5 Ways to Improve Your Author Brand and Increase Reader Loyalty
For many authors, marketing is the most difficult component of a writing career. The internet is filled with a plethora of marketing advice that writers must sort through, while continuing to write quality books for their readers.
Before investing in the latest marketing gimmick, focus on the foundation on which you should build your entire marketing strategy around: your brand.
What is Branding?
Simply put, branding is the perception that readers have about who you are and what type of books you offer. Branding is your public image as a writer. Everything that you do from a marketing standpoint should help build upon your author brand.
When you think about most major corporations, you instantly form a positive or negative opinion based on your likes and dislikes, your social mindset, age bracket, and political background. Companies like Disney, Coca-Cola, Google, and Apple have spent millions of dollars perfecting and honing their brand
Many people believe that branding is the creation of an eye-catching logo, but it is so much more than that! Let’s look at Disney for example. Whenever someone mentions the name Disney to you, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it an image of the castle that appears at the beginning of each movie?
Do you identify with your favorite cartoon character? Perhaps you have a special childhood memory at one of their many theme parks. Disney has created a successful brand name by creating a family friendly entertainment platform, and by doing so, they have enjoyed generations of loyal fans. That’s not to say that everyone is a fan of the Mouse. No company or corporation can appeal to every single person.
Successful brands understand this concept and work hard to create loyalty among their target consumer base.
How Can Authors Benefit from Branding?
As we’ve seen above, successful branding can create a loyal fanbase. How much would your sales improve if you had an active fanbase that bought your next book as soon as it hit the shelves? Would your sales increase by twenty or thirty percent? Would they double? How much would that increase in sales effect your revenue?
Creating a successful author brand enables writers to instantly connect with readers in your genre. It helps readers understand what type of writer you are and what they can expect from your books. It also allows readers to feel connected to you on a more personal level, thereby creating a sense of trust
between reader and writer.
How to Build an Author Brand?
Even if you’ve already published several books, it’s not too late to begin building a successful author brand. Remember, consistency is extremely important when creating your brand. While you can always adjust your brand as social expectations change, you should strive to retain the same core brand.
There are five techniques to build an effective author brand.
- Understand Your Reader: Understanding your key readership is the most essential part of building a successful brand. Knowing who you are marketing your books to will greatly influence the way in which you approach your overall branding efforts. Once you have a good idea of the target audience, take a look at what motivates that group of people. What are their interests and how do they communicate with one another? A thirty-year-old wife and mother who primarily reads romance will typically have different interests than a sixty-year-old male veteran who reads military history. Understand your audience and what makes them unique.
- Craft Your Voice: Once you understand who you are trying to reach, craft the overall voice of your brand. This does not mean placating a group of people for the benefit of sales. Readers can see through that type of contrived marketing attempt. Think about how you want to be perceived by that particular group of people. Do you want them to think of you as intelligent, inspiring, funny, or wise? Is your reader group socially minded? If so, is there a particular social cause that you are passionate about? Your brand voice should be consistent and paint a clear picture of who you are as an author.
- Set Clear Expectations: Readers want to know what they can expect from you as an author. What genres and subgenres do you write? In some cases, it may be a good idea to differentiate between different genres by using different variations of your name so that readers will know exactly which areas of your writing they prefer. For example, if you write adult fantasy and children’s books, you might want to use Jane Smith for your children’s books and J. Smith for your fantasy series. This will allow the reader to instantly know which they are most interested in. Writing in multiple genres is a great way to keep the creative juices flowing, but your readers need clear expectations about
the genres you write. You should also give your reader an idea of how often you intend to post your blog or video. Will you be posting a new video weekly? How often will your newsletter come out? Set a schedule
that you can follow.
- Choose Your Look: Every author brand is unique and your brand should be no exception. What do you want your brand to look like? What fonts and colors best convey your personal style? Does that style resonate with your targeted audience? If you write clean romance, chances are your readership is not interested in goth fashion. No matter how much you may want to incorporate the color black into your branding, if it does not resonate with your audience, you may need to add some pastels into the mix. Choose a look and feel for your brand that brings out elements of your personality and connects that with your target audience.
- Apply Widely: After you have created a look and feel for your brand, you have developed a consistent schedule, and you understand your readership, it is time to apply your brand widely across all of your platforms and social media outlets. That doesn’t mean that you must post every tweet on your Facebook author page. It means that each of these outlets should complement one another and create brand recognition. If someone looks at your Instagram feed, it should present a similar overall feel as your website and blog post. Be consistent with your color selection and graphics.
Above all else, remember to create an author brand that is authentic to who you are. Your readers want to build a connection with you. Create a brand that readers can trust and you will create a loyal readership.