Does Your Brand’s Blog Need a Name? The Case for and Against Branding Your Blog

What’s in a name, anyway? Shakespeare would have us believe that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, but that was before brands and brand preferences divided the world. Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi. Home Depot vs. Lowe’s. Target vs. Walmart. You know the big rivalries. In fact, a brand is not just a name, though that name elicits plenty of word associations. Brands conjure instant associations with values, images, products—but most importantly, emotions and content.

This isn’t an article advising you to relaunch what your brand name is. We’re not going to tell you to change your brand name from Time.ly to T.i.me.ly or some other URL spelling. No, what we—and plenty of other brands—want to know is this: does your blog need a name? We present the cases for and against naming your brand’s blog. (Don’t know what we mean? Keep reading.)

The Case Against Naming Your Brand’s Blog

Why wouldn’t you brand your blog with a name? There are plenty of reasons, but the first may sound counterintuitive: there may be no reasoning to name your blog. Or perhaps there is no strategy or purpose to naming your blog.

Part of creating effective content marketing and branding is being strategic. Just like with content, there needs to be a purpose and reasoning behind all of your actions. Slapping a name onto your brand’s blog just to have a name may seem more trouble than it’s worth if:

  • A brand’s content efforts are nascent and/or modest
  • A brand wants a stronger association between blog content and their brand

Let’s tackle this logically. The “point” of content marketing is to create content to attract people to your brand. Many brands name their blogs once they have a clear identity, voice, content production, audience and readership in mind. When a brand names a blog, it effectively becomes a branded publication, which is a daunting task for brands just starting to make a name for themselves. And if they’re trying to make a name for themselves, what’s the strategy behind using another name? If a brand can answer that question, great. Pass Go and collect $200. But if not, don’t name your brand’s blog.

Brands with more established content marketing efforts may read the paragraph above and feel like they have the green light. We have all of those things! Let’s name our blog! But that brings us to the next point: once you’ve made a name for your content, you might want to keep that name. This usually depends on whether the brand is B2B or B2C. For example, B2B brands who create more thought leadership pieces often do not brand their blogs because they want to be known as thought leaders. Additional branding may confuse readers.

Overall, if a brand does not have a clear reasoning for why they should name their blog something else, then they should hold off on it. But if there is a reason…

The Case for Naming Your Blog

If a brand wants to name their blog, they better have a strategic reason behind it. Whether that’s to create multiple branded publications or to distinguish branded content from competitive verticals, that reason must be clear and well understood.

Generally, brands like to name their blogs if they seek to create:

  • A branded publication
  • Multiple branded publications and content properties

A branded publication is simply a cohesive collection of editorial content from a brand. It doesn’t have to be packaged for an exclusive print magazine a la Airbnb’s Pineapple and United Airline’s Rhapsody; it can exist solely online like Reddit’s Upvoted, Birchbox’s The Magazine; or it can be a blend of the two, like Red Bull’s The Red Bulletin. These publications represent a subsidiary of a larger brand, but stand on their own editorial merit and integrity.

Some brands even have multiple branded publications. Adobe owns Behance, which is responsible for the creative professional blog 99u; Adobe also has blogs across all verticals, including a Digital Marketing Blog. Contently has The Content Strategist and The Freelancer. Naming and branding these publications can help a brand create tons of content with different editorial, voices and identities, all while being under the umbrella of a different brand.

If your brand is looking to create a hub of content, branding your blog(s) can go a long way—as long as you know why your brand’s blog is expanding.

If branding your blog aligns with your content marketing goals, go for it. If you are to name your blog, you’ll often have to brand your blog as well for consistency. You may need to redesign your blog’s site, your editorial voice and even your blog’s identity. But remember that choosing a name for your blog is like choosing a name for your child; it needs to represent who you are and who your child will be. Substitute you for brand and child for blog and you get the idea.

A good branded name for your blog is:

  • Readable
  • Pronounceable
  • Spellable
  • Memorable
  • Concise
  • Unique
  • Descriptive
  • Consistent
  • Direct
  • Metaphorical
  • Representative

Need a few examples? Red Bull’s The Red Bulletin does a great job of checking off these boxes while also using some fun word play. Reddit’s Upvoted is a direct through line between Reddit’s product and community. Frank & Oak’s magazine Oak Street is representative of their brand (located on Oak Street) and is memorable. Meanwhile, Birchbox’s The Magazine sounds vague, like it can’t stand on its own without Birchbox in the title.

So does your brand’s blog need a name? Answer: that depends on whether you can justify why it does.

7 Digital Publishers Who Have Recommitted to Print Publishing

By Emily E. Steck

In a marketplace where everyone is on every content channel, these digital-first publishers are committing themselves to print to stand out from the pack.

  • POLITICO Magazine

    By Emily E. Steck

    _POLITICO Magazine_ features original online reporting, weekly Friday covers and a bi-monthly print edition that is free to the public with a circulation of approximately 40,000. “If you define your publication by the platform on which you publish, you pretty quickly risk irrelevance,” said Susan Glasser, editor of _POLITICO Magazine_ to [Digiday in 2014.](http://digiday.com/publishers/digital-publishers-reviving-print-corpse/)

  • PORTER Magazine

    By Emily E. Steck

    _Net-A-Porter_'s—world's premier online luxury fashion retailer—print magazine _PORTER Magazine _is an extension of the brand's luxury fashion. Equipped with high fashion editorials, photography and shopping opportunities, the part-magazine, part-catalogue runs thick with an average of 300+ pages. With six annual issues for $25/$35 a year, it's one of the best "steals" for digital-to-print magazine prices.

  • GOOD Magazine

    By Emily E. Steck

    The journey to print is interesting for _GOOD Magazine_, the magazine for "people who give a damn." After abandoning most of its editorial roots in favor of becoming a platisher, the magazine pivoted back to editorial and then print in 2015. The quarterly magazine runs at approximately 132 pages, with a high editorial to advertisement ratio. Available by subscription for $40 per year, or $14 an issue at book retailers and online, is committed to print. "We’re structuring this incarnation of _GOOD_ to be more reliant on subscribers, first and foremost, and to a lesser extent, single copy sales. We’re upscaling the product to connect with readers in a different way where it almost fits into that bookazine category," [says Casey Caplowe, co-founder of _GOOD _to _Folio_.](http://www.foliomag.com/2015/good-goes-back-print/)

  • Pineapple

    By Emily E. Steck

    Airbnb may be the world's leading online hotel brand, but it was plagued by a branding issue for years. Mainly, that there was no connection to the physical world. Enter _Pineapple, _Airbnb's printed quarterly magazine_ _that aspires to start coffee table conversation for the curious-minded traveler. Each issue is advertisement-free, over 120 pages and costs $12. (We highlighted it [here](http://blog.quiet.ly/industry/airbnbs-pineapple-branded-publication-connects-the-online-startup-to-its-real-world-travelers/).)

  • The Pitchfork Review

    By Emily E. Steck

    Pitchfork—a music publication—launched _The Pitchfork Review _in 2014 as a 200-plus page quarterly magazine. Featuring longform journalism, photography, reviews, interviews, design and comics, the print magazine hopes to encourage readers to collect their magazine like they would a vinyl record. That explains why the price of the print magazine is on the expensive side, costing $20 an issue or $50 for a year. Consumers can also buy the magazine at select bookstores in the United States.

  • CNET Magazine

    By Emily E. Steck

    CNET—one of the oldest and largest online tech publications—launched a print quarterly magazine in late 2014 simpled entitled _CNET Magazine, _where it hopes to reach audiences offline with the latest tech journalism. "The idea from the outset was that _CNET_ did not want to be a tech insider publication. That's not what we do online. We're a consumer-focused tech site. Once you understand that's what we're trying to do in print, it becomes clear that there's not tech mainstream consumer magazine in the marketplace," said the site's co-editor in chief, Connie Guglielmo to [Mashable.](http://mashable.com/2014/11/03/cnet-quarterly-magazine/) Taking the subscription-based model—$10 for 4 issues a year via online or found in book retailers—the magazine is set to circulate 200,000 copies.

  • The Red Bulletin

    By Emily E. Steck

    _The Red Bulletin—_Red Bull's branded magazine—has carved itself a place in the men’s lifestyle market via compelling sports photography and editorials (more on that [here](http://blog.quiet.ly/industry/what-gives-red-bull-its-wings-its-branded-publication-the-red-bulletin/)). In addition to their online blogs, social channels and editorials, they publish their branded magazine for free.

Image: Mike Flippo/Shutterstock

Understand how Quietly can help play a role in your content marketing efforts.

Speak to a Strategist Today

Get a free consultation for your content marketing strategy.

Speak to a Strategist Today