Consistent branding can push your blog to new levels.
With consistency, your readers and followers begin to identify you with your brand. Your branding method may be a logo, a hashtag, a color scheme or a picture. Whatever you decide, make it consistent so that your audience can begin to connect with you across the web.
Create visuals that enhance the mood and tone of your writing. Use proper colors, textures, fonts, and space.
1. Simple Branding
In it’s simplest form, consistent branding can be practiced by any blogger, even if you don’t have a professional logo.
Step 1 is to make sure you are using the same picture on every one of your social media platforms. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, G+, LinkedIn and YouTube should all have a photo of you. A clear photo. Not a cropped, blurry or wacky photo.
Refrain from using a photo of you with your cat, in your bikini or even your kids. This is about you. C’mon, it’s the one time in your life when you can turn all the focus on yourself and not feel guilty about it. Do it well.
If you want to be wacky – do it on your personal profile on Facebook, not on your LinkedIn profile. Oy!
Step 2 is to use the same colors and /or picture in the background. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and G+ all allow you to use a graphic or photo behind your profile photo. Make sure it is consistent. If you decide to use your blog header – make sure it is clear, not fuzzy, that it fits properly in the allotted space, and that it looks professional.
Perhaps you need to forgo using your blog header and use another picture or color combination that complements your blog. It’s okay to do that.
2. No or Low-Cost Branding
So far you need a clear photo of yourself and a complementary background picture or graphic. “But I want a professionally designed logo!” Great, have fun paying for that. You can definitely go that route and I support you, as long as you don’t go into debt to do it.
However, if you can’t afford professional services, what are your options?
There are some great free and low-cost ways to create stunning graphics for free. They may take a little practice but don’t be afraid. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be off to the races.
- PicMonkey.com and Canva.com are the top two places on the web to create free graphics. If you don’t know how to use these sites, it’s time to learn. You can’t afford not to know how to create your own backgrounds and blog graphics with these tools. Seriously, if I can do it, so can you. I do recommend the paid version of PicMonkey (it makes a great birthday present) and be careful with Canva because while they have a ton of free options, each paid option is $1 and that can add up quickly.
- PlaceIt.net – this is my absolute favorite. You can create a cool graphic for your site in PicMonkey.com, then plug it into this site and get an amazing background for your social media sites. A large graphic is as little as $8. If you can use it all over – it’s totally worth it.
- CanStockPhoto – this is one of my go-to places for cheap pictures and graphics. A small photo can be as cheap at $2.50. When you are trying to create just the right logo, you can afford to by a couple of different ones to try. I use this sparingly, but with great effect.
3. Color Choices and Branding
I have a thing for color. I love bright, vibrant colors but I love to read blogs with little or no color. It’s a conundrum for sure. I have written about the importance of color before.
The most important thing to remember is to choose colors that reflect you.
If I chose pastels for my blog I would hate it. It’s totally not me. But I love to read blogs with light, relaxing hues.
Think long and hard about your colors. Don’t pick them because of others, because your favorite blogger has them or because you think you have to do what everyone else is doing. Make your blog your own. Learn about colors, what they mean and how they can be used to engage your readers. Check out this Pinterest board dedicated to color.
Most of all, have fun. No one can see a rainbow and not smile, right?
4. Outside the Box Branding
There are some very classic examples of branding. Your favorite laundry detergent, soda or fast food restaurant all have a logo and colors you can identify immediately. Orange, blue, red, white, yellow, in the right combination you know these immediately. Fantastic! The company has done their job.
But what about regular old bloggers? How can you create a brand presence that leaves an impression but isn’t canned.
My fellow blogger, Regina at byRegina.com has done a masterful job at branding her graphics. When I see one of her pictures on Pinterest, I know immediately that it is from her. No doubt about it.
She uses consistent photos and images, the same font, colors and style to make her posts really pop. Can you see how they are creative but consistent? They really match her blog and her personality. But they have nothing to do with her logo. She is thinking outside the box and it totally works.
Another blogger who does this really well is Lisa Jacobson from Club31Women.com. Her pictures are not all the same, but they feel similar. They don’t even have any hint of her lovely blog header, which I adore. But her graphics are easily recognizable.
They uber-emphasize her content so that readers know, “Hey, that’s a graphic for a post from Lisa.” It’s not about her, but about her content. She’d not plastering her logo everywhere, she’d just churning out great graphics to go with her posts and over time it has created instant recognition.
You don’t need a $600 header or logo or photo shoot to create brand consistency. Perhaps someday you can invest in those things. But for now, use consistency and think outside the box. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.
Your blog is your main hub, but social media platforms are the spokes that radiate your message. Make sure they are consistent so that your audience sees you, not a picture of your feet at the beach and blurry fireworks and your last family reunion. Consistent branding is the easiest way to jump to the next level with your blogging and it also lays the groundwork for lasting relationships with your readers.
It’s time to take it up a notch. Get to the next level and hit the bullseye.
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