Monday, January 17, 2011

Branding Yourself as an Online Writer

When you look around, you will see brands everywhere. From the shoes on your feet to the light bulbs that you use, brands are everywhere. As an online writer, you should also have a brand. It will make you more recognizable which, in turn, will get more readers to your online work.

Branding yourself can be challenging, but is isn't as difficult as you might think. This is especially true if your are a niche writer. When your online articles falls into a niche, that niche can take on the role of your brand. For those of us who are not niche writers, it may take a little time to come up with a brand that suits us, our online writing and our writing style.

I have worked hard at branding myself. Once I realized that "online writing gigs" were profitable, I knew I had to brand myself and my work. By that time, I had established myself as a "non-niche writer" and there was no turning back. I had to find a way to make myself stand out from the millions of other online writers my readers could turn to.

I had to figure out what made me different from all other online writers and use that to my advantage. I had a few things going for me from the start - an unusual name, a cute little dog as an avatar and a nickname I had for years. I knew I had to make those three things work together as my individual brand as an online writer.

  • Emma Riley Sutton - When I first started writing, I was simply Emma Sutton. I did a Google search and learned there was an English actress that shared my name. I knew that even if I could compete with her and her career, I would get lost in all her acting credits when it came to online searches. I added my middle name and the rest is history. 
  • Maisie -  Because of my personal safety issues, I never use a photograph of myself. I started using a photo of my service dog, Maisie, instead. I was constantly getting "oh, what a cute dog" comments and emails from all over the world. Maisie now served a new purpose - the face to my work. It also helped that I was doing a lot of writing about animals and animal issues. This was working well for me.
  • The Queen of Useless Information -  I've been known for years as "The Queen of Useless Information" by friends and family members. Because I am not a niche writer and really have no interest in pigeon holing myself into one or two categories, I began using this nickname. This is working great. If my readers do not remember my name or Maisie's photo, they know my nickname. As my online portfolio grows and covers more and more unrelated topics, The Queen of Useless Information suits me better and better.
I played to my strengths when began branding myself. You should do the same. Consider all the things that you do well as an online writer and find a brand for yourself that encompasses as many of them as possible. Take a look at your online writing style and create a brand that will complement your unique style.

Another important key, perhaps the most important key, to branding yourself is using one name and one name only. You want your readers, your fan base, to be able to easily access all of your online articles. When you use more than one name, it is difficult for them to find your body of work in one place - such as search engines like Google and Bing. Keep in mind that many readers do not understand that writers often use pen names and those who do will not understand why you would use more than one name.

Discovering your brand can take some time. Work on it daily and find the brand that will work best for you. By creating a brand for yourself, you will see much more profitable your online writing can be.

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