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Marketing: Developing Your Brand

Writers claim they know nothing about marketing. The truth is, writers participate in marketing every day. When shopping or surfing the Web, we encounter marketing messages and techniques. Why not adapt these business techniques to marketing our writing?

Branding Defined

Your brand is what distinguishes you and your product from all the rest. If you want to read a detailed discussion of branding, check out this article on Forbes website. Branding is used to market everything from toothpaste to luxury cars. Coca Cola is one of the most famous brands world-wide. Their logo hasn’t changed for years. In some parts of the country, any cola drink is called “Coke.”  Still, some people only want “the real thing.” Coke has used “it’s the real thing” in their advertising for years to differentiate Coke from the imitators. So, when people hear your name, do they think first of your writing? For example, when you hear “Rick Warren,” does “purpose-driven” come to mind?

Branding for Fiction Writers

Fiction writers build their brands by developing a fan base and consistently producing the type of product fans come to expect. Jerry Jenkins became famous with his Left Behind series, although he had done plenty of writing prior to that. Now, though, some think he only writes fiction, because that’s what he’s most famous for. Do you have a favorite fiction author? I’ve read several works of award-winning author, Lynn Austin. Several of her books have been Christy Award winners. A former history teacher, she writes historical fiction for the Christian market. I’ve come to appreciate her story-telling ability and the way she weaves historical details into her stories. For me, she has succeeded in branding her work as well-researched, entertaining, and educational Christian fiction. I did a branding case study on Lynn Austin some time back.

Branding for Non-fiction Writers

Writers of non-fiction usually develop brand around subject matter or genre. For example, Max Lucado delivers Christian living and discipleship lessons in his countless books and radio messages. The name of Beth Moore is synonymous with women’s Bible studies.

One of my favorite non-fiction authors is James N. (Jim) Watkins, an author-minister-speaker, who specializes in dispensing “Hope and Humor.” If you do not know about Jim, now’s the time to get to know him through his online presence. Check out his topics list, and spend some time browsing the site.

How can you use the concept of branding to promote your writing?

First, research the careers of the people mentioned in this article. You’ll see that they tried several approaches before they found the right one. Don’t try to present yourself as all things to all people. Decide what you want to offer the world, and concentrate on that.

Readers, do you think you have succeeded in branding yourself  properly? Tell us about it in the comments. Or—do you still struggle with the branding concept? Would you like to see more discussion of branding in future posts? Share in the comments. If you receive this post by email, please click on the title of the post to go to my site. Scroll down to Leave a Reply and comment there.

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