Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Branding Yourself. What does it mean and how do you do it?

Think about the big companies of the world. McDonalds, KFC, Nike, Adidas etc, and what logo, what colours, what design do you think of?

That is branding.

Finding the right colours, logo, design and layout for you and your brand is the plan. Your brand is your website. That is the one place most will go to find you. Yes, they will find you on Facebook or Twitter, and just as with your website, you must brand ALL of your pages.

1 - Decide on a decent picture. It can be of yourself, it can be of your logo, it can be a logo of your initials if that's what you decide. If it's you, make it a damn good one. Once you have chosen, USE IT EVERYWHERE so people will know it is you as they will automatically recognise it.

2 - Decide on a header picture. Same as with your logo it should be used across ALL of your social media websites.

3 - Decide on a background. Either you pick a colour that suits you and the entirety of your website, or you pick a background picture which again, you use across as many social media sites as possible.

4 - Decide on a tag line (more about that here)

5 - Decide on an author name. Do you want to use your own or a pseudonym/non de plume.

That is the point of branding. To use the same pictures and tag line across all of your social media, so that people can see the continuance of background, header, and profile photos.

So whether you have Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Google+ and YouTube, put on make-up and doll yourself for a damn good photo of yourself with mainly a plain background. It's easy enough to reduce it to a small size with photo software for using as a profile avatar on any site.

Depending on which blog/website you use the size of your header may be long and narrow or too wide (like with Google+), so it's all going to depend on what you put in it. Your picture with your tag line? Your logo with your tag line? Do you use your personal tag line or your blog's tag line?  

Don’t be too elaborate with your header. Keep artwork/photos simple and clear to see and understand. Keep fonts plain and easy to read, no curly crap that people cannot even comprehend. Keep the header to something that represents your blog/website and something that especially represents you.

You're also going to need to make larger or smaller versions of your header for using at Facebook for your author page, Google+, YouTube and others. It should be easy to do in your software, reducing the size is easy, but making them larger is not going to happen.

If you have a profile on Facebook that's separate you don't really need to brand it unless you use it for letting the world know you are an author. I personally started with a profile and use that for sending my blog through to. I set up an official author page so I could not only grab my name but so it was more professional. Having uniform urls across all of your social media is important.

When preparing yourself for going forth into the world of branding yourself there are two books I found incredibly useful and one that will tell you how to get your goods into the hands of those who need it.

Fame 101 by Jay and Maggie Jessup is a book filled with amazingly valuable content about claiming fame in your field. Covering topics such as "What is Fame", "Who's Got Fame", "The Fame Formula", "The Celebrity Next Door", "Your Fame Foundation", "Everyone Loves an Author", "You Dot Com", "Create a Powerful Presence", "Fame Fuel", "Successful Personal Brands", "Leveraging Fame", "Fame Barriers", "Fame For Life".

Then there's the Idiot's Guide to Branding Yourself, covering topics of "What is Branding", "Launching your Personal Brand", "Branding in a Modern World", "Brand Extension and Evolution".

Then there's Celebrity Leverage by Jordan McAuley. It has some great ideas with "Making Your Business Famous", Making Yourself Famous" and many more. The only problem I have with this is you don't receive any celebrity list unless you pay money to their website.

So over all, if you are planning to be a published author, traditional or self, then you need to brand yourself. 

Mine has been a process. I started my blog with the intention of turning it into my website, and over the years it has changed slowly, not dramatically, bit by bit. My header and profile pics have been the same since day one as they were my chosen. My background pic didn't eventuate until about 6 months into it. My layouts have changed to add in all of the book stuff and social media I've joined up to and you need room for all of these things too.

Decide what template, what you want in your side bars, what pages do you want in your menu, never mind the about, contact, books, trailers and other pages you will need for branding. I have seen some websites that are a complete turn off, and I know mine may be to some, but these were shocking. Really think about what you want, where you want to go, and how you want it to be. What you want it to represent about you and your writing.

Your website will be your brand. You will be your brand. Decide how you want to represent yourself and your future.

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