If you have ever talked to me on a more personal basis, you probably already know I am big on organizing myself and my business. I like lists, calendars, deadlines, folders within folders, and keeping everything within reach. These are things that allow me to work faster and stop myself from getting distracted.
In this article, I want to share a few tips to help you stay organized for your brand as related to previous blog posts I've written.
Your brand guidelines are one huge brand asset that contains everything you’ve done so far for you to use. Your content style guide focuses on your language, voice, tone, and basic rules (ex. Canadian vs American spelling). Your design style guide focuses on your colours, fonts, logos, and other visual elements (ex. patterns or photo styles). And your brand style guide is a combination of the other two, plus a few extras like your brand's vision, mission, personality, and so on.
This brand style guide is what is also known as brand guidelines.
Inside this one huge asset, you’re going to find everything you or anybody else is ever going to want to know about your brand. That’s the point of it… to collect everything in one place, organize it, and make it easy to use.
Read all the details in the dedicated blog article.
A cornerstone document doesn't have to be only a document, it can be a system or even a collection of folders.
I want you to think of it as your base content and everything else you created around it. For example, your brand guidelines are the cornerstone document for your brand. Everything you create about your brand is based on those guidelines.
Another example, I use ClickUp as my content management system now. That means I write almost all of my content on there. For me, ClickUp is my cornerstone document because everything I want to say is either already on there, or gets added on there.
Read about the top three benefits of using a cornerstone document here.
When it comes to your brand, there are three different style guides I want you to think about… Design, Content, and Brand. Technically, your brand style guide can be seen as both an individual and a combination of all three. However, it does not contain only design and content.
The main point of style guides is to ensure consistency. Now, this can be useful both if you are an individual and if you’re working with a team. For example, as an individual that creates three new pieces of content a week for a different platform each, you want to make sure that the design, content, and workflow are the same every week for each platform.
This will help you build up healthy habits and speed up the process.
In addition to making the process faster, it can also be really useful if you ever feel stuck creating content. For example, if you have a content template created for your live videos on Facebook, it can help keep you on track and even provide content ideas.
Style guides can be considered cornerstone documents and technically one of them is your brand guidelines, but you can check out this article for more details on the three different types of style guides you can create for your brand and what you can include in them.
An organizational system
You can use any system you are comfortable or familiar with to keep yourself organized. In fact, the main key is using something that you already know. This will save you time from learning a new system, getting distracted, or trying to do it somebody else's way.
Having said that, I still want to share some examples of organizational systems with you that each have their own benefits.
Content management system
A content management system (CMS) is computer software used to manage the creation and modification of digital content (content management). This can be collaborative, individual, and it does not have to be digital or used only for content.
The point of this system though is to have a birds-eye view of all of your content and still have the ability to go in and look at the details. In order to make this system work better, you may want to use different categories and settings to help you organize everything. For example, you can have a calendar view of your content to know what is going out when, then categorize it based on where it is going out, then further categorize it based on the goal, target, content pillar, and so on.
In a digital system, and depending what system you use, you may be able to filter your view so you can keep track of everything better. For example, I use ClickUp as my CMS (and for a few other things) and have multiple views and filters active at all times when looking at my content. One is my calendar, which is there to make sure I have content going out every day, another is my brain dump, which helps me organize my content for future repurposing, and then I use colour filters to ensure I am posting on the proper platforms at specific intervals, using all four of my content pillars, and aiming for all four of my major goals.
In fact, as I was writing this article (in ClickUp before posting it on here), I went back to my calendar and checked if I have enough posts on Instagram that advertise this month (where my four targets are provide value, inspire, entertain, and advertise).
I will be writing a separate article all about ClickUp at a later date and how I use it to keep organized for my content creation, client projects, and services, so stay tuned if you want to learn more about that.
All businesses will have an inventory of stock they sell to customers and some even have an internal inventory to keep track of items within the office or products being sold. An inventory of your documents can be very useful too. This is really useful when you have multiple collaterals for both in-house and customer use. It can also be very helpful for keeping track of both the documents and the status of each project.
You can use an inventory document to keep track of revision number and date, where a document is located on your computer, what is the progress, who is responsible for the next stage (if you're working with a team), due dates, and more.
The trick here is to keep this file regularly updated and all links working! Think of it as a table of contents or an index of all of your work. And, the best part about this document for all you graphic designers is that it can make naming files for your clients so much easier. For example, here is the longest inventory code I have ever inputted before and this is also the file name I used...
The first letters stand for my client, the next letters stand for me, the numbers represent the project we are working on, and then the revision number we are on.
Here it is in use...
There was also another file that ended in Launch.FB_Final once those graphics were done.
Do you use any of these or have your own system to keep organized? Whatever you have, it is most important that it is useful and it makes your life easier, not harder!