Author Q&A: Branding 101
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In my Booked & Busy Course™, I teach my students about the basics of branding and marketing. In this blog post, I’m going to answer a few questions I’ve received from aspiring and new authors.
How do you go about establishing your brand other than a tag line/ logo?
If you've ever googled the term "brand," you've probably gotten a definition that you didn't feel accurately described what a brand really is. When you think of a brand, the first thing that probably pops into your head is a logo, right? WRONG! Your brand is more than just a logo. (Let me say that a little louder for the people in the back) YOUR BRAND IS MORE THAN JUST A LOGO!
To me, a brand is more than what you use to sell your product, or in this case, your book(s). It's a personalized experience for each of your readers that sets you apart from the rest. Branding is key when you’re trying to build a name for yourself. The first three words that come to mind when I think of the word branding are: Customized. Consistent. Creative.
Customized: This can be seen a few different ways. Your brand in not only customized for you, but also for your readers. Ten different readers may come to you for ten different reasons, which means they all might see your brand differently. With that being said, there should still be a common denominator when your brand is mentioned by others, whether that's great customer service, the best storyteller alive, etc.
Consistent: In order for your brand to be solid, you have to stay consistent. In short, don't have a hot pink table cloth when all your other branded materials are bright orange (unless those are the colors in your palette). That also means being consistent on your social media platforms. You don’t want to try to build your following by sending people to a social media account that hasn’t been updated in months or years.
Creative: It’s super important to have a clear visual brand identity of how you want your customers/readers (and your competition) to see you. This is where your logo, fonts, color palette, etc. come into play.
How do you incorporate what your brand is into the way that you market/ promote?
The story of your brand is very important. It will always be there to remind you of who you are and who you aren't. What helped me figure out my brand and how to incorporate it into my work was to figure out my origin story. Take a few seconds to answer the questions below, which may help you figure out key elements of your brand.
1: What are you about? (Use three words to describe yourself)
2: Why are you here? (What led you to do what you love?)
3: What do you care about?
4: What do you do?
5: Why does any of it matter? (What makes you different?)
Another thing I do to incorporate my brand into how I promote is keep a consistent color palette on my social media. That way, people who follow me know my brand and get a consistent feel for what I post on a weekly basis.
In between releases, how do you continue to have engagement with your readers as well as earn new ones?
Being as though I’m a new mom, I haven’t been able to produce as many books as I did before motherhood. Therefore, I utilize social media and email marketing to keep my readers updated on my life and new projects. I like to create long captions on my Instagram posts that really speak to my audience. I try to answer questions, ask questions, show more about my personal life, etc. Just because I don’t have consistent projects coming out, doesn’t mean that I can’t still interact with them on a level outside of books.
Do you think there's a such thing as too much promoting? If so, any advice on how to switch it up?
I think there are levels to promoting, especially when doing it on social media. You want your readers (existing and potential new ones) to get to know YOU as the author first and foremost. You will turn people off more by trying to sell them things before selling them on yourself first. The best advice I can give is to find your balance. For example, if you post on social media two to three times a week, make sure at least two of those posts aren’t promoting your books, but maybe asking an engaging question, letting the audience into the life of your characters, behind the scenes of your writing journey, or a quote you like, etc.
How do you get reader engagement through your website/ blog other than the freebies, previews, etc.?
I utilize email marketing to keep my readers engaged. For example, whenever someone goes to my website they are prompted to sign up for my email list and get a free read in exchange for joining my list. That way, I’m able to keep them in the loop with new things being added to my website (i.e. discount codes, new blog posts, new books, etc.) In addition to that, when I post on social media, I try to point my audience to “click the link in my bio” that will send them to my website/blog to get the full wealth of knowledge I’m sharing, whether it’s a blog post, snippet, character visuals, etc.
PRO TIP: You can also utilize SEO, do guest posts, interviews, etc. that will then drive new and existing readers to your website.