Do you have a writing platform? Your platform (readership and recognition) begins with your brand as a writer and/ or author.
Your brand is what you stand for. In a sense, it’s who you portray yourself to be: your image.
“Image” has a lot of weird connotations, including outright fakery. When I mention image to a student, occasionally someone will tell me he doesn’t want an image. He wants to be honest with his readers.
Of course you want to be honest, but you’re a lot of things. Your brand (image) is always relevant to your audience: to your clients and readers.
For example, if you write dystopian fiction, it might be relevant that you live on a small acreage and grow your own vegetables. It might be less relevant that in your day job you work for a global logistics company. (It could be very relevant if you write thrillers…)
Big tip: your brand is crafted: it’s relevant to your audience. This is why many authors use several pen names in self-publishing: it makes it easier to brand a name because you craft an image which relevant to that name’s audience.
You’ll see many female authors creating a pen name from initials and a surname if they’re writing thrillers. Many male authors choose a female pen name if they’re writing romances.
Ideally, your writing platform starts with your brand statement
Tom Peters wrote The Brand Called You way back in 1997. Peters wrote:
Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.
It’s that simple — and that hard. And that inescapable.
It’s worth reading the entire article before going on to create your own brand statement.
Exercise: create a brand statement—it’s a story
Professionals craft their image. Politicians know how important it is to stay “on message”, and movie stars employ PR people to carefully build their image.
You can craft your own image too, so that you present yourself memorably to your audiences.
When I develop a brand statement for a client, my first step is to get to know him. I want to know his history, we can choose his defining moments, and use them to frame his story.
From that, we develop his personal branding statement, and tagline.
Write your story in 200 words
I like to create several versions of a branding statement, short and long, so that the client can use them in his marketing materials, and of course with his resume and other materials if he’s job hunting. In addition, a tagline is useful for the client’s website and social media activities.
Think of the tagline as a slogan. It’s short; it may be a few words, or a phrase. For example, my current tagline for Angela Booth is right under the site’s title above: “word magic.”
Write your life story as it relates to the image you’re crafting for your audience in 200 words.
Then, craft a tagline.
Once you have a brand, you can build your writing platform
Most writers and authors set out to build a writing platform, without thinking about a brand. They’re never certain how they should target promotions.
Before too long, they become disheartened. They wonder how other authors promote to their readers so effortlessly…
You can do it too: you can become a brand. (Or several brands, if you have pen names.)
Write your story in 200 words. Whittle that down to craft a brand statement of 50 words. Then create your tagline.
Get started on your brand today. Then it will be easy to build (or grow) your writing platform.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.