by Megy Karydes
As writers, many of us don’t consider ourselves a brand. We’re not a product, after all. Fact is, we are a company and we do provide services, whether we write feature articles on a variety of topics, author or ghostwrite books, or teach writing or communication courses. We engage with others, including editors, content marketing agencies, and fellow freelance writers. Through our body of work, we become known as “the garden writer” or “deadline slayer” or the person who will murder your darlings.
During the GardenComm webinar, From Byline to Brand, I’ll be sharing some reasons why writers need to consider how they present themselves as a brand and how being a brand can be an asset to us, helping us secure more work or finding sources.
Why Writers Need To Build Their Brand
Some writers cringe at the thought of being a brand. They’re often the same people who cringe at the thought of having to market themselves. As both a marketer and writer, this feeling always puzzled me. Why would you not want to make life easier for yourself by simply letting people know how you can make their lives better or easier?
By definition, that’s what marketing is: creating, communicating, delivering or exchanging offerings that provide value for customers, clients, partners and society large, loosely defined by the American Marketing Association. A brand is the name for the source of that product or service. In our case, we are the brand and we’re marketing ourselves.
Building our brand also helps us because being known for something helps to influence those who are in a position to recommend or hire us for our expertise. It helps us build a platform if we decide to write a book. It helps people remember us for the kind of work we either do or want to do.
Building a brand isn’t just for those with a specialty in a particular topic. It helps those of us who want to make a change and try something new. Perhaps you’re a garden writer today but want to write more food pieces in the future. How can you make the transition? You can become more mindful of the garden pieces you write by pitching and writing stories with a food bent. With even a handful of clips, you can add “food writer” to your biography. The more of these stories you write, the more you’ll become recognized as a food writer without alienating your garden writing work.
Finding Your Audience
Building your brand isn’t enough to get you noticed. You need to let those in a position to hire you that you’re available and have the ability to deliver the kind of work they need. Using online social media platforms, email newsletters and simply updating your LinkedIn profile are just some of the ways to stay front and center. Face-to-face meetings with editors at conferences or other writers are important and effective ways to stay top of mind and make a personal impression.
During the From Byline to Brand presentation, we’ll review some best practices and you’ll see examples of writers who are strong at this branding game.
Building a brand isn’t hard. In fact, I find it one of the easiest ways to market my services because it helps me focus on what kind of work I want to attract. Still, wanting to build a brand isn’t enough. You have to set aside some time regularly to build it so it becomes part of your marketing routine. We’ll discuss some ways to make this an easier process so it doesn’t become cumbersome and, dare I say, maybe even make it a fun experience?
Meet the Author
Megy Karydes is a Chicago-based freelance writer and ghostwriter who often writes about sustainability, food, travel, and business topics. She also teaches graduate-level communication courses at Johns Hopkins University. In 2019, she’s hoping to channel more calm in her life so she’s made a commitment to meditate daily. So far, she’s clocked in six hours and 45 sessions in January! To follow her journey, sign up for her monthly newsletter at MegyKarydes.com where she’ll be sharing updates with readers.