Archive | Branding
Good branding should be a top to bottom effort. From designing a website to planning your unique selling proposition, branding encompasses an entire strategy beyond just a pretty logo. An often overlooked component of branding is deciding what your site’s or blog’s URL address should be. This is a branding are that shouldn’t be taken lightly and we’ll explain why below.
Create a URL name that reflects what your business does or if you’re creating a blog, who the person is behind the blog. For instance, if you have a business that provides shoes for older women then you’d want to create a URL that reflect this, like shoesforseniorwomen.com. Same thing goes for developing a blog URL. The person behind the blog should use their name as the URL address, like LeiliMcKinley.com.
There are two schools of thought on URL branding. The first believes that you should use your company name in the URL since there are some folks who will search by the business name. This makes sense for larger, more established brands like Nike, Starbucks or McDonalds. It wouldn’t make sense for them to create a URL that says sportshoes,com, coffeestores.com or cheeseburgerandfries.com.
For smaller brands, which applies to most everyone else, the second approach to crafting a URL would be to write one that shows of what your business does through keywords. Using the larger brand examples from above, sportshoes.com would be an excellent way to appeal to large groups of people who are searching specifically for that item. Make sense?
Now that you have a basic understanding of what a branded URL is here are some other things to consider:
Hyphenated names. The pro is that search engine easily identify each keyword and will normally return better search results for people seeking what you offer. The con is that hyphenated URLs are easy to forget when people are sharing or recommending them.
Articles and plurals. If you’ve decided on a specific branded URL like childrensauthor.com, but discover it’s taken, you could add ‘the’ to the URL (thechildrensauthor.com). Downside is that unless people aware of the addition, you’ll lose traffic to your competitor. This is the same thing for plural URLs like, cat.com versus cats.com.
Choose carefully and spend some time planning. Try searching for something on the web and look at how the URLs have been set-up.
Social media giant Facebook has seen its own fair-share of challenges this year in the privacy arena. Millions of Facebook users were extremely upset when they learned that Facebook had allowed their personal data to be made available beyond friends, fans and family. As the media continued to inquire what Facebook intended to do to remedy the situation some people began to plan and stage quit Facebook rallies. Soon enough Facebook recognized the seriousness of the situation and recently implemented new updates and changes to its privacy settings in an effort to restore the faith of its users.
Facebook’s new privacy settings make it much easier for users to navigate and manage. For your brand this means that you’ll have a simpler time controlling what type of content your fans engage with. Another new feature is that you can view what your brands profile looks like to others. This is a big improvement because now web trollers can’t pull personal information from your page and add it to their spam banks or start a tidal wave of solicitation.
Additionally, you can also opt out of sharing personal data with third-party applications. This means that if you want to use the features of an application, but you don’t want to have your phone number, email address and other details shared with software developers abroad it won’t be. Brands will still be able to enhance their pages and interact with fans without sacrificing personal data in order to do so.
Because limited information will be made available through public views people will have to ‘like’ your Page if they want to learn more. This is great for brands because now truly interested fans will jump on board to support your brand and interact with you. In contrast, many people would surface scan your Page and move on instead of taking the time to listen to your conversations.
Overall, Facebook has done a decent job of empowering brands to police and monitor their own information. Choosing what details someone wants to share is a more appropriate way to engage with one of the most recognized social media tools available.
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If you’re thumbs are getting sore from tweeting and searching for good tweeters, give ‘em a break. There are more than 75 million Twitter users according to data published by RJMetrics in January 2010. If you’re trying to find tweeters in a particular niche it can be a tad overwhelming. So we’ve sifted through the millions to uncover the best branding tweeters and thought we’d share them with you.
The tweeters below represent a small portion of branding focused Twitter users available, but what sets this group apart is their influence, ranking and follower base. Make sure to add them to follow them for excellent 140 character snippits to help you build your brand.
Pramit J. Nathan has summarized himself as a marketing consultant, author and speaker that specializes in branding and perception management. With an astonishing 123,836 followers (growing daily), he’s the leader of the branding pack on Twitter.
Following Pramit will connect you to great strategies, suggestions and tips that are brand and marketing related. Definitely one of few tweeters with a ‘pure’ tweet stream, meaning you won’t find random pontification on abstract subjects (i.e. what type of coffee he likes to drink each a.m. or what he purchased for his brother’s birthday last year).
Olivier Blanchard is author of the Brand Builder Blog and a Frenchman with a penchant for cooking and good food. Not only does Olivier tweet about relevant branding topics, but his blog and website have an amazing arsenal of well-organized links to other helpful business strategists and influential branders.
Absolutely a resource worth following, plus his blog posts and tweets are highly original and entertaining. Don’t know too many people that can connect social media and Bette Davis together for a good read.
If you’re not following Dan Schawbel, well, you’re just plain missing out. He’s the bestselling author of Me 2.0 and publisher of Personal Branding Magazine. Dan is a personal branding guru and if you’re seeking advice on how to start, where to start and what to do with branding, this is the go-to-guy.
A native Australian, Simon Mainwaring has a fresh and creative approach to branding, which makes him an excellent follow and a fun one too. He specializes in brand triage, or a blend of creative and strategic solutions across traditional, digital and social media. Join the masses and follow to learn how Simon can help maximize your brand.
True, this last tweeter appears to be a bit random and doesn’t have tens of thousands of followers like the others, but it is currently ranked as the number one most influential branding tweeter by a Twitter search directory. Landor Associates is one of those hidden gems in the branding mine. A continual stream of branding’s impact and branding tips can be found. All are encouraged to follow.
Podcasts are an excellent way to receive syndicated information in an audio format. Whether you choose to download and listen on your computer or portably through your MP3 player, podcasts can deliver content right directly through a web feed in less than a minute.
Competition in the podcast arena is pretty fierce these days, but there are always a few stand outs that deserve a thumbs up or a pat on the back for producing consistent and relevant topics. Take a moment (or five or ten) and listen, or subscribe, to some of these popular branding podcasts. You might be surprised by what you hear.
Brand Fast Trackers. This is a weekly podcast that focuses on helping listeners build their brands and ultimately sell more product. Each week host Brian Martin interviews marketing VPs and CMOs to get their advice and insight on how to help others market themselves.
The BeanCast. Bob Knorpp moderates roundtable-style discussions with a panel of key leaders within the marketing, advertising, public relations and interactive industries. There’s always a great tip or suggestion that can be gleaned from the conversations.
Marketing Over Coffee. This 20 minute podcast is recorded in a local coffee shop each week. Hosts John Wall and Chris Penn cover a variety of topics such as making sense of Facebook, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. Past guest interviews include: Seth Godin, David Meerman Scott and Mitch Joel.
Marketing Voices. Created in 2006 by host Jennifer Jones, the podcast focuses on how social media is impacting marketing. This is a great place to learn how to fine tune your current branding initiatives and get ahead of the curve with trends and forecasts.
Six Pixels of Separation. Social media expert Mitch Joel developed this Canadian podcast to unravel the complex world of new marketing. Additionally, The Montreal Business Book Club is also featured and offers regular updates on the books that will help you build your brand and market yourself in the online marketing arena.
Inbound Marketing – HubSpot TV. If Internet marketing seems overwhelming then tune in to Karen Rubin’s and Mike Volpe’s podcast. They’ll help you transform your brand from an idea to actuality. They cover recent marketing news and useful online tips regarding SEO, landing pages, lead generation and more.
The mentions referenced above only represent a tiny portion of the countless branding and marketing podcasts available. Hit the Internet and access some of the online podcast directories to find more great podcast resources.
Building author websites to define your online brand
So you’ve written your first novel, or maybe it’s your second, fifth or even 20th, what do you do with your website? As an author in today’s modern world, it’s mandatory to have an online presence. Your fans and readers want to find you and connect with you, and so do the press, literary agents and others. Having a professional, well-designed and well-organized website can boost sales, increase media exposure and set you apart from other authors.
Sadly, many best selling authors have neglected this key marketing tool and still others have jumped on a cookie-cutter bandwagon making their sites indistinguishable from the masses. We spent some time looking at a few outstanding (and disappointing) author websites and put together a list of inspirational URLs that are unique and on point.
Peter Carey. This is a fantastic site that is extremely easy to navigate and leaves no one guessing about who the author is. The color scheme is subtle, but pleasing. Carey has done a great job including audio and video throughout the interface and organized it quite well too.
Augusten Burroughs. A true reflection of the author’s personality, this site is a tribute to creativity and targeted messaging. It’s simple to find the author’s bio, upcoming events, new and contact details. Even though there’s a strong visual presence, it doesn’t detract from the site’s true purpose – inform readers about newest book and find additional information quickly.
Nicholas Sparks. The nice thing about Spark’s site is that it’s perfectly appealing for his target audience. The clean layout and soft color schema have a modern femininity about them. This is an excellent example of how an author is using technology to extend the circle of attraction that his written body of work has among loyal readers.
Stephen King. If you’re expecting buckets of blood or Flash-designed bats to float around the screen you’ll be sorely dismayed. King maximizes his site’s ability to deliver an onslaught of regular news and ongoing updates. Front page (literally) and center, all the latest publicity and coverage is right at your fingertips. At the same time, the site continues to make superb use of navigational components.
Miranda July. Absolutely one of the most innovative author websites ever created. You can’t deny the fact that once you’re on the site you’re instantly hooked and want to read more. Although this site is extremely unconventional, it’s totally unforgettable and sticks with you long after you’ve entered another Google search term. Unfortunately, the actual author site isn’t nearly as impressive as the path that you take to get there. This site is included in our list because it’s a good demonstration of ‘thinking outside of the box’.
We hope these sites offer some assistance when it comes to constructing your own.
Writing your own bio can be challenging, but making it a true branding piece that showcases your talents can be downright intimidating. It’s tough to talk about yourself and make it marketable at the same time. Being a gifted writer doesn’t necessarily make the task any more simple. A successful bio that doubles as a branding tool doesn’t have to be hard to compose. Incorporating a few essentials will make the difference between ho-hum and home run.
First and foremost, always write a bio in the third person. Not only does it appear more professional, but it gives credibility to what’s being shared because it reads as if it were coming from an outside source. So pack up the first person voice and send it on vacation. If creating a bio in third person is too taxing, consider having a friend or colleague write the first draft. It just might be the push needed to get things moving in the right direction.
Second, practice enforcing the KISS principle for this branding project. An acronym that means ‘keep it simple silly’, KISS will help maintain focus and keep your bio on track. In other words, sharing too much detail and you’ll end up derailing. The difference between a bio and a biography boils down to length. Bios are succinct, small pieces on a single page, whereas a biography has the potential to shame Tolstoy’s famed work.
The third bio branding tip relates to overall content. For starters, create a hook to draw in readers. You want them craving for more, not thinking you’re such a bore. Give your bio a marketing edge by incorporating an endorsement from a colleague, celebrity or industry expert. Avoid fancy, flowery language. Instead, convey a sense of personality through words and simple English. Tell a story about the brand You using action words and anecdotes.
Your bio can be a powerful tool if it’s built correctly. Make it work to your advantage. Keep the tone upbeat, fresh and interesting. A bio doesn’t have to be boring, but it does need to verbally present your brand identity. Save jargon and clichés for a rainy day and start marketing yourself as the expert that you are.
Want more help? See my video tutorial HELP REWRITE MY BORING BIO
Twitter is an important web tool for online brand management, where reputation is everything. The short term and long term benefits should not be over looked, especially in a tough economy. There are many useful twitter blogs and twitter apps that help you use Twitter to streamline your online brand management. Here are a list of Twitter blogs and Twitter apps that you can effectively use to boost the brand of your online business during this recession:
What’s That? FAVRD is a website (read twitter blog) that aggregates Twitter posts based on the number of times they have been marked as favorites by Twitterers. Usually, the Twitter posts that find a place on FAVRD are funny, insightful or entertaining. Being one of the most popular twitter blogs on the Internet, FAVRD lays down a set of rules regarding what it considers filtered posts on Twitter.
How Does That Help Me? This massively popular Twitter tool helps you find the most filtered and favorite posts people tweet about. Hence, you can use this Twitter app as a platform for social media networking by writing interesting, insightful and thought-provoking tweets about your business activities. But, make sure your overall approach towards FAVRD should be interactive rather than promotional. FAVRD is no place for “web-strategy, social-media, and online-marketing webcocks” as mentioned in its guidelines.
What’s That? TwiTip is a popular Twitter blog owned by Darren Rowse, the guy behind the famous blog – ProBlogger. With short, crisp and highly informative posts, Darren shares his thoughts and ideas on how to use Twitter efficiently and productively. The best part of TwiTip is that it allows you to contribute your innovative thoughts and ideas you have on how to better use and improve the experience on using Twitter.
How Does That Help Me? If Tweeting helps you manage your online brand image, TwiTip tells how you can do it the best way. While everybody is leveraging Twitter to nurture their online brand identity, few know how to make the right move. With many useful Twitter tips, you can surely find out ways to optimize your social media campaigns.
What’s That? If you wish if there was anything like Google Analytics to help you keep tabs on your tweet counts, Tweetstats is the answer to your prayer. To say Tweetstats is a Twitter application is an understatement – it is a supercool twitter tool that graphs your tweeting habits blow by blow. With Tweetstats, you can figure out the number of Tweets per hour or month, Tweet timeline and even your reply statistics.
How Does That Help Me? Since Tweeting is one of the most effective ways of social networking and brand building online, it pays to know how your fellow Twitterers are using Twitter. With feature like Twitter Trending Stats which shows the Top 100 Trends that are currently on Twitter, Tweetstats can be an effective tool for niche marketing.
What’s That? TwitterSweet is unofficial and independent tweeter blog that offers wealth of information including news, features, tips and highlights that can be very helpful for regular Twitterers. Created by Joe Grossberg, the founder of Joegrossberg.com, TwitterSweet aims at offering interesting news, features and tips on Twitter that can help you enhance your tweeting experience.
How Does That Help Me: What is the easiest and most private way to send direct message to someone on Twitter? Answers to questions like this can be found on TwitterSweet, which means you can stay updated on all the latest APIs and other similar news about Twitter.
What’s That? If you have been looking for a Twitter community where you can talk about, share your ideas and meet like-minded people sharing similar hobbies and interests, Twittown is your ultimate destination. This is Twitter blog brings together all the Twitter fans who may be in different professions, but share a common passion, i.e tweeting. Twittown allows its community members to read news on the blogs, chat in the forums, apart from offering many useful Twitter tools and applications which are relevant to the Twitter communities.
How Does That Help Me? Twittown covers a wide range of social networks and their applications, widget platforms and mobile platforms such as iphone, blackberry and android. If you are a frequent traveler who tweets extensively and is tuned in to Twitter updates, Twittown can help you remain updated. Besides, there is no better way to foster your online network than using this wonderful twitter blog.
What’s That? This is the official Twitter blog. It should be the first place you visit when you want to learn how to use Twitter effectively. It brings you a lot of news, stats and apps that are vital for a great experience on Twitter. Besides, this is the best place to get familiar with the Twitter lingo. Being the official Twitter blog, you need to visit this blog to update your TQ (Twitter Quotient).
How Does That Help Me? As the official Twitter blog, Twitter offers the most authentic and latest updates that are necessary for its users. Whether you’re new to Twitter or not, Twitter blog always offers you something new that helps you monetize Twitter.
What’s That? Twitterholic offers ranking of the top twitterers in a list, which is updated quite frequently. Hence, you can find the most popular twitter users. It shows all the vital statistics of top twitterholics such as the location, number of followers, friends, updates, the date of joining and even the URL of twitterers.
How Does That Help Me? When you show up in the top 100 Twitterholics list, you increase your opportunity of being found easily. Although, it takes a ton of tweets and followers on Twitter everyday to access the “top one hundred”, you should make your tweets interesting, relevant and readable.