Dear Aspiring Writers, your readers want to get to know you. Really know you.
When I published my first book, I didn’t even know what a personal brand was. I was absolutely clueless, mostly because I wasn’t thinking strategically.
If you are new to my page, let me introduce myself. I’m Annika Spalding, an award-winning author and Writing Coach, passionate about empowering women and writers. I have been an author for almost five years and while I was naive at first, I learned from trial and error along the way.
On my Facebook and Instagram this week, I asked my followers if there can be a balance between a personal brand and private life. Though it was an interesting discussion, one that brought up the importance of authenticity, somebody mentioned that had opened an Instagram account but didn’t know how to build their personal brand, or even what that is.
As writers and authors in 2017, we have to utilise the tools available to us, especially to get our work out into the world, and one of those tools is social media. And to maximise that tool, a personal brand is most certainly an asset.
The days of advertisements only being seen on TV are long gone and you can use this to your advantage.
We live in a digital era. When people wake up in the morning, they often scroll through their social media feeds before getting out of bed. They’re browsing through Instagram while on the way to work, they Tweet from work and indulge in some Facebook activity before the day has ended. You can reach your audience in more ways now than you ever could, which is beneficial for any writer about to make their mark on the world.
Why is a personal brand is important?
People don’t buy into products as much as they buy into the people behind it. Your audience is intrigued, not only in the beautiful end product but the journey it took to get there. They want to know your writing habits, your inspiration and how you overcome writer’s block. If you write about a topic like domestic violence, they want to know that you have relevant experience and then they want to know about that too.
Allowing your audience to connect with you on a human level while encourage them to buy your books and follow your work, because it will resonate with them.They will be intrigued about your journey, about the experiences it took for you to share such wisdom and creativity. And as much as you will want to keep your life private, you do need to create something for your readers to connect with.
What do we fear about creating a personal brand?
Although we live in a digital era, we must not assume that everybody is comfortable with sharing their life on it. While some people are happy to share every aspect of their day on Facebook, there are others who literally shudder at the idea of oversharing. The key here is finding out what works best for you.
The two main areas people worry about are maintaining privacy and a negative response.
Privacy: It is possible to maintain a private life while building a personal brand. It is something I do myself as I am very protective of my personal life and the people on it. As much as I post on social media, I only ever show a small percentage of my day and only share what I feel is relevant to what I do/who I am. You do not have to share everything.
Negativity: Let go of the idea that you must meet the demands of others when sharing online. What you post will not appeal to everybody but guess what? Not everybody is a potential reader, not everybody is going to read your book or blog, not everybody is your audience. The sooner you embrace that fact, the more comfortable you will feel about building your personal brand without fear of what others will say.
How do we overcome these fears?
To overcome this fear of putting yourself out there, you must remind yourself that you create the personal brand. You can control the posts, the writing, the personal element and the mystique that follows it. You can post as little as often, when and where you want. I enjoy Instagram more than any other social media network, so it is typical for me to post at least 6 times a day. Some people prefer Twitter and will create their personal brand there, engaging in regular discussions with their followers, showcasing their personality and encouraging them to buy their products (or in your case, buy your books and read your blog).
What can you do next?
Look at the pages of other writers and make a note of what stands out. What do you like about it? What is memorable about it? Can you interpret the core message of their personal brand, just by skimming through the page? How can you take inspiration from this when creating your own?
Now take a look at your current social media presence and ask yourself:
- Does it represent you?
- Does it have a clear message?
- Does it showcase your work?
I would also recommend you check out author Alex Elle’s Instagram page to see how she balances sharing aspects of her personal life and examples of her written work.
Does all of this sound daunting?
I get it, I totally do. It has taken me a few years to get to a point where I feel my personal brand is strong. As an author I have grown but this journey has been more successful with a strong social media presence, which has meant my events are sold out, my books are read by people all over the world and the opportunities to grow further keep coming.
Because I have experienced the many benefits of having a powerful personal brand, I’d like to help you do the same too. Get yourself booked in for a FREE 20 minute chat and we can take it from there.
Does writing feel like a daunting venture?
I’ve written a book to get you started! Perfect for new writers or those who just need a creative boost, What’s Your Story?will take you on a creative journey of self-development. Break through barriers and get to the core of your story with this five module writing course in a book. Available now.