A Lesson About Building A Brand

So for the next 2 weeks, writing anything new is too frustrating to try. It’s not because of some bullshit like writer’s block. It’s because of stitches. 10 to be exact. In my right index finger. A mug broke on my hand while I was applying pressure to wash it. Still, the show must go on.

In the meantime, I’m digging around old stuff I never posted or responses to emails where there are nuggets of knowledge. The following is a message I wrote to someone in response to a question about branding. I’m not a branding expert, but I’ve learned a lot. And there are others who know a lot more I directed him to. Reading over this, I think there are lessons so enjoy.

So oddly enough, I was just talking to a friend of mine about getting the word out for his comic and youtube channel, developing on twitter, etc. I am not an expert at these things, but the strategy I’ve been using for growth is working very well and I based it on a few central themes.

My model will hopefully be able to give you some ideas because you appear to be attempting something similar to me.

The specific goal is to build a brand across multiple fronts while simultaneously having them feed each other’s growth. Based on what you’re writing, I think that is your goal as well.

You want your fiction presence to feed the growth of your self-improvement presence and vice versa. Now that we’ve clearly stated the goal, we can focus on the real problem.

You want to know how to consolidate the different parts into one blog. Let’s step one level back and focus on the currency of social media. Information.

I don’t know about selling fiction but I know that if you’re informative and useful online, people begin to see you as a vital source. I.e., the accounts I try to emulate are Cernovich and Good Looking Loser–they have a massive, multi-faceted following.

They have established, through their unique experience and perspective, the value of the information they give. Hold this thought, because it’s very important. We’ll come back to it in a moment.

What the accounts listed above also have in common is that their identity overrides the work. They have not let themselves fall into a specific niche of writing, though there are subjects they focus on extensively. Those subjects also change, but their value continues to build because the subject is not so important.

What’s important is the person writing about it, with their specific views, experiences, and perspectives. In other words, they sell the person then the content.

Because the content is good, it ends up selling the person. This is the second key point to take away: their brand sells their content, and their content sells their brand.

Consider “brand” the same as “authentic message”. Victor Pride is credited with starting the discussion about You Inc. You are the product. Everything else is just marketing of yourself. But the marketing material, by definition, reflects the product.

Never forget that you are, at the end of the day, selling yourself. This is so important in this new internet age. I have no doubt you are a great writer, but to get sales and attention you have to stand out in a way that makes people connect with you.

Throughout this letter I’ve sprinkled the solution implicitly, but now I will congeal everything into a strategy while giving you specific tactical ideas.

Do not worry about picking one or the other to focus on. Continue to do both. I like your blog because it reflects your life, your experiences and what you are learning from them.

This is invaluable, as people will be curious about the writer and will see that you aren’t some weirdo they wouldn’t wanna have a beer with. Continue to write authentically and build the awareness of you and your writing (fiction and non-fiction). Twitter is great for that.

For a specific tactic, you have a wonderful gift of creating characters and stories people want to read about. I STRONGLY suggest using situations and characters from your books to inspire blog posts to teach things or explore ideas you’d find useful.

By quoting the book, or suggesting the book at the end  of the posts, it doesn’t seem forced. Now it’s a natural and more importantly, it’s congruent.

Maybe even tweeting memorable lines your characters say. These are just tactics, but they reinforce the general strategy of selling yourself as a valuable source of information. The exposure you generate from this for your books will come back to you in a positive way.

I hope this response gives you some ideas and puts you on the right track to synergize your goals.

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