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Most nonfiction authors will tell you that it’s incredibly difficult to make money selling a book. However, the benefits to their personal brand and their business are worth it.
The challenge with writing a book without having an established personal brand is that your book can be launched to very little fanfare, if any. All of that effort and time was spent creating this book with no one noticing. Having a personal brand is so important that even some publishers are going as far as asking for social media metrics from potential new authors as a defining factor in publishing their book.
It goes without saying that if you want to have a successful book launch, you need to have an established personal brand and a ready audience.
If you are thinking about writing a book, the time to start amplifying your personal brand is now. You may be thinking, “It’s going to take a while for me to complete and publish my book, there’s no way I need to start on my brand now,” but now is exactly when you should start.
If you want to build your base to have a successful book launch, you should begin at least a year ahead of your predicted publish date. It seems like a long lead time, but the more time you have to amass a solid following for your book launch, the better.
As a visibility strategist, I’ve seen the benefits of having a strong and visible personal brand, as well as the disappointment of launching without one. The good news is that any author or entrepreneur can get started on their personal brand today. Here are six tips for you if you want to build your personal brand.
Related: This Is the Future of Book Publishing
What do you want to be known for?
If you are writing a book, the best thing to do is focus your content around the topic of your book. Are you writing about parenting? Car mechanics? Crypto? Whatever it is, you must decide what you want to be known for in that space, and the content you create needs to support that vision.
Having a strong sense of self when it comes to your brand is key; you want to showcase your personality. Do your best to bring all of your content back to the topic at hand, though. This will keep you focused and build an engaged audience. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or post pictures of your lunch that day — as long as you can tie it into your core message.
If your audience can look at your name and instantly connect it with what you want to be known for, then you’ve done your job.
Pick a platform, go all in
Choose which social media platform is most used by your target audience, the place they want to hang out. It’s good to put your content on all platforms if you have the bandwidth, but you want to focus on one and go after it hard.
For example, if you’re a photographer writing a book on landscape photography, Instagram is likely going to be your best bet. You should focus all of your efforts there. Sure, you can syndicate the post out to other platforms, but be sure to tailor your content to that platform, including lots of your beautiful photos to draw in your audience.
Building your personal brand, especially online, takes a lot of work, so if you are already strapped for time, it’s best to know which platform will bring you closer to your ideal audience and spend the majority of your time there.
You must show up, a lot. Creating a strong personal brand takes time. Being available in this way may sound exhausting, but there are some very easy ways to show up that are (mostly) effortless.
You can set aside a block of time each week to create several posts, articles and emails, and then set them up to be released on a “slow drip” over the following week. This way you’ll be releasing your messaging over some time, but you won’t have to take the time each day to physically post or send it out.
It’s also smart to reuse and recycle your content, giving it legs. You could even hire a social media manager. This person would be responsible for parsing out your social media posts and managing multiple platforms so that you don’t have to worry about the consistency of your output.
Related: Self-Publishing or Traditional Publishing: Which Is Best for You?
No matter what content you put out, try and bring it back to your core message. If you want to be known as the best dog trainer in the world, you can still create content about your day, meals, random thoughts and so on, but try and tie it back into your brand message as often as you can.
This can be tricky because ultimately you want to be able to share content about every part of your day, and that does not always completely revolve around your brand. However, tying it back to your brand in any way possible will just solidify what you want to be known for and drive the point home. It sets a tone for your content that will engage your audience and bring in the right followers.
This one gets people up in arms, but video is what is ruling social platforms right now.
From TikTok to Reels, Instagram Live and YouTube, video is topping the charts — don’t be left behind. Video can be daunting to many, especially those that don’t necessarily like being on camera, but it also creates a “realness” that your audience wants to see from you, it highlights your authentic self, and if you’re trying to create a strong personal brand, this is essential.
Just remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it’s better if it’s not. Your audience will relate to you on a deeper level if you show them that you’re not infallible, that you’re just like them. If you look at the people who are currently popular because of their video presence, many of them highlight their blunders, which makes them even more endearing.
Related: Consider This Before Self-Publishing Your Book
Creating a community isn’t about you putting out content and then ignoring the people who engage with it. Have you or a friend ever gotten a response back from a big personality on a comment that you made?
I can recall multiple instances where I’ve had friends send screenshots of Twitter responses from celebrities they follow. It may have just been a quick thank you or even just a “like” on a post, but my friends were so excited and it deepened their love for that celebrity.
It doesn’t take much. Write back, answer questions and be available. It may sound like a lot of work, and you might have to get help at some point, but don’t leave your community hanging. Once you’ve grown your community, this may be a good opportunity to lean on a social media manager — not only can they pump out your content, but they can be sure that questions and comments are getting responses promptly.
Writing a book may be your dream, and you may have outstanding content. But if you want it to be wildly successful, be sure to build up your social proof and brand image first. Focus your social media efforts on becoming relatable and available, and drive home your core message every chance you get. Soon you’ll have an audience that is chomping at the bit to grab your book before it’s even published.
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