Friday, January 23, 2009

Don't Dilute Your Brand

As an author, your brand is the name under which you write and the image associated with that name. It takes time, effort and lots of exposure to develop ‘brand recognition’, and whether you’re in the process of building that recognition or trying to maintain it, consistency in your image and message is very important. Be cognizant of how you are presenting your brand to the public, and strive to maintain that consistency.

For example, while it’s true that publishing online articles for Squidoo, eHow, or other online article repositories can get you lots of exposure, if that exposure is scattered across articles on various, unrelated subjects, those articles aren’t helping to solidify your position as a subject area expert and in fact, may be detracting from that position. Likewise, if your book is about leveraging new media but all your articles are on topics totally unrelated to that subject, you’re squandering an opportunity to connect the content of your articles back to your book. I’m not suggesting your articles all essentially boil down to a baldfaced sales pitch, just that in general, the subjects of your articles be drawn from your book and your one- to two-liner author bio at the end of the article include a more-information link or a where-to-buy link for your book. The article functions as a sneak preview of the book.

This isn’t to say you can’t publish the occasional off-topic article, or guest blog about your interests outside the subject matter of your book; doing so can be a way to show other facets of your abilities or personality. Just make sure those ‘other facets’ pieces aren’t competing with your primary message for attention.


zoewinters said...

Great post, April!

Morgan Mandel said...

I've heard about that before, but unfortunately, my mind doesn't work that way. I get bored too easily, so I write both mysteries and romances, and also have a book almost ready about my special needs, dog, Rascal, who is deaf.

Morgan Mandel

Steve said...

God forbid we should have multiple interests, April!

April L. Hamilton said...

Morgan & Steve - I think you misunderstand me. I'm not saying you shouldn't *write* about various things or even in various genres; I myself write humorous fiction, dark comic mystery, and nonfiction.

What I'm saying is that when you're out there trying to promote a given piece of work, your promotional efforts should concentrate on that one piece of work. When you're promoting a different piece of work, your efforts should be concentrated on *that* specific piece.

For example, in all my promotional efforts for The IndieAuthor Guide, aside from possibly naming them in my one- to two-liner author bio at the end of an article or press release, I do not even mention my novels. This is because the novels are not relevant to people interested in the nonfiction book, and the novels don't make the nonfiction book any more attractive to potential buyers. Does this make sense?