Every single day, more users make their first contact with your brand online. Every. Single. Day. They’re finding you via search, social media, and referral links that you forgot you posted. If you have a strong brand that was built to thrive on digital channels, this is great news! If you have a brand that’s less pliable, or maybe a brand that’s changed so much, you don’t remember what your blog posts looked like two years ago, you could be going into this battle seriously undermanned.
That’s why digital branding is so important. If you don’t like a billboard you post, you can take it down, but when you have hundreds or even thousands of webpages and social media posts floating around the Google-verse, it becomes extremely difficult to pivot your brand when you see fit.
That’s why we’re here. In this blog, I want to teach you the importance of your digital brand and how you can build a digital brand that can scale, adapt, and pivot with your company.
Brand is not a ranking factor. This much is clear if you pay attention to sites like Moz who test and measure the various factors that impact Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Because of this factor, many digital marketers sweep branding under the rug and start link-building or keyword stuffing. I cannot advise against this strongly enough.
While the strength of your brand is not a direct ranking factor, several independent studies have shown a very distinct positive correlation between brand and search rankings. As Rand Fishkin of Moz pointed out in a great Whiteboard Friday video on this very topic, brand has a notable impact on several direct ranking factors in Google’s algorithm, including:
So while your competitors may not out-rank you because they’re more well-known, they’ll eventually out-rank you if they beat you on-page and on SERPs. If you’re serious about SEO, your best move right now isn’t to double-down on what you’ve been doing, it’s to take the time to build a brand for SEO success. Follow the steps below and you’ll be out-ranking your competition in no time!
We’ve written at length in the past about building an effective visual identity for your brand, but the digital realm can present new challenges that you may not consider if you’re developing a brand identity primarily for print. Make sure your brand has the following visual assets if you’re looking to compete online:
Once your brand has all of the assets listed above, you’re ready to shift your focus to your brand’s voice.
We’ve already talked extensively about how to create an authentic brand voice for your company, so if you’re interested in more detail, head over to this blog to learn more.
At a high level, your brand’s voice is the most essential item to your digital branding efforts because of how ubiquitous your brand’s voice is throughout your digital efforts. Sending out a tweet? Need a voice. Writing a blog? Need a voice. Responding to a customer complaint? Need a voice. Despite this fact, brand voice is overlooked by many marketers out of sheer laziness. At a minimum, your brand voice should consist of a few key factors, including:
Once you’ve documented these three items, you can move on to scaling your brand.
The single most powerful aspect of online branding is the fact that it can scale pretty much infinitely. Buying another TV spot costs money. Putting up another billboard costs money. Once you start down the path of digital marketing, however, you can scale up your marketing efforts disproportionately faster and cheaper than you could with traditional vehicles.
So how do you build a brand that can scale as fast as your digital marketing efforts?
The only way to make your brand scale online is by building it right the first time. It’s important that you create an authentic brand that resonates with your team. Without this, it becomes increasingly harder to get new team members to speak your brand’s language. By creating a visual identity and voice that is authentic to your brand, you make it easier for your team to buy in and for everyone representing your brand to look and sound the same.
Let’s run a quick scenario. Let’s say your company is looking to ramp up your content marketing efforts. To facilitate this goal, you’re hiring a new writer. Congratulations! Which would be easier?
The decision here seems simple, but a shocking number of marketers choose #2 because it saves them time and energy upfront. Don’t fall into the trap. Do it right the first time.
Great question, rhetorical device!
If you’re looking to build a stronger digital brand, I’d recommend the following course of action immediately: