Saturday, March 14, 2015

So You Wanna Start a Blog: Part 2// Defining Your Brand



Welcome back to my blog series everyone! This week on ‘So You Wanna Start a Blog’ we’re going to be talking about defining your brand! If you missed the first part, you can click here to go read up on the basics of starting a blog like picking your name and theme! Now onto part two!


Defining Your Brand//

Once you’ve gotten the ‘basics’ out of the way it’s time for the fun work part; branding your blog. Branding is one of those words that is thrown around a lot in the blogging world but what the heck does it actually mean?

Branding is the appearance, aesthetics, cohesiveness, impression, reputation, association, story, design and content. While all of these elements are important, the main thing to remember is your brand is a representation of you. Your online presence is an extension of you as a person. Branding for your blog is essentially an online personality. Like a person, you want to create a unique and distinct personality for your blog and have a strong online identity.

Still a little confused, maybe this will help. Think of your favorite brands, what words instantly come to mind? Those words are a representation of the brand and everything that they do reflects those words. Branding. Think of Victoria’s Secret, what words come to mind? For me it was sexy, seductive, confident, feminine and luxurious. While I’m not 100% sure these are their brand words I’m pretty confident they are part of their branding and campaigns.

If you’re still a little lost on the whole thing keep reading and it might start to click.

To help create your brand the first thing we’re going to do is make a list of all the ‘things’ that make you (your brand) you. What do you love? What things instantly remind people of you? It could anything, a color, a piece of clothing, a song, a hobby, a certain food, a quote!

This is my list: Coffee, Fashion, Lipstick, Desk Du Jour, Instagram, Parties + Planning, Positive Personality, White + Gold + Pink, Home goods and Popcorn.

These are all things that I love and that represent my interests. What things are on your list?

Once you’ve made your list it’s time to have some fun! We’re going to throw it back and create a vision board. A vision board is a collage of photos/words that relate to your brand and will help you visualize it better.

Use your words that you listed and take to the Internet to find photos that fit those words. My favorite places to look are Pinterest and Tumblr. Other great spots are WeHeartIt and of course, Google Images.

While searching on Pinterest or Tumblr you might notice a pattern of images that you pin or reblog. For me it was the colors pink, white and gold, fashion, coffee and generally girly, pretty things. From there it was pretty easy to find my brand and my aesthetic.

Here’s what my vision board looks like!



I used PicMonkey to assembly my photos together, as it was the easiest way but feel free to use any collage software or Photoshop!


Color Time//
Now that you’ve gotten your vision board and are getting an idea of what your brand looks like it’s time to pick your color scheme! Like painting a house, decorating a room or picking an outfit a color scheme is essential in creating a cohesive brand/look.

For me my color scheme was pink, white, gold and black. I also added the patterns of stripes and polka dots in for fun! My color scheme is fun, upbeat, girly and reflects my brand.

Helpful hint! When picking colors try to stick to 4-6. Have at least two neutrals, a pop of color and a pattern.

A Font Affair//

Now it’s time for what fonts you’ll be using! Fonts are one of my favorite things in graphic design. I’m what you’d call a font snob. I blame my 2 ½ years of Yearbook for that. Just like picking out colors, having specified fonts will “create a more streamlined and professional look to your website and content” (La Petite Fashionista).

When picking out fonts pick out at least 4; a bold font for headlines, a decorative/scripty/cursive font, a basic font for graphics and a body copy font.



These are the fonts that I chose for my blog. Bedini, Bedini Italic and Sweet Pea are my headline graphic fonts, Helvetica is my body copy font and Source Sans Pro Extra Light is a text graphic font.

Helpful hint! When picking your fonts pick a serif, like Times New Roman and a sans serif, like Helvetica.

Things to keep in mind:
-Pick easy to read fonts. Don’t pick some crazy, can’t read font. Even if it looks really cool.
-Make sure you like your pairings since you’ll be using them frequently.

Some great resources for free fonts are DaFont.com and Pinterest! I have an entire board dedicated to fonts so you can check out and find some great ones!

Word Up//

So is branding sorta starting to make sense? I hope so! As I mentioned above every brand/company/blogger has words that describe them. These words describe their online identity and presence. They’re kinda like buzzwords.

My brand words are stylish, affordable, relateable and inspiring.

Stylish: Because I think life should have style and be put together whether it’s in fashion, home or anything else!

Affordable: I’m a college student and I don’t have loads of money to spend on clothes, accessories, home décor, etc., so I try to keep things affordable so everyone, whether on a big budget or a little one, can have the opportunity to buy!

Relatable: I want my content to be something the high school, college age or twenty something girl can relate to and find helpful and useful!

Inspiring: I want to inspire girls to be GirlBosses and be amazing and own their lives!

What are your words that describe your brand?

Helpful Hint! You can now assemble all your pieces of your branding puzzle. Print off your branding cheat sheet and keep it handy for inspiration and to keep your content on track!

Mission Possible//

Another key part of branding is having a mission statement. A mission statement is a few sentences, or short paragraph that “defines your brand focus, audience and tagline”, essentially it sums up everything that you’re about (La Petite Fashionista).

My mission statement is: “Of life and style is a place for the high school, college or twenty something girl to find inspiration, add affordable style to her wardrobe, home and life.”

So why even have a mission statement? Having one can help keep you focused and your content streamlined to what you promised to create.

The Peanut Gallery aka Your Audience//

While you may be writing for yourself it’s good to keep in mind your audience that might be reading your content. Who’s your reader? Why does she read your blog?

Helping define your audience will help further your brand and help you write posts and content. For me since my audience is primarily girls, 13-30 I try to keep my posts geared for them. Since I fit into that audience I try and write posts that I would want to read if I were a reader. I pretend that I am in their shoes.

Helpful Hint! If you’re built up a little audience already create a quick survey for them to take so they can tell you what posts they like/don’t like. This will help you create content that they like and find useful instead of wasting time creating ones they don’t care too much for.

                                                                   

Does branding make a little bit more sense now? I hope it does! Pretty much what you need to know about branding is that it’s your online identity. When people hear your name they should have an image come to mind about what is you do and who you are. For me my branding is a fun, bright, bubbly, girly aesthetic that is geared to the young women to help her create a stylish and positive life!

I hope I helped explain branding and how to find your brand a little better. Branding is such a complex topic that can be explained in novels so it’s a little bit daunting to try and get it all. Honestly, it can take some time to find your brand and really hone it in and that’s totally, 100% okay! Don’t feel pressured to have it all together right away. Mine took me awhile and I’m just now, slowly but surely starting to really incorporate it in. Remember, don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle!

If you have any questions at all feel free to email or contact me and I will be more than happy to help you the best way I can! I love sharing and helping people with things so don’t be afraid to reach out! :)

Check back next Saturday, March 21st for part three which is all about content, photography, design, layout and all that fun stuff!

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"your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room"

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