Author Nancy Haddock (www.nancyhaddock.com) and I (www.ontargetwords.com) did a super fun workshop this month at the Florida Writers meeting in St. Augustine. Our topic was BRANDING and doing it without spending your grandchildren’s college fund.
Because I’m writing a series of business articles for hire, I’ve been engrossed in a lot of fun research on this topic, so thought I’d just pass along a couple of these tidbits which all relate to a writer developing their “brand” or unique identifier. According to statistics, these seem to offer a great return on investment when used properly. (None provide instant fame and fortune.)
Develop a short e-newsletter to keep in touch with your audience. Keep it warm, useful and brief. Non-fiction authors can write short articles, lists or suggestions based on their area of expertise. Fiction writers can provide writing tips, or even excerpts from a past, present or future book! Keep your readers engaged in the progress you’re making on the current book, or excerpt from your cache of completed books. Remember to use your unique voice in all of your newsletters. It IS part of your personal brand!
Offer an incentive to your readers to pass along your newsletter! A $5.00 gift card to Starbucks? The right to name a character in your next book? Don’t spend a fortune, just make sure your audience knows how much you appreciate them and make it fun! Once a month or once every few months, you’ll be building an email list of customers, not just of names!
Use your website – make sure that your website reflects your colors, your tone, your personality for sure. Don’t make people guess what you do or what you have to sell! Just do it tastefully and remember that you have no control over who sees your website, so be respectful. Be sure to have a colorful, but easy-to-find-easy-to-complete form that your readers can complete to get that great newsletter! Keep it simple – ask for name and email address. It’s all you need to establish a relationship with your reader.
Use your signature line – don’t overlook this valuable free tool to communicate your current title, your latest offer, or your website/blog location!
Always provide value – the fastest way to show people that you respect their time and want their loyalty to your brand, is to ALWAYS provide value for them. I used to design and build business kits for small business clients (before it could be done on every home computer.) Included with their letterhead, envelopes, and business cards were two matching business card holders. That was my way of saying “thank you” for their business and to remind them every day that I appreciated their business and wished them well. Most of new clients were referrals.
And in business, as in the rest of your life, remember always, always, always, to SAY “thank you” when someone has trusted you with their email address, or bought your book/product/service. If you aren’t building relationships in this business, you are wasting your time. People are fed up with being taken for granted, treated like cash-cows, and in general, being deemed of little value or intellect. Treat everyone like gold and mean it – your success will be genuine and long-lasting.
Thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment and please share YOUR ideas for branding yourself, your book, your series, etc. with the rest of us! Remember to include your website info, too! For a great resource that’s easy to keep handy on the desk, try RED HOT INTERNET PUBLICITY by Penny C. Sansevieri.
Keep writing and reading! NQ