Wanna know the secret? Tell your story.
That’s the thing. That’s the whole thing with any successful brand: they’ve successfully told their story and people connected with it. People want to know the person behind the words and just a couple selfies or a glimpse into your world on your website could increase your audience and the connection with your readers.
In this post I’ll review the key elements you HAVE to use for your brand while telling your story.
1. The Look
Looks are important! Your website doesn’t have to be super fancy or over the top, but it should reflect your personality. The look should include decisions about your logo, the colors in your website, and the types of photos you use.
BUT – this is a big but…if you’re not a website designer, try keeping it simple.
I curated an awesome board on Pinterest if I do say so myself. I separate styles on different vision boards. I use website layout examples, color swatches, nature elements, outfits, home decor, architecture, clip art, and graphics. Look through these vision boards and see what sparks your (p)interest!
Make your own vision board to determine the aesthetic you love. If your blog was an outfit, what would it look like? If your blog was a house, what would it look like? If your blog was a feeling or a natural element, what would it be? Find commonalities in all the photos you choose and put them into your blog.
2. The Purpose
The purpose should include your goals, your mission, vision, and values. It should also include information about your niche and how you’ll bring that to your audience.
One way to customize your purpose is to ask yourself why you read other blogs. How do other blogs inspire you? Do you want to be that for someone else? Do you want to be completely different?
Be clear and concise with your purpose and use it to build your blog.
3. The Tone
This is my favorite step!
This is what I do, I work with clients to identify their tone and make their words and stories come to life. The reader should understand your tone after reading a couple blog posts and it should stay consistent. How do you write and what is your style?
Is your tone formal or informal? Is your tone funny or dramatic? Is your tone blunt and shocking? Is it sarcastic, professional, flowery, critical, or objective?
Readers might not remember the entire content of your writing but they’ll remember your tone and the way they felt when they read your words.
4. The Readers
This step is obvious, but not simple. It includes thinking about your audience, your clients, and potentially your customers. Put yourself in their shoes. The reader clicked on your post because of the title or the photo and they want to get something out of it.
Figure out how you could improve someone’s life, even if it’s for five minutes. Make people happy, moved, understand, learn, laugh, grow, or relate. Remember, you might not even get five minutes to grab someone’s attention.
5. The Marketing
The marketing should include decisions on how you’ll get all your hard work out in the Internet world. Will this include setting up a weekly or monthly newsletter? What incentives will this include for your readers?
There should be several points in your website where you give a call to action by asking the reader, “click here for more on this subject,” “share this post for a discount on my new flip book,” or “subscribe for my free eBook.”
I used several resources to get through these five steps. Some of these resources are older but still hold up. I used these outlines and tips to start this blog and I hope you find them useful!
In 2018, Forbes listed 10 golden rules of personal branding including the following: have focus, be genuine, tell a story, be consistent, be ready to fail, create a positive impact, follow a successful example, live your brand, let other people tell their story, and leave a legacy.
One rule that stuck out to me was “live your brand.” When I started blogging, I kept my writing separate from my personal life and I think in the long run, it hurt my potential. That’s not to say you should air all your dirty laundry and spill the beans on everything from birth to adulthood, but you should put yourself into your brand.
The personal brand profile in For Dummies – this
I’ve had this free personal branding worksheet from Thinkific for awhile and I occasionally look back at it for inspiration.
This is a recent post on branding, specifically for your “About Me” page. This article talks about seven mistakes: 1) you don’t have an about page; 2) I can’t find your name or credentials; 3) I don’t know what you look like; 4) the writing is boring; 5) using only video; 6) you go on (and on and on); and 7) I bet you think your about page is about you.
What stuck out the most to me with this post are the statements “the writing is boring” and “I don’t know what you look like.”
“The writing is boring” is the first thing that will make your reader click away. Confusing writing, non-informative writing, and boring writing won’t keep anyone’s attention. They might come for the pretty website, the cute photos, or the fancy headlines, but they’ll stay for words that don’t put them to sleep.
I used to make the mistake, “I don’t know what you look like.” In the past I never used my photo, I always stuck with a logo. I wanted to keep my face out of it and let my words speak for themselves. This was definitely a huge mistake! Look at everyone you follow, all the brands you subscribe to, do you subscribe to a graphic or a name? You probably subscribe because you see someone’s face, you learn something about them, and you like their vibe, you like what you see!
How will you go through these steps? Let me know if you used any of these resources or if you have your own rules to creating your brand. It’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all formula and everyone’s voice has its place.
I used a template I found on Canva to create my branding guidelines. This was super helpful to make decisions on my aesthetic, my goals, and my strategy for posting.
There are so many templates to choose from and you can customize the layout, using only what you need. For example, I didn’t need the sections that talked about having multiple employees or details about an app since I don’t have employees or an app. If you click on “create a design” and choose “branding guidelines presentation,” you’ll see different outlines to choose from and you can customize from there or start your own from scratch.
If you pay for Canva Pro, they also have a branding kit where you can choose the main colors of your project, fonts, and your logo.