There are millions of blogs floating around the world wide web. Millions! Without strong branding, you are destined to be lost amongst the sea of blogs. In this blog post, we are going to cover what exactly makes a brand, what the benefits of having a strong brand, and how to create your own brand for your blog!
What exactly is branding?
Branding is the distinctive design and experience of a given business. It goes way beyond just colors and fonts - it includes design style, tag lines/slogans, website, marketing, philosophy, customer service, social media presence, and more.
A brand is literally what people say about your business when you’re not in the room.
— Jeff Bezos
Why should i brand my blog?
If you want to create a successful blog, you need to think of it as a business. It is not uncommon for a blog to turn into a huge business - take Betches for example. Betches was created in 2011 by three college seniors for college-aged women. The three women each invested $1,500 in the beginning and now the brand is worth millions!
Why was Betches able to scale their blog so quickly? Their branding was clear from the start and it evolved over time as their audience, mainly female millennials, grew. Their voice is unique, authentic, and humorous, and it has remained consistent since their initial launch. As their blog posts began to go viral, they were approached by a book agent and began writing their first New York Times bestseller, Nice Is Just a Place in France..
Today, the Betches founders (Aleen Kuperman, Samantha Fishbein and Jordana Abraham) are running a multi-million dollar media company, headquartered in Manhattan. Betches Media’s about page describes themselves as, “We’re the website, Instagram, podcasts, store, books – everywhere that young females go to experience the thoughts that run through their heads, but are too afraid or uncomfortable, to say out loud.” Their office is branded so well, that if you walked around the office without knowing who’s it was, you could probably guess that it’s Betches (see office pics below)!
Of course, we totally understand that starting a blog is a lot of work and sitting down and putting together an entire business plan right off the bat is probably unrealistic. And that’s okay! There was little-to-no plan when starting Girlcrush Collective, but as we started posting, the brand developed. Plus, your branding is never set in stone, you can always re-brand.
To make branding your blog simple from the start, we recommend focusing on these three aspects: your site’s look/design (logo, theme, typography, color palette, etc.), your mission, and your voice.
For Girlcrush Collective, we created a consistent color palette (predominantly pink), fonts, and logo. We use the illustrated women as a major element of our brand. Our mission has been the same from the start: to create a community and source of resources and inspiration for female bloggers, business owners, and influencers. Our voice is friendly and feminine, we want our audience to feel as though they’re reading posts that are written specifically for them, from a friend.
Creating Your Blog’s Look & Feel
Your blog’s appearance is the first aspect of your brand that your audience will see, so it’s important to put some thought into this one. When I (Katie) started my social media marketing business, I chose a purple and green color palette. Anyone who knows me (and even probably people who don’t know me) know that I am all about pink. But when I was starting my business, I thought that because there were so many pink brands out there already, I should go with something different.
It was just a matter of months before I decided that my branding was holding me back from being my authentic self. I ended up merging my social media business and Girlcrush Collective, and went with pink, pink, pink. When you create your brand around your personality, it makes things much easier!
If you’re not sure where to start with your brand, try asking a few friends and family members to describe you in 3 words! That’ll give you an idea of how others perceive you. If people are describing you as fun, bubbly, and friendly, you’re probably not going to want to go with a dark or black and white theme.
Your Blog’s Logo
When creating your logo, there are several options. If you’re a creative person with design background, you could design your own logo! If you’re not too creative, but you are slightly tech-savvy, you could find a logo template and customize it. There are lots of great logo templates on Creative Market, as well as Canva, the free design website! But if design is not your zone of genius, you can always hire a designer to create a logo for you.
Branding with Fonts
Fonts are my favorite. And a great font is memorable and will make your blog more recognizable, especially if you use the same fonts across all media platforms. There are lots of free fonts as well as premium fonts. If you’re not absolutely in love with a font, it’s best to start with free fonts as you may decide to change your typography in the future.
I invested in these fonts for Girlcrush Collective because I fell absolutely in love with them! Font Squirrel is a great resource for free fonts, and Creative Market is my favorite place for purchasing premium fonts! They even sell fonts in pairs that were created to compliment each other.
Nothing breaks my designer heart more than seeing two terribly paired fonts. Check out our post, Font Pairings to Boost Your Branding (for less than $20) for some inspiration!
Color palettes are essential - consistent colors in your blog and associated platforms helps create a memorable brand. As we touched on earlier in this article, colors say a lot about your brand. A blog about unsolved murders probably should not have a bright, rainbow template, just like a vegan blog with lots of fruit and veggie recipes should probably not be black and brown.
Pinterest is a great place to go to start finding color inspiration! Just search color palettes or color schemes, and you’ll find thousands of beautifully put together palettes. Another inspiring resource for creating color palettes is Coolors.co. Coolors is a random color palette generator, and it’s kind of addicting!
Creating Your Blog’s Mission
Why are you starting a blog? What inspired you to get started? Is it as a creative outlet for yourself? Maybe it’s a book blog where you share your personal book reviews and recommendations to your audience. What’s the purpose of your blog - is it to inspire your readers? Or maybe it’s a source of entertainment for your audience, or even an educational blog that teaches your audience about a particular subject. Answering these questions before getting started on your blog will help you focus your content and identify your target audience and ideal readers.
Creating Your Brand’s Voice
Blogging involves a whoooole lotta writing, my friend, and it’s important that you nail down your voice. If I were writing this blog for professional men in their 30s - 50s, I’d want to look into changing the way I write. When determining your voice and writing style, I like to think of my target audience as one specific person. How would you speak to that person if you were sitting at Starbucks with them? That’s the voice you’ll want to write in. You want to be relatable and easy to understand.