[AoB] Branding Your Blog: The Why, the What, and the How

Take a moment to think about what makes you… YOU.

Is it your personality?

Is it the story you tell others about how you are?

Is it the mission you have in life? Or your vision of the future?

What about the way you treat others? Or your opinions, values, and beliefs?

Chances are you’ve answered “yes” to all of these questions. And you’re right. All of those factors form your identity.

From the words you choose to speak to the way you dress, to the story you tell yourself in the mirror, all of them are part of your identity.

Now consider this:

While it makes a lot of sense for each of us to have our own identity, at the same time, each blog should have its own identity, too.

Another word for identity in relation to a blog is brand.

In other words, your blog’s brand is the identity that people recognize based on an emotional and psychological connection as well as factual information. And your blog’s brand is one of the most important (yet, sadly, underrated) factors that influence your blog’s success.

So, today, let’s talk about branding your blog.

Read or Write

I love books but I’ve read very little of late. You may be asking, “If you love books, why aren’t you reading them?” A fair question. I will address it in a roundabout manner.

There must be at least a hundred unread ones on my shelves and in various piles about my home. Both my parents loved to read so I have them to thank my deep affection for the written word. Books are, in my opinion, the perfect gift, both to give and receive. The heft, feel and smell of books are intoxicating. Especially, old books.

Used bookstores are rarer and rarer these days. I’m sure it’s due to the rising rents, and the advent of selling books online. In the interest of honesty, I buy books online. Though I miss the thrill of going into a used bookstore, inspecting the shelves, and finding a gem. On the other hand, it’s comforting to be able to find that one volume you were looking for with a bit of typing and clicking search.

Back when the world was… I was about to say normal but what the hell does that even mean? So let’s just say when we could venture outside unmasked and could sit close to each other. In those halcyon days when I went back and forth to my job, I would read on the subway. If I was going to travel anywhere, a book was the first thing I would pack. There was always a book or two in my bag. After all, what if you finished a book and had no other book to read? Unthinkable!

Nowadays I am in between jigs and am unlikely to take any long-distance voyages. With all this copious free time I must be reading nonstop. It is with chagrin I must tell you that I have not. There are two reasons why. Here’s the first.

Media. By which I mean TV and the internet. When you are told not to do something, you instantly want to do it. Such as going out and seeing people. If you’re sensible, you will listen to Doctor Anthony Fauci and mask up, and take all necessary precautions. That still leaves a missing element in your life.

So you watch the news and then when you can’t stand that anymore, you watch everything else. Maybe it’s the hot new show that just started streaming, so when you chat with your friend over Zoom or Discord, you don’t want to be behind the curve. Or maybe you go back to a show that gives you comfort. Consuming episode after episode like a bowl of salty deep-fried treats. BTW, all pre-pandemic shows are now science fiction/fantasy because the characters do fantastical things like go out to eat and hug. Crazy!

The other reason is I was writing. I recently finished a novel called the Arrondissement, you can read it on this site.

https://jenicek.wordpress.com/category/arrondissement/

Am I a shameless self-promoter? Hell yes. If I’m not for me, who will be?

Back to the writing. I started it before the beginning of the pandemic and finished it before it ended. That might say more about the state of the world than my productivity. Nonetheless, I managed to complete a full-length novel, so that’s something.

I began this blog because I had written another novel, Chosen, which you also read on this blog.

https://jenicek.wordpress.com/category/chosen-novel/

See, I told you I’m shameless! Once I put up the last chapter I continued to post every Monday. It is a self-imposed deadline that I have met for the last seven and half years. Sometimes it’s my thoughts on random topics, like why isn’t “Happy as a dog.” an expression? If you’ve owned a dog and come home you know what I mean.

In my past, I’ve spent long stretches without writing, all the while calling myself a writer. I had written so I think I’m in the clear. However, having to post something new every week has made me a better writer. Well, I certainly hope so.

Once, I friend of mine asked me and another writer friend, “How often do we think about what we’re writing?” The answer is “All the time.” I find that before I set pen to paper, or more accurately fingertips to keyboard, there is a lot of musing going on. Or wrestling with demons, depending on the day. Outwardly it looks like I’m just going to the store to get some supplies but inwardly, there’s a lot of stuff going on.

I believe that you cannot write if you do not love to read. Technically you can. I’m not sure it’ll be worth reading. All writers must, in my opinion, have a love of language. Talented writers can paint a picture and invoke deep emotional reactions with an expert application of their vocabulary. Every wordsmith has a voice, some are more pleasant to hear than others. Milage may vary of course.

You might be asking yourself, “Where the hell is he going with all this?” I remind you that I said this would be roundabout. While I used to read on average, a book a week, #humblebrag, my stats have dropped severely. This is not to say I’ve read nothing, just not nearly as much as I used to.

At the end of the day, part of my lack of reading is pure laziness on my part. Damn you golden age of streaming content! But I’ve found myself being more focused on my own writing than others. Which is not terrible for me, but it needs to be addressed by me.

For my birthday, it’s in December in case you missed it, I received a much-anticipated book. Ballistic Kiss by Richard Kadrey, the latest installment in the Sandman Slim series. I’m a big fan of his work and this setting in particular. Did I read it the day I was gifted it? No. I’ve been holding on to it, saving it like an expensive bottle of single malt scotch. Partially because don’t want to inhale it like a bottom shelf whisky while on a bender. I want to savor it like the aforementioned single malt.

However, that is a bit of a lie. I’ve just not been reading as much and I’m the only one who can change that. I started it last night, as of writing this, and I’m enjoying it immensely. If you like hard-driving, rock and roll urban fantasy, check his stuff out. See, I can promote someone else’s work too.

I think if I want to be the best writer I can, I need to read more. Make time for it. I’m never disappointed and if I am, I’ve got plenty more read. Remember, hundreds of unread treasures to open up.

Thank you for reading this. I hope it inspires you to read more if your book count is low. Or maybe to write more. Both are excellent choices. Now back to Ballistic Kiss.

[AoB] Isaac Newton’s Three Laws of Blogging

What’s the best way to write a blog post when you kind of run out of ideas?

Connect a couple of seemingly unrelated dots.

No, seriously. It’s such a fun way to write an article.

I do it from time to time, when I either don’t feel like working on certain topics, or blogging starts to feel a bit too much like work.

Find a way to connect two seemingly unrelated dots.

What ties them all together? What are the principles that govern them both? How can one idea from a field relate to another idea in an entirely different field?

Well, I answered those questions and came up with Newton’s three rules of blogging. Based on his three laws of motion.

[AoB] The MVP Framework: How to Make Money as a Beginner Blogger

ver since launching the Art of Blogging in 2018, I’ve interacted with thousands of bloggers, content creators, marketers…

And most of them have two main goals:

  1. Build an engaged community around their content.
  2. Monetize their platforms, distribution channels, email list, etc.

Today we’re going to focus on making money blogging, and I am going to share with you a clever framework that you can use, one that I’ve been deploying for the past year or so, both here and on irevuo.

All bloggers who choose to monetize their blogs find themselves trying to answer one of these questions:

  • How can I earn the most with

[AoB] Blogs Don’t Make Money

A couple of weeks ago, as I was working on The Art of Blogpreneurship, I asked the following question on our private community:

I was a bit shocked, to say the least. But it’s a trend I’ve been noticing, especially among novice and intermediate bloggers.

Bloggers complaining that they can’t sell products, that no one wants to join their premium memberships, that no one actually clicks on their affiliate links.

But why is that?

Well, let’s try to understand the current blogging ecosystem and why it’s so difficult to earn an income blogging.

[AoB] How to Use Mental Models to Become a Better Blogger

The vast majority of blogging advice out there is tactical in nature. It teaches you how to start a blog, how to write articleshow to network and engage others, how to distribute your content, how to promote your blog on social media.

However, there are two things there are wrong with tactical advice:

  1. They never, ever take you from point A to point Z. Like I always say, the basics don’t work anymore. So mastering the basics won’t ever help you reach the blogging stratosphere. In today’s blogging ecosystem, the basics might not even be enough to get you your first 1,000 readers.
  2. They will take you from point A to point B, but only if conditions are ideal. And, you’ve probably guessed it, with a system as complex as blogging, conditions are almost never perfect. Algorythms change, there’s a new blog being released every minute or so, and there’s a lot of money exchanging hands. At times, it looks like chaos.

What are you supposed to do then?

You develop a set of strategies that you can deploy, so you can turn chaos into opportunity.

[AoB] The “Secret” to Writing Blockbuster Articles

Tell me if this has ever happened to you: it’s Monday morning, and you’re ready to get some writing done. In your head, you’re already publishing a blockbuster article. The only thing that’s missing is the red carpet.

But then you sit at your desk. That damn blank page reflects the image of a creatively bankrupt blogger; your fingers are stubborn, the muse is shy.

You want to write brilliant articles. But you just can’t…

What’s the secret to being consistent, anyway?

How do you punch the keys, if your mind feels empty?

The truth is, writing is half magic, half strategy.

And today we’re going to have some fun and talk about a secret that allows you to magically sit at your desk and punch those damn keys.

Most bloggers struggle because they approach writing as the act of creating something out of nothing. It’s the main reason you want to bash your head against the keyboard.

In fact, writing the damn thing should be the easiest part of content creation.

Once I realized that you can’t create something out of nothing, I could wake up at 5 AM, have a sip of coffee, and sit down to punch those damn keys until my hands hurt.

No more time wasted staring stupidly into the abyss of a blank document, no more cursing that blinking cursor thing.

[AoB] Should You Go Hyperniche?

We now live in a world of constant information overload. Content creators are sharing millions and millions of articles, podcasts, social media posts, and videos every single month.

This, in turn, changes the dynamic of how we create content, how we distribute it, how we promote it, and even how we monetize our blogs.

The main issue? Broad topics lack focus, direction, and are becoming less and less appealing.

The most lucrative niches are overcrowded and ultra-competitive, and a general blog that tackles a main topic (or a multitude of topics) has little to no chance of standing out from the crowd.

[AoB] How to Get More Comments on Your Blog Posts: The Definitive Guide

It’s kind of frustrating, isn’t it? Having to scroll for a minute and a half through hundreds of comments on some posts just so you can share your opinion.

It’s even more frustrating when your own posts aren’t getting many comments. Sometimes it’s a comment or two. Sometimes none. Occasionally, it seems Lady Luck smiles upon you and you get a few of your readers to share their thoughts.

But never dozens or hundreds of comments like some of the other blogs out there.

Maybe it’s all about luck, maybe there’s some trick, some tactic, and you can’t help but wonder…

Am I doing something wrong?

What can I do to get more comments?

Well, first of all, it’s not magic. Or trickery. Secondly, let’s see if we can do something about it.

In order to get more comments, one must understand how they work.

Well, there are two main factors that come into play.

[AoB] Most Blogs Fail. Why?

At least once a year someone out there publishes a long article announcing the imminent demise of the blog. More bloggers than ever are giving up, content saturation is alienating a lot of readers, and the rise in popularity of different mediums will be the final nail in the coffin.

The truth?

It’s always been like this.

Out of all the bloggers I’ve networked with when I launched my first blog in 2012, only a dozen or so still publish regularly.

Out of all the bloggers that I’ve personally coached, only a dozen or so still publish regularly.

And out of all the people who decide to start a blog this year, only a small percentage of them will still publish new content regularly by the end of the year.

But why?