This blog is about branding, being on-brand, and why it’s better for you when I rebel and write off-brand.
For simplicity’s sake let’s make sure we’re on the same page in understanding branding.
“Don’t Try to Understand ‘Em, Just Rope, Throw and Brand ‘Em…”
Here’s what branding is. Or was, back in the day. A unique mark was forged into metal, shoved in a fire, and then sizzled and seared onto some poor beat’s hide. From that moment on, when people saw the brand, they knew the animal belonged to someone. If they knew your brand, they knew that animal was yours.
Your business branding needs to work the same way. (Minus the archaic practice of burning our brands onto our living possessions. Do not, I say again, do NOT attempt to brand your staff: you will go to gaol.)
Being On-Brand Is Good Advertising
Write for humans first, and google second. So this part is a bit of a no-brainer.
To create a strong brand identity you need to be recognisable. To be recognised you need to be consistent.
A holistic approach is needed. First, you need on-brand colours, fonts and typography. You need on-brand web design, images, and memes if you use them. Yes, memes. Got an inspirational quote from someone else which resonates with you? Good. Acknowledge that someone, but don’t just hit ‘share’. Put it in your brand colours and fonts. Use your logo somewhere.
It’s the exact principle as the cattle: People recognise your brand, whichever platform you’re using. Being visually on brand is important, but you can’t stop there. All of this on-brandedness needs to have a message, because that’s what people are usually looking for. Your prospects need to be able to understand what you offer, what you’re about, why you’re the answer to their problem, as well as your values. Stay on-brand by publishing copy and content that’s always on message.
On-Brand Copy and Content Is Good SEO
A strong brand identity with quality, on-brand content and copy is good SEO because Google recognises it.
Consistently publishing fantastic, relevant content and copy tells the scuttling Google bots (which I always think of as little crabs for some bizarre reason) who you are and what you do. The bots want the best experience for Google’s customer, and strongly branded content (with a bit of SEO magic) will make them more likely to rank you higher.
Want to learn more about SEO and have a good laugh too? Read SEO Whoa!
Being On-Brand Is Good For Copywriters
I know the advantages to being on-brand. When it’s blog-share day in my copy communities, I see lots of ‘copywriter content’. Copywriters need to write very on-brand ‘copywriter content’ because it’s part of our jobs to tell people what our job is, why we rock at it, and why we’re different to other copywriters.
And don’t get me wrong. It’s good. It’s inspiring. It’s sensible (and I mean that as a compliment). It’s SEO savvy and it’s so bloody on-brand, yet avoids being shouty.
I write good ‘copywriter content’ too. So far, this has been fairly solid ‘copywriter content’. So I’ve told you to stay on brand, dammit.
Because when it comes to staying on-brand writing my own content: I don’t.
Some days, my romantic heart wanders. I might write an historical piece.
Or I get mad and start working on an opinion piece.
Maybe a personal story to clear out my mental and emotional cobwebs, hoping that sharing a once-painful experience will help another person feel strong.
And sometimes, just sometimes I write a good old-fashioned diary* style blog.
(*I’m sure this latter style is the copywriter equivalent to arriving at a swanky dinner party with a plate of toothpicks skewering pickled onions, cheese and cabana. Then perching on the coolite esky you’ve BYO’d, holding your stubby high to the shocked room and shouting ‘Cheers big ears!!’)
What’s In It For You When I Break The Rules
When I go off-brand, I’m free. I allow my mind and writing style to range in different directions. I’m not bound by the constraints of what I ‘should’ be doing; I read and research away from the main arena of copy and content writing. I write fiction and poetry too; this year I’m committed to writing a book.
I put sensible, on-brand convention aside, and unashamedly indulge my impulsive writer’s nature. I obey my need to become a mental traveller – to stray, to seek, to inhabit worlds I’ve never been to. I examine states of mind I’ve been in, or may never be in, but want to understand. I learn about things I’m interested in, and discover new things I never thought I’d find interesting.
In short, ignoring convention in favour of exploration and writing about whatever the… heck I want, it makes me a more intuitive, creative writer.
When I write off-brand, it’s good news for you, the prospect.
Because a writer who can allow themselves to be immersed in different worlds is much more likely to be able to inhabit your world. More able to see what makes you tick, understand your point of view and what you want to say.
And if it’s starting to sound a bit ‘woo’ for you, take heart. The creative, empathetic love-storm is framed by my knowledge of the best way to tell your brand’s story. (That’s a nice way of saying I won’t blow smoke up your arse.)
So, that’s it. Writing ‘off-brand’ is my ‘on-brand’. And it means you win – because when I write my off-brand blogs and other pieces, it makes me better at writing your on-brand copy and content. If you think you might want me to do some on-brand writing for your business, maybe you’re ready to head to The ‘Salesy’ Part.