BRAND YOUR BLOG: 27 TIPS FOR INFLUENCERS AND CREATORS
If you’re a blogger or influencer you probably get so caught up in creating content that you often forget you’re actually a business that needs to take all the things that come along with running one seriously…including taking the necessary steps to brand your blog! Branding is something that often gets overlooked but it’s actually super important to the viability and success of your business. Why? – because these little things often make you stand out and be memorable in a sea of other bloggers and influencers who may be doing the same thing as you.
Here at Sidewalker Daily, we work with bloggers and influencers on how to build sustainable businesses and one of the main areas we focus on with our students is branding because it’s vital to your success in this industry! From brand colors, to font style, to website flow, to media kit layouts – every last detail matters!
And what most people won’t tell you is if you have a professional brand that looks put together it can be a huge advantage in pitching to brands. When brands are given the option to choose between you and another influencer with similar credentials, and your brand is on point, you’ll be the safer choice.
In fashion, they say “you are what you wear” and you can translate this to business too – “you are what your brand assets look like.” If you’re put together and everything is well thought out, clean and has a rhyme or reason that will signal to a brand that you’re a professional, will deliver on your end of the bargain and the partnership will be smooth and successful. And if you’re none of those things, well then you better adopt the motto “fake it to you make it” so you appear like you have it together ASAP. :)
We get that venturing out into the branding realm can sometimes be daunting, especially if you don’t have a marketing or graphics background. But you need to control what you can control. For example, if you’re a travel blogger, influencer or content creator you most likely do not have an office space but instead work remotely. So guess what, if that’s the case, your website is your office space/storefront and it needs to look sharp, just as it would if you were to open a brick and mortar store.
There are so many free or inexpensive tools and services out there now to help with branding execution that there’s no longer an excuse to be a hot mess. That’s why we created the ultimate guide to online branding and building for bloggers and influencers to help you get you started and on the right track!
27 Tips To Brand Your Blog.
Figuring out your brand identity and cleaning up house is a great way to make your blog or brand MEMORABLE to your followers and others in this industry. If you’re wondering how to turn your blog into a popular brand it starts with some simple steps that often get pushed to the side.
Branding yourself as a blogger and influencer is a lot like that of a small business – if you were launching a start-up in silicon valley you’d be in the same boat – branding, trademarks, marketing content, business cards etc. – Basically, you need a lot (if not all) of the same things a small business owner needs when getting started.
So let’s go over some essential ingredients for branding a blog…
1. PICK THE RIGHT BLOG/SOCIAL NAME
First things first. What is your blog name and/or social handles going to be? It’s pretty wild but the name you pick will become the most integral part of your business so you’ll need to like A LOT.
Why? Because as your followers and fans grow, most people on the internet and social will start to forget your real name and that is what you will be referred to by people in the industry. Coming up with the perfect name is one of the most important steps in branding your blog for success.
So make sure the name you choose is timeless and please don’t date yourself. Yes, calling your blog my “Twenty Something Adventures,” or “Thirty Something Tails” is cute and catchy but unfortunately, you won’t be in that decade for all of your career (or at least hopefully it will last longer than that). Always be thinking long term.
And if you’re thinking about going super niche, consider tying in buzz words that are relevant to your target market. It may be easier for someone to remember your name and associate it with the information you are trying to promote than just a generic name.
If you already have a blog or brand name and are just starting out it may not be too late to change it. And if you’re already in the thick of it, well yes, it’s possible to rebrand but it just won’t be easy (or fun).
Basically, when deciding on your blog or brand name the ultimate test is this – if you would be embarrassed introducing yourself with that name to the CEO of your dream brand partner company…it’s probably a good idea to rethink it. :)
2. CHECK TO SEE IF THE BLOG/SOCIAL NAME YOU WANT IS AVAILABLE
After you’ve chosen the perfect blog/brand name you now have to see if it’s legally available to use. You can do this by performing a Google search and official search on the USPTO database. We also always recommend checking with a lawyer to get the official clearance before you start to build everything. The worst thing you can do is ignore this step in the process, build the ultimate blog and have tons of loyal followers and fans who know your name by heart and then have to do a complete rebrand because you were never legally allowed to use that name.
And don’t be fooled – even if the insta handle is available, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Someone may have already trademarked the name but just hasn’t secured the handles yet, or is using a different variation of the name. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so just do the due diligence and get it checked out. Trust us, it will be worth it in the long run….especially if you’re in it to win it.
3. COME UP WITH A SLOGAN FOR YOUR BRAND OR BLOG
We don’t see bloggers and influencers doing this enough but it can be really helpful in your branding to create a tagline or slogan for your blog. It’s just a quick and easy way for people to remember you and know what you’re all about before diving in. A tagline or slogan is something you can use on your website, social accounts and even business cards and it’s something that shows you’re extra polished – especially if you come up with a clever one!
For example, we recently met a blogger whose tagline is, “Florida, The Bahamas and Beyond.” This immediately let us know that these are the areas she targets, which is super niche, but will also make her stand out to all clients in these areas.
4. CHOOSE YOUR BRAND COLORS
Ok this is something we are sticklers for – yes, we all love every color in the rainbow but random colors on your blog, website and marketing materials is just a big NO! We suggest choosing 3 main colors to use (not including white, black and grey) but please no more than 4!
A great way to figure out your brand colors is to visit the Pantone website or take a spin on Pinterest to see what colors go well together. There are also HTML color pickers you can use to find the exact color codes and don’t forget to save them! Once you save these HTML codes, which look like #F49991, then you can plug them into all your graphic tools when creating your branding materials.
Choosing your official brand colors not only makes your brand look professional, it makes your life so much easier. When working with graphic designers, virtual assistants or even designing graphics yourself, having official color codes will ensure everything is cohesive.
5. DECIDE YOUR FONT FAMILY
We feel the same about fonts as we do about colors – you need to pick and stick! Using tons of different styles of fonts is not only unprofessional, it is super distracting and an eye sore.
So choose a main font and sub font and then one for your body copy – so an arsenal of three fonts is the perfect combo. And make sure they all look good together since they’ll have to coexist on a page.
You can find great font options at Dafont.com or even Creative Market. Set aside some time to do this because trust us, you could get lost in the sea of font families.
6. DESIGN A LOGO
Having a logo is the ultimate way to show the world that you are professional and running a legitimate business. There are so many logo design tools/websites outs there that designing a logo is not as laborious or costly as it was back in the day. You can find a logo designer on Fiverr, Etsy, Upwork, or even launch a logo contest on 99 Designs.
And if you’re serious about your business and have the extra cash, you may want to hire a graphic designer to execute your vision. It’s really important to love your logo and be proud of it since it’s one of the main visual marks people will associate with your brand or blog.
7. GET A BRANDED DOMAIN
No matter if you’re already Insta famous or just dabbling in being a blogger or influencer it’s important to reserve the domain name you want for your future blog or brand website stat. You need to reserve the URL (even if you don’t plan to start it anytime soon) because once it’s gone…it’s gone.
Purchasing a domain name is inexpensive (will cost under 20 bucks) and if you’re going to spend all this energy building your Instagram following it’s definitely worth it. We can almost guarantee no matter where you are in your travelpreneur journey, you’re going to have a website one day.
And when it comes to choosing the domain name remember it’s going to be around for a long time so choose carefully. Make it connect with your social account name or personal brand and something that is easily memorable. For example, we started on Instagram and our Insta handle is @sidewallkerdaily so naturally our website is www.sidewalkerdaily.com but what if we wanted to get creative and call it www.travelandtransform.com? It would make zero sense with our social account and brand and is easily forgettable.
So try to match your account handles with your website name (and vice versa) and if that’s not possible, try to choose something as similar as possible. A lot of branding is making sure all the little pieces of the puzzle make sense together and getting the right domain name is definitely one of them.
8. DESIGN A WEBSITE THAT IS USER FRIENDLY
Your website design is extremely important when you brand your blog because it’s basically your digital storefront/office space – where followers and brands can go to learn more about you and what you’re all about. Having a user friendly website design is a must because if someone can’t navigate your website they will likely leave and never come back. And no one wants that!
On one hand, your goal is to build a relationship with followers and fans and make it easy for them to get info from you and on the other, make it easy for brands to understand why working with you is a no brainer.
When choosing a layout, think about how people will feel when they land on your homepage – afterall you’re designing the website for users, not yourself!
Nowadays you can design your own website using a template or even hire a website expert to help you out. A great resource to find vetted wordpress designers is codeable.io.
And don’t forget to have your contact information easily available. Bascially, don’t make people search long and hard for it because their attention span when online is slim to none.
9. GET A BUSINESS EMAIL ADDRESS
Some bloggers and influencers have a generic email at gmail.com or yahoo.com but we advise against this. Having an email address at your website.com is not only legit, it’s expected. Also, it’s so cheap to get a branded email ( you can get one from Google for just $5 per month) that we don’t know why it’s even still an issue.
Having an email address with your website name is also just great for brand recall. When you send emails to brands, followers or fans, they are indirectly seeing your brand name (in your email address) time and time again and it will keep you top of mind.
10. INVEST IN BUSINESS CARDS
Business cards are a definite must especially if you’re attending any offline networking events or travel conferences. Use your brand fonts, colors, logo, tagline and make it memorable!
Think about it like this – let’s say you start chatting with someone at a networking event who has never heard of you before and at the end of your convo you give them a business card to check out your site. If your business card is plain and boring it will probably go right into the trash but if it’s exciting, that person is going to want to check out your website ASAP.
And what if you didn’t even have a business card to give them? Then there wouldn’t even be a chance for them to Google stalk you because even though your brand is memorable to you…it probably it’s so easy to recall to someone else.
Basically, you need to try your best to make your business cards stand out. And if you’re not a graphic designer, not to worry, there are tons of templates you can edit online to create something that looks professional and on brand for you!
11. OPTIMIZE YOUR SOCIAL ACCOUNTS
This is a simple one but often gets overlooked. Go through your social accounts and make sure everything is cohesive across the board – profile picture, bio caption, website etc.
Do you have the same profile pic on your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest accounts etc.? If not, you need to make the switch ASAP. Yes it’s enticing to try to be cool and use different pictures for every account but just don’t. You want to make it easy for your followers to recognize you on their feeds, across platforms, instead of being lost in the shuffle.
Also, for your account bios – make sure they have similar messaging. On one account don’t have Family Travel Blogger and on another have Adventure Travel Blogger. You need to make every last detail of your brand connect between all of your social accounts, website, blog and everything else you do along the way!
Need some help?
We get how tough it is to navigate the industry alone and offer one-on-one coaching for bloggers and influencers to support them every step of the way.
12. CREATE A MEDIA KIT
Your media kit is really your time to shine. A media kit is a document that you can put all of your bragging points inside to really set yourself apart when pitching to brands. You can also stand out from the crowd by the way you present yourself in your media kit – graphics, layout, copy etc. Make sure your media kit truly represents you and your brand because it will be relied on heavily by brand reps in the decision making process.
And if you don’t have a media kit, you need to create one ASAP. If you’re already in the process of pitching to brands then you know how valuable they are and if you’re just starting out, you will be asked for one sooner than you think so we suggest you be prepared. :)
A media kit is a great way to communicate your brand aesthetic and professionalism since many times you’re just meeting people over the internet. Brands loo