When writers ask how to create a brand strategy, I share with them what many a wise marketer has shared with me: "Your brand is what other people say it is." In other words, people trust their friends and acquaintances far more than they trust clever slogans. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of communication we have. The key with brand development is to focus on what people say consistently about you.
So what do people say about you? Consider the compliments as well as the questions put to you at events. As part of our human nature, we take a lot of our knowledge and experience for granted. The first step of your strategy is to relax and put yourself in the shoes of the audience.
Start with a Beginner's Mind
Consider the example of Phillippe Petit, the high-wire artist who walked a tightrope stretched between the Twin Towers in Manhattan in 1974. The crowd stood beneath his feet, staring up in hushed Awe. He exemplifies what we call in coaching "unconscious competence." What appears to be Petit's instinct is really the result of thousands of hours of practice until the moves became unconscious to him. In fact, if you watch the documentary about him, you'll see that in the very beginning he fell off a lot of French laundry lines in his hometown.
When you teach a workshop or give a reading, the audience experiences you at your practiced best. They aspire to be in your position. So, the key to developing your brand strategy is to meet your audience where they are. A treasure trove of great content is there for you to use for your own brand and platform building, but you need to relax and allow it to come to the surface. With your beginner's mind, answer the following six questions.
6 Questions Reveal Your Brand Strategy
- Make a list of questions you are asked most often by other writers. Then, separate these questions into the following categories: craft, theme, creativity, and publishing.
- When people approach you after an event, what are the compliments you hear most often? In other words, what are you doing really well?
- Reflecting on your writing career, what inspirational quotes stay with you?
- What do you consider the stages of development for a writer? What does each stage look like?
- Make a list of challenges you've faced in your writing life.
- In your library, which are the five most important books?
How to Organize Your Content
The question you might be thinking is: what do I do with this information? At least, I hope this is your question because it is the topic of a future post.
The answer depends on your style of working and your methods of organization. So before I launch into suggestions, I'd like to hear from you first. Post your organizational tips, questions, and thoughts in the comment section below.
Let me know how I can help you walk the walk to develop your brand!