Writers are creative people. Just like designers and artists and the myriad of other creatives out there. They just want to get on with writing and expressing their thoughts through words. Most writers and authors tend to cringe at the word “branding” and perhaps come to feel that they do not want to be a brand. They want to be themselves and be a genuine article.
If you are such an author or writer then you are not alone. However, branding is a critical element for your success. What you need is personal branding. Here are some great personal branding tips to help you create impact and gain more exposure for your writing – books, blogs etc.
Tip #1: Create Your Brand Personality
To have a strong brand identity, it is essential to start with your brand personality. This, in turn, depends on identifying your core values and your unique value proposition. What are your strengths? How are you perceived and how would you like to be perceived?
A personal brand personality is a sum total of the core values, mission, goals and attributes that bring your UVP to the forefront. What are your guiding principles? What kind of emotional temperament do you have?
Questions, questions. Yes, identifying your brand personality is all about asking questions and looking deep into yourself to find the real you.
Tip #2: Create Your Personal Brand Story
Every one has a story to tell. As an author you write stories all the time. Stories run the world and help us all connect with one another. Once you have identified your brand personality, it is time to identify your personal story of the journey from when you started writing to where you are today as a writer. If you feel that the story is not exciting enough, then you should what you do best – write your brand story to be exciting. I am not advocating lies. I am simply asking you to use your skill to write a compelling story that will connect with people.
A personal brand story is really critical in your success as a writer and an author. Don’t get me wrong. Your writing skill and talent is of the utmost importance. But a strong brand story will gain the exposure you deserve and bring your writing in front of a larger audience.
Tip #3: Create Your Buyer Persona
Understanding your target audience and identifying the core market is quite important in building an endearing personal brand. This may be easier than you think if you are already writing for a niche. If you have identified your primary buyer, great. If not then now is the time to start creating the profiles.
If you are targeting anyone that needs your writing services, your job will be much tougher. Contrary to what one may think, targeting every one out there is not the right thing to do. You must identify a primary target market. This will help craft your marketing message more precisely and enable the emotional connections that are so important for your success.
Tip #4: Target A Niche Market
This leads from the previous tip in that, if you are writing anything for anyone and taking up any project that comes your way, it is not a sustainable strategy. You will become a generalist as opposed to a specialist. This means that you will always be working on smaller projects that probably pay you for your time rather than your expertise.
You need to identify and target a niche market. What fascinates you? Which industry or type of writing assignment excites you the most? Which assignment did not feel like work?
Working in a niche sector will, in the long run, bring you clients and projects that will pay more and pay for value rather than your time. Working in a niche will enable you to become an expert and an authority which is the next tip.
Once you choose a niche and start focusing all your time and efforts trying to write for that niche, the stage will be set for you to become an authority. Focus your energy in broadcasting the message that you work in that niche. Come up with a slogan or tagline that communicates this message. Create your visual identity that aligns with this message. Write a blog or create a podcast related to that niche. Let your voice be heard. Write white papers. Create Youtube videos.
Becoming an authority is all about niche, focus and consistency. Once you become an authority in the niche, the prices you command for your work will be multifold. Sky is the limit.
Tip #6: Create Your Visual Identity
Your personal logo, look and feel, website and messaging has to reflect the above attributes. Invest in getting a decent brand identity created. Your logo design must reflect your brand story and unique value proposition. Of course that is not to say that you must make your logo complex. Your logo designer must dig deep and distill the essence of your personal brand and then find a visual representation of that.
You should go for a unique color that you can own in the market. Try and find a color palette that will be used consistently across all your media touch points. The same goes for typography and font. You must have a primary font that may be used in your logo and one or more secondary complimentary fonts that you use consistently on your website and social media channels.
Tip #7: Network Online
Become active on social media channels. This would be a great way to network with peers in the industry. Networking leads to partnerships and opportunities. If you are focused on a niche and specialise in it, these partnerships would then result in work being referred to you. Generalists who can not handle specialist work will then start referring you for such projects.
To network effectively, remember to approach your interactions on social media from a selfless motive and intent. Selfish engagements online will lead you nowhere. Share and promote other’s work or posts. Praise when it is due. Recommend work you like.
Tip #8: Educate People
One of the best ways to establish your personal brand and gain credibility is to share your knowledge and use your authority to educate people in your industry. Do not be afraid to share your processes, tools your use, strategies you employ to gain work and most importantly how to be a great writer.
Encourage young and upcoming writers. Answer their questions and offer advice. Write about writing in your blog. Encourage new entrants to contact you with questions. Always respond to them. Educating people is one of the most effective ways to not only establish your authority but also to keep your skills honed and sharp.
Tip #9: Write A Book On Writing
Following from the tip above, this one may seem quite far fetched. But if you think about it, would it not be awesome to say that you had literally written the book on writing? Do what it takes to write a book and self publish it. Get it on Amazon and promote it.
Sales of the book would do wonders to your personal brand and can not only lead to additional revenue but will lead to more projects, speaking engagements etc.
Tip #10: Learn and Learn More
To continue being a thought leader in your industry you must continue being a student. Educate your self and hone your skills. Develop new skills and experiment with your writing. Take on side projects that are different from your work engagements. You can also break the golden rule of going niche and venture into new segments now and then.
I am not a writer but I love to write. I hope I have not done too badly with this item. As a writer, I would welcome your feedback and suggestions on the way I write. If you need any help with your personal branding strategy, reach out to me via our contact page or ping me on Twitter and I will be glad to help you out.