easier.

Google Alerts is a must use app for reputation management all across the web. It will keep an eye on reviews from other sites, Yelp comments, even obscure mentions on little forums and message boards. You will always be able to watch, and (if necessary) comment.

Cyfe is an all in one business dashboard that pretty much does anything you want it to. I like it for watching social media, analytics for different pages, and finding out what content is most popular. That helps me to narrow down my brand focus and start catering to what my audience is responding to.

Blogging Your Way To a More Powerful Brand - Duct Tape Marketing

Get That Editorial Calendar In Order

This isn’t exactly a branding tip, but it is a blog management tip. Which means in the grand scheme of things, it applies.

You should have an active, well-maintained, organized editorial calendar in place at all times. You can just use an Excel or Google Drive spreadsheet if you like. But I like Trello for the job since it is so easy to edit, share, get comments, assign tasks, and just about anything else you can think of.

It is one of those tools that is there for one thing (project management), but can be customized to fit just about any need.

Do you have any advice to add on branding your blog? Let us know in the comments!

anna foxAnna Fox is the blogger behind Hire Bloggers, social media marketing enthusiast, and stay-at-home mom.

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit: Pixabay

It’s a common scenario: you find an influencer on social media, and you want to contact them for a project. Maybe you think they would make a great guest blogger, or you just want to feature their story on your site. But is it time for a cold email yet?

Cold emailing is still effective but by far not as effective as other ways to reach out to an influencer.

The thing is, influencers get tons of emails daily, so they better recognize your name on it; otherwise they may not even pay attention!

Here is your checklist of what to do before contacting an influencer (Of course, you can do more but I wanted to keep it doable!)

1. Google Them

The more you know about that person, the better deal you’ll be able to achieve. Look for their struggles, interests and hobbies and think how you can be useful to each other.

A templated offer “I’ll give you a free access, please review our tool” or “I’ll give you $xx, please endorse us” will be effective only if your prospect is really hungry for money. You need to find some hooks to pique their interest. Or better, you need to figure out how to turn that contact into the long-term relationship or partnership.

The reason this option is so useful is its scope. People will comment on blogs, have other social profiles, write in forums, and speak at the events. Browse around for at least 15 minutes to understand how to better reach out to them.

Tip: Look at all social media descriptions, author profiles, and interviews.

If they are active on one social network, they are probably at least signed up on some others. If you can hunt down different profiles, follow them everywhere. Facebook Pages, Instagram, and LinkedIn are usually great for this. The more they see they around, the better the chances your name will ring a bell.

Author profiles often share alternative ways to contact the author. Just look through where they contribute:

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

Apart from giving you additional contact info, this also tells that they don’t mind being contacted which is a very good sign!

A few Google searches will also reveal where this person has been interviewed (and since we are talking about influencers here, there might be quite a few places like that). Skim through: you’ll see more ground to start the conversation with this influencer.

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

[Examples of blog interviews done by FirstSiteGuide]

2. Start with a social media interaction

Starting with a quick Twitter RT and a Facebook or Instagram comment or a quick is a good idea for two reasons:

  • They say it takes a couple of quick interactions before an influencer can really recognize you from the crowd. It’s not because they are “divas”, it’s because they deal with too many people online!
  • Talking about divas, this is a great test if that relationship is worth working on. You want to contact those influencers who actually talk back (This means they have to build audience loyalty and will be more willing to work with you on a long-term basis). Don’t waste your time on divas who broadcast their social media updates all day long without paying attention who talks to them. You want real voices who care!

So only take the time to email once you hear back!

Tip: I also maintain a separate Twitter list of the influencers I am interested in reaching out to in order to see who and how they respond to, what kind of tweets trigger a retweet and how they tend to reply to requests.

Cyfe is the best way to monitor that Twitter list: It lets me keep in eye on my influencers right within my regular working dashboard.

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

3. Find More Ways to Email

It’s not easy to find an email address these days. Many influencers get bombarded with cold emails on a daily basis, so they prefer to hide their contact info to only be contacted by people they know well.

Or, maybe they prefer a different way of communication: Like a tweet or a Linkedin message.

Sometimes they won’t have an email listed on their About or Contact page, but they will have a contact form available. Sure, it isn’t ideal, but it gives you some way to get to them directly.

Finally, check the website their WHOIS data will probably have a published email address as a matter of public record.

Here’s a quick handy tool for that I am using (There are many similar ones that you can use.) Then look through the data until you find the email address registered to the domain.

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

Using this tool, you can find other websites owned by the same person. This is a great way to find other ways to discover additional contact info:

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

There are a couple of downsides to this method. For one, the domain may be registered to someone else and they just work for the site. For another, it might just be a site specific, or even business throwaway, account. So they might not check it regularly, or use it for correspondence. But it is worth a shot.

Finally, use the combination of Email Permutator and Rapportive.

This is definitely the long way, but great for contacting higher profile contacts, or those with a heavy online presence.

First, use the brilliant email permutator created by Rob Ousbey of Distilled Media. It will give you a list of common combinations that companies or people are likely to use for official email addresses. Unfortunately, this gives you more options than you probably want to sift through.

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

That is where Rapportive comes in. You download the plugin for Gmail and put all of the offered email addresses from the permutator into the To field. Then you click on one after another. Rapportive will give you any LinkedIn pages associated with that email. So you will know which one is correct.

4. Organize Your Contacts with NinjaOutreach or BuzzStream

If influencer outreach is something you are professionally and /or continuously involved in, you may want to invest in a Ninja Outreach or BuzzStream subscription. They are great for lead generation and engaging with crucial contacts, as well.

Keep in mind that this service is a bit of an investment. Both BuzzStream and NinjaOutreach starts at $29 per month and go up to $249 a month for enterprise users. But they may be worth it.

The hugest benefit of using this software is that it helps you organize your contacts and statuses effectively. You can create lists based on your projects, topics, clients, etc. You can add “relationship” (e.g. what type of deals you had in the past), contact info, save important links (e.g. “About” page link, important interview link, etc).

Four Things to Do Before Emailing an Influencer - Duct Tape Marketing

I use the tools to manage the contact list: I don’t really use the tools to email (I think a personal email works better!) but I am not a professional outreach or PR agent either. I also don’t have the preference between the two: I think they are both awesome, so use the free trial to identify your personal favorite!

Have a tip for reaching out to influencers? Let us know in the comments!

Anna FoxAnna Fox is the blogger behind Hire Bloggers, social media marketing enthusiast, and stay-at-home mom.