WHAT IS YOUR BRAND?
There are roughly 179 million blogs on the web.
98,500 more blogs will be created in the next 24 hours.
There will be more than 1.1 million blog posts in that same time period.

Design & Branding For Bloggers 2011- design trends blogger branding bootcamp food bloggers

The numbers are huge. They can seem overwhelming, and statistics like that can make a person wonder how one little blog can shine in a sea of hundreds of millions.

The good news is that your blog can shine.
In this four part series on, The Cuisinerd & I will present to you the basics of branding and design for bloggers. This presentation was originally created as a live session and presented at Foodbuzz Fest 2011 in San Francisco, CA. Kristin (The Cuisinerd) & I put our heads together to come up with these simple and effective branding and design essentials:

Design & Branding For Bloggers 2011- design trends blogger branding bootcamp food bloggers

So back to making your blog shine, sparkle, and stand out in the crowd. It starts with a simple question:

“What makes you, you?”

You may not be a corporation, with a team of people managingyour brand, but that doesn’t mean you can’t approach your branding like a professional. There is a balance though, as a blogger, a writer, a photographer, a person, your brand is you, and it should reflect your very essence.
The best personal brands are the most authentic, the most honest.

What Is Your Brand?
We’ll start at the beginning. Most people know about logos, taglines, website URLs. These things are all a part of your brand, and may feel pretty obvious.

We’ll get to logos, taglines and the like, later in the process. Right now, we’re going to look at branding from the ground up.  Let’s start digging into some of the meat of a brand.

What is Your Mission?
Why are you blogging? What do you want to provide to your readers? You mission statement can act as a guideline for you, too. When considering a business decision, you can ask yourself if it fits your mission. Make sure your mission statement leaves room for creative growth and also fits your brand personality (aka yours).

examples of basic mission statements:
to bring molecular gastronomy to suburban moms
to share my travels, one meal at a time, through provincial Asia
to tell stories & share photographs from one girl’s life on an urban farm

Design & Branding For Bloggers 2011- design trends blogger branding bootcamp food bloggers

David Leite of Leite’s Culianaria and Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes do an outstanding job with their mission statements. Each, in it’s own way, tells the reader about the personality of the site while expressing the mission.

What Do You Write About?
Recipes? Travel? Photography? Restaurants? Fitness? Family? Pastry? New York City Eats?  Raw & Vegan Food? Rock & Roll in The Kitchen? Food + Fashion? Budget Friendly Meal Planning?

Notice that the first few subjects I mentioned might describe hundreds or thousands of sites, but as I got more specific, perhaps just a few sites popped into your brain. Now, we’re getting somewhere.

What is your voice?
Are you conversational as writer or perhaps more formal? Do you write personal stories with your posts or stick to the subject at hand?

Design & Branding For Bloggers 2011- design trends blogger branding bootcamp food bloggers

If you are naturally dry and witty, say like Michael Procopio of Food for the Thoughtless, it’s not going to do you any service to try and write in voice like Shauna Ahern of Gluten Free Girl. If you’ve read her blog at all, you’ll know that Shauna’s round luscious and warm prose is totally different from Michael’s delightfully erudite voice. These are two blogs I adore. Though they are totally different. I love them for the same reason.  Both Shauna and Michael are totally authentic and their writing voices reflect that.

A Couple More Notes On Voice
1. Check in from time to time and make sure you are staying true to your mission statement. Your voice as a writer will evolve, and it may take time to hit your stride. Take time to tweak your mission statement, if it’s appropriate.

2. Your voice should be (at least, somewhat) consistent across mediums. Although social media is more casual than a blog, keep in mind, that it doesn’t make sense to be a sweet sugar-coated cupcake blogger in one medium, and a foul-mouthed trash talker in another. Not that one is better than another, but if you’re thinking about your brand, again, be authentic, be honest, and you should be fine. The same goes when commenting on other blogs.

Your blog is your brand, your brand is you.

Come back tomorrow for part two of this four part series

We’ll discuss:
Defining your brand
Describing your brand
Names & Taglines
& Color

I’ll also link to Part 2 on Kristin of The Cusinerd’s site!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathryn December 6, 2011 at 3:22 AM

This is a great series, thank you for sharing! I remember hearing about how good this session was at Foodbuzz so I'm really excited to learn all I can from it!

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Farmgirl Gourmet December 6, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Thanks so much for sharing this info Sabrina! I wanted so badly to go to FBZ!! Next year for sure.

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Kimberly December 6, 2011 at 1:23 PM

thanks for sharing! I always love your amazing ability to help others through your blog and experiences. It's brilliant. I look forward to the rest of the series :)

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Allison December 6, 2011 at 9:24 PM

Hi! I'm new to your site but am really looking forward to this series. I'm trying to relaunch my blog and all of these things you've mentioned so far will come in very handy.

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Kate December 7, 2011 at 6:58 AM

It's funny how such little nuances can make such a big impact. it's always good to brush up on this. Thanks so much!

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Anita December 7, 2011 at 3:24 PM

I missed out on your session at Foodbuzz, so thanks so much for putting this up. You're awesome!

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The Cuisinerd December 7, 2011 at 7:09 PM

So amazing to share this lesson with you girl, I think all of us need to be reminded of those little details to make every new post even better, and any redesign zing!

Cheers!

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Michael December 8, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Sabrina,

I just saw this. I'm touched that you would mention me in the same breath with such august company. Thank you. Now when the hell are we having that drink?

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Mary January 25, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Stumbled upon this while doing research and love it. Want to read it all! Thank you for sharing

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