MARKETING MATTERS: Blogging Your Brand and Other Internet Ideas

Kathleen Y'Barbo

Blogger:  Kathleen Y’Barbo, Publicist

Location:  The Woodlands, Texas PR Office

Weather: Low 80s and sunny

Creating an online presence is essential for today’s author. Few would argue with this statement. Most have jumped on the Internet bandwagon with websites. Many others have created Facebook, MySpace, or ShoutLife pages and an increasing number have committed to regular Twitter posts. With all of these ways to reach your readers, one of the most popular, however, has become the blog. Consider these statistics:

  • According to Blogosphere, 77% of Internet users are active readers of at least one blog.
  • A whopping 133,000,000 blogs have been indexed by Technorati since 2002.
  • An average of 900,000 blog posts go up in a 24-hour period.

So, given the sheer numbers, what’s an author/blogger to do to stand out in a crowded field?

Blog your brand! Or, more simply, stick with what is already working. If you write westerns, for example, create or participate in a blog that celebrates this. Petticoats and Pistols and Bustles and Spurs are great examples.

The best thing about the concept of blogging your brand is that it works whether you write fiction or nonfiction. Think of Dawn Meehan whose parenting book Because I Said So was spawned from a blog of the same name.

Don’t have a book out yet? Blogs are the best way to build readership while waiting for the editor’s call.

Find your sales are lagging? Take to the blogosphere with your thoughts, ideas, or anything else that relates to your brand and, by default, your books. Building a readership on your blog can translate to increasing interest in your other writings–namely the ones sold in stores!

Finally, a word about brand and blogs. Decide carefully and only after seeking wise counsel as to what your brand is. Volumes can and have been written on the topic of branding authors, but for the sake of this post, I’m assuming you already know what yours is. As simple as this sounds, check everything that goes out onto the Internet against  your brand. Does your website fit your brand, or is it a generic representation of an author?

When Kelli Standish, designer extraordinaire and owner of PulsePoint Designs, created the Books & Such website, she put in place a look that has carried through on every page and has even reached the Twitter pages of each member of the firm. Even if you aren’t at a place in your career where you can afford to hire a web genius, there are a few things to keep in mind as you blog your brand:

1.  Be consistent. Figure out what best represents your brand and use that on everything. It could be color, it could be texture, key phrases…whatever it is, be generous with it.

2.  Discard anything that doesn’t work with your brand. Editing is key. You may like a page or a blog topic, but if it doesn’t fit with the web presence you’re looking to present, it has to go.

3.  Give your readers a reason to return. Be it to your blog, your Facebook page, or your Twitter posts…if you’re not saying anything, there’s nothing to read and thus, no reason to stick around. With easy ways to link blog to social media, Twitter to Facebook, and all of the above to websites, there is no excuse for stale content. If you are going to have a presence, make a commitment to producing fresh material.

There are so many other ways to blog your brand…to offer up a presence on the Internet that translates to new readers. What are you doing?

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9 Comments

  • KC Frantzen says:

    Thanks Kathleen
    As an unpublished author, this is an encouraging, informational post!
    I’m working with a genius of a webdesigner who happens to be a friend… (prayed about that first but it’s been a blessing so far!)
    He assures me we are about half way there. It’s exciting!! (but daunting)
    But I’ve wondered about a blog v. a quarterly newsletter. My niche is 8-12 year olds and dog lovers of all ages.
    Other than the obvious time differential, what are the benefits of one over the other? Would there be anything age specific or does that apply across the board?
    Do you have advice/ideas on crystalizing one’s brand? Does one create it as an author or for the author’s current WIP?
    Thanks for all y’all’s help. :)
    I’m enjoying these blogs very much and have “networked” with our local writer’s group about them too.

    (Gig ‘em by the way, from the proud daughter of an Aggie, class of ’56)

  • Teri D. Smith says:

    Thanks, Kathleen. This is timely as I plan to launch a blog with a week or so.

  • Lynn Dean says:

    Please do NOT assume that we know what our brand is!

    After a session I attended at the ACFW conference, I’ve been doing some research on that topic but would love to hear your take on it. If you’ve already written blog posts on branding, would I find them in the Marketing & Publicity category on this website? Is there a better place to look?

    Thanks for your excellent posts!

  • Lynn Rush says:

    Great stuff here. Yeah, that branding stuff is a fun one to wrap the brain around, isn’t it? Well, for me anyway.

    Some of my crit partners tease me about my name. It’s is Lynn RUSH…and they say that’s what they get (a rush) when they read my novels. They all have strong heronies who can kick butt and take names… It makes me smile.

  • Eva Ulian says:

    Hi Lynn (Deane)

    I agree that it is hard to figure out what our brand is, so you can imagine the fun I had in chiselling out the theme for my blog, when I started out about two years ago. As an unpublished author of novels based on the mystery of a religious calling, two of which based in Italy and all involving an unexplainable death, I had to do some severe head scratching. Finally I came up with “The Best of the Worst” which seeks to uncover what goes on behind the headlines mainly in the country I’m presently living- a Catholic country- Italy, but which in effect embraces the rest of the world, because just as we do not live in isolation, still less do nations.

    In case anyone is interested to compare my blog (just click on my name) with my novels, the first chapter of “God’s Apparel” is posted on my website under “Reality Fiction” here: http://www.freewebs.com/evaulian/realityfiction.htm

    Another interest of mine which was accidently turned into a brand with the complicity of Ms Etta Wilson and her posts on animal sayings- is this blog: http://evauliandogsandcats.blogspot.com/ which may or may not translate into a children or adult gift book eventually.

    Hence my trial and error experience of finding my brand(s) consisted in matching up the basic theme of my novels with some aspect in reality which usually ends up in following your interests and yes, instinct.

    And last but not least, as the saying goes, since I am so fond of them- a big thank you to Kathleen for another marketing booster article.

  • Tina Dee says:

    I started Bustles & Spurs for that reason, to brand myself. So, I’m comforted with confirmation that I’m on the right track, LOL.

    I love Lori Wick’s frontier/prarie/old west novels.

    My other blog http://TheHomesteadHeart.com is to spotlight authors & musicians and share recipes, just something to have fun with readers. But on it, I’m also posting chapters of a book I’m writing (LOVE’S GAMBLE) set in the Old West) just for my blog readers.

    I can’t wait to have you on The Homestead Heart, Kathleen! I’m LOVING THE CONFIDENTIAL LIFE OF EUGENIA COOPER. This is going to be an easy recommendation–but too fast of a read.

    They always are when you enjoy them this much!

  • Cat Woods says:

    Thanks for the information. This topic is always timely.

  • NikoleHahn says:

    I design my own webblog. It is the name of our home and it has become very unique. Of course, I’m always open to suggestions.

  • outlet says:

    ok, Im traveling from Houston to Vegas and viewing this blog on my pda and its coming out kind of crazy so Im leaving a trackback so I can come back and finish reading it when i land.

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