What is branding?

I’m asked this question a lot by authors.

It sounds painful and scary, doesn’t it? Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not and you’re probably already doing it.

Have you identified your genre? Sure you have! Do you have topics you’re passionate about? Of course you do.

That’s part of your brand.

Psyche.

Branding is not something you create; it already exists inside you. What you have to do is identify the main words or concepts that define you, focus on them, and viola! You are branded. (Okay, that’s simplified, but you get the idea.)

These main words you will use are called keywords. Your keywords will help you figure out how it is exactly you want people to identify you.

You’re thinking okay. I get that. Kinda.

So, here’s an example: I’m RachelintheOC. The OC is Orange County, CA, home of Disneyland, beaches and blondes. I’m the anti-OC: a pale redhead in a sea of blondes, who couldn’t give a hoot about the House of Mouse.

My social media, blog and books cover topics like: being a redhead in a sea of blondes. (See how that works?)

I also write about men, women, love, relationships, sex, loss, snark, and okay, coffee, Nutella, and vodka. These are my main keywords. You know when you come anywhere on my author platform, this is what you’re gonna get.

I’m also BadRedheadMedia. The focus there is totally different! Social media, marketing, branding, writing, blogging, business, Amazon…these are my main keywords.

One chick, two brands. (And sometimes the snark comes out in both. Oh well.)

Great. Keywords. Got it. Now…what do I do?

I spent fifteen years as a pharma rep, trainer, and ad account exec. Putting together stories for products is what we did.

Most authors rebel against being a product. But I’ve got news for ya: you are.

Readers love to find out about authors: coffee or tea, chocolate or…not, when we write, what inspires us…and on and on. Writing your book is the easy part (and I say that with much sarcasm). Now you need to create your story.

Which isn’t that hard, is it? Nobody knows you like well, you! Pick six to nine words that describe who you are: as a person, author, parent, friend…whatever.

Once you’ve settled on those, now start creating content (tweets, blog posts, Facebook status messages, LinkedIn profile, Pinterest, etc.), to reflect those words.

Okay, so wait a minute. Isn’t my book the product?

Yes. Yes it is. Kinda.

Sure, the goal is to sell more books. But do you think people really care which book they’re buying from say, Chelsea Handler? NO. They just know she’s that funny blonde chick with the razor sharp-tongue.

Branding!

Handler is a brilliant marketer (on top of being brilliantly funny). She makes the most of being an intelligent blonde in Hollywood. Do you ever see her without a smirk on her face? No. That’s her trademark.

As authors, it’s our job to make people interested in our content and we accomplish this by branding.

Okay, I think I have it. But why is branding so important?

Your keywords will help you in the creation of your author bio, Twitter & Facebook profiles, your blog (you want to tag your posts using these words), website, and even your Amazon tags and categories!

All of this goes to your SEO and SMO – Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Optimization – which, even if you don’t understand those terms (and I’ll review them in future posts), all count toward how people discover you in Google (and other search engines), and Amazon (and other online stores).

And if you decide to do any advertising (i.e., Google AdWords, Facebook or Goodreads ads), these keywords become even more important – they help people to discover you.

These are the simplified basics of branding. Not as painful as you thought, right? I hope this article has helped you understand it a bit more, and why as authors, we need to not only understand it but embrace it.

I welcome your comments and questions below!

Find both my bestselling books on Amazon exclusively. If you’re still in search of more detailed information on branding, I’m available for one-on-one consultations.

Budget an issue? Check out this fab book by author and marketing expert Lori Culwell: HOW TO MARKET A BOOK. Easy, practical tips with lots of great information you can use now.

Next up: Why blogging is critical to your success!