FREELANCE FRIDAY: BRANDING

Thursday, April 11, 2024

 


The art of branding…

It’s a blend of what makes you YOU and the persona you put forth for your business, whatever that may be. This may change as you grow and evolve your business, not to mention the changes that arise with algorithm changes and new marketing platforms. 

So—what branding ISN’T? Marketing! (But it is integral to your marketing plan! Go figure.)

What branding IS? Something that distinguishes you from the rest. Something that your viewership will scroll past and immediately know “Oh, that’s so-and-so” without even looking at the username. Something that sets you apart. 

Where do we get the term “branding” anyway? Cattle ranchers will use a metal design heated in fire to brand the hide on their cattle, some sort of design that differentiates their cattle from the neighboring ranches’ stock. That way, they can graze public lands without fear of getting Person A’s stock mixed up with Person B’s. They will also do the same with horses. Ranch horses will have a brand unique to the ranch owner’s (or sometimes multiple brands, if they are owned by multiple ranchers over their lifetime). Typically on the animal, especially cattle, will be an ear tag that provides contact information for the ranch owner should the animal go astray.

Are you starting to see how branding, the version used on ranches, can be used for your own “stock?” You want your own product/service/business to be easily identified in a crowd. Amongst other creators and entrepreneurs and freelancers, other people will be able to glance at something you’re offering (i.e. a post on Instagram) and immediately know that you posted it. They need to go to you for more information…(and you should probably have your contact info close-by so they can do just that!)

So whether you’re beginning your business or looking to grow? Here are some tips that will help you hone in your brand.




1.    What makes you YOU? Your aesthetic? Your likes and dislikes? Ask a few trusted friends for help.

For example, if you love plaid button-ups? Feature them in your pictures! Wear them, have flatlays where the plaid shirt is part of the background, talk about why you like them in a “Get to know me” post! Love a certain style of music or a particular artist? Integrate that into reels continuously. Obsessed with your favorite color? Feature something in each picture that’s that color. Have a green thumb? Include your plants! (Don’t have a green thumb but still like plants, like me? You can find fake plants that look very realistic!)  Develop your own style or aesthetic: like blurry pictures, micro-close shots of tiny details, and so forth. You don’t have to come up with something completely different from what everyone else is doing. You just have to merge your style (or public persona) with what you’re offering.



2.             What makes your business unique? How do you plan to serve others with your business?

You will likely incorporate some aspects of your personal preferences and style into things like web design, logos, and so forth. This is where you do want to stand out from the crowd a little bit. This can change with time (a “brand refresh”) but it’s important to come up with some form of continuity and follow through with it.


Secondly, how do you plan on serving others with what you’re offering? Incorporate that into your brand as well. Consider materials like tips and tricks that you offer consistently, a writing style or dynamic questions that consumers will get used to and will also use to identify you from the crowd.



3.             Where is the intersect between your personal tendencies and your business’ uniqueness? Use that.



4.             If you’re using a persona, why and how will you ensure this will be an authentic connection with others?

In this fast-paced culture we’ve built on social media, people are craving personal connection above all else. While it’s good to have some barriers, even healthy, you should still seek to create boundaries without coming off as cold or too closed-off. For me, it was realizing that I had to let people in on some of the writing process, which I began doing once a month. It’s just a quick post, but I was surprised at how many people communicate with those posts than the consumer-level “behold, a book” stuff I typically share. That connection is valuable. Find ways you’re willing and comfortable with being personable and utilize it continuously so viewers learn to anticipate or expect it from you.



5.             Brainstorm ways you can incorporate your brand into your photos, your marketing materials, captions, blog posts, etc—every run of the mill interaction folks will have with you! This doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating. Throw some random ideas out on paper and run with it. You’d be surprised what you can come up with that works!

 

If you want more in-depth analysis of branding, I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF AUTHOR BRANDING by Shayla Raquel. It’s a book I have used to death not only for my own writing, but my editing business as well. What, you aren’t an author? You can also translate those same principles to your own business! The same theories apply in a very no-nonsense manner. Another resource I would recommend is the Ministry of Marketing webinar that author Erin Phillips hosts sometimes. Follow her on Instagram and keep your eyes peeled! Both have been absolutely instrumental to my growth in the marketing realm. 

 

JUSTREAD TOURS: VANISHING LEGACY by Lynette Eason & Kate Angelo

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

 Hey everyone! So today I've got a review for Vanishing Legacy by Lynette Eason & Kate Angelo. I'm rapidly becoming an insta-buy fan of Angelo's work, so I was excited to be offered the opportunity to read an ARC of this new series, part of the Elite Guardians world that I'm already a fan of. So let's get into it!



ABOUT THE BOOK

For this Elite Guardian, protecting her client’s daughter just got personal.

Elite Guardian Alana Flores, former LAPD underwater dive detective, just wants a fresh start in Savannah, Georgia, with her son, Rocco. Hoping to repair their broken relationship, and provide a safer, more stable life, nothing could be more disastrous to her hopes than when they find a terrified, autistic child in her shed.

Oh no.

Enter Cash Thomas, a widowed trauma surgeon struggling to raise his autistic daughter, Penny. He’s put his wife’s disappearance and presumed death behind him…until someone tries to kidnap his daughter. Terrified of losing Penny to the same cartel that supposedly killed his wife, he turns to Alana and the Elite Guardians.

But is Sonia really dead? Or is she behind the kidnapping attempts? Cash and Alana must keep their children safe, uncover the truth about Sonia, and find a way to outsmart the cartel before it’s too late.

And what about the spark between them? Could this be the fresh start they both long for? Certainly not while their children are in danger. And when their worst fears happen, will they lose everything?

With heart-pounding foot chases on River Street, underwater thrills off Tybee Island, and a climactic showdown at Forsyth Fountain, Vanishing Legacy will leave you breathless.

Order it HERE!


MY REVIEW

Well, this one starts off with a bang! There's a lot to love about this book, and I've got high hopes for the series overall. The characters are dynamic and believable; the plot is one that will genuinely keep you guessing. It's not often that I find a story where I don't immediately know whodunnit, so this one had a few twists, turns, and false leads that really kept my attention. If you've read CHRISTMAS IN THE CROSSHAIRS, you've met Alana and Rocco already! It was fun to get to know these characters more. Additionally, the accurate representation of an autistic child and the various triumphs and struggles related to parenting or otherwise caring for Penny was great to read. (Angelo's disability representation is one of my favorite things about her books!) If you enjoy fast-paced romantic suspense, relatable characters, and rollercoaster plot twists, this is definitely a good one to pick up ASAP! 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

COVER REVEAL: ETANIA'S DESTINY by M.H. Elrich!

 Hey everyone! I'm excited to share the gorgeous cover for Etania's Destiny by M.H. Elrich! Check it out below, and preorder for its May 11th release!

BLURB

As civil war looms on the horizon, Etania must embrace her destiny or fall to darkness...

Before the war begins, Etania determines to stop it by any means necessary—even if it requires her to train the man who betrayed her. Then an unnatural darkness sweeps the land, testing friend and foe alike. Etania knows only her powers as a Vexli can end Damien and Narak’s evil spell. Will Etania defeat the darkness or succumb to it herself?

Find out in Etania’s Destiny, the third and final installment of Etania’s stories.

This is the third book of the Daughters of Tamnarae Series and is the continuation of Etania’s story. It's sure to be amazing!

Etania’s Destiny releases May 11th but it’s available for preorder now.  Click HERE


Now for that gorgeous cover...


LIMITED TIME ANTHOLOGY OPPORTUNITY!

Monday, April 1, 2024




 

Hey everyone! 

So back at the beginning of the year, I messaged several folks wondering if they'd be interested in a closed-submissions historical fantasy anthology surrounding the theme of HOPE. And I'm so excited for what these authors come up with, because I know they're an incredible group of people that I'm privileged to know and work alongside. In addition to the stories these folks are working on, I would love to see a few poetry submissions and an additional, very limited amount of short stories for the anthology too -- so from May 1st through May 31st, send in your poetry and short story submissions for consideration! You may submit a maximum of three (3) poems or one (1) short story *and* one (1) poem for consideration. 

If you received the original closed-submissions invitation? Never fear! I still want to see your submissions, and the information you received regarding short stories and poetry still stands -- this can be a reminder for when the deadline is!! 

Read on for the deets, creatives!


THEME: Changing for the better can be difficult. Downright devastating. But yet, there is hope. 

YOUR MISSION: Show us the insurmountable circumstances and then show us what it looks like to change for hope. Show us the miracle it will take to change a life, a circumstance, an internal struggle, a battle, family struggle, and more. Contemplate what hope means to you

How far will your characters go for hope? 

SHORT STORIES: I'm looking for a word count between 5,000 and 10,000. 

POETRY: I'm specifically looking for ballads -- they may be focused on a character-driven plot or a piece on hope itself. If you really want to impress me, I would love to see a poem where hope is embodied as a character. 

What IS a ballad? "A poem that tells a story of adventure, of romance, or of a hero, that [...] has stanzas of four lines with a rhyme on the second and fourth lines." (Merriam-Webster definition).

This is a historical fantasy anthology, so if you're writing a character-driven poem, please make sure your setting is suitable! Romantic subplots are fine, violence/war/etc. is also fine; however, please no erotica or explicit scenes, and I will also not accept poems or short stories that glorify witchcraft.

There is no cost to submit your work. 

Submissions will be due MAY 31, 2024 and are open NOW. 

Inspiration needed? Check out this Pinterest board HERE.

Anthology theme verses: Hebrews 10:23 and James 1:6. 

There is no cost to submit your work. Authors will retain all rights and ownership over their works. 

A one-time payment will be offered to each author via PayPal, check, or cash mailed to you (U.S. only for those last two options, sorry!) and the anthology will be listed for Kindle and Paperback as close to print price as possible so no further royalties will be collected. 

Save this post, because this will be the first and last time I'm sharing about this opportunity on my blog. Ready to submit? Click HERE.