Branding. If you’ve spent any time at all in blogging and small business communities online, you’ll see that term coming up again and again. What is branding? And why is it so important? Do you really need a brand? Can you get away with DIYing your brand? So many questions!
In this post I’m going to go over the basics of branding including whether or not you should be branding your blog (hint: the answer is yes!) and how to go about doing it yourself.
What is branding?
Entrepreneur.com defines branding as:
The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.
In other words, branding gives your blog a personality.
Think about how you present yourself to the world. Do you never leave the house without lipstick? Or maybe a t-shirt and jeans is your go to. How you dress says a lot about you. Without even speaking a word to another person, the way you present yourself is telling them little bits of information about you.
Your blog is the same. When people first click over to your site, what is their first impression of your blog? This is where branding comes in.
Branding tells others what your blog is about and who it’s for. Like your own wardrobe, branding is your blog’s wardrobe.
Now of course branding can (and does) go a lot deeper than how your blog looks. Branding can also encompass the tone you use in your blog posts, your blog’s values, and so much more. But because I’m a designer, my focus is on the visual side of branding.
Why does your blog need a brand?
A blog without a brand is just a blog. It’s boring. It doesn’t let the world know what your blog is about or who it’s for. Imagine clicking over to a blog with a white background, black text, and no images. Sounds boring doesn’t it? Not exactly enticing.
Your blog’s brand works for you. In other words, it provides site visitors with a first impression. And this is crucial. Someone isn’t going to dive right into your content if they can’t get a sense of what your blog is about.
Think back to that boring white website I mentioned earlier. If you landed on a site like that, would you want to read the blog posts? Probably not. But add some color, some images, and a logo, and boom. A lot more interesting, right?
Just like in the real world, appearances matter. Now granted you’re not going to win everyone over with your branding and that’s okay. The goal is to win over the people who your blog is for. If your branding can do that, then you’re on your way to success.
So in other words, branding allows you to attract your ideal audience, which in turn allows your blog to grow. See why you blog needs a brand?
What elements make up your brand?
When it comes to visually branding your blog, what can you use to convey your brand?
The most important piece of your branding is your logo, or the graphic representation of your blog. You logo is usually placed in the header of your blog and acts as the “face” of your blog. When used on other items, such as on graphics or in an email, it allows you to represent your blog’s brand all across the internet.
Next up is your blog’s color palette. All of the colors used across your site combine to create a palette that represents your brand. Choose too many colors and your brand won’t be recognizable. Think about some popular brands. What colors do you automatically associate with them? Think of Netflix and red, black, and white come to mind, while FedEx makes you think of purple and orange.
Color can have a strong association, so you’ll want to use it wisely. Choose colors that successfully convey your brand. For example, if your blog is beauty related, pinks, reds, or even purples might be a good choice. But on the other hand, if your blog is about cars, pinks might not be the best choice. Remember to keep your audience in mind!
The third element of your brand is your choice of fonts. Like colors, fonts each have a personality of their own. Therefore, it’s important to choose fonts that best represent your brand. A law firm using Comic Sans wouldn’t be taken seriously, would it? Just like how it wouldn’t be in a tech blog’s best interest to use a handwritten, script font. The fonts you choose to represent your blog will have a big impact on how your blog is perceived, so choose wisely!
Another element of your brand is photography or images. With visuals being incredibly important in the world of blogging and social media, the images you use play a big role in getting your brand across. When selecting images, it’s important to keep your brand in mind. If your brand is light and airy, choose images that reflect that. Don’t choose a dark image if that’s not in line with your overall brand. Yes, this often means doing more work to hunt down the perfect image, but in the end, it’s well worth it!
Lastly, your brand may also be composed of various other design elements, such as patterns and icons. These finishing touches help bring everything together and help create a fully fleshed out brand.
How do you determine your blog’s brand?
Figuring out your blog’s brand can be tricky. That’s why there are brand designers out there that specialize in exactly that. But maybe you don’t have the money to hire a brand designer. Or maybe you’d just rather brand your blog yourself.
The first step is to figure out your audience. Who is your blog for? Your audience will play a key part in how you brand your blog, so it’s important to know who they are. Ask yourself who they are and what their struggles and interests are. Get specific!
Next, think about what you want your brand to convey. Do you want your blog to be elegant and feminine? Or maybe fun and quirky? Think up 3-5 adjectives to describe your brand and write them down.
Once you have these things figured out, hop on over to Pinterest and create a private board titled “My Brand.” Now you’re going to start pinning. Pin everything that resonates with the brand you want to create. If your brand words are warm and inviting, save images that evoke those feelings. Don’t get too hung up right now on colors or specifics. This is only the initial stage, so go crazy!
When you’ve curated a board of at least 50 pins, it’s time to do some refining. Scroll through everything and look for a cohesive aesthetic. You’ll probably notice that a bunch of the images work well together… that’ll be the starting point for your brand! Go through and delete any images that don’t fit in with the majority.
Now that you have a solid foundation in place, it’s time to take that inspiration and turn it into a brand. First up is colors. What colors do you notice popping up often? Create a color palette based off of those repeated colors.
Next up is typography. Did you happen to pin any images with text on them? Perhaps some logos? Or maybe you have a bunch of hand lettering pins. Use those images as a starting point for selecting your fonts. For example, if you notice a lot of serif fonts throughout your board, try using a serif font for your brand. Or if hand lettering is abundant, find a handwritten font or find a way to incorporate your own writing onto your website.
Lastly, take a look at the general aesthetic of the photos you pinned. Are they bright and airy? Dark and moody? When selecting or taking photos to use on your site, keep that aesthetic in mind. You don’t want to use a haphazardly chosen set of images. All of your images should cohesively look like they belong together.
And there you have it! The foundation for your blog’s brand. Now of course there’s a lot more that goes into creating a brand, but as long as you keep your audience and goals in mind, you should be on your way to a beautiful and successful brand. Be intentional with any design and branding decisions you make and you’ll be halfway there!Learn how to brand your blog with the blogger's guide to brandingClick To Tweet