Blogger: Mary Keeley
The subject of author brand brings up guttural sounds of anxiety from many writers. Why? Because they are new in their career and haven’t yet put their finger on what their unique author characteristics are. Or, because authors know inwardly that they aren’t maximizing the use of their brand to build a strong platform, and their slow-growing social media numbers confirm it. Make it a priority to frequently assess how well you are doing at building muscle for your brand.
Your brand is the foundation upon which a strong author platform can build and expand.
Nonfiction editors have for a long time said a writer needs to have a well-developed platform that includes some or all of these: speaking engagements, radio program or guest appearances, association with a ministry, and at least 50,000 or more social media followers in order to attract serious interest. Recently, fiction editors have begun to quote the same social media threshold because the current competition for publishing slots can command it.
But here comes the good news.
Many a writer has asked me the obvious question: How do I go about getting the kind of numbers that will prompt an editor to sit up and take notice? The prerequisite to a how-to discussion is that you have already laid your custom foundation, your brand, identifying what is different about you and what you will write for the foreseeable future. If you are a new writer and aren’t sure your brand statement clearly defines you, the author, this is the place where you need to begin. A blog I posted some time ago will help you. Now on to building muscle for your brand.
Efficiency, consistency, and planning are key to gathering followers.
These tips can make all the difference:
- Efficiency. Focus your social media activity to the two or three networks that you are most comfortable using and are gathering the most followers. Don’t try to do all of them. Editors are more impressed with large numbers in two networks than small numbers spread across four or five networks.
- Consistency. Your posts, guest posts and comments, newsletters, interviews, articles—whatever you say or write anywhere except in private family and friend groups—should reflect the uniqueness of you and your brand in some subtle or overt way. Your author voice, an interesting bit of information, comparison, or contrast about something related to your current book’s setting or characters, a current conversation or statistic that reinforces your angle to your topic are just a few ways to quietly promote your brand.
- Consistency. It’s valuable, to a point, to help followers make a personal connection with you by sharing about yourself personally. We’re all familiar with the dangers of sharing too much information, not to mention infringing on family members’ privacy. But there also is a danger to your brand in sharing personally too often. You could be attracting followers only for the friendship connection, which does not accomplish an author’s fundamental purpose for using social media: building your brand muscle to grow your platform. Readers love to learn organically, so multiply followers who are interested in your special passions and interests. How do you do this? By encouraging online conversations, tweets, retweets, and likes about something you discovered in your research for your book, some little-known piece of history, or a current event related to your book’s topic. It can be enough to spark a broad reach.
- Consistency. Always blog on the same days every week. Never miss a scheduled day. If you write a newsletter, make sure it gets into your subscribers’ inboxes on the expected day each time.
- Planning. Use an automated system such as Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule posts on the social media networks you use. Linkhumans.com compared the options of each to help you decide which is better for you. Here is the link to the article. Plan your posts in advance and then use short portions to coordinate scheduled tweets and comments elsewhere. This type of planned networking reinforces your brand across multiple spaces at one time, potentially compounding your visibility. It’s efficient too, which means you’ll have more time for writing .
What do you think of these how-to steps to building muscle for your brand? What are you already doing, and what do you need to begin doing to reinforce your brand? What brand reinforcement efforts have you undertaken that have brought you a good return?
Your brand is the foundation upon which a strong author platform can build and expand. Click to Tweet.
Efficiency, consistency, and planning are key to gathering followers. Click to Tweet.