Basics from a Novice: Branding and Platform

Full disclosure: I’m not an expert. I’m learning. And I’m sharing what I’m learning. Let’s learn together, shall we? Please share in the comments any posts you’ve written on the topic. Or any great articles by others you’ve found helpful.

Branding. What is it?

I’ve read and heard a bunch about “Brands” but didn’t know what that meant. It sounds complicated, but I don’t think it has to be.

I think it simply means you, your message, and how you appear across social media, online, and at professional speaking engagements.

Put simply, your “brand” is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name.  It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s romantic).  Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it.  It’s fixed.  But your brand exists only in someone’s mind. ~ Jerry McLaughlin, Forbes Magazine

Your brand includes not only what you write, but what blogs, posts, pins, and memes you share on Pinterest and social media. It includes printed materials for any public appearances you make or speaking engagements. It includes the appearance of your blog, graphics, Pinterest pins, etc.

Your brand should be consistent across your platform.

Note: Platform is another one one those term the experts throw around a lot. I think it means your website, blog, Pinterest, and social media. All that stuff combined is your Platform. It’s where you post your message. Kind of like the stage/platform where you stand to deliver a speech or presentation. Your platform is the combination of digital stages from which you proclaim your message. It may include print items as well if you publish books or magazines.

For example, you’d all be surprised if I suddenly started posting nude photos or advocating Bibles be outlawed. Those aren’t part of who I am or the message I want to share. My brand includes the fact that I am a follower of Jesus, I’m His apprentice. I’m working to become more like Christ daily. Nude photos don’t fit my brand.

You’d also be surprised if I suddenly began using huge bright fonts with wild, crass graphics. Again, not who I am.

If you come to the Precept Ministries International Women’s Conference this month, you won’t expect to see me dressed as a punk rocker. I’m fairly conservative. And a grandmother. Punk Rock is not part of my brand.

My examples are a bit extreme but they illustrate my point: Your brand is who you are as a blogger, writer, and speaker. It encompasses your message and your appearance.

So your brand includes what you write or share. It also includes the appearance of your message across your platform. If you advertise or do speaking engagements, the material for those will fit your brand as well.

Branding: Appearance and Graphics

To help make your brand recognizable, experts recommend you are consistent in your font, colors, and graphics across the various social media and digital communication venues you use. Choose colors, styles, and fonts you like and use those in everything you do. Make your graphics (memes, titles, header pictures, etc) match or coordinate across your Platform.

You can spend lots of money to pay someone to create a brand for you, but you don’t have to spend money. I don’t have money to spend on branding right now. I’m also not very artistic. So I went with a simple picture in colors I liked and used fonts readily available. Nothing expensive. Nothing fancy.

For my brand, I simply picked a picture from Pexels.com that I liked. I like the color and simplicity of the picture. It’s not too girly but it’s nice and clean. Also, on Pexels there are a few other pictures using these same plants and colors. I uploaded the picture to the FREE Canva.com app.

Using these pictures and coordinating colors and fonts, I made a new Facebook cover for my public page, a header for my blog, and a few other graphics. For now, this is what I’m using as part of my brand.

All this was done using the Canva app. All free!

I don’t plan on having every meme match these. I like variety! But having my profiles across various apps look the same helps people find me.

Here is the Free photo I got from Pexels.com

I uploaded it to the Canva App (free) and I added my name.

I tried it with pink letters but decide the pink was too girly, so I went with green.

Here are examples of how this looks on my apps.

Anyone looking for my blog or for me will easily recognize these profiles as mine. They are consistent in color, photos, and fonts. I use the same picture of me, the same headshot, on Twitter and Instagram as well. This is the headshot I use in promoting and speaking engagements. It’s the picture I use on my author page on Amazon. I’m wearing the same shirt in the headshot on the back of my books. Again, my brand is easily recognizable because I’ve used the same pictures, graphics, colors, and fonts across my platform.

That’s all I’ve learned about branding and platform so far. I hope this helps you!

2 thoughts on “Basics from a Novice: Branding and Platform

    • Kori, the great news is that it’s not permanent! Not like a tattoo on your forehead.

      You can change, edit, adjust it over time. Or you can start all over and pick a new format, new colors, etc.

      So jump in and try some things. Have fun!

      Like

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