Today, we're touching on five essential ingredients (or elements) of your brand and checking off ways to improve them. This way you can better work on answering the following question:
How is your brand going to engage and inspire?
Once you have these elements set up, it can be quite easy and less time-consuming to focus on promoting your brand.
You already know why branding is important, though, and there are many great tools and resources to help you so let's move forward, shall we?
Branding is the representation
of you and your product/business.
Branding is what connects your readers to you, not necessarily the other way around. Being an identifiable brand whether it’s your main page, your Twitter account, your blog, or your email communication, is all customer service and marketing.
With that being said, here is a little checklist on things to consider when it comes to you and your brand.
So let’s talk about your design.
It needs to be clean and consistent, a logo is nonnegotiable. Pictures need to be well-lit, and the layout and elements should be attractive, responsive, and have a few key easy-to-find information. I’m going to use a blogger friend of mine as an example throughout this post. Her name is Rekita and she is the blogger behind Her & Nicole and the business owner of Rekita Nicole Designs. Let’s take a look:
Your voice is the most definable feature of your brand.
The voice is most characterized as your writing style, language, and content. At the same time, it can also be expressed through your design, layout, and the colors that you choose. Those things are letting your personality through and this is incredibly important because it is key that your audience, clients (especially future ones!), and readers have a sense of who you are as both a brand and a person. Some shops can get away without having a personality behind the shop because their products sell just as is; but the brands and shops that really excel also know how to market themselves and that means having a voice.
Most of you reading this establish a voice through your blog.
In the checklist, I list the following:
- make sure your voice is really you because readers can tell,
- continue on with consistency as it will identify you and your brand,
- be clear in your communication and your message,
- build emotional connections whether it be via your blog post and the comments or social media,
- and continue to keep in mind why you are unique.
Social media presence is required in today’s world.
Looking back at Rekita (or any major brand or blogger), her social media is just an extension of her blog and business and therefore her branding continues to flow. Whether it be Twitter, Pinterest, or email communication, she has an identity that branches and matches the focal point of her brand (her business and it’s main web page).
The most important thing with social media is it’s a quick way to communicate with others, so there is almost no excuse to not engage with your followers -- especially since there are services such as Buffer and Hootsuite that can help you schedule promotional content.
As a brand or business, you’re inspiring others with your words, content, products, and services. So how will you inspire them? I recommend a mixture of self-promotion and others-promotion. When a brand recognizes a great story, person, product and wants to share it with the world regardless of if it is theirs or not is wonderful. And they are a must-follow brand if I do say so myself.
Provide value to ensure your brand is a worthwhile investment.
You want people to come back, right? Then make sure you have something worthwhile to come back to because people don't want to waste their time. If you provide something valuable, then that's just what they will do. But sometimes it takes a little more than just a great post article.
Like I've already mentioned, having a great design and reader-friendly layout is very important for attracting readers and piquing their interest. But giving them something makes them feel like they are getting a great deal out of it, too. They are taking something away for themselves. This doesn't necessarily have to be a monetary giveaway or an iPad -- though we all know how well those can work. But even those giveaways don't always create long-term customers if you don't have the quality content to back up your brand.
"Content upgrade" is becoming a very popular term in this online world. I've even included one in this post: my "free branding checklist." A content upgrade, also referred to as a "freebie" or a "downloadable," is just something a little extra made especially for the reader. It's a free little "thank you" for stopping by and helps give the reader something to remember you by, trying to ensure that maybe there will be more to come.
Do your research to be an expert in your niche as well as being well-informed behind the scenes.
An extension to providing value is to be well-informed. This applies to any niche: fashion bloggers need to be up-to-date on current trends, just the same as home and DIY bloggers. Parenting and family bloggers will do a certain amount of time getting to know the latest toys or are performing their own research on how to do a road trip with three under three, etc. Shop and business owners need to keep up with market trends, constantly analyzing their numbers, and reaching out to clients and audience to ensure they are meeting needs.
Research can be mindless sometimes as there are numerous apps and programs to do a lot of these tasks behind the scenes, and though not everyone might find these essential tasks fun they will reap many rewards for you. Not too mention, the more you know, the more you can offer to others, and the more traffic you will get. Remember the "Field of Dreams" (1989) saying: if you build it, they will come.
So now what?
I’ve quickly gone over key elements of your brand. Setting up a good design in the beginning means your work is mostly finished. Defining your voice and your brand is about quality over quantity whether it be your blogs posts, the images you post on Instagram, or simply ensuring you have great products. But, then, the unique 21st century factor is using your social media for good: use it to reach out to others by just saying hello, promoting your brand, posting something inspiring, or starting a conversation.
Lastly, offering value and being a well-informed brand to your clients and audience will really set you up in the long run. It may be a lot of work for some, but it will all be well worth it in the end when you have the numbers, the following, and the money motivating to continue producing good, quality work -- whatever that might be!