Three new ‘must haves’ for today’s writers

For at least one hundred years, writers and speakers were told the three most important essentials were:

    1. Know your audience
    2. Show don’t tell
    3. Use active verbs

Those three are still absolutely essential in actual writing. But three additional “must-haves” have emerged in publishing and selling your writing:

    1. Establish your “brand”
    2. Develop your “platform”
    3. Grow your “social network”

When a book proposal comes before the publication board, usually made up of editors and marketers, the first thing members do is “google” the author’s name. If it doesn’t show up on the first page of website, it doesn’t go any further.

So, here are my notes from a seminar I teach on branding, platform and social networking.

Establish your ‘brand’

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
    (Click for design principles)
    Carry this across all platforms (website/blog, social media, PowerPoint, everything)
    • A concise, clever “tag line” (Descriptive of who you are, three to four words max)
    • A consistent genre, voice
    • Your email signature

Develop your ‘platform’

What is platform?

      • 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?

What “planks” make up your platform?

    What can I offer?
    Am I a pastor? A regular speaker to groups?
    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?
    (Go from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria to “ends of earth”)

    MailChimp is a great (and free) mailing list program
    Collect emails addresses from family, friends
    Send out regular emails for your “opt-in” list (Do not spam!)
    Regularity more important than frequency!

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

    Published books

Grow your ‘social network’

Website (Click for my session on creating a website, as well as how to write online.)

      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

Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, 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)

    And here are the best times to post:
    Facebook: 9 am, 1 and 3 pm
    Instagram: 2 am, 8-9 am, 5 pm
    Pinterest: 2 am, 9 am, 2 pm
    Twitter: 12 pm, 3 pm, 5-6 pm

Copyright © 2015, 2017 James N. Watkins

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

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