Expert Branding

What Marketing Missteps Can Teach Us About Branding

As an author working every day to develop your brand and grow your audience, you are constantly on the lookout for the latest advice to maximize your efforts. There are plenty of lessons to be learned from other authors’ successes and failures, and general marketing and personal branding advice is not hard to find. But it can also be useful to pay attention to what big brands are up to—after all, many marketing best practices apply to established brands just as much as up and comers.

The Power of Great Content to Boost Your Brand

What is a Content Entry Point?

Authors naturally love to write, so getting ideas down on the printed page is a process that often flows easily. While writing a manuscript, it’s common for authors to enjoy exploring all angles of their subject and to offer readers different ways to engage with their content. “Content Entry Points,” as I like to call them, are places in a text where a reader connects with an idea and jumps in to learn more. These entry points can be quite diverse and include devices such as anecdotes, statistics, historical information, quotes, illustrations, graphics, maps, checklists, and worksheets.

How to Launch Your Big Idea

It’s important to dream big, and when you hit on the big idea that you want to run with, it’s even more important to think through how you want to launch.

Last week I talked about the importance of thinking through the Vision, Promise, and Pillars when planning your brand positioning. Equally important? Getting real with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses, what opportunities to pursue, and which resources you have versus which you need to acquire.

Building Your Brand Part 1: Ideas and Identity

The term “platform” is ubiquitous these days. We see it in the business world, hear it bandied about among authors, experts, and speakers, and we experience it in the social media landscape. This phenomenon isn’t accidental. Platform is a powerful concept that reflects the content, brand, positioning, credibility, audience, and intellectual property you develop. Your platform lives at the intersection of ideas, influence, and income—and your book’s success depends on it. In this three-part series, we’ll share valuable information and resources to help you create, maintain and boost your platform.

Platform, Part 1: Ideas

Entrepreneur Gary Vanerchuck has appeared on everything from Ellen and CNN to NPR. He’s written two New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. And he has amassed almost one million Twitter followers. One million! He grew his family wine business from $3 million in annual revenue to more than $45 million in eight short years. At age thirty-five, Vaynerchuk operates a slew of businesses and even boasts a gaggle of fans that refer to themselves as “Vayniacks.” In short, he’s a walking billboard for what a concentrated platform can do for you.

Building Your Brand Part 2: Engage Your Audience

The term “platform” is ubiquitous these days. We see it in the business world, hear it bandied about among authors, experts, and speakers, and we experience it in the social media landscape. This phenomenon isn’t accidental. Platform is a powerful concept that reflects the content, brand, positioning, credibility, audience, and intellectual property you develop. Your platform lives at the intersection of ideas, influence, and income—and your book’s success depends on it. In this three-part series, we’ll share valuable information and resources to help you create, maintain and boost your platform.

Platform, Part 2: Influence

Money is personal. Spilling your economic guts to anyone other than your spouse, partner, or family members is unheard of to most people. But not to Suze Orman. Orman, a financial advisor-turned-television host and bestselling author, listens to personal financial pain on a daily basis and gives empowering solutions for people in tough situations. It's especially helpful in today's economic climate. Her advice is often abrasive. She challenges her fans to make immediate, proactive changes in their financial lives. And as creatures of habit, it's never easy for us to make changes like these.

How Do Authors Make Money? Thinking Beyond the Book

It’s a commonly held misperception that authors are rich. Yes there are some authors who are well off, and yes some of them sell thousands of books, but here’s the real reason those authors are making money—they’re thinking beyond the book.

The truth is that quality books are costly to develop and produce and they must sell through several reprints to become profitable. As such, much of the money authors make doesn’t come from the sale of the book itself but from the opportunities the book gives the author.

As an author, a book gives you instant credibility and opens doors to other streams of income previously unavailable to you. For nonfiction authors, the book is often an extension of your business or expertise. It’s a marketing tool, demonstrating your philosophy and unique approach to potential clients, media outlets, and speaking opportunities. For fiction authors, a book demonstrates your ability to perceive and recreate the world, and opens up opportunities to teach, speak, and educate other authors.

Anatomy of an Author Website

As an author, you know how important it is to have an attractive and current website. Your website is your calling card, and a vehicle for conveying your brand to both media and readers. It is also a tool for building your community of followers and letting them know about your activities. Your website is crucial to building and retaining your platform, and it must be designed to net the most benefit both for you and your followers.

The first thing you need is a relevant and easy-to-spell URL. The web address you select should either be your name or a key phrase associated with your brand. It’s also a good idea to purchase the URL of your book title and have it redirect to your website Remember, most people will use a keyword search to find your website, so keep it short and avoid any unusual words or phrases that will be difficult to spell and/or remember.