In the last post of the series, we talked about how to determine which social media platforms are best for your biz. And in this post, we’re going to cover the importance of branding your blog/biz and how to build a memorable brand. Keep reading to learn how you can create an authentic and cohesive brand for your own blog or biz!
Branding is two-fold
Something that many new bloggers don’t understand is that branding is actually two-fold. Usually, new bloggers understand to an extent that they need a visual brand (meaning you’ve picked your colors, fonts, logo, etc), but the other aspect of branding that they either don’t give much thought to or none at all is their brand identity. Let’s relate our brand to ourselves for a moment, shall we?
As women, we love to put our best foot forward, especially when it comes to meeting new people or trying a new experience. We like to dress our best and do our makeup because that gives us the confidence to make a great first impression. Simply stated, our outward appearance gives others an idea of what they can expect from us. Your brand’s visual branding is similar. All of your visual elements work together to create a first impression that visitors to your website and potential clients will create for themselves. Going back to ourselves, surely a person can’t know everything about us by the way we dress, how we wear our hair, etc. Our appearance is merely our surface layer.
From a first impression, you can’t fully understand someone’s core values, their belief system, their passions, etc. And these things, much more than an outward appearance, determine who we really are. They’re the reason we make the decisions that we do, and explain why others are drawn to us. Your brand identity is similar. Your brand identity is the core of your business. It’s what makes you stand out in an overcrowded market. It’s why you’ll get returning clients and referrals. It’s the reason why you don’t mind staying up until the early morning when you’re working on your business. Your visual branding and your brand identity together form your blog/biz’s brand. Let’s talk more in depth about each of these components!
In the second part of our Start a Blog Series, we described how to narrow your niche and identify your target audience. When you’ve identified your passions and who you want to help, you’re well on your way to forming a brand identity. Your brand identity is the culmination of how/why you want to serve your target audience and what exactly you stand for. Here are some points to think about to help you get a clearer sense of your brand identity.
Go deeper. To form a strong brand identity, you’ve got to ask yourself questions that might seem challenging or deeper than what you’re trying to accomplish. But if you truly want to stand out, you can never get too clear about your blog/biz. Ask yourself what importance does your blog/biz have to you? If you didn’t earn a dime from your efforts, would you still pursue your dream?
Know your why. A very popular phrase in business is to “know your why.” Your “why” is one of the most important aspects of your brand identity. If you don’t nail down your why, when things get tough, it will be hard to push yourself to keep going. Ask yourself why am I doing this? Why do I want to help my target audience? Why can I do this? (because you can, I promise)
What do you stand for? Each of us have a set of principles that we live by, whether we are conscious of them or not. But in your business life, it is beneficial to have a clear set of standards that will guide your business along the way. Ask yourself what are my mission and values for my business? How do I represent those mission and values in my everyday life? Do the products or services that I plan to provide reflect my mission and values? Am I careful to collaborate with others whose brand identities don’t contradict my own?
What feelings do you want to evoke? Brands create a loyal following because of the feeling that their audience get when they interact with or support said brand. Ask yourself, how do I want people to describe my brand? How do I want people to feel when they find my blog/biz? How do I want my audience to feel when I’ve posted a new blog post, sent out a new email, or launched a new product?
Now that you’ve determined your brand identity, you can create (or hire someone to create - although you know that Kendra and I are strong believers in DIY, especially in the beginning) your visual brand elements. Ideally, you’ll develop your visual brand by using your brand identity as a guide.
Primary Brand Elements
Your primary brand elements are those which will aid you in creating the other (secondary) elements you’ll need to form a cohesive brand. These include your logo, your color scheme, and your fonts.
Logo. You don’t need a fancy logo to stand out. In fact, there are many brands that are successful with a simplistic text logo. When you’re working on your logo, ask yourself: Does this logo reflect my brand identity? Is it memorable? Am I happy that this logo will represent me and my brand?
Colors + Fonts. Select between five and six colors that you feel represent the mood you want your brand to convey. Any more than that and it will be more difficult for you to really develop a brand that is recognizable and cohesive. With fonts, you’ll want to select no more than four that will be used across your brand for things like your logo, blog graphics, any printables/freebies, etc. Narrowing your colors and font choices makes you appear more professional, and it creates familiarity among your audience. Forming a brand that is familiar and instantly recognizable will also help you to stand out among an overcrowded market.
Secondary brand elements
As I alluded to earlier, your secondary brand elements are those items that you can create/design once you have figured out your primary brand elements. Some examples would include a business card (even if your biz is online, you need a business card, trust me), your blog post graphic templates, any printables/freebies you offer, the materials that accompany your courses/services, invoices, etc. Yeah, there are a lot of secondary brand elements! And if you don’t narrow down those primary elements, creating all these additional items can really pose an unnecessary challenge!
So now you know the secret to creating a brand that is both authentic and cohesive! If you’re overwhelmed with the thought of nailing your brand identity, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with our Build Your Brand workbook! Just click on the button below to download it! What does your brand stand for? Let us know in the comments below! God bless you!