What do you think of when you hear the word “branding”?
In my experience, most people think of companies like Coca Cola, Nike, Redbull, Diesel: big, well-known corporations with mass-manufactured products. But, in reality, branding applies to pretty much every business - be it a huge corporation, a local shop, a solo venture… or a blog.
Yup, blogs need branding too! Now, since you’re reading this post, you probably have a blog, and you’re trying to grow it. And you probably know by now that the best way to grow your blog is by treating it as a business. If you’re gonna do that, my friend, you need a brand.
What is a brand, anyway?
First of all, let’s clear up what branding is. This term gets thrown around a lot, but it rarely gets clearly defined. Some associate it with tangible things like logos and graphics, other think of intangible concepts such as tone of voice and reputation. The truth is, a brand is all that and more.
A brand is, basically, a personality.
For example. Dove is a feminine, gentle and caring brand. Redbull is a brave, energetic, rather masculine brand. Free people is a young, down-to-earth, creative feminine brand.
Think of any brand that you like. Ask the questions: what gender is it? Is young or old? Is it wearing casual or formal clothes? Is it friendly or rather distant? Keep asking such questions and you will see that every brand has traits, just like a person.
This is all for a very simple reason: people can’t connect with a business - they need another person to connect with. If Redbull came as a no-name caffeinated drink - without the famous slogan, the action sports, or the memorable name and logo - would it still be as successful? Nope. It would likely get lost among a sea of other faceless drinks. But, because of its branding, Redbull is so much more than just a drink - it’s action sports, it’s adrenaline, it gives you wings, it makes you excited. You connect with Redbull the way you would connect with a brave, energetic, exciting person.
Makes sense? A businesses cannot induce emotions such as excitement, happiness, trust and loyalty. But a personality can, and that’s why businesses need personalities: they need brands.
But how does this actually benefit me?
Okay, I’ll spill it: the end game of branding is to build trust and loyalty. This is very, very important to the success of any business. Think about it: if you don’t trust someone, you probably won’t listen to what they’re saying. You won’t read their blog. And you definitely won’t buy what they’re selling.
You want people to listen to you, read your blog, and buy your ebooks / ecourses, right? Right. So you definitely want your readers to trust you.
If people trust you, they will:
Consume your content like crazy;
Look forward to anything you make (products, blog posts, instagram selfies…)
Be much more likely to buy stuff from you;
Recommend you to their friends.
So how does branding apply to me as a blogger?
Oh, so you wanna cut through the crap and learn how all this stuff benefits YOU as a blogger? Alright, you got it:
Makes you recognizable. When your branding is consistent throughout your visuals - blog post images, social media images, etc. - people begin to recognize it. They recognize your colors, your fonts, your overall style.
This is important because people see hundreds of images while scrolling through their Pinterest or Twitter or Facebook, and they need to be able to spot yours among everything else.
Make you professional. Branding is all about consistency and attention to detail. When every blog image or social media graphic you produce is different, or when each blog post sounds like it has been written by a different person, you appear unprofessional. It looks like you’re still learning, or like you can’t make up your mind.
However, if you are consistent, this shows that you know what you’re doing. That you have it figured out (even if you don’t!).
Communicates your values. Branding is also about making it clear what you stand for. If you value fun and freedom, you don’t want to come across as formal and boring. If you value dedication and hard work - don’t appear lazy or inconsistent. And so on.
Connects you to your target audience. Once your brand values are clear, people with the same values instantly feel a connection with you. They feel like they can be friends with you. Such connection is what brings a visitor back to check your new blog posts, and follow you on social media.
Gives you clarity and direction. Lastly, branding benefits YOU by giving you an overall vision.
Alright, I’m convinced. How do I do it?
I’m so glad you asked! This is where the fun comes in :)
When you are a blogger, branding is all about expressing yourself and getting creative. Which I know won’t be a problem for you my friends!
Here’s a list of the steps you need to take to build your brand. But wait! I made a fun little workbook to help you out. Grab it here!
Define your brand values. Pick 3 nouns.
Define the adjectives that describe your brand. They can be as many as you want, but make sure they relate to your brand values.
Define your target audience. You’ve probably done this exercise before. Just describe the people you want to be reading your blog (or be your clients).
Define your tone of voice. Imagine you’re talking to the group of people menitoned above - how would you sound? That’s how your blog posts (and all your copy) should sound.
Define your colors & fonts, based on the adjectives from step 2. For example, if you listed “organic”, you can pick greenish colors and handwritten fonts.
Create a logo. You can do this yourself by combining the fonts and colors from the previous step. Or you can get a designer to do it, ofc.
Store all of this in a brand book. Here is a post on how to do that. Or you can simply use the workbook freebie!
Apply your brand to everything you do.
Those are the basic elements of creating a brand. Grab the workbook and get going! I promise you’ll have tons of fun discovering your brand and infusing it with your own personality.
Remember, you are doing all of this with the intention of making a certain group of people trust you. NOT to mislead them, not to make yourself appear “cooler” - but to show that you are experienced, honest, and understanding.
Polina Kocheva started the Loom Creative as a place for creative free spirits (like herself!) to hang out, level up their skills, improve their lives, and connect with each other! Her great passion for design, branding and blogging is always pushing her to explore and create.