Q: For writers new to the idea of writing as a business, what are some of the mistakes to avoid when thinking about branding? —Gabrielle

Andrea: Great question.

One of the biggest personal branding mistakes is trying to be everything to everyone. A lot of this is based in fear–that if we have too narrow of a focus, we won’t appeal to enough people. But something important happens when we go deep on the things we truly care about: we gain clarity, and that makes us more appealing to others as well.

We’re often told that branding is all about our audience–not ourselves. In other words, we’re supposed to appeal to what they want in order to be successful. And while that is true to a degree, we also have to be true to ourselves.  I think that’s actually where we should start.

More and more, readers crave authenticity. You can’t have authenticity without deep self-knowledge. But you don’t have to share EVERYTHING either.

in general, writers should have a layer of separation between who they are as a person and who they are as a brand. You can use your voice, style, talent, personality, and knowledge to express the parts of yourself that you are willing to share publicly.

For example, you might be interested in a variety of subjects but most want to write about only one or two, in this case, your focus should be there. That’s only one example though, you can differentiate yourself from other writers in subject matter, approach, voice, and other ways.

Keep the focus on what you want to build your brand around, not being “all the things.” Zero-in on one primary throughline to your work and once you’ve established yourself there, you can always add new priorities/facets, down the line.


Do you have a burning question about branding your writing or creativity? The business or psychological side to pursuing your dream of supporting yourself with your creative work? Please email it to me. It just might get selected to be featured on this blog.


 

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