Branding: First Step to Successful Marketing
Guest Post by Nando Rodriguez
As an author, your personal brand should be enticing and as rich in character as your book topic. But we fail to brand or market ourselves with gusto because it means we have to label ourselves and categorize our worth within a genre—and you’re so much more than that, right? Are you funny, mysterious, helpful, or maybe even inspiring? And even if you could pinpoint your USP (unique selling point), how can the world possibly ask you to stick to just one heading? Think of your personal brand as an identity that incorporates you at a 360-degree level versus just one-dimensional and you’re already ahead of the game. Here are 3 tips to creating your personal brand.
1. You vs. Your Genre: How Do You Want to Be Seen?
Realize that you have hypnotized your audience with your words and subject matter, and they feel connected to you. Whether you penned a how-to or a memoir, your readers want more of you—and that’s a great thing, so give them more. It’s your chance to come out of the editing room dungeon and into the public light. You’ve struggled in finding your writing voice, but now it’s time to find your personal brand’s voice. This is the tone, image and voice you want people to recognize when they see you at a book signing, visit your website, or listen to you in a podcast. And feel free to step outside of your genre for this, as it’s your time to shine as the author, or you can fully be an extension of your book’s brand. Ann Rice did this well when she was recognized as the queen of the vampire genre and would attend public affairs cloaked in darkness and mystery. Personally, I think it’s great marketing, but I’m not sure how long I’d be able to keep that persona going.
2. Identify Your USPs (Unique Selling Points)
When you go into business and you’re successful, it’s because you’re the solution to someone’s problem. UPS solves logistic problems, Applebee’s solves hunger problems and the Miami Tourism Board solves my yearly burn out problems. What problems are you solving? What are your unique selling points? Will your personal brand be seen as a leader in children’s genre, the self-help king, or possibly the quirky author whose humorous observations have sold millions of books, like David Sedaris? David solves problems. He helps people escape their personal lives as he involves his readers in his world for an entire book, and if you listen to David in a podcast, he’s 100% genuine in that he doesn’t do well with attention. It makes for an awkward listen, but you know what you’re getting when you tune in. His unique selling points are his idiosyncrasies, his quirkiness, and his powers of observation, which he then converts into humor.
Once you have explored the three items above, you will be able to establish your personal author brand and conquer the world, or at least Twitter. Be proud of your voice and expertise but make sure it aligns throughout. And don’t worry about being left behind once you have branded yourself, you can always rebrand at a later time and upgrade. Look what happened to Sofia.
3. Align Your Social Media Platforms & Everything Else
Once you’ve found an identity that resonates with you, “I’m an author who happens to be funny and writes about corn,” align all your social media platforms to that persona as well as your business card, website, and anything else that represents you, your book and your brand. This will further your brand by establishing trust and cultivating loyalty with your readers. On my way to work this morning, I looked up and noticed that Beyonce’s image was now gracing New York’s Times Square. Just last week it was Sofia Vergara plastered over three billboards sipping on a Pepsi. But as I was trapped in what felt like a “can you spot the differences” with my memory, Pepsi’s strong branding shone through. No matter whose image was on the billboard, Beyonce or Sofia, they aligned their branding across the board, literally.
What are your struggles with personal branding? Do you have problems narrowing down your particular USP? We want to know. Ask questions here, and we’ll do our best to answer!
Nando spends the majority of his time primping his hair and admiring his keratin treatments, but he also likes to help people brand themselves. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter, or visit his websites http://nandoism.com and http://www.interviewingU.com.