This post first appeared on InScribe Writers Online.
Ask These Questions
What can you see yourself writing about five years from now? Ten years from now?
What is the overarching theme of your writing? What fires you up? What can’t you stop talking—and writing—about?
How do you want to be known? Close to home and out in cyberspace?
If you can narrow your focus in these areas, you just may have found your theme, your tagline, your brand.
Narrow Your Focus
The name of my blog was originally “Steph’s Eclectic Interests.” That should give you an indication of how not focused I am. A dear friend and fellow writer said, “Each blog you post is focused on a single topic.” Talk about gracious!
A few years back, another dear friend said my tagline should be “Riding Shotgun.” And although I gave her a funny look when she said it, when she explained her reasoning, I was humbled and honoured. Because I “come alongside” others and assist them, she thought “Riding Shotgun” would be descriptive of that.
Not being a country music fan (don’t hate me), I never did go with her suggestion, but I don’t suppose I’ll ever forget it.
Like so many other people, I’m what I call “stupid busy.” It isn’t that I don’t like what I do—to the contrary. But it is long past time that I had a singular focus. And just a few days ago, I found it. <bouncing up and down, clapping>
A lot of factors came together to make it happen.
On June 25, I attended the Saturday sessions at the Write Canada conference. There, Belinda Burston stopped me to take my picture. Brenda J. Wood joined me in the shot. And I’m ever so glad she did! That picture is now plastered across the Web. It’s one of those shots that makes me grin—me with my newly dyed burgundy hair and Brenda with her flowered hat. (Who says writers are a stuffy, serious lot?)
That picture was a significant contributing factor to what followed. And late Thursday night, a tagline popped into my head. It was perfect: “To Nurture & Inspire.” I headed off to Dreamland flying high.
I spent the best parts of Friday re-branding myself online. I had to find the right background (thank you, pixabay.com), the right font and the right graphic (thank you, picmonkey.com).
Follow These Quick Tips
So, to close, I’d like to recommend six quick tips for branding (or re-branding) yourself:
- Pray. As Christians, it’s amazing to think that God cares about every detail of our life.
- Keep an eye out. You never know when inspiration is going to strike. Re-branding myself wasn’t on my To Do list last week, but one thing led to another and then another, and finally, “Poof!”
- Get creative. Explore sites like Pixabay and PicMonkey. Let your Inner Creative out to play. It’s amazing how much fun you can have. I admit that I’m more of a “pantser” when it comes to these kinds of endeavours. However, if you like to be more deliberate in your planning, you can find how-to YouTube videos on just about any subject.
- Know when it’s time to hire a pro. You may not have the time or the know-how to create your own brand. However, you will want to work hands-on with whomever you hire. You want to be able to say, “If I could have done it on my own, this is exactly what I would have done.”
- Your brand isn’t forever. At least it doesn’t have to be. If your focus narrows or changes, even if you just get tired of it, it’s alright to rework it. Don’t get me wrong; if you’re well-established, it may take some time for your readers to adjust, but I would venture a guess that most of them will.
- Enjoy yourself. Even if your message is a serious one, I believe there’s something satisfying about choosing a profile picture and tagline as well as colours and graphics that are an extension of your message—and further, an extension of yourself.
Do you have a brand? Are you pleased with it or is it time for some revamping?
Contributed by Stephanie Nickel, CES writer and editor