The Ultimate Personal Branding Checklist for Creative Entrepreneurs
More and more people, women in particular, are quitting their 9 to 5 to start their own creative business in blogging, branding, web design, photography, coaching, social media consulting, training, and so much more! First of all, I think that’s amazing. It makes me so happy to see the number of small businesses in the creative industry thriving. You’re joining a community of people who are turning their passion into a purpose and creating a profitable business for themselves! So inspiring!
However, with this number rising you’re probably wondering:
- How do I get noticed?
- How can I build a successful business alongside my favorite biz ladies?
- What’s going to set me apart from other creatives in the same industry?
The answer is your brand.
Simply put, your brand is what sets you apart and creates an impactful, memorable business. It’s a reflection of who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be. Once you’ve established a brand identity and effective brand strategy, you will start attracting your ideal audience and begin building trust in an authentic way. That’s the moment people start creating a buzz around your business. That’s the moment they start wanting to work with you and buying your products. It all starts with your brand.
With that being said, you can see how your brand is not just your logo. That’s why I’ve pulled together The Ultimate Personal Branding Checklist that will help set the foundation for your business.
Download Your Free Checklist Below
Here is what your brand consists of:
1. Clear Mission:
Find your why. Do some business soul-searching and figure out what the core mission of your business is. Remember, each of us have unique strengths and gifts. Don’t try to do what everyone else is doing because your efforts to make your brand stand out won’t make a difference if they are not authentic. Do your research by learning the needs of your target audience and deliver services and content that will genuinely help them.
2. Target Niche:
Identify your strengths. What are you best at? Where are you going to shine the most? Pick your industry, narrow it down to one specific focus area and become the expert.
3. Target Audience:
A brand includes a clear understanding of who your target audience is and what they want and need from you. What entices them? Where are they primarily most active? What is their biggest problem that you can help them solve? When you can identify who your ideal target audience is and what their needs are, you can figure out the best way to connect with them.
4. Brand Values:
Determine how you will do business. Is it based on communication? Trust? Do you value customer loyalty? Always stay true to the values of your business, and be really clear on what you want your audience to know about you.
5. Brand Boundaries:
Create boundaries for your business and learn when to say no to something that doesn’t align with your brand values.
6. Brand Message:
Discover your brand message and ensure you are communicating it clearly to your audience across all platforms.
7. Custom Domain Name:
Choose a name for your business and secure that baby in a custom url ASAP. Stay away from services like WordPress.com or Wix that give domain names like www.yourname.wordpress.com or www.yourname.wix.com. Owning your own branded domain name will immediately establish credibility for your business.
8. Custom Email Address:
Get a personalized email address along with your domain name. This will also establish credibility.
This one is a major asset as it serves as the face of your business and core of your brand identity. I recommend hiring a professional designer to create a logo for you. If you’re on a budget, there is always the option to DIY or purchase a pre-made logo. Either way make sure it’s high quality, concise and portrays the vision you have for your brand.
If you’re an online business owner, you NEED a beautiful and functional website. This will be the place for your visitors to go to learn more information about you, your mission and your services. It’s like your home sweet home on the Internet! Depending on your budget and experience, invest in a designer to create a completely custom website or purchase a theme and build it yourself.
11. Business Cards:
Do you plan on going to a social events surrounded by other business women who are looking to connect? Even if you aren’t planning on it, you never know who you might run into one day. Handing out your business card is like sharing a piece of you with the world. Make sure it’s something that stands out and has a clear call to action.
12. Social Media Presence:
A social media presence is going to be an essential tool for your brand strategy. Secure your social media handles at the time you secure your domain name. Find out where you target audience hangs out the most. The more active you are on that social media channel, the more likely you’re going to drive traffic to your business.
13. Creative Workspace:
Find or design a space that inspires you and your brand! Whether you have a desk in the corner of your closet, an office room or full-on building, make sure you are letting it be known that this is your space. This is where the creative magic happens, so you want to pour your heart and branding into it as much as possible.
14. Photography Style:
Establish an Instagram theme. If you are taking your own photos, make sure you use great lighting and stay consistent with the style, filters and props you use. You also have the option to invest in branded stock photos. Either way, high-quality images will take your brand to the next level.
15. Professional Headshots:
Use a professional, memorable photo as your profile image/avatar on all social media accounts. Include photos of yourself on your website as well to humanize your brand. You can stage these yourself or hire a photographer.
16. Font Palette:
Depending on the font you use, typography can set the tone for your brand. Are you playful or sophisticated? Bold or minimalistic? Choose two or three fonts and use them consistently throughout your website, social media graphics and other branding materials.
17. Brand Personality:
Ensure your personal branding is a reflection of you. Give your brand a positive character and make sure it shines throughout your business. It’s important for your audience to connect and relate to you.
18. Brand Colors:
It’s been said that color has a deep affect on how you make your audience feel. If you want your brand to reflect a specific style and make your audience feel a certain way, choose a color palette that plays to that emotion and supports the personality you want to portray. For example, neutral and monochromatic color palettes give off a minimalistic, classic vibe whereas vibrant hues are more bold and energetic.
19. Blog Post Graphic:
Create a template for your blog posts. Make sure they are set up using the proper dimensions for your website and social media platforms. If you are using the same template throughout, it will create consistency and make it easier for your brand to be identified as your brand.
20. Email List:
An email list is such an important part of your business. It’s how you directly communicate with your audience. Not many people think about creating a newsletter template that fits your brand instead of opting for a plain-text email. Embed your colors, fonts and images to jazz up those inboxes a little.
Engaging with your audience and building genuine relationships is so important for your brand. Take the time to respond to your comments on social media and blog posts. Join Facebook Groups and find threads where you can offer a helping hand or bits of advice. This is how you connect with your audience, build trust, learn more about their needs and hopefully land your dream clients.
Identify the competitors in your industry and differentiate yourself. Discover what makes your brand unique. Figure out what you can deliver that no one else can. Trust me, there is at least one thing.
23. Blog Strategy:
Determine how often you will publish new posts. Start off with once or twice a week and then gradually build up. This sets the pace for your brand letting your audience know when they can expect to see new content from you.
24. Content Strategy:
Determine your primary topics and categories for your blog, website and other content outlets. For your blog, you can choose one main topic and then break them into subtopics. Make sure you stay close to your niche, and don’t worry about running out of things to talk about. Trust me, there are so many ways to generate new blog post ideas.
25. Brand Language:
This is how you communicate. Whether it’s playful and energetic, or sweet and polite, make sure your brand communicates a clear message that your ideal audience can easily understand and relate to. And remember, don’t be afraid to be yourself! Each voice is unique and everyone has their own way of portraying their own message.
26. Brand Story:
Share your journey. Every business has a story about how they got started. It’s nice to connect your audience to the history of your business and show them how you got to where you are today.
27. Brand Balance:
Find a perfect balance of personal and professional posts on social media. Sometimes it’s nice to share the not-so-glamorous side of your business. Throw in some posts of your pups or kids every now and again if you feel like it. It’s a great way to interact with your audience on a deeper level.
28. Writing Style:
Discover a style of writing blog posts, emails and newsletters. Will it be informal or formal? Do you use lots of emojis, icons and color? Are you a storyteller? Do you include audio recordings, videos or lots of example photos? Developing your own writing style is a great way to establish your brand and attract people with similar styles.
29. Email Signature:
Brand your email by including an email signature that contains an image of yourself, your logo or your digital signature. You can also include a short bio, your contact information and a website URL.
30. Brand Buzz Words:
If you could sum up your brand using three key words, what would they be? Think about it. These three words quickly define your brand and are great to have on hand if you’re ever trying to decide if something is in line with your vision.
Well there you have it! Of course these will all take time to establish, even I’m still working on mine! Just be patient and work through it little by little. If you want to have a resource like this on hand, download the checklist below!