Authentic Author Branding – How To Shine Online
Why Author Branding is so Important going into 2020?
Becoming a successful professional writer used to be far more challenging than it is today.
It required much more than simply a large interested online audience. Unless they had a small fortune of their own, an aspiring author would need to secure a publishing deal to get their work into print (or potentially rack up significant debt trying to self-finance).
Due to the advent of crowdsourcing avenues and eBook formats with minimal investment requirements, there’s no longer anything major holding an author back from getting the fruits of their labor shared with the world. That’s just the first step, though. Having a book available for purchase doesn’t mean that anyone will buy it, or even find it.
This is why marketing must be a core concern. The key to making the rest of your marketing efforts work as an author is author branding. The more recognizable an author becomes, the more attention they’ll get, and the more people will notice and purchase their work.
You become recognizable by being unique and doing things people really love, value and appreciate.
thug kitchen – an unmistakable author brand
What is Author Branding Exactly Anyway?
When people think of a brand they often only think of only a logo or color scheme. Branding is so much more than that.
Your author brand is:
- Everything communicated in all your content, online and off, that says who you are and what you’re about as an author.
- More specifically, it’s what makes you unique and recognizable as an author.
It’s your own special mark that only you leave on the world that people notice you by.
Branding is powerful to the degree that it reinforces the same compelling message. You don’t have to always tell the same story, but realize that people come to know and love you for certain qualities you possess, for certain threads and themes that run through your work.If you keep changing these your audience won’t know what to expect and maybe even feel their loyalty is betrayed.
So how can you build a great brand as an author?
Let’s cover some proven strategies that’ll help:
Create a Great Website
Your website should serve as the hub of your online activity. It’s an amazing opportunity to really position you as the go-to author in your niche or genre.
The quality of everything from the layout to the color scheme will reflect well or poorly upon you.
The copy needs to be well-written, interesting and compelling. You can’t expect anyone to take you seriously as an author if your website is riddled with typos, lack of real content and a boring-as-watching-paint-dry author bio.
Let your abilities as a writer shine on your website’s written content as well. It’s another opportunity to prove your abilities to a new visitor or someone who wants to learn more about your work before buying a book.
Look for inspiration for your website from others that have made already made it.
Take a look at these examples of great branding used in author websites:
- Look closely at how they set out their text, how they use images, and how they publicize their schedules.
- Look at how much value they provide for their fans.
- What do each of these websites say about the author they focus on and the type of books they write?
- What do you like about their designs?
- How do you think they could be improved?
You don’t have to copy any one of them completely or at all but take note of some the things that are really working for these successful writers. If you can build upon the most successful author branding formulas, you can get ahead of the pack with that much less effort.
Write an engaging blog
Since you have pro-level writing skills, why not set them to work creating exceptional content for a blog?
In all likelihood, your regular work output is inconsistent, with patches of extreme productivity separated by stretches of contemplation and distraction — meaning that finding thirty minutes to write an interesting blog post shouldn’t be too onerous a task.
As for what you write about, it’s really up to you. Readers will likely want to know about your writing process, so you could let them know how things are going. Alternatively, you could offer some instructional posts on relevant topics (this is great for proving your expertise).
You can look into popular keywords on tools like Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest to figure out what things your target audience might be searching for.
Webinars, as the name implies, are web-based seminars. Where a traditional author might try to build up their name by arranging writer’s workshops and similar events for their followers (and perhaps the press) to attend, a more forward-thinking author can save time and money by offering that kind of guidance through the internet.
Video-based content is fast becoming the most consumed type of content online right now. This makes it an obvious tool to use in your author branding strategy.
Hosting webinars has three main benefits:
- you can impress people with your skills and eloquence
- make some money through charging for attendance (if you think people will pay for it)
- and promote your work during them (using it as an example and/or mentioning it at the end). WordStream has a solid guide to this. So I recommend checking it out.
Engage with social media
Social media is a hotbed of… well, just about everything at this point.
Whatever the topic, you’ll find people discussing it, which makes it exceptionally useful for drumming up conversation about your genre or your work in particular. It can be as simple as searching for some relevant terms and replying to existing messages with questions (it’s useful to learn what people want) or simple recommendations of your book.
You can go overboard with this, of course, and you’ll look quite inept if you come across as desperately pleading for attention.
Use these guidelines for your social media communication:
- Keep it relaxed and accept that most people won’t immediately want to buy your book.
- Focus on building relationships inside your community and proving (particularly to dispassionate observers) that you’re someone worth following.
- Remember author branding is about having a unique voice and presence online. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. You believe and stand for certain things. Remain true to these and you’ll be more memorable.
- Don’t worry about trolls. Anyone whose ever got any kind of following has haters. Don’t take their comments personally. Many of them are just normal people having a bad day and are just feeling disagreeable at that moment.
Don’t just stick to one social media channel or even one community within that channel. Explore as many channels as you can to find your tribe. For example, Facebook groups with members that share a strong common interest often tend to get much higher engagement than fan pages.
On the other hand, for networking with other business professionals, if your books are business-focused, LinkedIn is an excellent platform.
Make sure you write on your LinkedIn profile headline “Author of …”. It’ll instantly brand you as an author, and the fact that you’ve actually written a book will also say that you’re a cut above the norm.
Post free teaser material
Whether on your website and/or blog, through your webinars, or in your social media posts, you need something to offer that’ll tempt people to check out your work. Here’s our Free EBook on the Secret to Fan-tastic Author Website’s for example.
Many authors now use the tactic of offering the first chapter of a book for free. If they’ve written it well, it should hook the reader enough to want to know what happens next so badly that they’ll pay for the entire thing. That’s not the only option though.
Another way forward is to release supplementary materials that you use as part of your creative process. Perhaps you create things like maps and illustrations of important locations and characters to help you write? If so, and you don’t include them in your edited work, then why not make them available to your followers? It’s very common to see such elements on fiction and fantasy author websites, and having them there for social media users to repost (with or without permission) is ideal for gathering you some free and easy interest.
So, there you have it: five key tips for building up a strong online brand as an author.
Above all else, it’s going to take time and effort to get people to notice you, but getting your approach right will make the difference between steady progress and none at all.
Remember if you need a hand with any of the above Rocket Expansion are author marketing specialists, highly skilled in SEO, author website design, content creation and digital marketing.
They’ve dedication a special part of their business to helping the author and creative a community so get their help if you need it.
Guest Author – Rodney Laws
Rodney Laws is an eCommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.
Have your say, Make my day…
- What is your approach to author branding?
- What do you think an author should do to stand out?
Please note: Only comments using your real name will be approved and posted.
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