My brand. What is it? Why would a blogger need one? Does anyone actually care? Let me tell ya one thing – if you are running a business, you need your own set of brand guidelines. Whether you’re a blogger, selling a service or creating a product, you need to clearly identify your brand. It’s the thing that sets you apart from competitors and it’s the thing that draws in your readers or customers.
To clarify, a brand isn’t your Instagram feed. I’ll address that later but I needed to put it out there early on. It’s so much more than that. It’s how you position your services to the world. A snapshot of your offerings. A portfolio of your work and success. It can look different for everyone, it should look different for everyone. But at the end of the day, it should be created for you as an outline for how to market your business on the highest level.
I created my own set of brand guidelines a little over a year ago to give me such much-needed direction and decided to give them a refresh for 2019. I broke down a few of the more important sections to give you a little behind the scenes of what I’m working with.
This is the stuff most people probably think about when you hear the word branding. Logos, fonts, colors, etc. It’s the stuff that goes into each and every piece of material you create. Think media kits, blog graphics, social media templates, business cards and more.
I played around with a ton of font combinations until I landed on my favorites and have them listed out by mains and headers and then a few sub fonts to use. I also outline the color codes to ensure consistency and included my logo and submark with their inverse colors.
This is usually what I send when I’m getting help with marketing materials to ensure the designed piece is not only cohesive with my brand but also coordinates with other items I already have. I even use it myself, especially when creating things like IG Story frames and Pinterest graphics. I have a few templates ready to go that I can tweak but like the guidelines in front of me when creating new templates or working on a new project.
Imagery is the thing that has challenged me the most since I started blogging. It took me a few years to get a grasp on my aesthetic and I’m not just talking about what my IG feed looks like. It’s so much more. Over the years, I’ve done it all. I attempted the light and airy look. Wasn’t me. I tried overly saturated photos with bold colors. Also, not me. I came to the realization that instead of trying to mimic what other successful bloggers were doing, I needed to take a step back and look at the aesthetic that was already a part of my life. I love neutrals and most things in my house and wardrobe are black, white, tan or grey. I’m also drawn to more of the natural wood and marble treatments as opposed to florals and polka dots. So, I started highlighting what was real for me and finally landed on a look & feel that felt true to my “brand”.
Pro tip: I love looking at past content for inspiration on upcoming projects. Posts that performed well with you guys or a brand partner are always at the top of my list. I also love finding inspiration from some of my favorite bloggers. I’m 100% against copying someone else’s work but I think there’s value in referencing your favorite accounts when looking to up your own creativity. Just like you would do when flipping through a magazine, I save photos from some of my these ladies to get my own creative juices flowing and then work with my photographer to shoot content that showcases my unique perspective and style.
PHOTO CREDITS + SOURCES
These ladies inspire me on the daily and constantly challenge me to push my creativity. Make sure you give them a follow.
This was probably the piece of the puzzle that was the hardest to create. You would think I love writing since I do it for a living but it’s not my favorite. I knew that having a cohesive look and feel was important but how you position your blog is just as crucial.
My first step was identifying my mission with Lauren Elyce. I started jotting down what I wanted to portray and what I wanted my audiences to get out of my content. Hint: I want you to leave feeling inspired and empowered. I want you to feel like you can relate to me. I pieced together a mission statement that I reference before writing each and every blog post and social media caption to ensure I’m staying on track.
It was also about time I created an updated bio that I could use on my site as well as other branded materials in addition to something I could send to partners. I pulled from the new bio and my mission statement to craft together an elevator pitch – the quick overview you give people when they ask what makes you unique or what your blog is about. I also jotted down some buzzwords to reference when creating content. My goal is that every piece of content I create touches on at least five of the words in some way.
The last page in my brand guidelines is an outline of post categories + blog post checklist. I have this printed out on my desk and crosscheck against every blog post I write and when I’m filling out my editorial calendar for the month.
My big goal for 2019 is to make my content as authentic as possible while still serving as a resource for each of you. I want it to be inspiring, empowering and helpful. And I want it to be unique. So, I created a checklist with items that need to be in every post (blog or social) and it helps to keep me in line with my content goals.
do you guys like posts like this? blogging behind the scenes or what goes
in torunning a brand/business? comment below! And if you’re a blogger or brand looking to elevate your own branding, we offer branding solutions and guidelines as part of our services at Adorn Media Group. We’d love to work with you!