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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Branding and Blogging



One of the buzzwords I'm seeing everywhere is "branding." And in all honesty, it is still coming in a little fuzzy. While I go adjust the rabbit ears (yes, I'm giving away my age a little), there are a number of people who seem to know what they are talking about, so I'm going to defer to them.

I got a link to this blog this afternoon: http://www.booksandsuch.biz/blog/2009/05/kiss-of-death-the-renaissance-writer/

In the post, agent Wendy Lawton associates an author's reluctance to be branded with a lack of focus in writing. So perhaps before identifying some eye-catching theme or witty slogan that would summarize my brand, it might be a good idea to narrow the focus a little bit.

In my normal style of blundering along and doing everything wrong the first time, I originally named my blog "Learning to Write: On my way to that first dreadful novel." When I got some positive feedback, I crossed out the word dreadful. But while self-deprecating statements are a hallmark of my personality, is that really what I want to be known for? And "writing" is general. Now that I've covered many of the writing basics (does anyone ever really master them?), let's see if we can narrow the field.

Writing > fiction > mystery > cozy > inspirational cozy mystery.

I'm getting closer. I doubt I would write anything that was not a cozy mystery. Mystery is my passion, and can't see myself venturing away from the genre. I might write something that was not inspirational, as long as it was clean. So perhaps "cozy mystery" might be as narrow as I want to take that. I also read a number of secular cozies, and for the purpose of this blog anyway, perhaps it would be better to narrow the focus from "learning to write," to "crafting a cozy."

Why look at all this now? Because my brand and focus should be evident in the design of the blog. The blog should appeal to my target audience. The target audience of the book I'm writing should be the target audience of the blog. Right?

So while I work out how to give my blog a much needed face-life, let's talk about blog design.



There are a lot of different looks to blogs out there. And perhaps the first decision than needs to be made (after perhaps the title and focus of the blog) is what you want the thing to look like. Simple? Elaborate? Traditional? Modern? Professional? Whimsical? The simplest way to do this is to choose an appropriate template.

The template is a professional design for your blog. It includes a background and preset font types and colors. There are a number of them to choose from from Blogger, and even more available from third party providers. There are even some places that will custom-design a blog for you (for a fee), and online instructions on how you can make your own.

I think I might go with "scribe" for my redesign. It is very traditional, and seem appropriate for a writers' blog. There is something cozy about it.

After picking a template, it might be a good time to develop a header. The header at the top of a blog can be as simple as the text you type in, or can also be an uploaded picture. A third party program, such as photoshop, can be used to create and edit a header.

Next entry, we'll talk about pictures and widgets.

Question: What is your brand? And how have you reflected it in your blog? Or how do you plan to?

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