“I haven’t launched my blog yet because I’m still working on my branding,” said one of my students.
“Sounds exciting! Where are you with your branding progress? What are you working on specifically?” I asked.
“I’m working on my logo, some graphics for Instagram, oh and choosing a theme for my site. I’m still on the fence about what my blog name should be…” she mused.
“Sounds like a plan! What’s your core brand message?” I probed further.
Her: “Oh, it’s a lifestyle blog."
I get it. These are common misconceptions. But let me dispel these for you today.
Two misconceptions about branding you need to forget yesterday
One, “branding” is more than just a logo, fonts, and graphics. It is waaaaay more than just that, and if I can argue — the look isn’t the heart of what a brand truly is. It’s not where you should start.
And two, “lifestyle blog” is NOT a brand message. Worse, as a descriptor — it is vague, absolutely vanilla, and let’s be real here:
You’re possibly the 10,756,425th person in the world who’s starting a lifestyle blog in this day and age.
A lot of people fall into the trap of a ‘lifestyle blog’ or ‘lifestyle brand’ because they can’t make up their mind, and just want it to be, and I quote: "a mish-mash of the many things I like."
Arrow to the heart?
I mean sure, that might have worked well back in 2008, when there weren’t a lot of blogs (or videos! or podcasts! or websites! or Buzzfeed! so! much! noise! now!) — but the noise on the internet today is staggering.
Launching a brand now is so much more challenging than it was 5 years ago, because everyone — every person, every brand, every business — is now online.
Not only do you have to be more intentional about building your brand, but you really have to have a smart strategy in place. (Yes, even if it’s ‘just’ a personal brand.)
Not only will this help you work smarter (we’re all busy, and a lot of us just do this on the side), but it will make sure that your efforts are very purpose-driven, and you’re not just randomly trying things and shooting in the dark.
If you’re starting a blog or brand now, you have to do it purposefully and strategically.
The 5 Major Elements of A Strong Brand
What is your why? Why does your brand exist, and what makes you worth paying attention to? This is a blend of your core values, your purpose, your unique perspective, and your niche audience.
How will you convey your brand message? Is it through long-form blog posts? Videos? Photos? What kind of stories will you be telling?
Equally important as the content is WHERE you will be sharing your content. Where does your audience hang out? Where will you be publishing your stories? Where can your audience experience your brand?
See - style is only ONE of the many important elements of a brand. Style is all about how your brand message translates into more visual terms: logo, fonts, color palette, photos, graphics, and the like. How would you like your audience to experience your brand visually?
Years ago, the main barometer of success of blogs/brands were in the page views and comments. However, the world has evolved significantly, changing the way people consume media and engage online. So now, there are more options (followers, subscribers, likes, sales, conversions, e-mail inquiries), and you have the power to choose - how are you going to connect and engage your audience? Where will you show up the most to talk to them?
What are income streams you can create that is in line with your brand message? These can be products, services, events, workshops. If you’re serious about building a brand, then this definitely has to be in the equation.
How to build a consistent brand experience: For bloggers and creative entrepreneurs
So how exactly do those 6 elements work together? I’ve put together a free checklist that outlines all the major steps you have to hit once you’ve decided to become more intentional about building your brand.
Click the image below to download the free checklist in your inbox.
This ultimate Build Your Brand checklist is a great start to help you find solid footing in creating your own personal brand.
Now, it’s time for you to join the conversation:
Do you have any tips or tricks for building a brand?
What’s your biggest stumbling block when it comes to standing out online?
Leave a comment below. And if you liked this checklist, do share this article & free checklist with your friends and audience!