Branding

Content Creation got you down?

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Content creation is one of those things that seems incredibly easy at the beginning.  You’re full of ideas, great copywriting, and then after a week of posts (I’m out of posts already?) you get stuck like… what now?

You guys know I have to say this, but having your brand foundations in place will help you come up with a content plan with a snap of a finger. BUT, for now – let’s focus on coming up with a plan to keep your social media feeds active, informative and true to you!

The first thing you’ll need to do is write a list of all the topics that are important to you and your brand. It can be the things you coach, teach, etc. For example, mine would look something like:

✦ Branding beyond Visuals

✦ Cohesiveness & Consistency

✦ Personal Brands

✦ Ideal Clients & Authenticiity

Once you have your “topics” – let’s take a look at them even closer. Next, you’re going to write what YOU think of each topic. Get your views down on paper, maybe even think about how your views differ from others in your field. Writing down what your opinion is will help keep your content structured to YOU, and not just some random article on Google. For example:

✦ Branding Beyond Visuals : Brand Strategy is the key foundation to any personal brand. Visuals and Strategy go hand in hand to create a strong brand.

Once you have this list of topics and your chosen perspective, you can reference back to it at any time, especially when you’re stuck on what to write about! One of my favorite things to do is to choose one topic per week and create a list of questions about that topic (or ask your audience, eh?) so that my feed is a knowledge base for a week or so.

Obviously the way you execute your content is up to you, but now you have a strategy to produce it! Wahoo!

If this helped, be sure to drop a comment :D You can also schedule a FREE 1:1 call with me if you are interested in jump-starting your brand foundations!

Staying True to Yourself While Building a Personal Brand with Sarah Ordo

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Staying True to Yourself While Building a Brand with Sarah Ordo

Sarah is one of my absolute favorite personal brands (and people!). She's an author, makeup artist, podcaster, beautiful brunch organizer - basically all things wonderful and amazing! Sarah is here to talk about staying true to yourself while building a personal brand, something that she's done PERFECTLY!


If you'd like to connect with Sarah, you can find her here:

Web | Instagram | YouTube | Books | Podcast

IMO: Three Characteristics of a Massively Successful Brand

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Brands are complex creatures. There are so many moving parts, but when it comes right down to it – it’s the foundational work that really makes a brand pop. If the foundational work is done correctly, then the design can be done correctly, which leads to the execution being done correctly. See what I mean about the process?

So this article is for you if you’re feeling slightly overwhelmed at the whole branding thing. If you worry about ANYTHING in your brand, it should be these three things:

  • Connection

  • Relevancy

  • Consistency

1.)   Connection –

Your brand would go absolutely NOWHERE without connection. Connection is all about the experience and emotion that your brand evokes through your messaging, voice, content, etc. You’re being real and personal with your audience while building a relationship with them. It’s a two way street when it comes to connection – you’re not just looking for =another dollar or another random follow, but you’re nurturing every client and every follower you receive. You CARE about them! You want to change their life or make it better because they’ve interacted with you.

2.)   Relevancy –

Another huge key to an Elite Brand, is Relevancy. Relevancy is a simple concept to understand: basically you have something people want!

The most important thing to understand about relevancy is that you can have an idea that people are very interested in – and still have no sign ups or YES PLEASE responses from your audience. The fact is that you have to package this buzzword concept into something that people are DYING TO HAVE. How can you take an idea that you’re extremely passionate about and make it into something that people want and need? Just because something is cool doesn’t guarantee sales, it needs to have benefits and outcomes that change the buyers life/situation/outlook. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Relevancy also means that you’re up to date on your methods. Don’t use outdated methodology that’s been proven wrong or incomplete. (This will make you look like a newbie in your field and that’s definitely not what we’re going for!)

3.)   Consistency –

Oh consistency. It has a bit more to it than just being at the same place, same time every day. You can show up daily and still not connect with potential clients. If you’re doing this and only this, you’ve only got half of the equation down.

In order to connect with your clients, you have to be consistent in your message, voice, diction, audience, etc. AND show up to present your message.

Think about it – if you saw someone who showed up online as a business professional – teaching marketing tactics, appeared very put-together, you’d mark them as just that in your brain. Well, much to your surprise the next day, they show up on video looking not so professional and not speaking about the tactics they were so passionate about yesterday.

It would be weird, right You don’t know them and what they’re about and now you’re just confused about what they’re trying to offer. The consistency in showing up was there, but the consistency in content and vibe was definitely missing.

So remember kids – if you’re working on your brand, run three things through your mind daily. Was I Consistent? Was I Relevant? Did I connect with who I wanted to? <3

If you’d like tips like this AND weekly challenges to push you further in your brand – check out THE BRAND PLAN, my private membership group for those of you looking for consistency and growth in your personal brand!

Four Things Your Ideal Client is Begging You to Know...

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And it’s not what their favorite coffee brand is. (Unless you’re like, a coffee shop or some shit.)

The whole idea of Branding is very “Ideal Client” centered, as you can tell from the 90 million Pinterest posts out there. I’m here to make it very, very easy for you – and tell you EXACTLY what your ideal client wants you to know in order to make your offer scream “I NEED THAT” in their brains.

1.)   Where your clients are struggling, and why.

This is pretty basic 101 info, but most of us forget it. Your ideal clients are on the struggle bus, and they need someone to point out to them exactly where they’re struggling and WHY. Most times, your clients don’t even know they’re struggling until you point it out to them.

If you point it out to them, you better make damn sure you have a solution for it! Which leads me to…

 

2.)   How YOU can solve these issues you point out, and how they’re going to feel on the flip side once they’re fixed.

Your audience is BEGGING for answers, and they’re begging harder for results. If you can provide both, there’s going to be no doubt about them working with you. When you’re explaining how to fix their pain points, make sure you’re giving them a solution that works for them and their lifestyle. If their goal is to get more traction on Pinterest, and you give a busy entrepreneur the task of posting, creating and managing content three times a day – it may not be the solution they were looking for.

The answer they’re looking for is time and growth. They want to free up their space and build their business at the same time. By understanding that, you can give a solution that works on all ends.

 

3.)    Your clients Values.

The best way I can describe what understanding your clients Values are is: dating. Would you date someone with completely different values than you? You value spending time with family, while they don’t. You value having little luxuries, where they don’t. Most of us know that if we don’t have similar values to the person we’re dating, things can get a little rough. It’s the same thing with our clients. If we are both thinking different ways, struggling to communicate, and in general just not having a good time – it’s good to say that maybe this isn’t your ideal client after all.

 

4.)   Where they want to be long term.

Understanding where your client would like to be long term in business is going to give you insight on what processes will work best for them, if your solutions are right for their goals, and a clearer vision for what’s to come.

All these details lead to one thing, and that’s CLARITY. When you’re working with your ideal client, the most valuable thing you can have is being clear on tasks at hand, overall goals, and how you’re going to get there!

Sales VS. Marketing

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Sales VS. Marketing – Why a Personal Brand Needs to know the Difference.

When we start an online business or brand, we think the only thing standing in the way of our success is the amount of people who are seeing our content, and making sure those people are our ideal clients. You live and breathe your story, you have your content, all you have to do is find your people who will consume it in a second.

This sounds like basic 101 sales thinking. I bet you’re even wondering “Shawna, where are you going with this because this sounds like an ideal plan for any business? What if I told you, with this way of thinking - you were stomping yourself in the ground without even knowing it? Slowly but surely, this way of thinking won’t last forever.

Scenario:

Imagine you’re out to dinner with your significant other, or a really close GF. You’re going to a dinner where you’re meeting a few of your favorite online personal brands. Name drop whoever you want to here, but you’re excited as f#!k and can’t wait to connect with these people on a more intimate level. You feel like you know them, you’ve been following them for awhile – and may have even purchased a signature program or two.

Sitting down at dinner, you are across the table from a few people you admire. The first hour goes by, and you’ve heard their story, why they do what they do, and in general have gotten a live version of what you’ve read online. They’re great! You can’t wait to get to know them a little more….

The second hour continues, and you’ve noticed that connecting with these people has become a little difficult. Upon asking questions, and trying to get to know them on a more personal level, you’re stuck with everything you’ve already known. And while they’re nice and great and very inviting, you’re not as fulfilled as you’d like to be. You don’t want to hear their story again. You want to CONNECT.

You leave dissappointed, realizing no one has asked you about your background or where you came from. You realize you also had to ask all the questions to keep the conversation going, and you didn’t connect with anyone like you’d of hoped to.

What went wrong?

What went wrong is that these online personalities and brands, didn’t know the difference between marketing and sales. It’s easy to become a well-known person on Social Media presenting your life, your struggles, your programs to fix said struggles because Social Media for the most part is front-faced. You can connect just enough with people through similar experiences, just enough to play into those emotions, and just enough to make some sales. These people are really good at MARKETING, but what the people at the dinner-party lacked were SALES.

Marketing in definition is the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market.
Selling in definition is focusing on the skills that are necessary to make a transaction happen.

While we can be really good at presenting people or potential clients with this lifestyle that we live, whether it be of happiness, health, luxury or mindfulness, it’s not always the presentation that is going to make this person go through with working with you. And even if they do go through and work with you, what’s going to make them come back for more? What’s going to make them spread your name like wildfire across the internet?

Selling is how you make a person feel. It’s an art form of taking whatever you’re offering and applying it to that person’s life. It’s not about your experiences over and over, it’s about making your client feel cared for, protected, empowered, etc. Can you imagine if these dinner party guests got to sit down with people who were willing to ask THEM questions, who didn’t have an ego about themselves, and who didn’t make these people feel SMALLER than themselves. It’s a powerful thing to have an audience who is listening and ready for action, and all you have to do is be their friend to make them want more.

If you’re only following through with one part of the sales/marketing equation, your clients and potential clients are going to feel like they just left a really shitty dinner party. Happy for about an hour, but leaving unfulfilled.

Want to learn more about ideas like this? www.visionary-brands.com

Can you feel that?

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It’s not the best feeling in the world, but it’s a damn good thing you felt it.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about that little niggle that’s letting you know something’s off in your business. That whatever you’re doing right now, there’s something not completely aligned. Either you’re not behind the idea 200%, you’re launching for the wrong reasons, or you’re simply just not ready.

A big problem that I see in the personal branding industry is that we get so caught up with looking perfect online, that we rush to use the best fonts, the best colors, etc. - but we forget that the visuals are only a small sliver of what makes our brand complete.

The race to become the most successful life coach, blogger, designer, etc. is a real one. It’s something that you’ll get caught up in one too many times if you’re not consistently pursuing your own personal brand. What makes a brand is the unique elements of YOU - not the regurgitating of whatever your very own coach taught you, or simply re-wording a trip to Nashville your favorite blogger wrote. How did these personal brands get so big? They stuck to who they were, were consistent with their mission, and grew their brand right along side of themselves.

Brands take time. Brands are constantly evolving. Brands will never be complete, and that’s okay. But the one thing you should do if something starts to feel “off” in your business is revisit your baseline brand foundations. Maybe you’ve never even heard of these, or maybe you’ve told everyone else to look for their ideal client, but forgot to figure out exactly who yours was. (*HINT: There’s more to foundations than just your ideal client as well!)

If you’re looking to get your brand on the same level as your mindset, you’re the perfect person for VISIONARY. VISIONARY is an example of my own exploration of my personal brand when something started to feel off - and I can tell you first hand that when you figure out exactly what it is that you’re supposed to be doing - NOTHING FEELS BETTER! You take action, and not just any kind of action, but clarity-backed action.

VISIONARY is the first program I offer that dives deep into your brand through three phases: Foundations, Visuals and Content Creation/Mapping. If you feel stuck in your brand and are looking for that deeper relationship with your audience, I suggest checking it out - it’s going to take you to that next level, no doubt about it.

www.visionary-brands.com

Behind VISIONARY

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If you haven’t found out what I do by now, don’t worry… I’m gonna explain it to you here and it may not be the explanation you were expecting to read… (dun dun dun!)

For the past three years, I’ve considered myself a Brand and Graphic Designer. If you were to create a checklist of what fundamental skills that position would need to have in order to be successful, I’d hit every one. I’d even consider myself highly successful. And SOMEHOW, I am left feeling unfulfilled in this position.

It has nothing to do with money, the work I am doing, or the clients I am working with.

I’ve been very grateful that the clients I am working with see my true value and honor it. I have never sent a piece of work that I didn’t think was quality, and I take a lot of pride into what I create. So how in the fuck do I still feel like something is missing?

I was skipping the most important part of a brand and it’s creation, the brand experience.

For all of you in the online atmosphere of entrepreneurship, you understand that things can get so busy - sometimes you’re just checking one item off the list after the next. It came to my realization that this is exactly what I was doing, a logo here, a logo there, here’s a cover, etc. etc. While I still love creating one off logos and making these crazy cool cover photos, my TRUE passion lives in creating a BRAND and living through that experience.

This means diving into a person and their purpose for more than two weeks. Figuring out more than just what their color palette will be. Deciding that for 2+ months, we’re brainstorming, strategically planning, and CREATING something that is going to breathe life into others. That doesn’t happen overnight. This doesn’t happen in e-mails alone. This is accomplished through a partnership, open communication, living your dream each and every day in REAL life, and becoming vulnerable to allow growth.

You see, I was missing the relationships and connections that real life experience has to offer. The being on set of your photoshoot to see you fucking work it, or the gathering of inspiration from magazines as we curate what we want your brand to represent visually. (Sometimes feeling a fabric is way more powerful that pinning it on your Pinterest board.) And most importantly, being there when times get tough to tell you you’re a fucking badass and one small hurdle isn’t going to get in your way, because you’re NOT alone in this process.

Here in lies my new program, VISIONARY. With the release date of next Friday I’ll be able to give you more details, but just know that in this program all of my wildest dreams get to come true. There’s 60 days of in-depth branding, not just for visuals but also for brand EXPERIENCE (right before the New Year), plus an in-PERSON getaway where we are able to see your brand come to life through photography, video, and pure connection. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, more powerful than collaboration. Don’t wait three years like I did to understand that small fact!

Definition of visionary

1 : having or marked by foresight and imagination

A VISIONARY LEADER.

Making Website Content Your B*tch

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If you have a website or are in the process of getting one together - this post is for you!

One of the most common struggles I see with my Branding Package Clients is the switch from working on their brand aesthetics to their actual website content. It’s one heck of a transition, basically going from visuals to strategy/copywriting.

How exactly should you go about this? Here are a few tips to get started on putting your site together:

1.) Ask yourself, what’s the overall goal of your website? To host courses, to inform, to connect, to show off your work? The overall goal will directly affect the content creation and design - so that’s a great place to start!

2.) Remember when we worked on that Mission Statement before doing any design work or even worried about what colors you liked? PULL THAT SUCKA UP! It is incredibly important that there is a statement on your website that says exactly what you do, sell, or service your provide. You want there to be absolutely ZERO CONFUSION when someone stops on your site! Being clear and direct in everything you say on your website will help the viewer to easily navigate to what you WANT them to do.

3.) Your website should be very cohesive with your brand. And you may respond to this with “Duh, Shawna - you idiot.” But hear me out - I’m not just talking using your colors, fonts and logos - but this sucker better match the ATTITUDE of your brand. The copy, vibe and overall aesthetic should radiate YOU! There is nothing more confusing than connecting with a vibrant, outgoing personality on Social Media and then going to their website to find a boring, impersonal page. (Did I get the right address, tho?)

4.) While your personal branding is all about what you want to reflect, you now have to address your target audience. What’s going to work for them? What’s going to get them to navigate to the desired end result? Act as if you’re a potential client landing upon your website. Where are you directed and is it what you want? Check yo’self girl!

5.) Even if you hire a copywriter - you WILL have to get your thoughts out on paper. No one can get inside your own head like you can, so don’t think you can just have someone else do the content stage for you. If you’re having trouble, here are a few places to start:
- Who are you and what do you do?
- What are your main offerings and what problem(s) do they solve for your clients?
- What makes you different than others in your field?
- What are your main offerings and which one do you want your clients to see first?
- Do you have a free opt in? Describe it and how it helps with your process.
- Have you been featured anywhere? List ‘em sista.

6.) Content DOES include photography, but that’s what we’ll talk about next. <3

When should you care about YOU, and when should you care about your AUDIENCE?

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We all want that perfect balance of representing ourselves fully while also attracting in our perfect, ideal clients - but what if that isn’t always workable?

I get a lot of questions about this particular subject from my clients, usually stated as “Who should I aim to please, myself or my clients?”

If you’ve been around the subject of branding for awhile, you know two things are incredibly important; 1.) Being Authentically You and 2.) Catering to your Ideal Client. As an easy to understand example, you take a poll to see that your audience’s favorite color is pink, but you absolutely hate the color pink. Should it be the main color of your brand even though you don’t care for it?

In personal branding, NO. In Corporate branding or packaging, YES.

Since majority of my clients tend to be personal brands - I’m going to focus on this scenario.

Personal Brands are incredibly successful because they’re just that - PERSONAL. If every influencer, coach or nutritionist only stuck to the things that their clients wanted or preferred (much like the corporate world), we wouldn’t have that BFF factor going on at all. Think about it - you’re not EXACTLY like your best friend and you still love her, right?

Personal Brands allow for you to connect with people who choose YOU. So the more authentic, genuine and real you are about who you are - the better. (You better not use Pink if you don’t like it!!!)

The second part to this branding predicament is that even as a personal brand, you do still need to care about your target audience… maybe not so much when you’re deciding on your personal attributes, but very much so when you decide to create content.

Your content needs to have some kind of value to your audience. Without value, you’re creating things strictly for yourself (which hey, that’s great too) but business will be much, much better if the value you’re offering is what your audience needs/wants. So here in lies the equation for a brilliant business model…

What can you offer or create that you enjoy doing, but also is a want/need of your target audience? Think of all the problems your audience has, and how can you specifically help them solve one or more of their problems?

When your audience loves you, has a relationship with you and sees value in your content, you can bet that they don’t care if you’re logo is green or pink. #fightme

Why Branding is important even if you don't have a "Business"

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Branding has become quite the buzzword, hasn’t it? It seems like every online entrepreneur is dropping the term left and right, and encouraging you to take this course or that course to figure out YOUR own personal branding.

Well, as overwhelming as it may be - they’re not completely wrong about you needing to at least familiarize yourself with the word. Branding is a HUGE thing that doesn’t just affect major corporations, but if affects all of us in our day to day lives. One of the number one questions I get asked is - “Do I really need branding if I don’t have a business?”

In this case - don’t think of branding as branding. Think of branding as a reputation. We don’t really get to choose if we have a reputation, but we DO get to decide what our reputation consists of! Especially in our day and age where social media is a daily activity for most people, there are plenty of ways for us to build a positive reputation and to put our best self forward where it matters most!

A few examples of where a great online reputation might help you:

  • Job Applications - You bet your sweet ass they’re checking your social profiles now! If you feel like your Facebook profile or Instagram page may not be suitable for random viewers, just make sure they’re private! Better safe than sorry.

  • Meeting the Parents - Meeting someone important for the first time, such as your significant other’s parents? Google search your name and see what pops up (his mom is more likely to google search you rather than drop in your instagram username.) If you see something you don’t like, you can often change or delete it. If there’s something REALLY bad, you may have to contact services to help get the article pushed back in the results, so at least it’s not the FIRST thing they see.

  • Bumble/Tinder/Any other Dating App - Most of these services connect to some sort of Social Profile. Do you really want Jon to know about your last Tequila Friday Night before you meet him for the first time? Probs not.

  • Community - Social Networking is such a great way to find people around you who have similar interests. If you’re wanting to connect with people - make sure you’re being authentic in everything you put out there, because finding your people will be easier when they can relate to your content!

A few tips on how to build:

  • Stay away from negativity. It’s very easily to get sucked into this rabbit hole, but complaining, being rude, and talking shit were never great ways to make friends.

  • Post Content that you believe in. Like I said above, the best way to build a community you can relate to is to make sure you love the things your posting. If you love it, you’ll attract people who do too.

  • Interaction. Don’t be silent when people reach out to you. Even if they’re not your ideal “teammate” - it’s still a great way to build foundations and to let people know you’re open to new adventures. Plus, the more you interact with people, the more they’ll interact with you!

  • Consistant “Brand” Reviews. Once a month, scroll through your social feeds and do a review. Do you like what you see? What do you want to post more of? Is there anything you’re kind of embarrassed of? These monthly brand reviews will help you see exactly what you want and what you don’t.

So as you can see, even though you don’t need a “logo” or website for day to day living, you definitely have a brand that needs taken care of! With a little care and consistency, you’ll be able to take control of your reputation in no time!