Branding Like A Boss: The Writer’s Edition

Are you branding yourself properly?

branding-like-a-boss

Photo Credit: Michal Marcol

Writing often requires you to build separate platforms. This can cause increased anxiety, since you suddenly become the manager of multiple different brands.

There is rarely any reason for this.

As a writer, building a platform is essential, and hiding separate work from readers is doing you a great disservice.

If you are a writer, there is no reason your name shouldn’t be your brand. You may create a separate blog title, domain or product name, but your name needs to be somehow integrated.

For example, once you choose a niche for a website, let’s say “Science Fiction Adventures”, place your name in the title or at least create an “about” widget on the side of your site so people know it’s you.

“Science Fiction Adventures with Joe Warnimont” will do two things for me:

    • Grab people who know me – If someone stumbles upon my site and they already know how awesome I am, they are more prone to stick around.
  • Entice people who don’t know me – If someone who doesn’t know me stumbles upon my site, the “with Joe Warnimont” area indicates that I might be an expert in that particular niche. This builds perceived credibility and may push those people to search my name online and view my other work. It causes them to ask the question, “Who is Joe Warnimont?”

Different platforms

I received a thoughtful question from Susan Call Hutchinson on whether or not she should have two different brands for her two websites, or just one. This is one area that correlates perfectly with an identity problem in the publishing industry. Author Nathan Bransford wrote a blog post on how publishers are squandering their own selling power through the use of imprints.

He’s absolutely right. The publishing industry is making a huge mistake by selling books through unknown imprints instead of their high-powered publisher name. Some readers obviously don’t choose books based on publisher, but many will actually pick up a book with the HarperCollins name on it simply because there is a better chance it will be worth their money.

The same goes for writers.

If you run two or three or four websites that have varying topics, there is no reason you shouldn’t brand them under the same name.

Be everywhere

Danny Iny is referred to as the Freddy Krueger of Blogging.

Why?

Because he is everywhere on the internet. He constantly preaches the importance of guest blogging, email marketing and various other marketing techniques to get your name out there.

In order to be everywhere as a writer you can’t keep changing your name or creating new sites or literature that can’t be traced back to you.

Declare your name as your company.

The quicker you embrace your own face and name as the rock of your platform, the easier you will be able to spread the word about your offerings. Also, if your name is on one product, blog or service, people will be pushed to checkout your other work as well. Minimize your multitasking from brand to brand by focusing on one powerful platform.

Leverage your tent pole

Most movies that studios pump out every year don’t turn a profit. However, they counter these losses by always delivering one or two “tent-poles” that cover all the costs of their other movies, while pushing viewers to the smaller ones. Think about it, you have one giant pole in the middle to support all the other poles on the outside of the tent. Without this pole, the tent would fall down.

Find your tent-pole and use it to push people to your other work.

This will help increase feedback from readers and spread ALL your ideas more efficiently.

Pen names

Pen names are an interesting branding topic because they are typically not used properly. There are three reasons why you should use a pen name. Otherwise there is a good chance you are hurting your own brand and diminishing your selling power by not making yourself recognizable.

You are just starting out

Some writers like to assign a pen name because it seems fun, or their name is difficult to pronounce. In this case, it should only be done if you are just starting to build a blog or other platform. There is no reason to completely change your name once you already have readers.

The one argument I have against creating a pen name for fun is that it can cause billing or tax issues in the future. There are many stories about freelance writers or authors working under a pen name who cannot deposit a check or report their earnings because the publisher or client confuses the pen name for the person’s actual name. Although a pen name can seem glamorous or fun, it might create problems in the future.

Your content is inappropriate for your other audience

If you are writing a family-based blog and you decide to venture into erotic fiction, I doubt your family blog readers would find your new venture helpful. In fact, it would probably turn them off. In this case you would want to completely separate these platforms.

Don’t confuse “inappropriate” with “different”. Using an example from Susan Call Hutchinson, she has a freelancing platform, an editing service, an inspirational writing platform and a site that explores reading aloud with your family. These are different, but do not pose any threat to offending viewers on the other platform. So she should use her name for all of these in order to push people to the other sites and build brand recognition.

Not only will this show readers that she is well-versed in various areas of expertise, but it will also make it easier to manage a single brand.

You’re bored

If you are famous or you found success in a particular niche and want to challenge yourself to become successful without utilizing your current platform, then you might use a pen name. Honestly, this would typically only occur if you are rich, famous and bored.

Let me know in the comments how you have successfully branded yourself or if you have any questions about the process.

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About Joe Warnimont

I am a writer, marketing expert and adventure seeker. I help people write, market their writing, live truthfully and embrace their lives through creativity. You can find me riding my bike around the streets of Chicago. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

Comments

  1. I definitely have some work to do as far as marketing my brand. I think I am going to have to change my About page and sidebar on the blog. Have only been doing this for a couple of months now. Learning is a continuous virtue. Thanks for the tips and thanks for stopping by my blog today. Have a great one!

    ~Laurie Kozlowski

    • Thanks Laurie. Yes, make sure your About page is perfect. It’s typically the second most visited page on your blog, besides your homepage, and of course it’s always great to identify yourself in the sidebar. Even if it’s just your name somewhere in the header or sidebar. :) Have a good one!

  2. Absolutely the best advice. Thanks

  3. Hi Joe, good post. I’ve been debating just this issue, and had resolved to rely on my name. I feel reassured that you recommend this. Thanks.

    • Great idea! This is the best way to create a consistent brand. Not to mention it’s kind of cool once people start recognizing your own name and not a generic website or company name. :)

  4. Hi! Thanks for the follow. I really enjoyed your blog. As a social media manager and writer, I find this very useful and fun to read.

    All the best from Abu Dhabi! :)

  5. Thanks Joe. I’m building my brand as a local history writer and was wondering what to do with my science fiction novel. I thought people would not follow two such diverse subjects and maybe I should market separately. After reading this post I’ll definitely keep it all together – after all, I like both!

    • I have really been enjoying your blog for quite some time now. Thank you for writing it! You have a gift for keeping our attention.

      I especially was interested in today’s post because I am getting the pieces together to relaunch my blog. New photography, new template, yadda yadda. I’ve given thought to using the name I am known by-especially because i want to include some poems….and because i want to shift away from writing about brain surgery-but those readers are the best! Loyal and encouraging! Does JayesBrain seem brandy enough or should i change it? I appreciate your comments. Thanks!
      PS i tried the audio widget…sounded like alvin and the chipmunks…do we have to use silverlight as well? Would love to see this tech spread.

  6. Hi Joe,
    Great post! Like Laurie I am new to marketing myself as a brand online; I am really pleased that I chose to use my name for my blog title. You have a memorable last name; I think some people use a pen name simply because their own name is not an uncommon one.

  7. Thanks for stopping by my blog ~ love your posts ~ especially this one on branding as I go back and forth between my misifusa and The Presents of Presence since I don’t want to use my real name. Your post stopped and made me think. Thanks!

  8. Being my own brand is a great idea. I’m going to make some changes to my blog using that concept.

  9. Dear Mr. Warnimont, your blog is inspiring and insightful! I welcome any feedback you have for mine!

  10. Herminia Chow says:

    I nominated you for the Sunshine award. Keep up the great work!

  11. hey thanks so much for following my blog ages ago! I just saw it now.. talk about better late than ever right:P I just finished reading your post and as a budding writer/blogger myself this really helps. thank you so much for creating an intellectual blog. looking forward to more outstanding posts from you and You are welcome to give me feed back as well=)

  12. Thanks for the follow Joe and an interesting post. I do occasionally toy with the idea of coming up with a short, snappy brand name and using it everywhere but I think you’re right, the trend is swinging back to real names, real people. Who knows, I might even actually put my photo back on my site this year… 😉

  13. Hi there, thanks for following my blog. I took a look around your site and am enjoying your articles. I have bookmarked your site and will be checking back often. Is there anyway I can get your blog posts in my WordPress Reader instead of in an email?

    • I have read several of your articles and many others from other writers of the subject matter. I must say, yours are some of the best on branding I have seen. They actually make sense to the fiction writer.

  14. Nipun Garg says:

    Hi Joe. This is an amazing blog which you have set up, and it has helped me alot. This article also assures me that I’m on the right track.