What is ‘brand’ and ‘platform’?

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At every writers’ conference around the world, you’re going to hear:

      Show don’t tell.
      Use active verbs.
      Write tight.

And more and more, you will hear:

      Establish your “brand.”
      Develop your “platform.”

Here are my notes from a seminar I teach on branding and platform:

What is your brand?

      • It’s the promise you make to your audience
      “Here is what you can expect from me in every book, article, blog post and Facebook entry.”
      If you break your promise, the audience will not return

How do you determine your brand?

      • Who are you? Why do your write?
      • What is your mission statement? (A must have!)
      • What benefits can you offer your audience?
      • How do you go about meeting your audience’s need(s)?
      • Who, then, is your target audience?
      • What do your readers already expect from you?

Why is brand important?

      • It lets “searchers” know who you are within seconds
      • It provides focus and depth, works along side your mission statement
      • It brings the people who need your message to you
      • It brings people back to your site, social networks

How do you communicate your brand?

      • Your own domain!
      (Nothing screams amateur than “blogger” or “wordpress”in URL!)
      • A simple, meaningful, relevant logo; a brand color, font, photo
      Carry this across all platforms (web, social media, PowerPoint, everything)
      • A concise, clever “tag line” (Descriptive of who you are)
      • A consistent genre, voice
      • Your email signature

      Developing your platform

      What is platform?

          Publishers want to know:
          • How effective are you in communicating your message?
          • Reach (How many people are you reaching with your message? How many “friends”? Followers?
          • How many on your mailing list?)
          • Influence (How powerful is your influence?)
          • Authority (How educated, experienced are you about your message?)
          • Notoriety (How well-known are you? Are you the “go to” person on your message?)
          • How can your platform assist your publisher in marketing your book?

      Platform is made up of the “planks” from which you can communicate your message

          Website
          This is your all-in-one “store front” (Notice the top of this site)
          About page
          Contact page
          Book store
          Writing samples, regular blog (Fresh content a must!)
          Press page (agent, speaking bureau, pics)
          Links to social networks

          Newsletter
          Have a signup box on your web site
          MailChimp is a great (and free) mailing list program
          Send out regular emails for your “opt in” list (Do not spam!)
          Regularity more important than frequency!

          Endorsements
          People on the level(s) above you who can influence buyers

          Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)
          Choose one social networking site and work it
          Post relevant, helpful information
          It’s a conversation, not a sales pitch (Keep pitching to 10 percent or less of content)

          Speaking
          What can I offer?
          What groups, organizations can benefit from my message?
          Who is the local leader?
          Develop the local “market” first
          Who is the district leader? National leader?

          Other avenues
          Do you have radio, television, podcasting outlets?

      Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

      If this was helpful, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

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