My Guide to Branding Yourself
Updated: Dec 13, 2019
I've ran my own website for about two years and it's shocking how much it's changed during that time. If you are a subscriber, you received my emails stating my website has been updated and redesigned. I've grown in the last two years and of course my brand was bound to change with me.
When it came to my first site, I was so focused on getting it up and running that I used a Wix template. I changed the template colors to match the brand logo I made in a branding class. My resume, cover letter and business cards embodied this new brand of Sydney that I created. I also was applying for internships and wanted to look impressive to future employers. It probably wasn't the best approach to go off a template, but I was getting noticed because my competitors didn't have a website. I thought I was ahead of the game, but further down the road more people in my field designed their own websites. The websites were stunning and I just wanted to figure out how can I do that? How can I make my brand stand out, but still represent me? That is a huge question marketers have. They can brand anything else, but when it comes to their own brand they are very particular. I started noticing myself thinking that way when it came to redesigning my site and logo.
After moving to Colorado, I thought it was time to go through this rebrand journey. To get myself inspired, I went to blog sites that I love, laurenconrad.com and kristydickerson.com. Both of these ladies are powerhouse lady bosses, so I of course took inspiration from their sites that I thought felt like me. I also made a Pinterest board filled with website designs and concepts. When I took a branding class, I was told my initials make an H (which could be misleading to the eye) and that my last name was too long. I'm going to be completely honest, I LOVE my last name. It's unique and it's who I am, but again do people who follow my blogs need to know my last name. I started with a notepad and a pencil, sketching out how I can rename my site and logo. I thought about what I post about the most and then it hit me, The Working Blonde. Once the name was chosen, I doodled multiple pages of logos. At the time, I didn't have too much time to really go all out. I settled with the triangles overlapped with a gorgeous handwritten font in the middle. I thought at that moment this logo embodied me. I had no clue, that a few months down the road I would design an even better logo (once given more time).
Next step was the whole redesign of my website. I had a new, refreshed logo and the website needed a facelift. I kept my colors for the most part similar to the old one, but I wanted to incorporate user experience more into my design. I thought back to my boards as well as figure out what I want people to see about me. My goal for my website was not only showing off my portfolio work, but I wanted to see the true Sydney. I also wanted to bring blogging back into my life. I used some of the pages I currently had and then added more. From there, I went to each individual page and decided what each one needed and how I could design it to be user friendly.. I've gone through this process at least twice. Sometimes you need to step away for a couple months and come back to it. More ideas could be flowing after the time you first designed.
Going through a branding process is never easy, especially when it comes to branding yourself. While building your brand out for the first time, these are some tips I think are useful.
1. Think about the type of person you are and how you want people to see you. When it came to my brand, I wanted people to feel comfortable on my site and feel like they are talking to me.
2. Designs can take awhile to become a concept. Go old school and grab a notepad. Draw some logo designs as well as web layouts. Nothing is better than having a pen or pencil in your hand and letting your mind fly.
3. Explore branded websites for yourself. It doesn't hurt to look around and learn preferred user journeys. I went on different blog websites to figure out what I liked and didn't. For example, I found a layout I fell in love with on a wordpress templet for my homepage. It screams Sydney and how I welcome people.
4. Research platforms to build your website on. Not all platforms might be easy to work with, which is why you should do research. I decided Wix cause it has everything I needed and it was simple for me to use.
5. While you are branding, you will probably rebrand your social media pages, like you should. During this process, you might lose and gain followers (in my opinion isn't a bad thing). I think now we focus on how many followers/subscribers we have, which I'm guilty of. Focus on your content and what you are posting. Eventually you could build an audience that likes your content and follows you because they are interested in your topics and what you are about.
6. Have fun throughout the branding process. You won't find your brand on the first try and that's ok. You might get frustrated sometimes and want to throw the computer against a wall. Branding doesn't have to be that way. Be open and take in the moment that you are doing something to improve your visibility in the professional world.
Only you can brand yourself. You know yourself the best, so only you can show your capabilities. Branding yourself in the PR/Marketing world is now becoming a common aspect of the application stages. It's time to embrace it and get your name found on Google with the top clicks being your website. Once you are done, you can make a branding board similar to mine and it will become your guideline. Good luck on your branding journey!