Monday, November 12, 2012

Develop a Slogan to Help Your Author Platform

Over at Ad Age, Al Ries wrote a great piece on slogans in relation to political campaigns. Whether you voted for Obama or Romney, Ries shines the light on who had the better slogan--and why. (Click here to read the full article.)

The two main nuggets I got out of the article were:
  1. A good slogan cuts both ways. That is, a good slogan builds up an identity (person, company, etc.) while also defining how you're different than the competition. Using Obama's "Forward" slogan as the example, it implies that Obama wants to move forward while his competition wants to go backward. Politics aside (and whether you agree or disagree), that's what the slogan communicates.
  2. A good slogan communicates value. If you write cookbooks, your slogan should NOT be: Jane Doe, Cookbook Author. A more powerful slogan might be: Jane Doe, Helping the World Cook Better. Instead of Joe Smith, Thriller Author, try Joe Smith, Keeping Readers on the Edge of Their Seat.
Robert Lee Brewer, Helping Writers Succeed


Why Do Slogans Matter?

Writers have so much to worry about that I totally understand if they're wondering, "Why the heck should I care about slogans? Aren't those just for companies?"

Those are fair questions, but here's the thing: Once writers hang their shingles as freelance writers, that makes them businesses. Maybe just one employee. Maybe not super successful...just yet. But a business nonetheless. Still, why does a slogan matter?

For one, a slogan defines who writers are to their target audience--to literary agents, editors, book buyers, and ultimately readers. That's pretty important stuff.

Second, a slogan defines who writers are to themselves. It might seem like common sense, but most writers can't define themselves--especially in a way that explains their value--in fewer than 10 words. That's why developing a slogan is a super important exercise.

Incorporate Into Your Author Platform

Once you have a slogan that communicates value and cuts both ways, begin incorporating it into your platform building.
  • Use it--or something very similar--as the tagline on your blog and/or website.
  • Include it in the About Me sections of your social media profiles.
  • Put it on your business cards.
  • Include it in your e-mail signature.
  • Work the slogan into any other messaging you can, whether an e-newsletter or print stationery.

Use it and use it some more. Remember: Consistency is key in brand building, and that's exactly what an author platform: It's building your brand as an author. Now, get to work on your slogan.

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Unknown said...

The funny thing is, I'm constantly coming up with slogans for fun or as a joke... I've never thought about actually needing one as a writer.

Thanks for sharing this, Robert. It's great food for thought, and definitely something I'll be thinking about (and working on) now!!

Michelle Pond said...

Thanks, Robert. I've had discussions at my day job about taglines for clients, but never thought of creating one for myself. I think I'll give it a try.

Veronica Roth said...

I just changed my slogan. I love them. Never thought of it as important in any way though, just as a little extra.

Mary Bauer said...

My slogan for my children's poetry blog is "Come play with words." Thanks for more suggestions about how to use that.

Anonymous said...

Yikes my blog slogan/tag line is Look mom, no hands! which goes perfectly with the picture but would be weird on any other platform without that picture. Something to think about, thanks, Robert!

Susan Craig said...

Never thought about having a slogan, but everything you said about it made good sense--especially now as I attempt to sharpen my focus on the "why" of my need to write. Thanks, Robert!

patientdreamer said...

I smiled at Catherine's comment. It does make you think about how it will look on other things, besides a blog or facebook. Thanks for an interesting post.

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

Thanks, Robert. I found this very useful especially since I have been struggling to come up with names for my author Facebook page in which it can use a slogan as well. Thanks, again!

Shar said...

Working on my platform and never thought about have a slogan. Seems weird, but I'm going to try. Thanks for the tip.

Amanda Socci said...

The most incredible thing about the creationof taglines for myself as a writer is that I had done it unwittingly, unknowingly for many, many years, even before I delved head-first into writing in 2012.

For many years, I called myself the Creative Idea Gal because I had a penchant for coming up with 1,000 ideas at any given time. I still use the same moniker today, and it is on my blog. I just hadn't considered it a "tagline" as you suggest.

Your points are well taken, though, and I absolutely agree with the importance of having one to distinguish yourself from your competition. On a related note, I know the stuff works. Just recently, for the first time in how many years, my own mother recognized me as the Creative Idea Gal. We were talking about something and I came up with ideas. She said to me, "I know you're good at coming up with ideas. You are the Creative Idea Gal..." I don't know what she said afterward because I was so shocked that my own mother recognized my talents.

Folks, the stuff works! Thanks, Robert.