How to Create a Consistent Brand Identity (+ a Free Mini-Course!)
If you've been around the blogosphere very long, there's no doubt that you've heard the term "branding" at least once or twice before. It's more than just a buzzword, though – it's an absolute must for bloggers who want to take their blog and business seriously. So what is branding? Well, simply put, it's the way your blog is presented to the world – whether that be through social media profiles, content, blog photos, or site design. It's the heart and soul of your blog, and having a strong brand identity will undoubtedly lead to more pageviews, more readers, and more clients.
A brand identity, then, is the images, fonts, colors, and tone that you put forth on your blog.
However, it baffles me that so many bloggers are either completely clueless about branding, or else they get hung up on the details and have no idea where to begin.
But have no fear, friends – today I'm here to help you with the ins and outs a beautiful and functional brand identity – with a few bonus surprises along the way.
Obviously your logo is a very important piece of your brand identity – so important that people often mistake a logo for the entirety of a brand. However, your logo is just one piece. If you choose to design a logo yourself, keep it simple, streamlined, and easy to understand.
Need some help designing a logo? Let's chat.
This is equally as important as a logo; it's like the curb appeal that makes people want to buy the house. Content is king, but the way it's packaged can go a long way to attract (or repel) readers and clients. Make sure your design is enhancing your content, not detracting from it. Make sure it's easy to read and navigate, very streamlined and clean cut. Don't overload your sidebar with unnecessary clutter or have an incredibly distracting background pattern or color. White space works wonders.
Next up is a color palette. Generally speaking, you'll want to use no more than 3-5 colors in your overall brand identity so that it doesn't get overwhelming. Think about your favorite colors and what you want your brand to exude. Is it moody and poetic or bright and bubbly? That may affect your color choices. If you're totally stuck, check out Design Seeds for gorgeous color palettes and inspiration.
Again, you only want to have about 3-ish fonts for your site – usually, an easy to read body font for content, a bolder contrasting font for headings, and possibly a script or decorative font for added flair or accents. Google Fonts is an incredible resource for finding new fonts, and there are dozens of free font websites available as well – just be sure to check the licenses to make sure commercial use is cool. Of course, you can always purchase premium fonts as well, if you want to go that route.
In order to get the most from your brand, you want to ensure that your social media profiles and channels are also reflective of your brand identity. You can do this in multiple ways, such as using the same header image for Twitter and Facebook, creating custom board covers for Pinterest, using the same profile photo across the board, and ensuring that your handle is the same on all channels. Ideally, then, when people see your social media profiles, they'll immediately recognize you and your brand.
You want your blog post images and graphics to be visually the same, and match your brand identity by using the same fonts and colors in them. This helps a lot with branding Pinterest as well, because people will see your well-branded images and immediately recognize them as yours. As far as optimizing for Pinterest goes, you'll want to make sure your images are vertical and feature a bold title and/or call to action, plus your main site URL or logo.
Obviously, as we said before, content is king, and it's the most important part of your blog. Even the most beautiful blog in the world is useless if the content is crap. An easy way to "brand" your content is by finding your unique voice and writing style and keeping it consistent throughout all your posts. If your "voice" isn't immediately clear to you, try out a few things. Are you cutesy? Academic and informative? Friendly and informal? Test out different styles until you find one that fits. Just try writing like you would speak if you were explaining something to a friend.
Now, these are the "popular mechanics" if you will of developing a consistent and strong brand identity. Of course, your brand also requires heart and soul – that's where you come in. No one wants to read a blog that feels like it was written by a robot. The "anonymous" Gossip Girl-style weblogs of the early 2000s are a thing of the past – people want to get to know the person behind the brand. Use social media, email newsletters, and blog posts to humanize your brand. Inject as much of yourself in it as possible, because at the end of the day, you are your brand.
And here's where the fun part comes in. Are you still feeling unsure about your brand's direction? Or maybe you want to implement the steps above but you just don't know how. Good news, lovelies – I've created a 5-day Brand Bootcamp mini-course and it's all FO' FREE. You want in? Sign up here here: