Published Podcast Ep. 3 — Establishing an Author Brand, part I

This is the first of a two-part series on establishing an author brand with Brand Strategist, Sam Alexander. Part II can be found here

So why does an author brand matter? An author brand can really make or break the success of a book and is so important that Greenleaf built out a branding team to help authors with it. On that team is Sam Alexander, whose goal is to help authors understand their message and strategize how to bring that to their audience in the best way possible. 

2:30 Let's start off with defining the word "Platform." 

  • An author platform is the sum-total of how you can reach people with your voice. 
  • Jane Friedman defined it as "the ability to sell books because of who you are or who you reach." 

3:48 Why does the author platform/brand matter? 

  • Using the old adage of a tree falling in the woods, platform building is about finding trees that are closer to the right people to cut down so that people are able to hear your voice better than they would otherwise. 

4:40 Where does an author start building a platform? 

  • Take stock of how far you've already come and focus your energy around a single idea. Building relevance with people depends on being clear on what you provide to other people and how you provide it. 

5:52 If an author is looking at writing a book, does the manuscript come first or the brand? 

  • It boils down to what the author has the most energy for. If you feel more comfortable sharing ideas through a blog or social media, start there to refine your message before starting a manuscript. 

7:11 How does an author assess the strength of their platform? 

  • Everyone has some degree of platform. It's the sum of all the ways in which your voice can be heard. Take stock of where you're best able to connect with people and think through who you could reach if you were trying to. 

9:05 What are the key elements of a platform? 

  • Having a pillar of your platform with an established platform is important. 
  • A website is the ideal pillar, but it could easily be something else like LinkedIn for business authors, or another social platform depending on where the author feels comfortable and where their audience is. 

11:13 Most Greenleaf authors are very busy people. How do they focus their time and energy in building a platform? 

  • Authors should focus on what fills them with energy, rather than what zaps them of it. 
  • Michael Hyatt has a matrix concept of things that you're good at and things you enjoy doing, which helps people find out where to spend their time. 
  • Don't try to recreate the wheel every time you post to a social media/content channel. If you have a manuscript, you can repurpose some content for different elements of your platform. Repurposing content also allows you to be strategic about how you communicate and what you're sharing. 
  • Platform building is a long-term goal, so authors should make sure that how they build it is sustainable. 
  • Different social platforms lend themselves better to certain formats, so it's important to meet the reader where they are with the kind of format they want to consume. 

15:42 Once the book is launched, how do authors keep the momentum going and keep leveraging the platform they worked so hard to build? 

  • When the book comes out, that's the starting line. That is when it's most important to support the book with additional messaging. 
  • Once you've built an audience and the book has released, you can then start to diversify your message and talk about other relevant content. Social media gives you feedback to your messaging along the way, which could influence (and simplify the process of writing) a second book or future projects. 

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