Building A Personal Brand
Think of the most famous authors in the world. J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Ruskin Bond; the ones that need no introduction. Along with their amazing work, they all have an established author profile that is easily identifiable to the public. Especially in today’s time with the internet and social networking sites taking over the world, every author needs to have a presence & create a personal brand.
If you are a first-time writer, your books, stories and characters are not the only things that will bring you a great audience. A personal brand will help create a representation, i.e. create an image that will shape your professional career. In a nutshell, it is a way for people to know your place in the competitive professional world.
Before going into building a personal brand, let’s understand what a brand exactly is and how it works. People often equate brands to a product, logo and taglines. For example, brands like Google or Apple are easily recognizable due to their visual aspect. But a brand, in its truest sense, is an identifying mark that distinguishes what you provide from your competitors.
What is a brand image?
A brand image is a perception of what you provide to the audience. Perception based on interactions and experiences of the audience. Hence, as authors, it is necessary to create an authentic and legitimate image of yourself before the audience draws their conclusions.
Now that we’ve understood the importance of building your brand let’s see how to actually create one? Most importantly, how to sustain the image you’ve made. Here are a few tricks I have learnt;
- Find your voice
This is undoubtedly the most defining part of creating a personal brand. Finding your tone and implementing it everywhere is what makes you relatable. Are you a funny writer, a whimsical one, or a satirical one? Think about the kind of things you want to convey. What differentiates Chetan Bhagat from Ramchandra Guha? The type of content they write. While one can change their voice over the years, it is essential to have a consistent voice while building your image. Once you have established an audience through your personal brand, you can gradually explore other voices of connection. However, remember, finding a writer’s voice takes a lot of time, patience and dedication.
- Identify your target audience
After establishing your brand voice, the next step is to identify your target audience. Who is going to read your book? What are their characteristics? Analyse your consumer base by checking what your competitors are doing and not doing, and then set up your own. One way to distinguish your target audience is to find out who doesn’t fall under the bracket. While it can be challenging to find your audience initially, it will be effortless to connect with them once you do.
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- What is unique about you?
Knowing your unique selling point or USP is important if you want people to follow your work. There is always an audience for everything. If you predominantly write thriller novels, then what separates you from all the other thriller novelists? Find the answer to what makes you stand out, and you will find solutions to why people read your books and what are your strengths.
- Build a social footprint
I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Having an image of yourself on social media, engaging with your audience, and consistently building content for the platform will help you exponentially grow as an author. One of the perfect examples of a successful poet who created their personal brand through social media is Rupi Kaur.
- Create a visual look
Nothing makes an everlasting impression as good as visuals. Use pictures, graphics, a particular color palette, basically a complete look while creating a personal brand. This look will be the deciding factor of many opinions the audience makes. For example, if you use the color yellow a lot, people will assume your brand personality is a very happy one. However, if this is different from the type of books you write, it might create confusion. Hence, it is crucial to create a visual look that complements your work.
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Now that you know the five best ways to create your personal identity, you can also take inspiration from many books that provide in-depth insight with expert recommendations on how to do so. Here are some of my favorite books:
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr Robert Cialdini
In this book, the author beautifully explains the psychology of why people say “yes” and four ways to become a skilled persuader. He uses a lot of evidence-based research on human behavior to conclude his studies.
- Published: The Proven Path From Blank Page to Published Author by Chandler Bolt
Probably the most accurate book for budding authors on how marketing, image building and branding will help you become a successful author. His step-by-step methods and tried and tested formulas are nothing short of revolutionary. A must-read!
- Give and Take by Adam Grant
Give and Take provides an insight into the environmental factors that shape one’s personal brand and how that leads to success or failure. He explains that success is not only about hard work, dedication and talent, but it is also about how we interact with people. So to increase your social media presence, this is an interesting book that’ll help you engage with your audience more effectively.
Now that you know what a brand is and how to build your personal brand, it’s time to get started! Take your time to do your due research before jumping into work. Understand the whats, whos, and the what if’s before beginning to build your brand. Good luck!
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