#LEVELUP: Building Your Brand
Hello everyone! If you haven’t heard, I have a new weekly blog series called “Level Up” where, every Sunday, I’d touch on a way to take your blog and/or business to the next level. You can check out all the other posts in the series here! Now, today we are talking about branding. How I like to explain it is: branding is a combination of who you are right now and who you want to be. Every business/blog and person uses it, actually, whether you know it or not. For people who are really funny and tell jokes all the time, well, comedy is their brand. Instagrammers who are known for combining food and books to make one delicious post, well, that’s their brand. That’s what they are known for to most people. Essentially, a brand is a way of presenting yourself and your business/blog.
Sometimes, people figure out their brand quickly, while for others it can take a while to find it and refine it. Today, I will be breaking down the elements of a brand (it’s important to know the basics first!), asking some questions to think about while figuring out your brand, misconceptions about branding + offering a case study of what my brand is, using the framework in the post! Let’s gooooo….
Major Elements of a Brand
Element #1: Colour Palette – when figuring out your brand, one of the biggest things to focus on is colour. Colours are another identifier for you. For example, when I think about The Tempest, I automatically think of dark purple, a specific shade of green, and white. When I think of Melyssa Griffin (one of my fav bloggers), I think of bright yellow and light blue. So, when I go on Pinterest and see a graphic with bright yellow and blue, I don’t even have to look at the watermark/tag to know it’s Melyssa Griffin. And, when I scroll through Instagram and see writing on a dark purple background, my first thought is The Tempest. Overall, colours definitely create cohesion within your blog. Some quick tips, though:
- don’t choose neon colours – no one will be able to look at the colours long enough to want to click on your blog
- don’t automatically choose your favourite colour(s) for your blog – favourite colours can change often and you don’t really want to have to change your brand much, if at all.
- look up the meanings of colours – other than being really interesting to read about, the meaning of colours can help you decide what to pick as the psychology behind what someone thinks when they see red vs when they see blue can make all the difference in how you want people to see you.
Element #2: Typography – you ever see a font and immediately associate it with a company? Like the Harry Potter lightning-like font. I couldn’t tell you what the actual font name is off the top of my head, but once I see ANYTHING written in that font, I automatically know it’s related to Harry Potter. Typography can make a huge difference in how people recognize you and, like the colours, it can create cohesion within your blog. A tip: don’t use unreadable fonts that have too much cursive or are too weird/funky. Why?
- People need to be able to read in whatever font you pick.
- Fonts tend to exude different personality types which can connect readers to what you want to be seen as. For example, more cursive fonts like “allura” tend to mean sweet, innocent vs “times new roman” tends to suggest normalcy or serious.
- You want a relatively timeless font so that, again, you don’t constantly switch up your brand and thus confuse and lose readers.
Element #3: Graphics – like I’ve mentioned in one of the earlier Level Up posts, graphics can be really important in catching the attention of readers and drawing them into reading the post. The images should be appropriate to the topic and, typically, follows a consistent style. Typically, the images also use colours and fonts (doesn’t have to be all) from the colour palette and font(s) you identified before for your brand. This consistency allows readers to become familiar with you and your blog in another way so that, if they saw one of your images on social media, they would immediately know “hey this is from X’s blog!” even if they’ve never read the post or seen the pic before.
Three Questions To Ask Yourself
- what do I like posting about/doing the most? Is it:
- discussion posts about issues in the book community?
- how-to posts and tutorials?
- reviews of my favourite genre?
- lists of things like in Top Ten Tuesday?
- makeup tutorials based on the cover of a book or fashion ideas based on the characters?
- what are two to three personality traits I want to be known for? do I want people to see me as:
- who is my target audience? aka, who would primarily read my blog? Is it:
- unpublished or published writers?
- readers of [insert genre]?
- people interested in makeup or fashion?
In answering these questions, you can get closer to what you want your brand to be!
Misconceptions Behind Building A Brand
I have been blogging for over six years now and, for a while, I didn’t know what my brand was. TBH, it didn’t fully click with me until this post what my brand is. I mean, I had some idea of what I liked doing and grand plans of what I wanted to be to people, but, every time I thought I figured it out, I would look to my left or right and find someone else was doing what I was doing even better. I thought branding was a competition; there were only so many seats at the table and very few seats per brand, determined by how good you were at it which was determined by how many people liked/followed/bought from you. So, there were three main Society 6/Red Bubble artists, there were a few big book Instagrammers, there was only one or two funny/relatable twitter people, etc etc etc. It felt like, if I didn’t have a seat at the table, I didn’t have a brand. I constantly asked my friends, “what do you think I’m known for?” and if I didn’t get “#1 artist in the world!”, “best reviewer” (neither of which exist) or something, I felt like I failed.
As you can probably figure out, that mindset was sooooo wrong.
The great thing about the bookish community is it’s supposed to be open for anyone so there are limitless seats at the table for all kinds of people! And, because we are all unique in some way, all our brands will also be unique in some way. So, though you may not be the only artist and/or person who loves writing discussion posts or doing bookish makeup tutorials, your brand will be different than everyone else’s. Because the way you put everything together all the elements of a brand and answer the questions will be different.
Case Study: Breaking Down My Brand
- white background, strong & simple lettering, black border
- discussion/how-to posts helping bloggers/small entrepreneurs
- reviews of fantasy or mystery books
- art designs primarily focused on typography and placement, or simple drawings, all inspired by books, movies or tv shows
- someone who helps people, especially bloggers and small entrepreneurs, better themselves, get to the next level in their business plan, and/or get more followers & customers.
- for my discussion posts: bloggers who want to better themselves and their business
- for my reviews: readers of fantasy, crime/mystery, contemporary
- for my art: people in fandoms, primarily bookish fandoms
Aaaand that’s the basics of building a brand! Like I said before, building a brand can take a while so don’t worry if it takes you a while. One step forward is still better than none! Keeping that in mind, congrats we Leveled Up! Are there any questions you have about building your brand? Let me know in the comments below!
And, if you have any questions now or at any point in the Level Up series or if there’s something you generally or specifically want me to talk about, feel free to comment below, tweet me @AvidReaderBlog, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Thanks, have a great day/night, and tata for now!