Personal Branding Lesson 1: Choose a Theme
[originally published August 15 2019]
As a recent graduate who studied marketing, I'd hope that I can offer some advice on how to better brand yourself online! These tips are primarily targeted at helping new bloggers and influencers, however, I believe that creative branding can benefit anyone! Branding yourself as a student or young professional can also help you to stand out to employers and other potential work opportunities. You don't need to stop posting social pictures or captions to build a brand that benefits you! And, you're in luck! While most bloggers charge $$$ for online branding seminars and virtual classes, I am going to share amazing advice with you for free. There is so much that you can find online regarding personal branding. I'm going to blend my education with the web's best resources to give you the best mini-lessons! I can't wait to share with you this first mini-lesson on Instagram & blogging themes. Please leave a comment about what else you would like to learn about personal branding!
Choosing a Theme for Blogs & Social Media Profiles
When you scroll through Instagram profiles, create pins on Pinterest, or browse through blogs, what visual elements attract your attention first? Which ones do you notice next? When choosing a theme or layout for your online feed, first be sure to make it functional. Making a page functional means it achieves its purpose. Common functions found online can include:
creating visual interest (photographers, models, designers, etc.)
selling a product (entrepreneurs, independent artists)
sharing inspiration (bloggers, stylists, motivational profiles)
enticing action (news blogs, charitable organizations, etc.)
For example, if you're an artist selling custom illustrations, your Instagram feed should look cohesive. It shouldn't be too busy and your illustrations should be organized according to their contents. Don't post similar illustrations all in a row. Instead, sprinkle and organize other images in between. Showcase your art like it's in a museum! Your museum doesn't have to be a stark white gallery, but maybe it has cool chandeliers or lifelike statues. How will your art best be displayed online? Your online, shop-able website should mirror the movement of your art while maintaining ease for your customers.
Do you want to start a blog and create an audience on Pinterest and Instagram? Design your posts just as you would design your blog. Craft each photograph, don't just filter it and post it. What images are you posting? Does that image of your adorable pet make sense next to a picture of your car? If you must post a picture of your car soon after posting about your new puppy, add transition posts in between. Add a quote with matching colors or a picture of yourself! Keep your page organic - adding a picture of yourself or of people is a great way to keep your feed natural and authentic. Quotes are another great "filler" in-between pictures of unrelated content. Never post unoriginal content. Your profiles should have unique content made by you. This will help your page stand out and look amazing! If you must post stock images, make sure they match your aesthetic and are legally obtained. Sorry, Google Images! Unsplash is an amazing catalog for free & high-definition pictures. Sharing to Instagram or pinning content to Pinterest from your blog or other social media sites has never been easier!
Pick colors and share images that suit your personality!
What colors should you use on your blog, website, or profile? Choose them based on your favorite colors. If you don't like how your pages look, then how can you stay passionate about posting? It's hard to want to work on your creative content when you yourself do not like your own theme. This is why making your aesthetic match your interests and personality is so important! People like authenticity and approachable content. Start to create authenticity by first making yourself believe in your own work.
Some amazing apps for editing photographs include VSCO & A Color Story. I'll occasionally use other editing apps for more fine-tuned brightening or sharpening. Google Snapseed utilizes spot editing to brighten, add contrast, and mute or saturate colors. I never edit the physical content of my photos, but I do add color corrections and filters to create a consistent theme. My blog showcases more color than my social feeds, however, each represents aesthetics that I love. My Instagram profile is muted and soft and my blog is colorful and modern. Both themes represent me and I edit images differently for each platform.
While choosing a theme is based on your own personality and interests, it should still appeal to your audience! If you are a blogger, influencer, or another type of creative individual, then this part of the mini-lesson is just for you!
I'll keep this short - adapt your personal theme to appeal to your audience! I'll talk about 'how to identify your brand needs and audience needs' in a future mini-lesson. Who is your audience and what are they looking to read? Why should people give you attention? What can they learn or enjoy from your content? List out all of your reasons for creating content and then list everything your audience needs in their life. For example, you might want to share the best mug cookie recipes! That means your audience should have an active desire to bake cookies in the microwave :)
In a future lesson, I'll discuss more on how to appeal to your audience through sharing your content.
Thank you for reading! I hope I could shed a bit of light on how to brand yourself! Stay tuned for more on personal branding online. xx
Leave a comment on what you'd like to learn next!