Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Branding 101—I know my brand. Now what do I do with it? by Patty Smith Hall

Last month, we talked about the importance of branding and ways to figure out what your particular brand is (click here to read). We asked ourselves the all-important question in branding—Who am I? What do I offer my readers that is unique?

You may be asking yourself why focus on ourselves instead of our work? Aren’t our books what makes our brand? The answer to both questions is no—we are our brand, and it’s important to know who we are before we enter into a relationship with our readers. Because branding plays a significant role in building relationships with our readers.

And relationships are what sell books.

What do you do when you’re in a relationship with someone? First and foremost, be yourself! When my first book was published with Love Inspired, I threw a book launch at the local historical society where I’d done some of my research. Thank heavens, there wasn’t an empty seat in the place! But what struck me the most is the cliché some of the people there had of romance writers—most thought I’d show up with a feathered boa around my neck rather than share the rich history of the Woman’s Army Service Pilots. Even my brother (who knows better!) asked me if I’d written a bodice ripper!

But relationships change all that. When you’re in a relationship with a person, they know the real you, warts and all. That’s what we all crave, isn’t it? To feel an honest connection with the people around us, sharing the good and bad, the silly and sometimes embarrassing situations we find ourselves in. For example, I decide to bake a ham for our family’s Easter dinner. I took pictures of me preparing it and after it was cooked, then posted them on Facebook. But when I cut into the ham, I found that ¾ of it was fat! Epic fail! What did I do? I posted a Facebook video about what had happened.

And the response blew my socks off!

How do we build a relationship with our readers? Through our website, our social media presence, newsletters and personal contacts. Let’s start with our website.

Take a good, hard look at your web page. This is the first impression most readers will have of you. Is it clear who you are and what you write? Do the colors and fonts tell your visitors what kind of books you write? What about your pages? Do you give your readers the opportunity to contact you or join your newsletter? 

For this experiment, I’m going to use my webpage as an example. If you look at it, you may think it’s not too bad. In fact, it’s kind of perky and sweet like me. Great, right? The problem is most people thought I wrote women’s fiction or contemporary romance.

That’s a problem.

I needed to use more muted colors as well as a font that give a historical feel to it. I offered a contact page but no area to subscribe to my newsletter or beta reader list.

So, I went to work. I added more pages including a newsletter and beta reader sign-up. I got a new headshot wearing colors that complimented the sedate colors on my page. I changed everything.

Next month, I’ll show you how it turned out! 

How can you change your website to compliment your brand? 

Branding plays a significant role in building relationships with our readers. And relationships are what sell books. via @pattywrites #SeriouslyWrite


A multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Barbour, Patty lives in North Georgia with her husband of 35 years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters, her son-in-love and a grandboy who has her wrapped around his tiny finger. When she’s not writing on her back porch, she’s spending time with her family or working in her garden.