Branding: Not Just for Cattle

Hello there! On Fridays I usually post a round-up of bookish links but today instead I posting a little about blog marketing for Armchair BEA. Today is the Book Blogger Convention in New York and I bet those folks have a lot to talk about.

So I'm going to tell you all I know about branding in terms of blog marketing. (This should take 5 mins since I'm no expert!) A lot of the professional bloggers out there talk about branding. It can be pretty complicated but it doesn't have to be. In fact, I think a lot of branding comes about naturally without you even realizing it.

For example, I named this blog book-a-rama. The first thing I did was set up an email account just for the blog with Chrisbookarama in the address. I started signing in comments: Chrisbookarama. My Twitter, Goodreads, and LibraryThing accounts are Chrisbookarama. Pretty soon if you saw Chrisbookarama out there chances were good it was me. Blamo! I got a brand.

I never set out to do it. I didn't say to myself, "I must have a brand!" I just figured it would be the easiest way to set myself apart from the other bloggers out there. I was saying, "I'm Chris and my blog is book-a-rama." Plus Chrisbookarama is hardly ever taken as a sign in name.

So what I'm telling you is: be consistent. It's the easiest way to get people to recognize you online.

Okay, now I'm really nervous about this next thing and debated posting it 100 times but here goes anyway. I might end up deleting it later! I filmed a little video of me discussing what panel I'd like to see at BBC and why. I promise there is no dancing to Single Ladies involved (the internet heaves a sigh of relief!).


  1. That was awesome, Chris, and I think you express the thoughts of a lot of book bloggers and bloggers, period. I know my sister who has a blog has a few ads through Blogher (not too obtrusive) and also writes for other blogs, including a blog called Powder Room Grafitti I think she makes a little bit of cash on it. As for writing, I've followed your blog (on and off, I won't lie) for a while and I think that your writing only has gotten better over time along with the look of your blog and I think by stepping out to do the vlog like you did is a big step toward marketing your brand. Not that you were planning that way, but your honesty shines through in this vlog and will go a long way toward others not only following you, but also I would dare say hiring you as a writer. I don't say this often, because it's so cliche, but kudos to you.

  2. Unfinished- Thanks for the great comment! I signed up for Blogher ads but they have a waiting list. I signed up for Chitika ads. I did really well the first month and then nothing.

    I'm trying to find out where I belong in the writing world. It's tough to figure it all out since I just do my own thing.

  3. Great post Chris. I didn't think about branding when I started out either. Once I DID, I found the transition to using Capricious Reader slow, but satisifying. I'm glad I have something besides HEATHER to identify me. There are a lot of Heathers out there!

    And I don't know, I think the dancing to Single Ladies would have been cool! ;)

  4. So fun to see/hear you! And I do hope you do it again. I have no suggestions for you on the making money thing. I totally clueless...but good luck! :)

  5. I love the title of this post.

    I did another funny consideration of Copyright called The Battle of the Book. Belles-Lettres

  6. Great Post!

    Don't remove the video, it was a great way to get to know more about you.

  7. I can't watch the vlog (blocked!), but you make good points about establishing a consistent online identity.

    I've been with BlogHer Ads for about two years. There's usually a waiting list, but some blog categories don't seem to wait as long - and I think ours is one of them, so you never know. I don't make all that much money from it, but it's something, and it's good exposure too.

  8. Hi Chris!

    I am not usually a video or vlog person, but something made me click play and I am glad that I did.

    I am starting to branch out a bit and try to make a bit from my blogs. Like you, I don't want to be ProBlogger, but earning enough to give me something to pay for my hobbies and branch out a bit would be grand.

    Have you found ?

    I just participated in a chat that they had the other night and learned about a lot of great ad campaigns and other things.

    I will subscribe to you to catch up and maybe, sometime, we can bounce ideas off of each other?

  9. Speaking of branding, I just realized that my google sign in is the only thing that I don't have tied into my book blog. Need to change that, thanks for reminding me. is my home:)

  10. Heather- There are a lot of Chris's out there too.

    Suey- Thanks!

    Brooke- Thanks and your post is so funny!

    Felicia- Thanks :)

    Florinda- I always wondered if they made any money. I haven't made anything from my Amazon affiliate. I'm thinking of dropping them.

    Gwen- Great thanks! I'll check out that site.

  11. Great post! I think this totally shows how stress free branding your blog actually can be. It just comes naturally with all of your locations on the web and them whamo you have a presence. You can be more strongly branded after that if you want to!

  12. Nice post!

    I am ReadingVacation on my blog, my email, and my Twitter. I guess I am branded! I don't know any other Melinas either. Guess I'm lucky to have a different name.


  13. Great post. The problem with branding is for people like me. I have two main blogs, one is a book blog called SMS Book Reviews and the other is a life/random blog called Callista's Ramblings.

    In retrospect I should have called it SMS Ramblings or something similar but too late to change it now. So I can't name my twitter both of those and if my book ones like bookblogs, good reads and librarything were all smsbookreviews and my mombloggersclub, twittermoms etc were callistasramblings then I think it would be more confusing like I'm two different people.

    So I use callista83 for almost everything. I'm Callista at SMS Book Reviews and Callista at Callista's Ramblings.

  14. I LOVED your vlog! You are SO cute! I still want to get up to Nova Scotia one of these days. If not, NYC next May? We can be roomies!

    You bring up some great points about branding. At this point in time, I have no idea about how to go about changing my e-mail and Twitter. I've been thinking about keeping Michelle's Masterful Musings but for Twitter and e-mail, changing it to M^3 (M Cubed) for branding purposes. Figuring out how to do it without losing followers is going to be interesting.

  15. It was really fun to see your vlog Chris!

    Branding is an interesting one to me. I think that Historical Tapestry has had a really strong visual brand since pretty much the beginning. All of our logos, buttons etc have been different but linked, but I really didn't feel that I had that on my blog. That was part of the reason why when I had my blog redesigned I wanted a header that was all mine and that I could then use across Twitter etc, so that it became identifiably mind.

    Once I get around to my own web address this will hopefully get stronger.

    Good luck with making a little cash, and with finding a project to write.

  16. Hi Chris, like Gwen, I usually skip the videos but I watched your all the way! It's nice to see a blogger "in person" and I liked what you have to say.

    My own idea is to use my blog as a sort of proof of what I can do, and then hopefully get asked to do reviews, maybe even professionally. But I've only just started blogging, so we'll see how it goes.

  17. It was great to see you, Chris! I think everyone would like to make some money off their blogs, but I don't know... I kind of like the way my blog is right now. Maybe in the future I might try to integrate some advertising.

  18. Amused- Yes, I think it can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.

    Melina- You are quite unique!

    Callista- That is tough. One way to get around it is using the same avatar for everything.

    Michelle- Thanks! I think you can change Twitter fairly easily but I'm not sure.

    Marg- I now associate your aviator with you!

    Leeswarmer- It took me awhile to get to the point of thinking about it.

    Heidenkind- I'm checking out the different options.

  19. Expert or not you have the most important point down pat. Being consistent with your brand, no matter what that brand is, will make you recognizable no matter where you go.

  20. Sometimes I think I should have given my website a more bookish name, but when I started, it was more general and an analogy -- thus, "Life is a Patchwork Quilt". I don't know if that's a good thing -- I go through my google reader and there are a lot of blogs with "books" in the title, so maybe my title stands out, but on the other hand, it's not clear from the title that I mostly blog about books! Oh well...I still muse about it every now and then.

  21. Great vlog, Chris! I'm a little late to the party, but I'm so glad I went through back posts in my reader and found this one!!! You do express the feelings of sooo many bloggers. I've made a little money off of my blog, but since it's had to take a backseat to family lately, it's fallen off a great deal. Branding is a wonderful idea, and I've done the same thing, again, mostly for the ease of it. Estella's Revenge is very moi!

  22. I totally understand the branding thing! When I started blogging, I realized pretty quickly that there are tons of people named Rebecca, so I changed it to my first and last name, which if you read it sounds the same as my blog name.

    And ah, how I loved to see the face behind bookarama! How fun! I know nothing about marketing my blog. I don't like seeing flashing ads on blogs and I don't think I have the time to figure out how to make money on my blog, but good luck to you figuring it out on your own blog! I'll have to see what others say on the comments

  23. This was a great post! (Sorry for the late-ness, I'm just catching up on all the Armchair BEA posts I starred to come back to in my reader.) I definitely didn't really feel like I had a "brand" until my new blog design, even though I was using the same name everywhere before for book-related things.


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