I don’t know if you have noticed lately, but the BUZZ around branding has seriously went from a low roar to a loud and proud ‘Hey, Hey! Look at ME!” The reason why branding has gone so crazy is because there are SO many new bloggers and online businesses that are starting every single day. The internet has made it super easy for anyone with words to share with the world or ideas to sell to hope online and literally set up a blog or website and minutes.
By all means, it is a wonderful thing. Creative entrepreneurs can now start their businesses with little to overhead and still have the chance of becoming an overnight millionaire (well, not in most cases but you get what I mean). This does create a bit of a problem, however, when bloggers and business owners are getting started with no direction. Some have a million ideas to be successful, but the excitement of getting started and the quick and easy process of ‘setting up shop’ can leave them fumbling around trying to find what works and their ideal readers, clients and customers are often left confused like, ‘What is it that they are really offering me again?’
Branding, more so now than ever, is the biggest element that can set you apart from the sea of creatives who are eagerly competing for your ideal reader, client and customer. If you have ever been in Facebook Groups that offer promo and help wanted threads, I know you KNOW what I mean. It is fierce competition out there, and some amazing talent. So, in order to standout you have to be consistent, be unique and most importantly BE YOU. A Brand Style Guide can help you do just that.
I hear most of you saying “Yes, yes Vanessa. I get it already. A Brand Style Guide. Got it. But how the heck do I use it?” I even recently had a client ask me the very same question, so I drilled my brain and came up with 10 ways to use your brand style guide that will help you stand out, be consistent and be YOU!
10 Ways to use Your Brand Style Guide to Stand Out
1- Designing Your Blog
This is one of the most important because your blog says the absolute most about you. As soon someone lands on your page they should know what to expect from you. You can use your brand style guide for your logo, accent colors, widget boxes, category buttons, etc. Anything that makes your blog really stand out, on brand of course.
2- Designing Your Images for Social Media
When someone lands on your blog and LOVES it, they will likely click over to one or two of your social accounts. So, you can use your style guide to create pretty and pinnable graphics for Pinterest, quote-spirations for Facebook and Twitter, and use on brand objects as props for your Instagram photos. People should not be confused when the leave your blog and hop over to your social pages, they look and feel should all be consistent. Own your brand, be unique.
Want tips on Branding Social Media, check THIS out.
3- Writing your Blog Posts and Incorporating Images into said Blog Post
We all know, it takes FOREVER to craft the perfect post, add the best links, and toss in the best images to make it all come together. Too often, I see bloggers who go font and color crazy and every single blog post has text in different colors and fonts. Trust me, I am a font ADDICT and I get me fix designing for others, however when it comes to blog posts it is so important to use your Brand’s colors and fonts. The more you share your posts on social, the more people begin to recognize you. They can tell who you are just by seeing the cover graphic for your post and will click through on instinct. If you use different colors and fonts every time, they will never know it’s you and may just keep on scrolling.
4- Designing Your Media Kit
Ahh, the amazing Media Kit. Every blogger really should have one if they are serious about earning, especially from sponsors. You wouldn’t include irrelevant experience on your resume, so why would you change things up and use a completely different style, font and colors for your media kit? That would be like using someone else’s photo in your about me section (silly, right?). Media Kits can be a ton of fun to design since you get to include all the fun things about your brand and the amazing things you’ve accomplished. Add some nice color pops, your fun pattern and keep it clean, easy to read and professional.
No clue about how to make a media kit? Check out the Media Kit Smash course from Blog Clarity HERE. Awesome, truly.
5- Creating your Email and Post Signatures
This one is super FUN. Email and post signatures give that nice extra detail that your readers and clients will appreciate. It’s like a nice, hand written and signed card that you get in the mail. That but of extra thought and detail shows that you are serious about your work and you take pride in what you do, so much so that you are willing to endorse it with your John Hancock (aka, signature).
6- Designing Courses and Materials
If you are ready to turn your blog into a business and start earning, you have probably already been thinking about creating your own courses, ebooks, planners. You name it. The creative sky has no limit my friend. Infusing your branding into your products helps your customers and clients learn to trust you, you become memorable and recognizable. They should know right away when they open your [insert awesome product here] that it is undeniably from YOU. If you have a hard time designing for yourself, you can always hire a designer who is in love with InDesign and help create these for you (hint: you can provide them with your style guide).
7- Designing Resources for your Free Resource Library (Or creating your opt-in freebie)
You should put just as much effort into creating ‘stuff’ for free as you do for stuff you are charging for. Why? Because most often times, people will download one (or many) of your free resources before they actually make the jump to becoming a paid customer or client. So, if you follow the same steps that I mentioned in the previous tip about how to infuse your branding into sellables, they totally apply here, too.
8- Writing and Designing your Newsletters
Newsletters. Woo! So, how do you weave your branding into these little packets of fun for your readers? Easy. Stick with your brand colors for bold headings (things that need to stand out). You can add your logo to the top, your post signature at the close. Images of projects or posts your working on (because they should totally be on brand, too).
9- Using them to create Branding Materials for Your Business (Blogs count, too)
This could include business cards, letterhead, thank you cards or cute little tags for your handmade business. There is so much importance in the most intricate of details, and your readers, clients and customers will thank you for that. For example, if you are a service based business (like, photographer, designer, etc) and you provide your clients with a gift of a nice hand lettered mug or framed art work that subtly incorporates your brand style, they can always look at the gift as a reminder of how much they LOVED working with you which can lead to repeat work and tons of referrals. Pay attention to the details, they really matter!
10- Providing it for a Virtual Assistant or Designer to help them stay on voice and on brand
When your blog or business starts to get super big, you will find that you get VERY busy, where even small things that don’t seem to take up much time now can really start to take away from other more important things (like that sponsored post your getting paid a couple hundred bucks for, or your ideal client who has FINALLY booked). So, hiring someone for a few hours a week or for a project or two may be in your future sooner than you think. Having your brand style guide ready for for your designer to create the graphics for your new ecourse or for your VA to ‘dress up’ your social media and blog posts can save a ton of time.
Now, this list it totally not exhaustive, but just a few of the reasons alone are enough to keep your brand style guide handy, or make one if you haven’t already.
Did I miss something? How has your Brand Style Guide saved your life (not literally, of course)?
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