As the blogging world becomes more saturated, it’s more important than ever to stand out. In the Business of Blogging series, we’ve covered how to start a blog, how to balance blogging with a full time job and have learned tips for success from top bloggers regarding Instagram and the blog. Today’s topic is one of my favorites and one that I feel is SO important in your blogging journey…branding! Read on for three essential tips for branding your blog!
I am such a nerd when it comes to branding your blog but I feel it is absolutely vital when it comes to standing out amongst others. Your branding is what makes you unique and gives your readers something that they can’t get from anyone else because it’s that individualized. It helps you to reach a certain type of reader and connect on a much deeper level by creating strategic and high quality content that adds value. Your branding encompasses everything that you are as a blogger and ultimately decides what type of partnerships and goals make sense for the future.
I’ve compiled a few questions below that helped me in the beginning when I was really trying to define my branding. I actually go through these each quarter to make sure that I’m staying on track and they also come in handy when I feel the need to change something about my branding.
However, before you even start, I want you to ask yourself WHY you are starting a blog. You absolutely MUST have these two things: 1.) a reason why you are starting a blog and 2.) a strong passion for whatever you’re choosing to blog about. These are crucial because this industry is unpredictable and having a passion and purpose for something you believe in will be exactly what you need to make it through. Once you’ve established and understood this, you can now start branding yourself!
Create Your Brand Personality
This is “who” you are portrayed to be online as well as what your business is associated with. My brand personality is fairly obvious and very specific and while it is very much me, it’s not me entirely but an extension of myself (I hope that makes sense). When you answer these questions, don’t think of it as answering about yourself personally but instead answer as yourself from how you perceive your “brand” to be (essentially think of your brand personality as your brand reincarnated into a real person).
- WHO are you? (who is this person behind the blog?)
- What 3 – 5 words would you use to describe yourself?
- What 3-5 words would you use to describe your vision for your blog?
- How is your blog different than others and how will you set yourself apart?
- What feeling do you want your blog to convey?
- How can your convey these feelings through imagery, words and blog design?
- What is your writing style/voice?
- What do people turn to you for help with?
- What skills do you have that others might be interested in learning?
Visualize Your Brand
What is your brand story? Sometimes it’s hard to just think of words to describe what your ideal brand would be so it’s easier to visualize. Here are a few tricks I use to help me really hone in on my branding:
- Create a secret pinterest board – this one is super helpful! Start pinning things that you are naturally drawn to. Don’t think too hard about it or force anything. Just pin things that you like…it can be anything! Once you have quite a few pins, start looking at any repetition or patterns. Are there certain colors that show up more than others? Is there a specific style you seem to be drawn to? Is there a specific editing style that seems prevalent (neutral, colorful, moody, etc)? Are there any other patterns you see? What words would you use to describe this group of photos (use the first words that pop into your mind)?
- Look in your closet – We always seem to favor certain clothing over others when it comes to getting dressed. Go to your closet and take out your absolute favorite can’t-live-without items. What do all of these items have in common? What about these items are you drawn to? What words would you use to describe these items (again, first words that pop into your head)?
- Your favorite bloggers – So I am definitely not on board with copying other people (you want to be unique, after all!) but taking a closer look at a handful of your favorite bloggers can actually tell you a lot about yourself! First off, why do you follow this blogger in the first place? In what way do they inspire you? What value do they offer you? What is it that you like the most about them and what are you drawn to?
When I do these exercises, I find that a lot of my descriptive words tend to overlap. These are likely the words that stand out to you the most and would be the most ideal for your branding (aka your branding keywords – woo hoo!).
Know Your Target Audience
When first starting a blog, many people make the mistake of creating their blog for everyone rather than just one specific type of reader. Someone said to me one time that “If you’re creating your blog for everyone, you’re creating it for no one” and it couldn’t be more true. While having an ideal reader in mind means that not necessarily everyone will like your blog, it also means that it will attract the right type of person to your blog. We are unique individuals with different gifts to share with the world and this is what makes us attractive to certain people. If your audience is too broad, your ideal reader will never truly connect with you, which is why it is so important to establish this from the beginning.
- WHO is my ideal reader? – What is their name? How old are they? What do they look like? Where do they live? Where do they work? What do they like to do for fun? The questions are infinite – be VERY specific!
- What 3-5 words would you use to describe them?
- If you could handpick a room full of people, who would they be? – Use real life people (I like using celebrities). What do they all have in common? What words would you use to describe them?
- What is their problem and how can you solve it?
Once you create an ideal reader, keep this one person in mind each and every time you create a piece of content. They should influence how you write, how you shoot and edit your photos, what platforms you use, and down the line, who you choose to work with.
I hope these tips help you with branding your blog! There is definitely a lot more to say on this subject and I could go wayyyy more in depth about this topic, but I don’t want it to get too overwhelming haha! 🙂
What other topics would you like to see covered in the Business of Blogging series?
And for all you blogging pros out there, do you have any other branding tips to share?
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