In case any of you don’t know, BlogHer 2012 is happening in New York City next week. And I’m super excited to say that I’ll be there! But as I have prepared for the conference, I’ve had to take a long hard look at my blog – at how it looks, at how I promote it and at the image that I’m creating. I’ve researched. I’ve talked to experts. And I wanted to come back and bring you another session of Blogging 101 to share the tips that I’ve learned to brand yourself for events!
So here are a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way that have helped me to better brand my blog. Some may apply to you. Some may not. But I can say the these tips have helped me immensely to create a uniform look and feel prepared going into BlogHer!
Tip #1: Clean Up Your Blog!
Many of us have the tendency to let our blogs get a little cluttered. Buttons in sidebars, text links, groups we are a part of, giveaways and more tend to take up tons of room! And while there is nothing wrong with having some blog bling to show who and what you love, letting it get overwhelming and distracting is bad! After attending Reviewer’s Retreat and hearing how much of an impact a clean and easy to navigate blog can have, I decided to come back and completely make over my blog. I went from having two sidebars with tons of buttons and badges to having a minimal amount of items in my sidebar. I also, with the help of the fabulous Misty from CEO of Me, Inc, got rid of my busy design and achieved a much fresher and cleaner look. By eliminating unnecessary categories, getting rid of some of the distracting graphics and really taking a look at what items I was giving my precious sidebar real estate to, I was able to come up with a layout that was easier for my readers to navigate, less distracting and more effective in showing what my blog is really about.
Tip #2: Show Who You Are on Your Business Cards
Once I got my blog made over, I needed to do the same for my business cards. I think I had really fallen into the more is more trap for both my business cards and my blog. I wanted to show everything that I could do and having tons of information in a small space and that was distracting. And I had made my past business cards myself and didn’t really take into account that they should be a reflection of my blog – and so I had just thrown colors and images I liked on them without taking into account how it matched up with my blog! So, after the new design went up, I was able to get some help from Courtney Lee from GCS Design and Print who helped me determine the important things to include on my cards and those to leave out. She was also able to use my own header to make my brand recognizable and create a card that is fabulous and matches my blog perfectly! Some of the key factors to include on your business card are:
Social Media Sites
It’s also a great idea to include a picture of yourself if you’re comfortable with it so that reps and bloggers alike will remember your wonderful smiling face and have an image of who they will be working with! Here’s the design that Courtney came up with for me – I’m thrilled with how perfectly it matches the look of my blog!
Tip #3: Make Sure You are Consistent!
Once you have settled on the look that is YOU, make sure you stick with it. Use one head shot. Use one button image. Don’t have 15 different images for 15 different sites. If you use one picture in one place and another in another, it may confuse people. You want yourself and your blog to be easily identifiable. I recommend taking a current picture and using it as your about me picture, your image on your personal facebook page and any other places that you post an image of yourself. I remember at Reviewer’s Retreat, I saw Felecia from Go Graham Go and instantly I knew it was her and was able to greet her by name! That is what you want! She has done a fantastic job of making herself recognizable and approachable by staying consistent with her image and giving a true representation of who she is! This is my current head shot – I wanted it to be relaxed and comfortable but totally recognizable. And I’ve updated it everywhere so that people know who I am. After all, a different haircut or difference of age can really confuse people! So now I know if people see me at BlogHer that I’ve interacted with online, they will be able to associate my face with my blog! Score!
Tip #4: Get Your Blog Out There!
When I was studying Marketing in college, I remember our professor telling us that if someone sees your name once they are likely to forget it. However, if they see it multiple times, it is more likely to stick. Now, reps and other bloggers are likely to hear your name (when you introduce yourself), see it (on your business card) and see it again (on your blog once you tell them how awesome you are and get them to surf on over there). But if you can ensure that they see it additional times, it helps the chances of them recognizing it when you’re a name on a sheet of potential partnerships. So get creative and think of great ways to get your blog name out there. Maybe a shirt (I love the bedazzed shirts because they are a little more dressy), a lanyard to hang your badge on, pens with your blog name or even a personalized bag that you will carry with you at the conference. No matter which way you decide to go, name recognition is huge and you want to get your name in front of people as often as you can! I was able to have a tote made by Happy Cat Boutique that matched the colors of my blog and I plan to carry it everywhere at BlogHer and other events. It matches the colors of my blog, has my name visibly on it and is super fabulous in every way!
Making yourself memorable at a Blog Conference or Event goes a long way in creating the tone for future working relationships with brands and bloggers a like. So whether through these suggestions or others, make sure that your blog is just as ready as you are for the big event. Remember to act professional (there is always someone watching), represent your brand to the best of your ability and utilize the experience you are there to have! In the end, hopefully you’ll have attended an event that you are sure to remember and will have created connections that will last for years to come!
How to you brand yourself when attending events for your blog or company?