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★Authors, you need to Brand your Self…★

Okay authors – you’re a Company. We have already determined that.

Like every other Company…
 
- you conceive ideas (the inspiration for your writing projects);
 
- you perform research on the marketability of those ideas (will your writing idea sell?);
 
- you develop products (your written words); and
 
 
- you bring those products to market (you try to sell the writings you develop).
 

If you’re still not sure how this makes YOU into a COMPANY, then read my last blog posting on this subject here:  http://wp.me/p12sV0-s7

(Today’s blog entry is actually a continuation of the ideas I was blogging about there.)

And if you are a Company, then that means that you, like every other Company, need to do some branding – of your SELF.

“But what is Branding and why is it so important to me?”

In this blog entry, I’m going to try to answer this question for you, the author.  I am also going to try to convince you, from a Marketing Professional’s point-of-view, that one of the most important things you can do for your Company – er, your SELF – is to develop a strong, convincing, reliable, consistent and enduring Brand.  And over the next few blog entries, I’m going to further develop this idea of how to create a brand for your Self – by exploring both some traditional and some contemporary Marketing Strategies you can deploy to develop your own branding platform.

Basic Marketing Best Practices in Service of an Author's Marketing Platform

Developing a coherent branding platform is an essential component of any author’s Marketing Mix.

So, are you ready to begin? I am; I’m very excited about this topic today!

******

★What is Branding? And Why is it so Important for Me?★

Branding is the process by which a Company tells its story of who it is, what it stands for, where it is going, where it comes from, who it serves, where its strengths lie, and why it matters. In shorthand.

What?!?

Okay – so let’s break it down a bit.

Companies create brands to communicate to the world everything I have touched on above – and more – in shorthand. Essentially, when the Branding process is effective, a potential consumer is able to recall a Story – or an Idea – about a Company that is compelling, engaging and enduring – at every point-of-contact.

Through the process of Branding, a Company is able to communicate across multiple channels an Idea about who they are, what they stand for, and where they are going.

Branding is a process, and as such, it occurs over time.  In order to be effective, your branding efforts must be consistent, and communicated at every single point-of-contact in which you present your Self to the world. For example, if a new Publishing Company is trying to Brand themselves as an up-and-coming, new-kid-on-the-block, innovative, indie-driven publishing house – then they must communicate that Story at every point-of-contact at which the public experiences their Brand.

So what is a Point-of-Contact?

Well, it could be many things. It could be the display of your self-published novel in the small, independent bookstore that you have convinced to carry your book. Or it could be the new advert that a publishing company buys in a trade magazine. Or it could be every single tweet that you send out to your followers. A point-of-contact may even be the cover of your book or magazine that your article is published in, or the phone calls that you answer during the day, or even the clothing that you bring to publishing industry conferences and networking events.

In fact, every single moment that you are represented in print, in the physical world, online or any other transaction you can think of, is an opportunity to Brand your Self at a point-of-contact.

So a point-of-contact is, quite simply, every single opportunity that you have to present your Selfand an Idea of your Self - to the world around you (both physical and digital).

So what is so important about these points-of-contact? Well, in order to communicate a coherent, consistent and compelling Story, you have to make sure that you have crafted a Story that will resonate with your targeted potential reading community – no matter where they come into contact with this Idea of your Self.

This means that you must present a coherent, consistent and compelling story about who YOU are and what YOU stand for and where YOU are going – in every single point-of-contact you have in the world around youboth physical and digital.

It is essential that you understand this idea.

You must know what your Story is, and you must know how to tell it. And you must strive to communicate that story at every point-of-contact you have in the world around you.

Your blog. Your tweets. Your Facebook page. Your Pinterest account. Your LinkedIn account (for authors of Business books and materials). Your clothing. Your phone calls. Your letters. Your comments on other blogs. Even the groups you join through your LinkedIn account. Every point-of-contact. Every one.

And why is this so important? Because if you do it well, if you can create a convincing Brand that communicates the Story you want to tell about your Self at every point-of-contact, then you will have the opportunity to successfully create an Idea about who you are in the minds of the people who inhabit the world around youan Idea that is communicated in shorthand – and that is coherent, consistent and compelling.

Why is it so important that the Story of your Self is communicated in shorthand? So that potential consumers of your products – your written words – will have a much simpler time during the decision-making process when considering whether or not to buy your stuff. Quite simple, really. By telling your Story of your Self in shorthand, you create an already-formed idea in the minds of your potential readers that is easily, quickly and automatically recalled at every point-of-contact they have with you and your products.

In essence, if done effectively, then you’ve crafted a symbol – a semiotic sign – that stands for who you are in the minds of your potential readers.

Does it sound overwhelming? It isn’t, really. You get used to it with a little practice. But the key to success here is this little mantra you can keep repeating to yourself:
▶Always keep it…
★Coherent
★Consistent, and
★Compelling.

So the lesson here, then, is: You must Brand your Self in every point-of-contact you have in the world around you so that you can create an Idea about your Self that communicates a Story that people want to participate in and engage with – and that is easily recalled at every point-of-contact.

And if your Branding efforts have been successful, then your potential readers will know what the Idea of your Self stands for, and whether or not that Idea of your Self offers any value benefits for them. If members of your potential target community see a value benefit for themselves in developing a deeper relationship with your Brand – that is, with You – then they will develop deeper ties with that Story and welcome further opportunities to engage with you.

And that’s what we’re looking for.

Opportunities for you to engage with your targeted community of readers. Opportunities for you to further develop and deepen already established relationships within your targeted community of readers. Opportunities for you to engage in richer conversations about the Idea you have created about your Self – and what you stand for, where you are headed, and what is important to you.

In other words, your targeted audience will get to know you better, and will have a more informed Idea about the Story you have to communicate about your Self, and the value benefits available to them that will come out of deeper engagement with your Brand – or with You.

And that is worth gold in the bank.

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What’s to Come?

“So, how do I start?” I can just HEAR you chomping at the bit, ready at the gate, filled with desire to run!

In my next blog posting, we’ll take a closer look at some of the initial steps you can take to begin to develop your Story – or your branding platform – and locate where each of those steps contributes to your overall branding goals.

And if you have any questions/concerns about what I’ve written about today – or in the past – then please don’t hesitate to use the comments section to communicate with me.

Also, a request from Me to You:  

If you’ve found any value in this posting,
and you think that your other writer friends
on Twitter or Facebook
would find value in what I’m writing about,
then Please do take a moment
and use the “Share” button below.
I would really welcome the opportunity to engage
with as many authors who could use some guidance as possible.
 
So, until the next time…
(part 2 to come soon)
I remain, your friend,
~darren.
 
You can follow me on Twitter at:
@mollymediastud
 
 
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