Once you know your niche and your target audience, you should be starting to get a feel for what your blog is. This is what will now motivate your brand.
A brand is not just a logo. Your logo is part of this but what’s more important is the ‘mission statement’ behind that logo. In other words, you need to know what it is that your blog is doing for people, what kinds of people will read your content and how you plan to bring value to the world.
I highly recommend that you check out Simon Sinek’s excellent TED talk on the golden circle. Here, he explains that what makes a successful brand is not what it does or how it does it… but why it does it.
What is the philosophy behind your blog? And more specifically, what kind of lifestyle are you trying to promote?
In the case of our bonsai blog, you might be promoting ‘art, peace and culture’. If you have a blog about fitness then your mission statement might be:
‘Helping people to lead a happier and healthier life, filled with new experiences and positive energy.’
Or it might be:
‘A place for iron warriors to toughen up and talk about weight training.’
These are two blogs in essentially similar niches but they have very different tones and very different mission statements, which will define the kind of person that reads them and the way that the brand looks.
Knowing your mission and making sure that this is present in everything you do is crucial for having a successful blog. Why? Because a) it will tell people instantly whether your blog is for them and b) it will turn your blog into more than the sum of its parts.
It will turn your blog into a movement and something that people can get passionate about and that they can really follow.
A note to consider at this point is that by creating your mission statement, you are going to be automatically alienating some of your potential visitors. Your blog can’t appeal to everyone and if it did, then it wouldn’t be particularly interesting for anyone.
Be prepared for this and embrace who you are and what you want to blog about. Don’t try and appeal to everyone or you will lose your edge and become ‘generic’ yet again.
And in case you aren’t convinced by what I’ve been saying up to this point in the book, I want you to stop to think about the top blogs that you read and the kinds of blogs that you would read.
Chances are that each of them is promoting a lifestyle or a movement. Chances are that each of them is doing something interesting and new.
Now imagine a blog called ‘How To Get Fit’ that only ever posts articles with titles like ‘Top 10 Pec Exercises’ or ‘How to Lose Weight for Summer’.
Would you bother to read that? No – because it’s derivative. You’ve read this stuff a thousand times before and you don’t stand to learn anything new or interesting from it. So, you won’t read it.
Generic blogs don’t become top blogs. To succeed, you need to have real passion for what you’re doing and you need to be yourself. It may sound a little cheesy but it really is true.
Creating Your Logo:
Okay, so now you’ve done all that strategizing you’re finally ready to start creating your logo. Your logo needs to be something that evokes the philosophy and the mission that you’ve settled on. You need this to be something that people can look at and instantly know what your blog is all about.
Of course, the name you choose for your blog is also going to play into this to a large extent.
If you’re having difficulty coming up with names and logos, then try writing down lots of words that relate to your niche and drawing lots of items relating to your niche.
Take a look at all of them and see how you can combine them to create something interesting and unique to you.
Likewise, consider some ‘best practices’ for logo design.
Firstly, your logo needs to be a vector file. That means it will be made in a tool like Illustrator, not Paint! This will mean that your logo can be changed to any size without losing any definition and it means you’ll be able to easily make edits without having to rub anything out.
This is ideal if you want to create a black and white version of your logo in future to go on a product, or if you want to make a banner for some future advertising for example.
Other considerations include: making sure that your logo is relatively simple (which again makes it easier for you to create various different iterations), making sure your logo doesn’t include any clichéd elements (ticks, globes or light bulbs) and choosing colors that will work with your site design and future design activities.
If you aren’t confident in how to go about this, then outsource this process. Come up with some ideas yourself and then find a freelancer on freelancer.com, upwork.com or 99Designs.com.
This way, you will get a much more professional looking final product and that’s something that your customers and your visitors will be able to tell – trust me.
Don’t cobble something together that looks anything less than 100% professional. If there are any imperfections, don’t accept it as complete.
In fact, now is good time to set out onto the web and to try and find yourself some inspiration and some competition. Find blogs that are similar to what you want to build and make a note of them.
From now on, these top blogs are your competition and they are the gold standard you are going to try and reach. Pay close attention to what they’re doing and what you can emulate and if there’s anything that you feel they’re going better – work to get there.
This sounds simple but it’s something a surprising number of top bloggers just don’t do. If you want to be a top blogger, then your website needs to be as good as that of any other top blogger. Subtle differences in quality make a BIG difference that your readers will feel.