Posted by Mary Beth Dahl on November 17, 2015
It’s who you are.
Who you connect with.
What you have to offer.
And why that matters.
Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. I’ve been trying to finish Book 2 in the Balustrade series, and I’ve been stumped trying to figure out my brand. Not which brand I like, but which brand I am.
If you’re not in sales and marketing or haven’t recently attended a writer’s workshop on how to sell books, then you may not know what I’m talking about. I know it may sound ridiculous to the average, hardworking chap just trying to be himself and do a good job, but figuring out your brand is one of the most important things a writer can do.
I have balked at this. Fought it. Disagreed. And tried to ignore it. But I can’t, and personally, I don’t think anyone can. That includes you.
After months of researching and praying and watching marketing videos, I’ve discovered something. I’ve discovered that branding isn’t as evil as I thought it was. It’s not just another hoop to jump through. It’s about purpose, direction, and being intentional, and those are not bad things.
Message and purpose matter.
Deep down I’ve always known that my message has more to it than just being a good story. It’s about hope, encouragement, and strength. It’s for people who are messed up and broken, but not staying there. People who are learning to live out love and forgiveness for themselves and others. It’s for that warrior inside of all of us who wants to stand up and fight, but who feels like a failure, fraud, or freak.
Of course, I’ve had to battle the voices in my head that keep reminding me that other people can do this better than I can. There will always be other people who can do this better than I can. That doesn’t change the fact that this is part of who I am and what I’m meant to do.
That’s what this dive into figuring out my brand has taught me. But let’s not stop there. This post isn’t all about me. There’s something in this for you too.
What I really want to suggest here is that all of us should have a brand. We all need to know who we are, whose lives we can touch, what we have to offer, and why that can make a difference.
So I challenge you to explore your brand.
You don’t have to be a writer or an artist or a musician to have a brand. Maybe you’re a teacher reaching young minds and helping them grow with your insights, standards, and patience, because you can make a difference.
If I hadn’t been forced to explore this branding thing, I would’ve continued being pulled here and there by trends and whatever seemed easy, attainable, and the least threatening. But now I move forward with purpose.
What about you? Are you willing to take the branding challenge?
Ask yourself some questions and fill in the following statements. (Please note that the following exercise may take some time):
I am a _____________________(teacher, parent, abuse survivor, student, soldier, etc.)
I help ______________________(who does your life touch? Who do you want to help?)
I do or understand ____________(What’s your message? What are you good at? What do you know?
So _________________________(How does what you do/understand go beyond yourself and help others? How can someone else grow from knowing you?)*
Please note that the above activity may take you a good, long while to work through. I’ve spent (ahem) some time working through this stuff, and I can testify to that. So don’t get discouraged if your answers are just a bunch of blank spaces. You do have a purpose—one that’s unique just to you. The fact that you’re thinking about this is a great first step!
And if you want to share your thoughts on branding, I’d love to hear them in the comments!
(PS – Join me next time, I’ve got one more important thing to tell you about branding, but this post is getting way too long! See you soon!)
*I got those four statements from a great interview with Michael Hyatt. Check it out here!