Are you ready to build your brand authority and establish yourself as a leader in your niche yet? There’s only one way to find out! Read through this list, print this sucker out and I’ll go through some of the steps we’ve taken as well.
We are using this list also as we continue to grow The IM Rebels. It doesn’t have to be an overnight deal so don’t get overwhelmed. Just start and keep improving every day. Don’t worry about it being perfect to start. That will only hold you back from starting.
Who needs this? Great question!
If you just want to be an affiliate marketer and stay behind the scenes, probably not. But if you want to step out and create your own products, your own blog…then read on. We believe the long term, organic traffic and profits comes from building a brand and home here at this site.
That’s why we are constantly working on these items and some have even changed multiple times since we started together on this journey months ago.
Even if using a pen name, taking the time to go through this list and adding a few check marks a week will help separate yourself from other affiliate sites. Think about when you visit a site for the first time…pretty easy to tell the difference between a real business and someone who slapped something up without much thought just trying to snag an affiliate sale here and there.
Print this brand authority checklist or copy and paste into an excel sheet to keep organized and moving forward.
If you’re able to put a tick next to each item on this list, then you are 100% ready to start building your brand. Beneath the list we go in depth into some of the categories so block out some time and let’s get to it!
- Create Your Goals and Values
- Think about your value proposition and USP
- Think about the values that drive you to perform well
- Think about what sets your business apart from the competition
- Now answer the question ‘What do you do’?
- Turn this into your ‘mission statement’ in 25 words (or thereabouts) and use it to inform all the subsequent decisions.
- Choose a name
- Choose a name for your business and website
- Decide if you will have one brand or multiple brands (a site and a company for instance)
- Think about how a name will affect your SEO down the line and your marketing
- Decide whether you want to ‘separate’ yourself from your brand or create a personal brand
- Create a logo
- This is going to impact on ALL your branding and ALL your products going forward
- Create a mood board with various images relating to your business
- Avoid cliches
- Combine your images to create something new
- Test which logo to go with by surveying your friends/family/visitors
- Ensure your logo is versatile
- Trademark your brand if you think you need to
- Create a consistent brand and ‘be everywhere’
- Create your website and ensure your brand is built into it
- Set up social media accounts on all the main networks and include your brand as your profile picture/cover image
- Add your brand to your business cards, your invoices, your e-mail signature
- Create video openers with your logo, consider creating a jingle
- Deliver consistent quality to build trust and authority
- Use content marketing to help raise your profile and to let people get to know you
- Post regularly in your niche and provide value above and beyond your competition
- Make sure that any and all products are of consistently high quality
- Keep a common set of values and design principles behind everything you put out
- Market yourself
- Use SEO make sure that your website is the first result for your company/website name
- Use SEO to target specific keywords alongside your content marketing
- Use PPC and other forms of advertising to make sure more people see your logo and to drive customers to your business
- Use press releases to try and get your story covered by websites and other media
- Network with other big bloggers to gain the trust of their viewers. Ask for guest posts and consider doing ‘ad swaps’ if you are using e-mail marketing.
- Encourage brand loyalty
- Provide consistent quality
- Give your users incentives to stay loyal to your brand
- Build a mailing list
- ‘Under promise’ and ‘over deliver’
- Use promotional gifts to get people behind you
- Manage your brand
- Use reputation management to reduce the visibility of negative reviews or other damaging materials
- Respond to your reviews and be seen to be accountable
- Listen and engage with your audience
- Consider a rebrand – this means designing a new logo and maybe even a new name to do business under.
Once you’ve ticked all these boxes you will now be running a well-thought-out brand with a great logo and a good sense of quality and value. Make sure that you stick to the same principles that helped you to start out and that you express who you are in everything you do.
The main take home is this: people love to get behind an idea. At its very root, a brand is just an idea made concrete through your products, services and marketing. Make sure that everything you do is an expression of what you believe and you will build a legion of loyal fans willing to follow you to the ends of the Earth.
I want to go in deeper to some of the check list items above:
Writing a Mission Statement
The mission statement is important because it will then ‘unify’ every element of your brand. To do this, you have to think about your value proposition and your USP and then answer the question:
What do you do?
On average, these statements are about 25 words long.
Here is a list of Fortune 500 company mission statements:
Slogans can also help.
This is really all about making yourself bigger than just your product. You need to represent values, goals and ideals. It’s only by doing this that you can become a ‘movement’ and that you can thus get fans and loyal followers. This is something we need to do a better job at. We aim to teach marketers what is working for us daily. Not theory, not second-hand knowledge…what works for us every single day. We just need to solidify The IM Rebels mission statement and let it be heard better!
Coming Up With Your Name
Coming up with a company name is what’s next. This might mean also coming up with a name for your website, or the two might be the same. They might all be your name.
Make sure you meet the following criteria when choosing:
- The name is memorable and unique
- The name is not currently in use
- The name is easy to spell
- The name isn’t too abstract (for marketing purposes)
When researching ideas you will likely also want to think about your domain name and website. We are working towards getting our actual domain name without an ‘-‘ and this will help with branding and people being able to find us easier.
Designing A Logo
It’s safe to say, graphic design isn’t any of our strengths here. Plus you can have a start up logo created for under $10 so don’t waste a ton of time trying to do it yourself when that time is much better spent on content and traffic.
Make sure your logo meets these criteria:
- It’s simple
- It’s versatile
- It’s recognizable
- It’s unique
- It will work on lots of different backgrounds and in lots of different colors
If you’re struggling to do this yourself then you can outsource to:
http://fiverr.com Where we got ours done for $5.50 and worth every penny.
If you’re looking for something a little more professional (but also more expensive) then try http://www.99designs.com
I used 99designs with a prior business and was very happy. Depends on your budget and size of brand you are launching. Nothing says you can’t create a new logo down the road also when profits are rolling so please don’t spend money you need for other tasks on your logo.
A trademark protects your brand so that no one else can use it without your permission. This is important if you’re going to be investing time and money into promoting your brand.
You can trademark your brand at the http://www.uspto.gov/. This is also where you can make certain that no one else is already using your brand.
Once you’ve invested in your brand, you can then put a trademark symbol next to your company name™. We are taking the steps to do this ourselves and I have done it with multiple other businesses.
Questions to Ask
There are some more questions to ask and considerations to make when creating this brand and logo. For instance:
Will you create a personal brand and be inseparable from your company/website name like Tim Ferriss? This will create more opportunities and help you to build trust but can be scary as well.
Will you have more than one brand? I.e. one for your website and one for your company? This is more complicated but is sometimes unavoidable.
Content marketing is how you are going to build trust and recognition to become an authority in your niche.
To do this effectively:
- Post regularly
- Go in-depth
- Be honest
- Think of each post as a ‘product’ and ensure you are providing value above and beyond the competition
- Share your content on social media and social bookmarking sites: Facebook and YouTube are particularly useful
We have a weekly content plan and set of 20 keyword groups we work off for our posts. They don’t always fit within our keywords and that is ok because every piece of content published can potentially bring us visitors and sales for years. Be in it for the long game and content is long game for us.
Also automate your content distribution using https://onlywire.com/ or https://ifttt.com/. We currently use IFTTT for blog posts to our main social media properties and OnlyWire for our YouTube videos.
Building Brand Loyalty
Building brand loyalty is all about delivering a consistent value and a predictable experience for your user. If you are ‘just’ a blog then this means writing great content on the same topic consistently. If you are a business that sells products, then this means ensuring that every one of your products is amazing and has similarities from case to case. Make sure that people look for your brand like a seal of quality.
At the same time you should try to under promise and over deliver. I can’t explain in words how important that is in your business to under promise and over deliver. It is very easy in online marketing to do a few extra things that your competition doesn’t to stand out and build loyalty.
You should definitely use a mailing list, which will require an autoresponder.
The only options for an autoresponder that you need to choose from are:
When marketing your business you have multiple options that really depend on your niche and audience. Where does your audience hang out? Where do they search for answers?
A few common areas we see in all niches:
1) They are going to use Google. That means get your content plan in order and keep it on schedule.
2) They are going to use email. Have a mailing list set up and automate your emails.
3) They are going to be using social media. You’ll have to find the best platform for your niche. For us we are focusing on Facebook and YouTube at the moment and will only expand to other social media sites when we feel we are reaching a maximum of our audience.
Keep Plugging Away!
Remember, success is going to be all about delivering consistent quality. This means you shouldn’t expect to become a household name or a thought leader overnight. It takes time – so keep your integrity and keep doing what you do best.
Here are some additional sites and branding resources worth checking out:
A top blog centered around branding.
2. Branding Business
Another leading branding blog centered around business branding.
Entrepreneur.com’s Branding category. Great advice from experts in branding and marketing.