Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Every Writer Has a Brand

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Great Writers Brand

This is Day 14 in the Great Writers series. Click here to see a list of other days, and be sure to join the community on Facebook.

The number one question I hear writers ask is this: “Do I have to have a brand?”

It may come in the form of, “Do I really need to care about marketing?” Or, “Why should I worry about self-promotion?”

But really, they’re all saying the same thing: “I don’t want to do the work.”

It’s a subtle form of arrogance to believe your work can stand on its own without any help. Sure, you might get lucky (which is rare). But if you’re like most writers who make it, you’ll have to hustle. And branding yourself is part of the process.

For some reason, a lot of creative people push back on the idea that they need a brand. It feels gimmicky and non-artistic. But the truth is you already have a brand; you just need to do something with it.

Why everyone has a brand

A brand is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an impression you leave on a customer or reader; it’s a mental imprint. We all have them.

You’ve likely heard some adage about the importance of first impressions. This is branding — the belief that people get an idea in their mind of your personality based on an experience they had.

Sometimes, the impression is accurate; sometimes, it’s not. But it’s never the full picture of the person, (that’s impossible). And that’s okay. It’s what branding is all about.

A brand is the simplest, most memorable part of yourself you can give.

People are forming an opinion of you right now. You can either participate in what they think, or not. Either way, you’re going to be stuck with a brand.

The challenge

Brand yourself. There are three elements of every brand (which I talk about in my eBook, You Are a Writer). You need to pay attention to each one:

  • Pick a name. This is what you call yourself (e.g. Copyblogger or Anne Lamott). It may be your given name or a pseudonym; whatever it is, make sure you’re consistent. Your website, business cards, and social media all need to say the same thing.
  • Create an image. This can be a logo or headshot. It’s whatever you want to use to make people recognize you. If it’s a photo, people ought to be able to recognize you in real life from it. Also, make sure it’s on your blog, Twitter profile, etc. Don’t use different images; make them all the same. Michael Hyatt does a great job with this.
  • Find your voice. This is more than how you sound. It’s your style as a communicator. If you aren’t confident in your unique voice, go through these 10 steps to find it.

Do you have a branding story worth sharing? I’d love to hear it. Share in the comments. And if you’re blogging through the series, add your links to the daily challenges here.

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About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. To get updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • http://www.delemares.wordpress.com/ sandra delemare

    I currently use the same image on my blog and twitter. It’s also my gravatar image and you can see it beside this comment. I keep thinking it’s a bit frivolous for what I’m about. Anyone got any comments on that? Do I come across as an ancient bunny girl or what?

    • http://www.delemares.wordpress.com/ sandra delemare

      here’s a slightly bigger version

      • Caroline

        I am not sure what your style of writing is Sandra, but the photo makes it look light-hearted and fun-loving. Possibly a bit quirky :) 

        • http://www.delemares.wordpress.com/ sandra delemare

          Thanks, I write on quite serious stuff, but try to keep it light and add some humour. Even Shakespeare had the drunken porter scene in a tradegy

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        Sandra, I like the bunny ears. That said, it’s hard to see your face. I suggest more of a closeup.

        • http://www.delemares.wordpress.com/ sandra delemare

          Thanks, Jeff. I’ve just cropped the original image

  • http://twitter.com/iamryno Ryan A. Smith

    A couple years back I came to the realization that it’s important to use the same image for all my online “personalities”. The difficulty in this is when that image needs to change. It can be a full-time job just to change over all of your sites to a new image. Maybe I’m out there on too many different sites? I do keep a check list of all the sites though that when changes need to be made, I don’t forget to change any.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      if it works… the point is to be consistent. thanks for sharing, Ryan.

  • Caroline

    Thanks Jeff, for this post as I struggle with the whole idea of branding and promoting myself, but I guess that is what this world is about.

  • http://twitter.com/RichardJLester Richard J Lester

    Self affirmation by saying ‘I am a writer’ or ‘I am a basketball player’ or ‘I am a Christian’ or ‘I am a fisherman’ could be considered a statement of truth or an indication of a weakness in self believe?
    Is is really necessary to ‘brand’ oneself or to be branded by others through the recognition of your achievements?

    • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

      If I may jump in, I think it’s a combination of both. 

      Zig Ziglar talks a lot about having a positive attitude and things it can do for you in life and business. There’s something to be said about the wisdom from a man who has accomplished so much and lived a long and full life. Therefore, saying “I am a ______” is just one small way to reinforce yourself that you are in fact that. 

      Secondly, branding does come from others to some degree. But, having a design background, I have seen time after time that companies can drive the brand to the image they want if they work at it. Yes, there will always be people that perceive them wrongly, but the majority will see the brand you want them to. It all comes down to marketing, and by that I don’t mean ads, I mean everything from your physique to your mental attitude, writing, speech, everything you do. We’re all in sales, all the time. 

      Hope that helps. 

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        great answer, Jared. my point was this: you HAVE a brand. call it an impression or whatever, but people are forming an opinion of you. you can participate in it or not, but it’s going to happen.

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    I have a question. When I started blogging in ’09, I was “Chatty Kelly.” I used that brand for 2 years, before I decided I should use my real name. But at a conference last year (She Speaks), no one knew me if I said “Kelly Combs” but they knew “Chatty Kelly.” So now I use both (my blog is Chatty Kelly, with my photo & name now in the header to create name awareness with my brand – Chatty Kelly). I also have a website with my real name: Kelly Combs

    Should I try to migrate to Kelly Combs, or stay Chatty Kelly? How do I integrate the two?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Kelly, that doesn’t surprise me. I would migrate over to Kelly Combs. It’ll take some time and repetition, but ultimately you only have so much space in a person’s brain. Try to keep it as simple as possible. You could maybe do it iteratively with a parenthetical (Chatty Kelly) behind your name for awhile, but it sounds like you’re already doing that. Time to make the switch.

      • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

        Thanks Jeff.

    • http://twitter.com/MLSchwienD Michele Schwien

      I look forward to hearing responses to this!

      I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I have thought that I know I’m new at this, I know I’ll make mistakes, I know I’ll grow and change. I assumed everyone got started and those still in the game a couple of years later go through a branding make-over. 

  • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

    Good points here. Glad to see that you’ve nailed what a brand actually is…I get so many people thinking a brand is your logo. And that it just needs some make the logo bigger cream to get noticed. 

    http://www.makemylogobiggercream.com/

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      ugh. totally NOT a logo. (but I hear that, too.)

  • Entirelytooperky

    “A brand is the simplest, most memorable part of yourself you can give.” Very well put!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      thanks!

  • http://www.nebraskagraceful.blogspot.com Michelle DeRusha

    When I first started writing I named my blog “Graceful,” based on the working title of my book. Then I changed the name of my book when I began to pitch agents. And if the book ever sells, the name will surely change again. Lesson learned: my name is my brand…not the ever-changing name of my book.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Excellent.

    • http://twitter.com/MLSchwienD Michele Schwien

      Ahhh . . . that makes sense. 

  • http://www.danapittman.com/ Dana Pittman

    I built a brand with my company. However, building a brand with my writing has been…interesting. **with a slight eye-roll**

    I felt lead to add a name to my brand besides my own. It was risky. Somewhat scarey because it raised the stacks for me.

    I did it. But I’m nervous every time I see it.  Why? Because I know it is apart of me that I have kept secret, except to those close to me. However, I’ve done it for years. Now I have to walk in it. Pray for me.

    Thus for branding I used my name and my role is a “Spiritual Midwife”…my tag line is “helping women give birth to their purpose.”

    • joyceglass

      I love that name!  Spiritual Midwife! – God is always birthing something in us if we are listening to Him!

    • http://oneconfusedlady.blogspot.com/ Anokina Shahbaz

       I love that tagline Dana! That’s so clever.

    • http://www.danapittman.com/ Dana Pittman

       Thank you both, @AnokinaS33:disqus and @joyceglass:disqus . Yes, God is always birthing something in us and sometimes we need a little push from those He’s placed around us. Have a great weekend.

    • http://denisedilley.blogspot.com/ Denise Dilley

      LOVE it!

  • http://jkflickinger.wordpress.com/ Judith_flickinger

    First off.  Bought a copy of  “the War of Art”  loved every word and found it terrifically helpful!  A real keeper in my refernce library. Fab!  Next.  I love the list of questions. I’ll Blog my list and see how I fare.    Should be an eye-opener.

    These challenges have been very rewarding even though I fell short on some. But I beleive that falling short and acknowledging that fact  is where the growth as a writer really starts.  If I think nothing is wrong with my writing then  it wil lbe stagnant and lack sparkle. To continually evolve is a big part of being a successful writer. 

    Thanks so much for putting this all together.

    One Challenge to go!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      awesome!

  • http://www.majorinthegraceofgod.blogspot.com/ dale carroll-coleman

    This is good stuff. Thanks Jeff.
    MY kids tease me and tell me I have a speaking voice. I ask them if it’s different than my yelling voice? Lol. They say its very calm… unlike me. Kids!
    thanks for this blog series. I have been traveling since it started and it has been difficult to write consistently. July will be my Jeff Goins read blog month.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      sounds like a great month. :)

  • http://www.sonyamacdesigns.com/ sonyamacdesigns

    because of my journey & folks like you … I am in the process of re-branding myself as a writer who writes with words & images  http://www.sonyamacdesigns.com/ with a voice that is honest and not so sweet.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      awesome!

  • http://www.transformationaleditor.com/ SuzanneG

    This is the hardest habit for me.  I’ve known I need to tweak my brand (what I have so far) and run up against my impossible to spell last name every time I think about it.  Even cousins and aunts get it wrong after mmphh years!  It’s just that I can’t pick a pen name, because I keep thinking I’ll get it wrong.  I know that’s crazy… but whatever I pick has to work forever, right?

    Standing on the edge of the nest here – and afraid to jump.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Nah. Not forever, but you should take it seriously. The real secret is there is no wrong choice. Just choose and be consistent.

  • http://www.eileenknowles.com Eileen

    Alright, I read it last week in Michael Hyatt’s book and now I see it again here.  Just changed my FB profile pic to match my twitter one…that’s a baby step, right?   Also, my twitter handle is cupojoegirl and my blog is The Scenic Route. I heart coffee and I love taking the scenic route. :)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Yep. That part convicted me, too.

  • http://twitter.com/lornafaith Lorna Faith

    Branding has been a little tricky for me…or at least it feels like it. I call my blog ‘Surfing for Shoes’, a metaphor for looking for and walking in your identity/purpose. God had given me a vivid picture awhile back, after I had asked Him what my purpose was, and I saw myself sitting on top of a dirt hill and down below were many people of different ages,etc. and they all had one thing in common. No one had shoes. Right in front of them were all these barrels filled with shoes but no one would walk up to it. So I ran down the hill and started dumping over the barrels and helping people find and try on shoes that fit them. Anyway…so that’s kind of where the name comes from.

    But despite my ‘tagline description’(helping you get to where you’re going), I’m not sure if it works…maybe I need to change it? Jeff if you would pass along your advice…I’d appreciate it:) You know ideas to make it better…should I change the name, etc. Great Post…needed that. Thanks Jeff!

    • smdupont

      Do you mind if I step in? Since a metaphor is just a tighter version of a simile, have you tried throwing out some comparisons?  Play with those words barefoot, dirt, barrels, shoes, and add path, journey, purpose, etc.  Maybe you’ve already done this. It makes me think of the old song “These boots were made for walking”.  Change out boots for shoes.  Good luck.

  • Lisa R

    I am very new to an online presence reflecting my writing so, of course, I have a question. The title of my blog is Write What You know and my pen name is lisarrrr reflective of the name I use here. Which one would be considered the brand? I am serious about writing, and over the last few days, I have considered changing the name on my blog to my full name, but keeping the same title as I want to write honestly from the heart. What does everyone think?

  • http://www.economicliferecovery.com/ Nicholas Brack

    Would welcome feedback on the brand I’ve created …

    “Economic Life Recovery”.  

    I am a writer … and a recovering hedge fund manager (here’s a piece I wrote on this as a contributor to the Sound Dollar Campaign … http://bit.ly/KRpxXT)

    This in mind I could use some feedback … (Note that the following also has some structure on the platform, but it does incorporate the concept of the brand throughout.)

    In essence, every interaction (exchange) we have in life has an economic component.  And it it’s not just about “money”  … it can be the exchange of value, ideas, feeling, encouragement, etc.  All of it impacts our “personal economy” … just like the goinswriter.com/15habits exchange is changing all of our “personal economies” even if money hasn’t changed hands.

    I am thinking …  from a platform perspective … of having three columns on the site … 

    1. (left column)  “Economic LIFE ” with writing more focused on financial, economic, and money ideas  and issues that affect all of us …

    2. (middle column)  “LIFE Recovery” with writing focused on more of the thinking behind what we place value on, and how to recover from a poverty mindset and fears that keep us from living an abundant life … 

    and lastly 

    3. (right column) “… just LIFE” a space where I can go a bit off the direct topic and incorporate more personal aspects of my own financial recovery and “story” as a testimony for others to gain strength.

    My personal opinion is we are in the most difficult economic times of our generation (and many before ours) … and a message on how to “recover” your economic life (already inside you when you “pick yourself”) with both practical and inspirational content would bring new found value to many …

    Please be critical … I would truly welcome any ideas.

    Thanks in advance … Nicholas

    • http://twitter.com/lornafaith Lorna Faith

      Just checked out your site Nicholas…thought I’d add my 2 cents:) It’s nice and neat looking and your posts draw my eyes in. Love your take ‘every interaction in life has an economic component’…I can see that thought weaving it’s way thru your posts. Love the idea of add the ‘just life” component…stories really draw people in, at least that’s what pulls me in:-)

      • http://www.economicliferecovery.com/ Nicholas Brack

        Thanks Lorna.  I really appreciate your comments.  Cheers!

    • Lisa R

      Do you already have this set up? I found what I thought was your blog, but I didn’t see any of this set up? Maybe I have the wrong link. :)  From what you’ve written, it sounds pretty good. Oh, and if you’re interested, I had some great news yesterday. Got the first assignment back from my writing instructor and at the top was written, “You write well!” Made my day!  And my husband is also better. Yay!!

      • http://www.economicliferecovery.com/ Nicholas Brack

        AWESOME!  Its the little wins that bring fresh wind into the sails.

        You probably saw the right site http://www.economicliferecovery.com … and I wanted to update the platform so I could get more flexible with the content.  Like the “just life” component.

        • Lisa R

          That’s what I thought. Thanks for letting me know. 

  • http://twitter.com/Ashley_E_Prince Ashley Prince

    I really want to get professional headshots done so that I can find the best one for my brand. 

    There are days that I really wanted to have a pseudonym, but someone once told me that Ashley Prince is a very memorable name. So I think I’ll still with it.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      It really is.

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    My first blog was the worst example of this. I called it Odd and Sundry. I would post at Odd and Sundry times.
    Then I created my Twitter profile calling myself Larry The Deuce, because My full nake ends with the suffic, II.
    I finally settled on a blog titles Deuceology. People remember it. I’m referred to as Deuce a lot now. T-shirts are on the horizon.

    • joyceglass

      Hopefully no orange T-shirts! Think Sandra Bullock in The Blindside – orange is not in my color wheel! ;) Red & Black are my favorites!!

      • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

        Pantone 151 is the official color of Orange for all Vol fans. :)

  • http://www.SamJolman.com/ Sam Jolman

    Jeff, thanks for the post.  Its very clear and helpful.  The image you gave of a cattle brand is helpful… What imprint am I leaving on others?  I like it.  

    What made you decide to go with “Goins Writer” rather than “Jeff Goins”?  

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      :)

      • http://www.SamJolman.com/ Sam Jolman

        HA!  Moo!  

        So you’re saying sticking with it and hard work are still required?!  Shoot!

  • http://www.bethcoulton.com/ Beth

    This is clearly where I struggle the most.  My blog branding was at first confusing to even me – the domain name was too long and didn’t match the title, etc.  About a year ago I switched to using my personal name as my domain name and have never looked back. I am so glad I did that.  It’s just so EASY to tell someone who’s inquiring about my blog.  I also switched the blog name to something simple with the word “chocolate” in it because well, let’s face it,  that’s just represents a lot of who I am.  ;)

    So while I’m happy with all that, I hate my picture/headshot.  And, I have different ones all over the place.  Gotta fix that.

    Jeff, I adore the image of the typewriter you have above- that spoke to my writer’s and typist’s heart the moment  I saw it.  And I was hooked.

    • smdupont

      Beth, I just visited your blog, yesterday.  I loved it, especially your tag line.  As for your head shot, I’ve read that it sometimes help to have a photo taken from slightly above, having the subject slightly look up.  Don’t know if that will help.  I’ve got a lot of changes to make, myself.  

  • Becky Daye

    When I married my husband, I inherited an amazing last name and I use it like crazy.  But sometimes I wonder if others find that annoying?  My blog is Daye by Daye and my twitter handle is ohappydaye.  So opinions?  Is that confusing or does it make sense?

    • Julie Anne (@whimsicalwords)

      I always recognize you… It works for me! :)

    • http://www.bethcoulton.com/ Beth

      if you’ve got it, flaunt it. ;)

  • Tina Barbour

    I write my blog under Tina Fariss Barbour, but my twitter acct is under TinaFBarbour. Does a little difference like that even make a difference? Should I make everything my whole name? I know it’s a small thing, but if a small thing makes a difference . . . . 

    Thanks for your help!

    http://bringingalongocd.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/NanaCannon Terri Cannon

    My blog is Nana’s Faith. And that pretty much is my brand. I use the same photo there, my Twitter and my Facebook. Well, my Facebook changes occasionally but I always go back to the photo.

  • Kaitlin

    I’ve always wondered … my name is Kaitlin de Graffenried. People have such a hard time saying (it follows standard phonetic rules) and spelling it. So I’m hesitant to use it for branding, even though it’s unique and I love it. I just don’t see a url with de Graffenried in it being easy. Should I shorten it? Keep it?

    • Becky Daye

      I kind of like the idea of shortening it.  Do you ever go by Kait?  Kait de Graff  sounds kinda cool. 

    • joyceglass

      Katlin, you may want do something with your first name and shorten the last name.  My maiden name is Brenneman.  I feel your pain.

      Kaitlindegraff  Or KaitlinGraff  either one of those would be easy to use. or the Kaitdegraff works to like Becky said. 

      • Kaitlin

        Thanks y’all!

  • http://www.tcmcmullen.com/ TC McMullen

    I started the branding thing about eleven years ago. Going with T.C. McMullen was easy, if a little bland. I happen to like the way my initials sound and I’m very Irish who married Irish. Sticking to an image was hard. At first I worked to brand my book. My first book was a psychological thriller. A book or two later, and I was writing fantasy thrillers. Honestly it wasn’t until recently that I started putting something coherent together. I am the full moon, color blue/silver, and nature. And my characters. Still working on making something not so chaotic out of all of that, but after reading this, I think I might have it. I’ll know by next week :-)

  • Kim Galgano

    I hate self-promotion and the pride comes from desiring the person of Jesus (not religion) to be noticed miles in front of anything I do, so it’s been a struggle. I also hate the boxed-in feel of being defined. Funny you should write about this now because my blog today goes right to the heart of this journey toward branding.

    Although I’m hating it, I’m humbly sharing it:  http://chickswithchoices.com/blog/
    I’m learning. Trying. How else will anyone know I’m here?

  • Gabbyred

    Great post Jeff. I am a graphic designer so I know the importance of branding and brand consistency. It’s definitely a different ball game when you are a writer but it is essential to make an impression. The suggestions you’ve made are great. 

    I have struggled, recently with a name change but I think use of a consistent avatar/image across all platforms really helped my little brand stay on track. :)

  • http://www.suzannebroadhurst.com/ Suzanne Broadhurst

    I’ve been working on this very concept – branding – since beginning a blog.  It’s difficult to put who one is into one header, one image, one voice.  You have challenged me to stop being who “they say” I should be, and find who I am.  And what I have to say.  Editing my blog for my old English teachers’ approval is not the way I need to go.  Your 10 steps to finding your voice article is helping, really helping me think.  Thank you.

    • smdupont

      I’m with you on this one.  I contacted friends to ask for their descriptives.  Still waiting for a few more before I come to a conclusion.  It’s not easy, you know.  It just ain’t easy.

  • http://twitter.com/JulieSunne1 Julie Sunne

    I’ve only been blogging and involved in socialmedia  since August. That being said, I believe I’m making strides in branding myself. It has become more important as I get closer to pitching my book.
    One thing I’ve been wondering about is replacing my gravatar with a profile shot. I don’t have a professional photo, so I opted for a created image instead. I do use it on Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, Pinterest, and my blog, and I feel it somewhat sets me apart from all the other head shots out there. However, Michael Hyatt in Platform and most other writing/socialmedia gurus advocate a photo to promote relationship.
    What do you all think? Should I keep my current gravatar or replace it with a professional closeup photo of me? Thanks!
    Keep up the great posts, Jeff!

    • joyceglass

      Definitely professional photo!  People want to see who you are and what you look like.  It makes it more personal and relational.  

      Jeff talks about building a platform is building relationships.  

      Do you have people you know, but you do not know what they look like?

      • http://twitter.com/JulieSunne1 Julie Sunne

         Yep, that’s what I thought. Thanks for verifying.

        • joyceglass

          Glad I could help! I look forward to seeing your picture!!

  • http://www.innovativesavings.net/ Garry Stafford

    “You can either participate in what they think, or not. ”

    Dang.

    Too much time wasted in trying to manipulate what others think (of me or my biz … what’s the diff?) via the brand.

    If only I can make it look better, be cooler, appear smarter, jump higher. THEN it’ll work.

    It’s the other way around. Buy into it. 

    I yam what I yam.

  • http://lovingsimpleliving.com/ Lorilee

    hey, wanted to stop by and say I have been enjoying this series a lot.  Thanks so much!

    I think the personal brand is super important and goes much farther than just writers or self-employed.  Anyone on social media creates a brand with what they say and what they share.  I wrote about this a while ago on my blog :)  It would be great if we could throw whatever we want on the internet and have it not affect the way people see us but it doesn’t work that way.   Someone just complaining or being negative starts creating a brand in other peoples mind.  The same with the positive sides.  In society now everyone needs to work on their brand :)

  • Anthony

    Branding is everything. We all want to know what we’re getting before we get it. It took me some time to put it together. Based on the feedback I have received, it is apparent to me why people read my work and what they expect . Here is a clear example :
    http://www.anthony-carter.com/unfettered-mind-the-importance-of-black-male-mental-health.shtml

    Anthony

    p.s. this is also the name of my first ebook that will be available for free download this week…. Unfettered Mind…. 

  • Sharon O

    It is very interesting to read this.
    When my blog first began I felt the Lord telling me to create a look, a style and a name that is only mine and those who would see it would know… it was me writing it.
    I suppose that would fall into a brand. right?
    Had no idea I was doing it right.
      http://www.sharono-somethingtothinkabout.com/
    Love this series and all the encouragement you have shared.

  • http://marleeward.com/ Marlee

    Hi Jeff,
    These are great suggestions. I think developing a brand isn’t something you can really sit down and just create. You have to start somewhere, and I think you’ve laid out exactly how to start, but ultimately I think your brand will evolve as your voice, purpose, and everything else does. When it comes to building a solid brand, I think you have to be willing to allow the brand to develop before it can truly be established. You do a great job of covering this in your book too! :)

  • Meg R.

    Jeff, you’re gonna ha-ha up your sleeve at me when I tell you this little story.  Years ago I was taking a Bible study and there was homework to write out an answer to bring back and hand in next week.  I did it and when they were being handed back, I was asked why I hadn’t picked mine up.  I said I couldn’t find it.  The teacher handed mine to me and I said, “I don’t think this is mine”.  He said, “Yes, that’s your style.”  One of the other gals heard it and asked, “she has a style?”  and the discussion ensued, I did have a style, I did have good writing skills.  I went into a complete panic, I wasn’t a writer, I was a little journaler,  as a child my mother had told me that I had no talent and to just leave it alone, go do the dishes.  I grabbed my paper and rushed away, but next Sunday the teacher asked if I could write something for the church paper.  I was in a terrible state but got out a tiny piece  that got put in.  He was disappointed, knew I could have done better, but I was too scared.  How dare I have style???? 

    I have known for years that I have a voice, a style that is unique, ideas, opinions but the fear of being found out has kept me paralyzed all this time.  I do what you say in these lessons, they are great, the stories sit in my documents or in a file folder in the desk.  Don’t think I’ll ever get beyond this step but I definitely enjoy being part of the writing crowd on this site with you.

    Thank you very much,

    Meg      

  • http://twitter.com/stacey29lincoln Stacey29lincoln

    When I started blogging, I was very purposeful in the look and feel of my blog.  I knew what I wanted to build.  I had no idea what building it would lead to. Now, I see a need to enhance the brand.  I need to have my name be the umbrella that my blog, ebooks, speaking and future endeavors rest under.  That is what I’m working on now.  

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    Jeff my brand is Tales of Work and I believe people know me as the guy that talks about and gives tips on work, business and chasing your dreams. If they don’t I’ve got some work to do :)

    • http://unknownjim.com/ Jim Woods

      Or the hustling bread man who doesn’t sleep. That could be a cool tshirt by the way :) You are ROCKING it Kimanzi. 

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    I think that this brand also gets strengthened the more forms of media that you are in. If you can tie in twitter, facebook, video, audio, images, and your blog – then I think your brand can much more clearly be seen.
    Not that I’d advocate doing all of those things just for the branding, but it is a definite benefit.

  • Claire Handscombe

    I write as Claire Lyman, in homage to the  TV show that inspired me – and also to catch the eye of my potential readers, who are likely to be fans of the same TV show or at least interested in the same topic matter. 

    That said, the non fiction version of me writes under my “real” name. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, as she has a bit of platform already – whether merging the two identities would bring me added readership, at least in the Venn-diagram-intersection of people who love languages/people who love politics. (And since my first novel is about a language-tutor-turned-politician, that could maybe be a good thing…)

  • http://twitter.com/ACoonJr Aaron Coon

    Quote: “People are forming an opinion of you right now. You can either participate in what they think, or not. Either way, you’re going to be stuck with a brand.”
    That is so true. Your reputation is going to be shaped whether you participate in it or not. The question is, what are you going to do about it? The way I see it, you have two choices: 1) Sit around and do nothing but watch, or 2) Get into the game and start playing (my preferred choice). 

    This is something that I have been struggling with and I am trying to be more intentional about doing. Thanks for the post Jeff!!

    Aaron Coon
    http://lightandsalvation.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/redefining-your-voice/

  • http://slicedupfor.me/ James Holder

    Thank you once again. I feel much closer to my already-chosen “Slicer” name after this inspired me to make an acronym out of it. Found plenty of value in that voice-finding post, as well. The image-creation process remains incomplete but it did push me into owning my fiction-gamer-coder image, so a commission will come out of that.

  • David Hutto

    I like the ideas you propose here on branding, that it takes work, that we leave an impression no matter what, that merely writing all alone is not enough (nor was it enough for Dickens or Twain, who knew to promote themselves). What I resist, however, is terminology. I hate the word “branding” because it comes from modern commercial culture,  which I find frantic and obsessed with itself. I must be a curmudgeon.

    David Hutto (writeortakeanap.wordpress.com)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1163584527 Jan Roberts Culpepper

    I’ve resisted “branding” myself, but with this as my motivation I’ve begun to try. Here is what I’ve got so far: http://simplyjan.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/my-brand-is-simply-jan/

  • http://www.innerwits.com/ Dawn Epstein

    I’m working on consistency.  I have several different blogs, plus my photography website (www.dawnepstein.com), my day job persona, and my FB page.  I recently designed a new header, and a color scheme I’m beginning to use everywhere. It is still a work in progress, and I would appreciate feedback.

    I didn’t see it mentioned, so forgive me if it is redundant, but a very good, relatively inexpensive way to get a nice clean logo for yourself is at 99designs.com.  Some friends of mine had their e-book cover designed through a competition organized with them and it came out beautifully.

  • Ranch Mama

    I think this is one of the few things I got right. I am Ranch Mama. I’ve even almost introduced myself that way. I’ve been very lucky in that I was able to use it for almost all my social media. Noe to work on the head shot… I’ve used the same one throughout, but am not sure it’s the best one… I haven’t been able to blog everyday, but am slowly catching up!

  • judith flickinger

    My Blog post turned into a thesis.  Wow!  I couldn’t stop myself.  jkflickinger.wordpress.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/richlionhearted Rich Proctor

    This is the brand I was born to build.

    http://www.richproctor.com/2012/06/take-my-breath-away.html

  • judith flickinger

    Hallelujah!  New blog header.   image and everything.  Wow that was hard.

  • http://twitter.com/JournalisticJoe Joseph Dorsey

    Since freshman year of college, my brand name has been “JournalisticJoe” starting with my twitter and now my tumblr. 

    Thank God for friends who are serious about their business major they’ve noticed my writing and suggested that I get a wordpress.

    My good friend Austin also suggested Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow, a book on marketing/branding your unique skills or services. 

  • Ralfweiser

    Agreed, lock stock and barrel.  Another great brand is Jeffrey Gitomer.  He does what Jeff is talking about all the time.  http://www.gitomer.com  Color, photos, voice everything is congruent.  Humans thrive on being able to count on predictability and predictable outcome.  Without that there would be chaos.  Knowing this is to your benefit. 

  • Pattie

    This is the hardest thing and not something I can just jump into in one day…so it will be a process.

  • Lisa R

    Here is my blog entry for Day 14. http://writewhatyouknowdotorg.wordpress.com/

    And if anyone is on here this afternoon, I would really appreciate thoughts and prayers. I have been getting some resistance to pursuing this writing dream I have from my husband. Oh, he is outwardly being supportive. But he is also content to come home from work every day and interact with next to no one except for me and our children.  I think the changes I have gone through over this last year are scaring him. Through my writing, I have realized that I need to have community (in real life and online) and that social isolation is not good for me. All of the times before when he’s been sick, we have been isolated. I can’t do that anymore, and I don’t think he understands why. Thank you.

    • http://www.transformationaleditor.com/ SuzanneG

      Lisa, I’m here to hear your call for support.  Surrounding you and your husband in pink light (for unconditional love).  You will find the way to reassure him that just because you are stretching and growing, he will not lose you… you will only be a more interesting and stimulating woman.

    • http://denisedilley.blogspot.com/ Denise Dilley

      Will be praying for you & your husband!  I understand.  My husband is bi-polar with extreme social anxiety & rarely goes out.  I’m an introvert, but love to be around people & do things.  Community is such a good thing & we were created for it!  Lots & lots of prayers!!

    • http://www.tcmcmullen.com/ TC McMullen

      Changes are the only certainty in life, and we must do what we must do to follow our hearts. That does not always mean leaving what we have behind to pursue new things. We can move forward with some things while staying the same with others. Your husband and you will need to find that happy medium. He needs to understand that you need to do your thing for your writing, and you understand he needs his isolation when he needs it. A marriage can work with each doing different things. Mine has, for twenty years now. I do my thing, he does his. You just have to make a point to meet in the middle regularly and spend time together when you can. I wish you much love and peace through the adjustments as you grow. 

  • http://denisedilley.blogspot.com/ Denise Dilley

    Here’s the thing, I’m OK with the whole idea of branding.  But I’m still not sure how to do it properly for myself.  My book has a brand – Totally Fiction.  No problem there.  

    Personally, I’ve changed several times.  When I used to blog over on MySpace (yikes!), I would always start with the greeting, “Hello, and welcome to another late night chat with Denise!”  Which was great because I literally was up late at night and just chatting about whatever.  Now I’m trying to focus my blog more on my heart & passion of outreach, hope, and redemption.  Not that I’ve done any good with focusing either.  My blog’s all over the place!  LOL   I’ve stuck with “The Ramblings with Denise Dilley” for a while now, but wondered if I should change it.

    If you would be so kind, check out my blog & give me some suggestions!!!  Thanks!!

  • http://twitter.com/Nathan_Roten Nathan Roten

    Branding is a bear of a task.  I have gone through many ways I want to be branded or ‘known as,’ and because it truly is revealing a personal aspect of yourself, it is difficult to settle on.  Even more than that, it sometimes is hard to reveal to the world. 

    I have been following your blogs for a while now, Jeff, and I really do appreciate your advise.  You are spot on.  My most recent struggle was to hide behind an insecurity and try to use a weakness as a jovial springboard ( It started off as being called Faceplant: Success from the Ash of Failure.), but quickly realized that what I really want to be known for is being bold for Christ.   So, in light of that thought, that is exactly what I have branded myself as:  NathanRoten.com | Bold

    Thanks Jeff!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ren-Liao/100003964238465 Ren Liao

    Search all over the world’s shops from here. http://www.wwjw.com/

  • Jenny Bravo

    I love this series! So glad I stumbled upon this on pinterest. Amazing website, and I’ll definitely be checking in for more great tips!

    Jenny
    http://www.blotsandplots.com

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