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Getting Your Brand Ready For Conferences

As we develop our Personal Brand as authors, we do so generally with some far-off goal in mind: positioning ourselves to our future readers, or giving an interview about our New York Times Bestselling status. But if we're wise, our Writing and Industry Brands can receive workout in the far more immediate future: this year's Conference season.

As brief review, define Writing and Industry Brands as follows (Click Here for complete examples)

Your Writing Brand is the brand you communicate solely through your books or promotional efforts. As result, you'll probably find that description that can double as slogan will work best for your Writing Brand.

Your Industry Brand is the brand you present as an author?to your industry contacts, to your dedicated readership, and to anyone you meet as you pursue your writing career.

Both your Writing Brand and your Industry Brand can make the difference as you interact with your peers and industry professionals at conference, so take few minutes to focus on yours!

I'll use myself as an example. Upon learning that my manuscript had finaled in the Golden Heart contest, did an emergency Brand review. While did have website and matching business cards, my site wasn't as reflective as it could have been for what I'm now writing. Recent classes I've taken with Louise Knott Ahern for PR (www.theworkingwriter.com) and Kay Lockner for Career Planning (www.authormba.com) showed me that my bio, media page and overall look needed quick refresh to emphasize my specific writing interests. Within several days, had revised my site and crafted new cards, updating my overall focus and preparing for conference season.

How about you? Are your Brands ready for prime time? Here's quick checklist to make sure you present yourself most effectively, utilizing the P's of Brand Marketing:

Product Price This is perhaps the most important aspect of your Writing Brand, your books. Do quick review and log the status of all of your current manuscripts. If you have books out for consideration, are they at your ideal publishing houses or agencies? Are you reaching high enough to achieve your eventual sales goals? If you're completing new books, are you writing as frequently as you should be? In Branding, especially for authors, Product is king.

Positioning Positioning is critical component of your overall Writing Brand strategy, directly after Product. The key with Positioning is to emphasize what is different about your work. Take look at your Writing Brand and slogan. Are they unique or compelling enough to really drive your marketing? "Sexy, fun romance" is great start for Writing Brand?but what makes you different than every other author of sexy, fun romance? Do you write from the heart?or the heartland? Do your heroes wear army fatigues?or Armani? Once you identify what makes your writing unique, your Packaging, Placement and Promotional plans will flow easily from there.

Packaging Now we're getting to the business end of Branding: or how you present yourself in your marketing identity pieces. Your marketing identity pieces for your Writing Brand include your website (yes, if you are ready to market your books, you should have website), your business cards, and your stationery or other print materials. For bonus points, explore the idea of accessorizing your personal look with elements that match your Writing Brand as well!

For your Industry Brand, your marketing identity piece is literally: you/your appearance and your demeanor. If you'll be pitching at conference, for example, you may choose to appear confident and professional; fun and engaging; or elegant and chic. Seek to convey your unique brand in manner that's positive and memorable. If this means reviewing your conference wardrobe in advance to make sure you have the outfits in place that make you feel at your best, then it's time to dive into the closet.

Placement The Placement of your Brand is the "shelves" on which you can be found. For published author, placement will include bookshelves at your local bookseller, space on Amazon.com, etc. But for both published and unpublished authors, Placement opportunities abound. Consider the various loops, blogs and online communities to which you contribute. Review your website from Placement standpoint?can viewers read an excerpt of your book, for example? Or take advantage of free giveaway? Are you part of networking groups or online communities such as myspace.com? Particularly as you gear up for conference, work to ensure you are ?findable? online?by your peers and by Industry Professionals who might want to check out your online presence.

Promotion And now it's time for the fun part! Promotional items do not have to break the bank, but they can go fair distance in conveying lasting message to your audience. If you're published author, low-cost but USEFUL promo items (think pens, notepads, clips, possibly magnets, mirrors, or anything that can use in the course of my day) are great idea. If you're unpublished, come up with creative promotional strategies that will help keep you in the mind of your key audience?maybe notepad or other small giveaway that you only hand out to agents you're pitching. You don't have to distribute these promo items out to everyone, after all?but they could create positive memory in the hands of the people who matter most to you.

In closing, as you prepare yourself for the conference season, consider your Brand from every possible angle to make consistent, memorable impact. Your Brand is one of the best tools you have to market yourself; make sure yours works for you!

About Jenn Stark

Jenn Stark

Jenn Stark brings a practical, accessible approach to Personal Branding to help authors at every level present themselves for maximum impact. A vice president of marketing and communications with fourteen years’ experience and a published freelance business writer, Jenn now serves as president of the Ohio Valley Romance Writers of America, and has also served as the chapter’s publicity director, promoting chapter and author events.

She is an invited speaker and instructor on Personal Branding and public relations topics, and has worked with several authors one-on-one to help develop their Personal Brands and publicity materials. Her articles on Personal Branding have been featured in the newsletters and online loops of 29 writing chapters in the U.S. and Canada.

She can be reached at jenn@knowyourbrand.com