Say the word “brand” and what image comes to mind? A particular fruit? A can of soda?
Companies invest major money in creating brands, and for good reason. They want to claim a portion of your mind and heart so you’ll feel good about spending your hard-earned money on them.
Does this mean, as a writer, that you have to take out a second mortgage to hire high-powered advertising agencies to create a brand for you? Of course not. But you do need to spend a little time thinking about some things. Make no mistake: you are, with every decision you make and every action you take, crafting your own personal brand. Let’s make sure that it’s the one you want to build.
What is a brand, anyway? A brand is:
- a promise
- an emotional connection
- actions that deliver upon both
You may be wondering whether or not this is really important right now, especially if you haven’t published that much or are pre-published. Branding is important for writers for the same reasons it’s important for businesses. Readers have plenty of options to choose from, and they are more likely to choose books by authors they’re either a) familiar with or b) recommended by their friends. You have a better chance of being read if readers recognize your name. That’s where your branding efforts come in.
Good branding starts with understanding the business – in this case, you. First you need to answer these questions:
- What do you write?
- For whom?
- What value do you bring (what makes you special)?
Stuck? Keep it simple. Let’s practice with R.L. Stine, creator of the Goosebumps series.
- R.L. Stine writes scary stories
- for kids
- that make kids laugh out loud.
Once you’ve got answers to those basics, you’ve got the basics of the brand promise.
Let’s tackle the emotional connection next. Using R.L. Stine as our example, think about what kind of connection you want to have with your reader. Whether you write scary stories for kids or bible studies for senior citizens, think about how you want to be perceived by your readership. Do you want them to count on you for a dose of silliness in a stressful world? Your adventurous spirit and imaginative tales? Maybe you want them to trust you for faithful testimony or insight?
Whatever your desired connection with your reader is, you need to bring that goal into focus and let it guide a) where you brand and b) how you brand.
We’ll cover those two topics next week. Questions? DM me or post in the comments, I’m happy to answer!