Your brand is a key asset

personal brand avatarsThere are plenty of experts that can tell you what your brand is, how to grow it and how to use it. I intend to tell you why it’s important and give you something practical to think about. I am writing this for all you writers and authors out there though much of it is true for everyone – your brand is a key asset.

If you want a reference on what is brand all about try Jerry McLaughlin’s post on Forbes: What is a Brand, Anyway?

My take on brand

Brand is what others think of you when you’re not there. I’ve heard it called what you’re famous for which isn’t a bad definition. Applying some thought to this I would like to make the following points:

  • You need to be known to have a brand. It isn’t the quality and range of your work but the knowledge of its range and quality
  • Any interaction is a chance to build or destroy your brand with those you interact with
  • Your brand includes evidence from every tweet, every blog post, every comment, every pitch to an editor, every piece of work you publish
  • You can’t control how your brand is viewed in every case but you can control to varying extents how you present elements of your brand
  • Brand acts everywhere 24×7. Whatever your brand is it has a life of its own in some regards
  • You should be true to your brand. If you diverge it will be obvious.

Why talk about brand? Well a good brand will open doors and find you work. It helps with your networking and is a key to your success.

Some brand specifics for writers and authors

I suggest that most writers and authors would benefit from having a firm identity. I also believe that we are all different and that we should focus on what we are comfortable with. As we evolve we can choose to extend the way in which we make our brand more visible (ie use more marketing channels) and also how rich our brand is (ie get known for one thing then a second – your audience likes a simple label for new contacts).

My recommendation is only based on what works for me and your needs will be different. I suggest at a minimum you focus on:

  • Producing good work
  • Have a website / blog to document and promote your work
  • Tie the website to a twitter feed
  • Longer term start your Amazon author page.

Of course this is not a hard and fast rule that works for everyone. I know several authors both full and part-time who sit at every end of the spectrum in terms of having dedicated blogs that they keep current with an up to date Amazon Author profile to others that just about have a web presence.

A concrete example

My brand includes being professional and clear hence why I have this blog and twitter account (@thecraftofwords if you want to follow – I might well follow back). When I started with social media in 2010 which makes me a veteran. My original blog is in mothball mode and since then I have split out a themed review / fan blog (Red Rocket Rising) and now this blog. I keep everything not to do with writing elsewhere. For me it makes things clean and helps build an identity.

[pullquote]the power of brand[/pullquote]

A recent example that got me thinking about the power of brand was when BBC Radio 4 wanted reviews for their Dangerous Visions season. Someone involved in the programme asked around and made contact with somebody I’ve interviewed and for whom I’ve done a few audio reviews. Connection made and reviews produced. Clearly my brand includes reviewer of science fiction / fantasy in audio format. My brand also includes other things, some of which are variants of that and some of which are not. I have had several pieces on psychology published and that too is part of my brand though less publicised.

I also want to be more known as an author hence a recent push to get short stories out on Amazon (The Oxford Occultist and The Golden Daemon). As time goes by this part of my brand will grow.

What about you – do you know what your brand is? How do manage it and keep it current? I’d like to know – get in touch!

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