When it comes to digital marketing, a great number of people end up missing the forest for the trees. We’re repeatedly told how effective it is to run email marketing campaigns, to flood the net with content and to use PPC but what we’re not told nearly so often is just how important it is to have a strong brand and a real purpose for existing.

You’re not stupid. You know the difference between a spam site and a site that offers real value.

And you also know that the sites that offer real value are the ones that do the best on Google. Big sites like The Verge, IGN, Mashable, Buzzfeed, Forbes, The New York Times… these aren’t spam sites that flood the web with content and keywords. These are big brands that provide real value and have real authority.

If you want to get to that point, then you need to create a brand of your own of similar high quality that can gain the trust of your audience and of Google.

Where Do Brands Start?

Branding starts by understanding where a brand begins. A brand is not a logo and a brand is not a website. Your brand is your ‘mission statement’ and your ‘value proposition’. A brand is a commitment to a certain standard and a reason for existing.

Your brand needs to be unique and it needs to be exciting and cohesive. If you get this right, then it will make all the difference when it comes to your marketing.

Think about something like The Art of Manliness. This is a website with a very clear reason to exist that is communicated very loudly and effectively throughout the entire site. It’s not just there to make money, it’s there to preach a message and to help modern men to feel more manly and to become more capable.

This then informs every smaller decision across the site. Everything from the logo to the content is selling the same dream and this has a very profound effect on visitors.

Know Your Audience

What effect is that? Simple: it immediately communicates to the visitor whether they want to be there or not.

If you search for ‘How to Raise Testosterone’, ‘How to be More Alert’ or ‘How to Smoke a Pipe’ and you find The Art of Manliness, then you instantly know what the site is about and what kind of content you can expect from it. That single difference then means that you will be considerably more likely to sign up if it’s something that you’re interested in.

What’s more, is that you’ll know there aren’t that many sites exactly like this one out there. It’s a rare and interesting topic and for the right visitor, it will have an instant appeal.

The power of a strong brand goes well beyond that though. It will help you to be more recognizable across different social media platforms, it will make your visitors more loyal (they’ll feel like they’re joining a movement) and it will mean that potential partners take your brand more seriously. This should be your priority as a digital marketer.

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Also published on Medium.