Saturday, 13 February 2016

5 Steps to Defining Your Trademark as a Book Blogger

BLOOKUNITY. Are you ready for an intense 2000 word guide to define YOUR book blogger trademark? It's super detailed, but don't worry — it's divided into 5 simple steps and summarised into two sentences. Stay until the end for that summary!

In this post, I'll be analysing the 5 essential components of a book blogger's trademark. This guide can help you carve out your own individual niche and make your mark in the blookunity!
5 steps to finding your book blogger trademark + free checklist
Background image from Creative Market. Pin this, won't you?
Last week on Twitter, I told about 70 bloggers (the tweet below plus an older tweet) what I thought their trademarks were, and there were a few themes that kept popping up. (Feel free to RT this and follow the rules, and I'll analyse yours for you!)

Why is having a blogger trademark important?


There are many, many, many book bloggers out there. Having a trademark makes it easier for everyone to remember you in the blookunity, and if you're THE person with that trademark, people will automatically think of you when they come across it in real life!

Having a trademark is like having the same profile picture across all your social media. It makes people remember (and like!) you more because you're different.

If you're not sure what your trademark is, and you want to have a unique image in the blookunity, read through these five steps and create your own book blogger trademark so everyone will associate you with a few specific things!

By the way, I also created an action guide to accompany this breakdown just for my takeout army— if you're already part of our exclusive circle, I'll send it to you later tonight. Yay! If not, join us now:

Grab your 30-step action guide to develop your book blogger trademark!

So without further ado, the 5 essential components of a book blogger's trademark!


1. What are your major post types?


Many people have recurring blog series. For example, every month, I talk about Chinese culture and that's one of my more popular posts. I don't post book reviews, but I write lots of bookish discussions. I also post writing snippets every now and then.

Some examples of post types:
  • list posts
  • discussion posts
  • writing snippets
  • graphics posts
  • collaboration/roundup posts
You don't necessarily need to only write this type of post, or change all your blog posts — just take a look if there are any major trends! If you're having trouble finding what types of post you write most, try to figure out which post types receive the most comments/pageviews/shares.

BUT don't go for something that's not that unique. Like book reviews or blog tours or Top Ten Tuesday posts ... let's be honest, 80% of the blookunity do those, and they're not as memorable. Find what makes you different.

You can emphasise your major post type by making a "top posts" widget in your sidebar or footer or adding it to your navigation bar! That way, people who land on your blog will immediate see these posts and associate you with them.

2. What are your recurring themes?


All book bloggers will of course talk about books. So to set yourself apart, you need to talk about specific books in a specific way. I explain Chinese customs every month, and I invite people to join my takeout army by means of a Mulan translation, and basically I carry a sign saying "China" through the Internet. A lot of people told me they associated me with Chinese culture.

What's more, I sometimes get random DMs or messages asking me about Chinese culture. (Which I 200% welcome!) Now I'm sure I'm not the only person familiar with China in the blookunity, but I make a point of emphasising it. Get known for talking about a specific subject matter, and you'll be the go-to person for that.
For more bookish niches, I've broken this part down into three sections:

a) What is your favourite genre?

There are some bloggers that read everything and anything, of course. But some people review mostly contemporary, mostly historical fiction, mostly romance, mostly dystopian. And most likely you also have a favourite genre — this is your ready-made trademark, y'all.

Then you need to narrow it down. My favourite genre is fantasy, in case you didn't know. But I'm not so much a fan of urban fantasy as something that is 80% speculative. This is easier for me because I write novels and categorise them in my head, but just scan your shelf and see if any genres pop out at you!

I'm also a huge fan of fairytales and mythology and legends, which is why another of my trademarks is myths and retellings. Many of my manuscripts are retellings, especially YA fantasy retellings.

And yeah, these trademarks might overlap! Which makes for a more coherent trademark. In a moment, we'll try to put all these together to make ONE trademark sentence to define you, so make sure these fit together.

b) Who are your favourite authors?

Yeah, yeah, I can hear you complain about finding this. Not to worry, I have an infographic for you to find your fav author. There's no need to have a single obvious one.

My favourite author is Victoria Schwab, author of A Darker Shade of Magic amongst others, and in case you didn't know there's an #ADSOMreadalong going on at the moment and you should most certainly join in the fun on Twitter!

Wait, see what I did there? I just advocated an author — who writes many books in my favourite genre! Having a few obvious favourite authors helps define your genre in a much more specific way.

And remember, it's not just knowing in your head who is your favourite author — show it to the world! Throw their books at people! Take bookstagrams of their books! Advocate the author. It's good karma, but by recommending books to others, the blookunity will remember your fandoms. You'll be THE [insert author] fan.
c) What bookish causes do you support?

In case you didn't know, I love diverse representation. I basically never. shut. up about it. My tagline and bios include my advocacy for diverse representation. I discuss diversity like ALWAYS.

There are so many causes you can take up in the blookunity. You can support indie or debut authors. You can support #readwomen or #ownvoices. You can focus on reviewing LGBT+ or mental illness books.

3. What is your writing style or voice?


I try to keep my blog posts snarky but stay away from too many emojis, although I do use caps occasionally. I'm much more informal on Twitter and go loose with caps and emojis and *flailing*. But my novelling style tends towards the lyrical side.

Some examples of writing style:
  • ALL CAPS SO EXCITED AAAAAH
  • Short and sweet.
  • *narrates own actions like this*
  • lowercase letters are totally hipster, right
  • Emojis — this works even better if you overuse one specific emoji!
  • made-up words, e.g. blookunity for me, or words used out of context like "breadstick" as an affectionate term
Of course, your writing style is not so easily defined! Take some time to explore this, or RT my tweet and I'll see if anything jumps out at me. And start working right away with the step-by-step action guide I created:

Get this 30-step guide to stand out in the blookunity!

4. What is your aesthetic?


My aesthetic is definitely dark and evil and nefarious. Mwahahaha. I was told I was Gothic, also. If you're not the artsy type (like me) and can't tell your own aesthetic, here are the two things you can focus on:

(a) Colour

The colours I use on the blog are red and white and black, with a few shades in between. This background is actually a pale shade of pinkish yellow, I think. I definitely go for bold and badass more than sweet and sassy, because that's who I choose to be online.

Let's revise some of those art lessons I've forgotten! Do you use warm or cool colours? Grayscale or highly saturated? Pastel or dark? Create a colour palette and play around with it!

(b) Font

I use a lot of Times New Roman, so I suppose that's why I'm "Gothic"? For my blog graphics, I use Avenir Next, which is a simple, more minimalistic font. It doesn't contribute towards my aesthetic, but it doesn't contradict either. Thick cursive fonts, thin dainty fonts, carefree handwriting fonts ... there are so many options here!

There are of course other aesthetic things such as gifs, or how your profile picture looks. And if you're on Instagram, perhaps you have a specific aesthetic there — apply it to your blog design, your Twitter headers, everything.

This can also become much more concrete if there's a specific object that can convey the aesthetic. Like a certain shade of lipstick, or a logo! (I actually am thinking I might need to switch up my flower logo sometime. Huh.) Add these items to your profile pictures or social media headers. Tada, aesthetic established!

If you have no idea what your aesthetic is? Get inspired with Nova @ Out of Time's aesthetic guessing game! See if you can guess mine, it shouldn't be difficult. She'll do a how-to post for aesthetics soon, so stay tuned for that.

5. What is your random favourite thing?


This is not mandatory, and in fact is probably detached from the rest of your trademark. But a random favourite thing adds personality. You're not just a book blogger, you are also a human. Having a favourite non-bookish thing reminds the blookunity of that.

So don't say "Oh I love books" or "I fangirl a lot". Sure, that's part of your trademark as well, but a random trademark is there to add something else. Mine is of course takeout — it's in the blog title, I often send people virtual takeout, I use puns like Dim Summary, and I lead a takeout army.

Bonus points if you include it in your profile photo — this is easily done if it's a tea/coffee mug, or a camera, or somesuch!

Share this on Pinterest!
A bit too much for you to take in? Grab the 30-step action guide here or by clicking on the image towards the side — don't forget to pin that image, either!

Plus here's your two-sentence summary of this blog post!

Your book blogger trademark in a sentence: I am a [genre] book blogger who writes [writing style] [major post type] about [recurring theme], with [an aesthetic]. Also, I love [random thing].


For example, I am a Hong Kong (recurring theme) YA fantasy (genre) book blogger and writer who writes lyrical (writing style) retellings (genre) and bookish discussions (major post type) about diverse (recurring theme) magical girls. On the dark side (aesthetic), of course. (snarky writing style is shown!) Also, I love takeout. (random)

I didn't follow the template exactly here, but I get the same message across by showing, not telling! This is even better and can take your trademark to the next level.

Want to develop your trademark? Grab your 30-step action guide right now!
The thing is — a single component cannot define your trademark. A list of a few things? That's what you should aim for — a coherent group of issues/ideas/concepts that you'd totally dig.

So tell me! What is your book blogger trademark? What do you think MINE is? (I'll tell you yours if you tell me mine :P)


Tweet out the takeout!
PS: Of course, you can also choose to do whatever you like and still be fabulously successful. But personally, a book blogger trademark creates the first impression that could seriously hook blog readers. Start developing yours with these 30 action steps now! Plus pin this guide to help your Pinterest blogger friends too.

No comments:

Post a Comment

IMPORTANT: Please use Name/URL instead of Wordpress/OpenID to comment, otherwise Blogger hobbits will eat your words. So sorry about this. Thanks!

I respond to all comments and would love to check out your blog if you leave a link :D Unless it's spam. Then I'll delete the comment and put you on the takeout blacklist, what a shame!