Someone once told me that writers no longer get to just write in today’s market. No, they must be writer, editor, programmer, and marketer to bring to fruition their beautiful brainchild. All that work can be daunting, and it is understandable that the clever and creative minds of the literary industry would want to focus on their craft. However, publishing companies are interested in making money, and those who are prepared with an author brand and promotional plan are more likely to be picked up by a publishing house than those who are not. Don’t get me wrong, the quality of your work and writing are still important factors for your success, but having an effective author brand gives you a head start.
So what is branding anyway?
According to Elizabeth Smithson, the definition of branding is “a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, symbol or design that is easily identifiable as belonging to the company.”
According to me, an author brand is how you make someone feel about you and your message. Here are three key elements to developing a strong author brand and implementing that across social media.
Find your feeling
As authors, you know the importance of writing with an audience in mind. Similar tactics must be employed when considering your author brand. Three questions to consider when establishing your brand are:
What feeling or emotion do you want to convey to people?
Have you ever done an exercise where you describe yourself or someone else in a few short words or phrases? If not, give it a try. Then, compile a shortlist of buzzwords that you can use to evoke certain feelings and perceptions in your audience.
Also consider a color palette, font, tone, and images that will assist in this conveyance of emotion as this will be an important factor in your online presence.
What is your message?
What do you want your readers to take away from your product? Whether you are writing a blog, novel, or journalistic articles, there must be a theme or message for the reader to take away. Incorporate this message into your public persona.
For example, if you want to empower and uplift young women through body positivity, it would not be wise to post self-deprecating things about yourself or promote weight loss supplements. This contradiction cheapens both your message and brand.
Who is your audience?
Think outside of your readership for your book. Are there other authors or business that would be attracted to your message? When creating an author brand you are not just building a reader base; you are selling yourself to editors, businesses, and potential clients.
Deliver on promises
Consistency is key in developing an effective author brand. Apple is the first company in history to be worth more than $1 trillion, and this is because of its worldwide recognition. This recognition is made possible by specific brand elements that remain consistent across cultures, such as the company’s standardized user interface and distinct style of its products and retail stores.
In order to build trust in your brand, you must have:
- consistent message, tone, and voice
- consistent color palette, font selection, and imagery
- consistent posting habits of new and creative content
Consistent posting habits are one of the more difficult things for authors to manage. Posting daily to social media is recommended, which requires a lot of content. Begin saving ideas now: personal or stock images that would be useful, links related to your message, or words of wisdom for you to share with your following.
If you’re not glued to your phone like the rest of us, you can utilize one of the many social media posting & scheduling tools available. Apps like Loomy or Hootsuite help you plan, schedule, and post social media content for future dates so that your consistent content posting becomes automated!
If you run a blog, not only do you need to gain your reader’s trust by posting consistently, but you also need to gain the trust of Google’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is how Google ranks a website’s value to those searching for it, and part of that assessment is if a website is currently active.
At a minimum, you should post at least two blog posts a month to register as active, but if your blog is newer it may take longer for Google to start driving traffic to your site.
You should post no more than three to four times a week. If your content is empty and meaningless because you are going for quantity over quality, you will lose trust with your readers and hurt your brand.
Consistency is how you deliver on your promises to your audience. And when you deliver on promises, you build trust, thereby creating a devoted following and a means for opportunity
Live and breathe your brand across social media platforms
When posting content on social media, it is important to maintain the same message across sites. This goes back to the concept of consistency and building trust. Your website, author bio, Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn (there are so many more sites to be on, but you get the idea) should all have the same message, color scheme, tone, and imagery.
Nothing guarantees losing trust faster than if your website branding does not match your social media branding. You do not want your target audience to be confused about the link they just clicked on or wonder if they are in the right place. It may seem trivial, but it makes a big difference in building your credibility.
Did you try some of our best practices? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!