There are a few words in the marketing world that some may think are of a different language altogether. Phrases like … lead magnet and nurture sequence … or words such as opt-in and platform.
As I strategize with authors, however, I realize that the word itself may not be unheard of. Instead, it’s likely that the definition is too vague or downright confusing to someone who doesn’t have a background in the industry. (And, if it makes you feel any better … there are even many in the marketing industry who don’t quite understand them either.)
The word that many authors I work with tend to get confused on most is a relatively simple word that has more depth than they consider, initially.
At first pass, some authors are quick to raise their hand saying, “Ah, Stephanie! I have one. I have my book cover and I’ve gone through the branding exercise for that and landed on something I love.”
Yay! That is big and definitely deserves celebration. But, in my nice southern drawl, I tend to follow-up with some context outlining how a brand isn’t a book or a book cover.
“Oh, right. I know! I actually already have a company logo so I’m happy to share that with you,” some also say.
Another accomplishment to shout for joy on … but just because you have a logo doesn’t mean that you have a brand. And it definitely doesn’t mean you have an author brand.
A brand is a hard marketing concept to understand and here’s why:
Most of us think in tangibles. A logo. Check. A book cover. Check. I must have my brand in place. Right? Maybe … but maybe not.
A brand is so much more.
- A brand is what creates the emotional feelings, connections and drive individuals have to purchase, engage or take action from you. That is more than a logo. Much, much more.
- A brand is strategic, methodical and full of purpose. In fact, my favorite graphic designer – Madelyn Copperwaite – reminds me daily that she loves helping to articulate what happens in our minds. Understanding how our minds work ensures that brand creation can drive the actions you are seeing.
- A brand is, in essence, a promise to its customers of what they can expect from products and may include emotional as well as functional benefits.
So why are we talking about brands when it comes to authors? The answer is simple. Every author needs a brand. Hands down. It’s a non-negotiable.
In season 2 of The emPowered Author Podcast, Madelyn and I dissected everything anyone could ever want to know about branding, all through the lens of why they matter and why authors need one.
Authors, think of your brand like you think of your story … because it, too, tells an important story. Yours! Even if your book is the spitting image of the story you want to share with the world, never forget that you are bigger than your book; and your brand should be, too.
In fact, if you don’t have an author brand, take a moment to reflect on these points.
- Your brand should start with your vision and goals … and then see how the book aligns within that instead of tackling your brand the other way around. (Don’t worry, you are not alone if you took the roundabout way instead of the straight shot from the get-go.)
- When you are promoting your book, you may or may not be promoting your author brand. It’s dependent upon the opportunity and the listeners/readers/attendees where you are promoting in the first place. AND, it’s dependent upon your goal for that promotion.
- I hate to break it to you, but our books are judged by their covers … and we are judged by our brands. Use that to your benefit and ensure that it tells the story you want it to tell.
- Always ask yourself who you are trying to reach? How do you want them to feel? This is important in your overarching brand, and when done right, it will entice your ideal clients and readers and repel others.
Branding isn’t easy to articulate alone.
You are too close to you.
You know what your goals are and you don’t see the areas of opportunity easily.
You know your own intentions and it’s hard to ensure those are accurately articulated.
You wouldn’t edit your own book, right? (And if you said yes to this … let me give you some of the best book marketing advice out there! Don’t! Hire a professional editor and it will increase your book’s quality tremendously.)
So maybe you could use some help in creating your brand, too.
A few final reminders.
Branding isn’t meant to overwhelm; it’s meant to articulate.
Branding isn’t meant to be an afterthought; it’s meant to be all thoughts combined!
Branding isn’t meant to be a tactic of a strategy; it’s meant to bring your strategy to life.
I’d like to invite you to dive into a fun 6-episode season of the emPowered Author Podcast where we discuss every aspect of branding imaginable. And, because we are in the business of emPowerment, visit our branding support page to learn more about how we can help you and download our branding brainstorm guide to help you articulate the story that many authors forget to prioritize.
If you are a non-fiction author who is interested in creating an author brand – or refreshing your current one – the emPower PR Group can help! I invite you to visit our branding support page for more information on how we can help you bring your brand to life! We have various package offerings that can support you where you are and how you need us. And be sure to snatch our Branding Brainstorm Guide to help you reflect on what your author brand should include.