Second Place Winner in the “Build Your Brand” project


James Pyles – photo taken by David Pyles

As I mentioned yesterday, I participated in an online contest by writing an essay about how writers and other creative people can “build our brand”. In my previous blog post, I featured first place winner Elaine Marie Carnegie. Today, we see what second place winner Peter Astle has to say.

by Steven Lester Carr

The panel of judges for the Building Your Brand project selected the top three entries. Yesterday I posted the first place winning entry written by Elaine Marie Carnegie. Today I bring you the second place entry written by Peter Astle. Tomorrow I will post the third place winning entry written by James Pyles.

Second Place Winner: Building Your Brand by Peter Astle.

This was one method I used with students when I taught ‘brands’ in Media Studies at college.

I’d read out a list of attributes about a particular product in bullet points and the students would take guesses as to what brand I was describing.

Quick example:

    • Who am I?
    • I’m brown and salty
    • I’m good on toast.
    • I spread easily.
    • You either love me or you hate me.

Answer: Marmite.

Brands are basically the ‘personality’ of a product, driven through advertising, marketing, slogans and myths.

KFC is finger lickin’ good. McDonalds is ‘lovin’ it’. Guinness is ‘good for you’. Cadburys has a ‘glass and a half of full-cream milk in every half pound’. The Cadbury advertising slogan was an amazing selling point but an astonishingly ambiguous claim. How big was the glass?

For emerging writers, building a brand is not easy, but not impossible.

Facebook writing groups are the perfect platform to showcase published work and to build a ‘brand image’.

Here are some suggestions that have proved effective for other new writers:

Post regularly. Participate in ‘themed days’ – such as ‘Work in Progress’, ‘News’, ‘Marketing’, etc – to keep your name frequently in the loop.

Opening posts
Provide occasional ‘conversation starters’ as an opening post, preferably ones that get across positive aspects of your personality.

Clear thumbnail image
It’s Facebook. The thumbnail is tiny in the thread and your face/avatar should be just your face. The image you choose says a lot more about you than you think. Updating your profile picture occasionally will also maintain visibility.

Respond positively to other writers’ work
Instead of just ‘liking’ a piece written by an author, show you have taken the time to read it with brief constructive comments about the story itself. Over time, your positive, more analytical responses will be associated with you as a writer.

Showcase your work creatively
You can use hyperlinks to direct readers to your shorter pieces, blogs and author pages, but you can also be creative with your marketing. Some writers regularly post pictures of other people holding up their books. This strategy worked well for one female author who has now sold over 3000 books online.

Post positive and slightly negative reviews.
If you’re lucky enough to get them, post the positive reviews you get––and occasionally the slightly negative ones. It seems counter intuitive to post anything negative, but it shows a level of honesty and humility that will help build your brand image as an emerging writer.

This stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action.
Awareness:I’ve heard about this author/this book.
Interest:The book sounds interesting.
Desire:It will benefit me to buy it.
Action: Okay, I’ll buy it.

Use different book cover designs to promote your book long before its launch
Ask people to comment on different designs prior to publication. This will create awareness and interest and hopefully discussion.

Freebies/reduced prices
Offer free promotional stuff for a limited time: free bookmarks, one-off books at reduced prices.

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