Monday, June 27, 2011

Branding Your Blog

When I was first setting up this blog (way back when....a couple of months ago) Techno God Rob imparted some important wisdom about branding.  He told me I needed to figure out my product and then stick to that subject.  If the product was me than it didn't matter what I blogged about because I would still be selling myself (that didn't come out right but you know what I mean).  If the product was my book or writing I needed to stick to those subject matters or else I would risk alienating my core readers.

I gave his advice a lot of thought.  Other writer's blogs are all over the map.  Some of them focus exclusively on their books.  Some have developed a focus on the brave new world of publishing.  Some do author interviews or book reviews and some just talk about whatever is on the author's mind on any given day.  Even the big guys and girls, the celebs of writerland, don't follow a set formula.  After a couple months of informal research it's become clear to me that there is no rule of thumb apart from that of, "YOU MUST BLOG." 

Which leads me to the next question.  What is a writer's brand?  Is it our book, our writing skills or just our bright shiny faces coming to you from our RSS Feed each and every day (okay, in summer only three times a week). 

I think the answer is that it depends.  I know, I know, that's probably the least satisfying answer ever!  Anyway, here's my analysis. 

Does my blog reading audience want to hear about my book each and every day?  No, absolutely not!  I love Losing Beauty like a child, a fictional child, and even I don't want to hear about it every day.

So what about writing?  I'm a writer, should my brand be writing advice?  In my case the answer is again no.  There are already so many amazing blogs that give great advice about writing.  I don't feel like I have much substance to add to the discussion that hasn't already been said by other people in more elegant ways than I could manage.  See here http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/ and here http://www.waterytart23.blogspot.com/ for good examples of these blogs.

I think the previous two sentences can be equally applied to building a brand around publishing advice and author interviews.  There's no way I could compete with these amazing blogs http://www.jennymilchman.com/blog/ and http://landofnodtrilogy.blogspot.com/  And to tell the truth I love all of the aforementioned blogs so much I wouldn't want to compete.

Which leaves, well, me.  I think my bloggy brand is about the way I see life.  My goal is to entertain and distract for a few moments of your day in hopes that those moments will be enough to convince you I'm equally capable of entertaining and distracting for a whole book.  Some days that might mean an author interview or book review.  Sometimes it might mean a well-thought out discussion on a serious topic and every now and then it might just be a picture of me on an elephant.  Does your blog have a brand?  I'd love to hear about it.

Entertain and distract, kind of like protect and serve but more fun.


13 comments:

Hart Johnson said...

Hey sweetie! Thank you for the shout out!!! I am totally with you on 'all book, all the time'=boring. I mean OF COURSE a blog from an author talks about the books, but I've only seen a single blog pull this off well. Becoming Layla is the authors attempt to learn all the skills her super spy heroine needs and it rocks. Mostly though, I think we either need to be HELPFUL or ENTERTAINING, and I don't feel expert enough to be helpful day in and day out.

For what it's worth, i think you're doing a great job. You definitely have an entertaining perspective and a mix of writing and life seems a reasonable balance for a writer.

Johanna Garth said...

Aww, thanks Hart! But I have to say you do a great job at mixing both the helpful and entertaining together on a daily basis.

Gary Hoover said...

Love the elephant!!! Can't go wrong with that.

Johanna Garth said...

Thanks Gary. Who doesn't love an elephant, right!

SBJones said...

Yes, my blog has a brand. It is dominated by my journey into the self publishing world. Prior to it's creation, I had no experience.

It is not 100% about self publishing though. It also has a bit of a diary element as I talk about things that I found useful and things that I did not. I add in some personal information as well so it can relate on a personal level over strictly a business level.

In the end though it serves one goal. For it to be a place that generates exposure to my work.

jenny milchman said...

Thank you so much for putting my blog in that incredible company, Johanna. In my case, my blog really is the authors who people it, and I agree--they put great, raw, true content out there. I don't feel it's me at all, so I don't really think I have a brand, a personal one. It's a hard question, and one I've been able to put off for a long time, given how long my work was on submission.

In your case, being part of one of the most rad writer's collectives for this brave new world of publishing is a pretty cool identify, if not a brand. And the first few pages of your novel are certainly a selling point. Maybe all that adds up to a brand?

Johanna Garth said...

SB, I always enjoy stopping by your blog.

Jenny, good point about FIBP, and one that I haven't played up at all in this blog...hmmmm

Connie J Jasperson said...

This is pretty timely for me! Thank you, as always!

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