The Importance of Branding and How to Do it -- The Basics
We've all heard of the term "branding", but what does it really mean to an author? The simple answer--everything. As authors, we need to know our target audience. For example, we all know that those who love the horror genre are not likely to pick up a romance novel. Utilizing this mentality, if we wrote horror novels, we wouldn't make our website in a floral-themed motif anymore than we'd have dripping blood and guns on a site geared to a romance audience.
How can we use this to help market our books? When I was at the Bouchercon writer's conference one of the panels discussed branding our image. This "image" involves all aspects from ourselves as a person, author, as well as branding each specific book. For branding to be effective it has to encompass every part of marketing--whether it be social media, or in person.
First the easier aspects. Your website and your blog. Take a long, honest, and objective analysis of them. Do they speak to your target audience? Like noted in the first paragraph, are the graphics used a best representation of you and your books?
Recently, I've revamped my website (really tweaked) and I'm finding it's an ongoing process as I make it exactly what I want it to be.
Here are some branding elements I've added:
- Gun background (on my website and blog)
- Social network feeds on the home page
- Tweet and Facebook Like buttons on my book pages (still in the progress)
- A personal Q&A on The Author page
- Series-themed header for my Madison Knight series (I also plan to do one for the Brandon Fisher FBI Series.)
- A more unique overview of Madison Knight, the character, provided on the main landing page for the series of her name.
Now, above I mentioned branding encompasses social media. What did I mean by that? First of all, be your genuine self all the times. This is what will shine through and connect people to you. When people feel that draw to you, they will want to support you.
Also, for example, as a crime author, it would applicable for me to share news stories and website posts about developments in forensics. This aspect is something that I still need to incorporate but could prove to be a branding technique. However, this is why I post about forensics on my blog, and I might as well share the knowledge I've researched along the way. : )
As you can see, branding takes in everything and, ultimately, when done properly it conveys a true message as to who you are and what you represent. This will connect people to you, motivate readers to buy your books, and hopefully, keep them coming back for more.