Yes. I would say that personal branding is pretty important.
Think of a brand of product that you like. Now think about the details that go into selling it. There are logos, commercials, thematic colors, and descriptive phrases that go into making that product attractive to buy.
Personal brands are less complicated and expensive to make, but their goal is worth every ounce of time and effort put into making it. Essentially, the goal is to advertise your best and most unique qualities. Personal brands are meant to make you stand out from the crowd.
What I love about the specific college that I’m in is that they really shove personal branding down your throat–whether you want to learn about it or not. This is part of the reason the hiring rate is so great, and why so many of us have jobs before we graduate.
However, personal branding can be beneficial for more than just a job search.
Namely, prospective authors looking to gain a following can greatly benefit from developing a personal brand. In fact, a lot of successful authors already take advantage of this, whether it’s intentional or a coincidence.
A great example is Ava Dellaira’s website, which you can take a look at here. Her website doesn’t involve a blog portion, but it most certainly brands her as a successful writer.
So that begs the question, what goes into a personal brand?
Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) is a champ at walking people through developing personal brands. In fact, I based my entire resume and interviewing strategy off of their advice.
They stress that in the job world, there are so many people vying for the same position that you need more than just good credentials. The same can be said for aspiring authors. You need more than just talent and a good story. You need to be able to sell yourself and stand out from the crowd.
Now the hard part… Thinking of what makes you stand out.
The starting points that PWC recommends thinking about are (I’ve adapted them to be relevant to writers):
- What are your unique skills and personality traits? How can you see that through your writing?
- What drives you to seek the goal of being a published author? In other words, why write when you can just pursue an easier career? What do you have to say to the world? Why does the world need to hear your message?
- If you had to boil it down to one or two words, what do you want people to think when they look at you and your work?
- What in particular would make agents and readers choose your work over others?
It’s alright if you can’t answer these questions right away. Part of the journey of developing a personal brand involves discovering what makes you stand out. Take some time to really analyze you and your work. Ask your friends and family what they think makes you stand out. If you’re really struggling, walk through PWC’s process. The website is directed towards college students, but you can modify it to apply to your writing career. The end result will be the same; you’ll discover what makes you you.
Be critical. Be honest.
Then, once you have developed what the attributes are of your personal brand, it’s time to learn how to craft it and apply it.
We will walk through this process together next time!
Photo credit: Brand You. Another great article about personal brands!