Plan a brand campaign
A brand campaign is when you make your readers aware of your personal brand and gain their trust to transact with you. You use a positive message (your brand story) to make your readers want to go to you when they are ready to make a transaction. It is the planning and implementing of your promotional vehicles (social media, book tours, etc.) that lead exposure to your brand. It is through your brand campaign that you position yourself in the marketplace.
Position – where you fit in the overall marketplace. How are you different from your competition? How are you similar? It is determined by the benefits you offer to your readers. – It is attaching an idea to yourself as an author. It helps you get visibility for your brand in a crowded, competitive marketplace.
Transaction – acceptance of your brand. It is indicated by your readers buying your book, or you landing a publishing deal.
Guidelines for Launching a Brand Campaign
A few guidelines before you launch your brand campaign:
1. Make sure your campaign is new, personal and compelling. People are already overloaded with marketing messages from everywhere and you don’t want your voice to drown out in a sea of messages. In a lot of ways, they don’t buy your book. They buy your brand. One thing very important here is your confidence. Research shows it’s the people who speak up more or are often the loudest who get what they want. This might not sound like good news so much, especially since most people who write books are introverts, but you really have to step up your confidence level, at least when you are out interacting and networking with other people. A few tips for appearing more confident: Get some conversation-starters ready. Come up with questions that you know will always compel people to answer.
2. Make it different. Unless you have a well defined campaign story, you won’t be able to know what makes you different. Now more than ever, it is critical to brand yourself differently. There is an entire world of authors who are competing against you for readers’ attention and it’s not having a great book that will get you noticed, although, of course, that will greatly help. You must have a powerful personal brand that is completely different from everybody else’s. This means you have to learn to recognize, embrace and highlight the qualities that make you unique. This will undoubtedly take quite a lot of reflection as you look back at your life, the good and bad experiences that made you who you are and all the talents that you have and then sharing all of that with the rest of the world. It’s not about hiding your undesirable qualities and presenting a distorted image of you to the world. It is about being your most authentic self to the world and attract those who resonate with it.
3. Make it professional. Being professional isn’t just about wearing the right clothes and saying appropriate things. It is about being honest in your dealings with people. When you offer a promise to your readers, you make sure you deliver it. In fact, don’t just deliver it. Over-deliver on your promise. Exceed reader expectations and give them more than they paid for. Being professional means you are trusted and accountable. It doesn’t mean you’re always right, although you always make it your duty to ensure that you give more than your best efforts. It means that when you make a mistake, you hold yourself accountable and not shy away from admitting it to your readers and make amends if possible. It also means you have to regulate yourself in public. While you should be personal in your branding, it doesn’t mean you should disclose the details of your private affairs on your blog or social media. It’s okay to talk about personal information as long as you know that this information is relevant to your readers and they can pick up something of value from it.
4. Be consistent. Successful branding is done over time, not overnight. Consistency is important because consistency itself is a brand promise you would like to deliver. Once you articulate your message, you must stick with it and continue to deliver it time and time again. The best brands are those that stand the best of time. It doesn’t meant you must use the same words or techniques to carry out your message. Being consistent doesn’t mean being boring. What it means is that you must bring out fresh, new ideas to your campaigns while ensuring that you stay true to your brand story. Whether you’re making a blog post, tweet, Facebook status, you have to send messages that support your values. If all your messages are consistent with your message, you are more likely to make a lasting impression and communicate your message more effectively.
The following are positioning strategies you can use:
1. Own an attribute – This is the most common way to position your brand. This is left-brain branding because it appeals to the rational side of the brain. We want clear-cut distinctions about brand benefits and characteristics. We want to know what these are so we can avoid negative consequences. This can give you a great advantage if you align your brand with an attribute that NOBODY else has claimed.
2. Target a specific group – Appeal to the identity of a specific target group of readers—their quirks, preferences and attitudes. In fact, take it one step further and target just one person. Appeal to his characteristics, preferences, emotions, dreams and fears. It doesn’t matter that your target is extremely specific. Anybody who is just like that person you are targeting will come out on and start following you.
3. Be the first – Being first accelerates branding. Nobody remembers the second guy who did something, but everyone remembers the first. The hard way to do this is to create a new category from scratch. The easy way to do this is to find an existing category and carve out an extension.
4. Be the leader – Simply being the leader in anything gives you an edge. People will assume you are better than anyone else because you’re the leader. As the leader, you’ll need to do a lot of things, like speak about your niche, own and maintain a high-ranking blog, be visible at industry events, and be cited as an authority. Example: Chicken Soup books.
5. Be the underdog – People like underdogs, those gutsy rebels who defy convention. This is reverse positioning, which can be a great strategy for new authors trying to break into the industry. You are the antidote by positioning your competition’s weaknesses as your strengths.
6. Have a special process. Be the guy who wants to be known for a special method of solving a specific problem. There could be a lot of authors out there who are trying to solve the same problem as you are. You have to differentiate yourself by offering a different solution.
7. Highlight a special heritage – For example, if you’re writing a French cuisine cookbook, what makes you a specialist on French cooking?
Now that you’ve looked at positioning strategies, it’s time to choose one that will work best for you as an author by using a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Test. This will allow you to examine the strengths and weaknesses of your positioning as compared to that of other authors in your niche. Now, take out a piece of paper and do the following:
Step 1: Write down the specific ways in which you can help people.
Step 2: Write down what you can’t do but your competitors can.
Step 3: Write down any unsatisfied needs by your market.
Step 4: Write down what gets you worried about your branding. How can you turn this into positive positioning?
Clue: The best ideas often come from an intersection of strength and opportunity. What unsatisfied need that you know you can meet?