Your Name is Your Brand

I’ve been delving a lot into marketing books and I’ve garnered a few nuggets that I thought would be helpful to those who are beginning to develop their on-line presence—and maybe change the minds of a few who are already there.

Your name is your brand.

In writing, there’s a lot of talk about what your brand is. Put simply, your brand is a promise to your readers. If you write historical novels then write an edgy supernatural thriller—your historical followers are busy scratching their heads and your new readers are doing the same when they look at your previously published books. Writers who have deviated a lot from their promise usually suffer in sales.

But more important than that is how will your readers find you. When they search Twitter and Facebook for your profile, how easy are you making it for them? If your author name is Joe Smith but your Twitter handle is @hottexasdude3000—how simple are you making it for your potential buyers to discover you and your product. And yes, I did search for that moniker and it seems to be wide open for those who would like to claim it.

Let’s focus on Twitter. Your handle should not be:

1. Something funny and quirky. Though this may garner a lot of followers, it’s probably doing little to build your brand. Especially if you don’t write quirky or funny—not that you can’t be that way personally. Name first. Image second. Your presence should have a consistent feel among your blog, web site, etc…

2. A character in your novel or book title. What happens when your publishing house hates that name? They require you to change it. Now, it’s time spent explaining to all your happy followers that Derek Storm (just love Castle!) is dead. Oh, that’s another reason. You as the author decide to kill the main character. Unless you are in a position to have complete control over your books, this is risky.

3. Your blog. Again, your blog should support your brand. Not be the brand. When people Google search, they’re going to look for your name first. They may discover your fine blog through your name search but the opposite may not be true. My name gets far more Google hits than my blog name. This is what you want to shoot for.

What if you’ve done one of these fatal errors? Relax. It can be changed. Why postpone the inevitable? Work to make these changes now. Make your name your brand. Work to have a consistent feel among your social media sites. There’s always room for improvement. Even though my Twitter and Facebook profiles are my name, I need to improve the feel so it speaks suspense.

How about you? Is your name your brand? If not, why not? Do you think you should change it?

24 Replies to “Your Name is Your Brand”

  1. Great tips, Jordyn. Another bit of advice for authors: do not name your company or website or blog after your book – what if you write another book?

    1. Excellent point, Linda! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks for posting this helpful segment. When I was considering venturing into bloghood last spring Debbie Macomber’s advice I’d heard years ago echoes your advice: always promote your name. So, although I named my blog Everyone’s Story, I have it listed as my name + And though I’m still a tad antsy about putting my name out there every second (not wanting to appear full of myself) I see that it’s working: according to my blog stats I see people–even from different countries typing in my name (not blog name) and being led to my blog.

    1. I like the way you did it Elaine. I think your blog can have a unique name– as long as it’s housed under your overall umbrella (name). Looks like you tucked away some good nuggets from a stellar author. Shows you are doing your homework. Be proud.

  3. Thanks for the tips, Jordyn! I am still very new to the writing/publishing/blogging world. Until last August I had zero experience with either publishing or social media. I started a blog the same week that I created FB and Twitter accounts.

    Fortunately, I did have the foresight (or perhaps just lack of imagination) to use my own name for all three. I did recently change the name of my blog to “Redeemed,” in an effort to begin better developing the theme. However, I kept my name as the subtitle, as well as retaining the same domain name.

    Hopefully, I’m on the right track…

    1. Joe,

      I think you are doing excellently. Good work. Keep it up. One step at a time. As I said above– I think a blog can have a unique name as long as it’s housed under *you*. Some authors house their blogs in their web sites which I think is very smart because your changing blog content will draw them to the web site– that’s content doesn’t change as frequently.

  4. As a newbie I’m grateful for this advice. I’m currently working on developing a website, and am glad I used my name. Now to create a new twitter account…

    1. Good job, Ann. Making changes earlier is easier. Keep learning. I still have tons to learn myself.

  5. Thanks for sharing your post. I have more than one blog, so they all can’t be named my name, however I do have one which is my author site that I named my name. Others had told me to name it the name of my book, but knowing that I was planning to write more than one book I chose to name it my name. I am glad I did. I get more comments on that blog than any other, even though some of them may not be the kind of comments I want. It lets me know they are searching my name. Blessings and thanks again for sharing.

    1. Thanks Deborah for your kind words. Sounds like you have the publishing smarts. I do think blogs can have a unique name– but your name should be somewhere (in the title maybe like mine— Redwood’s Medical Edge, name as subtitle, or housed in your blog that has your name).

  6. Great advice, Jordyn. I started my blog last March using my cool name in the title. I’ve had some rather bizarre search engine phrases bring people in to read what I’ve posted, but the most frequent way is some derivation of my name, or the blog’s name. It’s also helped whenever I get a magazine article published, views usually go up then, too.

    1. Good job, Wade! I can see how your name might bring up some interesting hits. The whole Webster Dictionary and everything– but being close to some else *famous* can have it’s benefits. Also sounds like you are doing a great job cross-promoting by getting magazine articles, etc. Keep it up. What are you writing?

      1. I have two Christian fiction manuscripts I’m shopping around to agents (one is middle grade the other adult contemporary). My blog started out memoir and has evolved into devotional, as my magazine articles tend to be. I’m also colaborating with a family on the story of how God showed up after their son lost both legs in Iraq. If I could just figure out how to write while I’m driving a truck for a living I might just get somewhere with this writing gig.

  7. Hi Jordyn!
    You just reminded me that I don’t have my Twitter handle on my blog anywhere. I remember trying to do this and failing miserably so I’ll have to tackle that again. Although I do believe my name, Jillian Kent, is my brand, my twitter name is @JillKentAuthor because Jillian Kent wasn’t available. I plan on writing historical romance with a mystery suspense element for a long time so hopefully I’ll be thought of for a good read after I develop some regular readers.

    1. I think you’re okay with that Twitter handle. Your name is there. Maybe do a couple of Twitter searches to see how your name is popping up and how easily you can find you! I think you might be okay. Let me know.

  8. I am currently reading Kristen Lamb’s book and she also keeps mentioning that as writers, our name is our brand.

    Thanks for reinforcing this important truth.

  9. A straightforward,helpful post to start the week off right, Jordyn. Thanks so much. And, yes, I am sticking with my name (complete with the “K” in the middle) as my brand. Beth K. Vogt — that’s me.
    It’s simple … and that works for me.

  10. Good points, J. I have to laugh b/c if you google my name, a few other folks come up as well…including an author who writes porn! i’m sure some folks have wondered if this is me (yikes!) but i’m glad i snagged the URL at least…that would have been a bit tougher to explain to my CBA readers 🙂 cheers! j

    1. Yes, Julie. That can be problematic. I think searching your name is good to see what else is out there and coming up with a variation if necessary– like adding your full middle name or middle initial to help out– separate you from the pack as they say.

  11. Thanks for this post. I tried other names which always felt a little too cutesy. Glad I landed on my name as it seems to be a good choice. After getting over the idea that I was bragging, now it feels normal, and it’s easier.

  12. Thank you for a very helpful article Jordyn! I only wish I’d seen it sooner. I have a number of blogs on different platforms with different names. My full name is Lisa Pearlman, but I didn’t like using my last name online. Instead I stayed consistent to my Twitter handle of Scorpiol13 for most things, or some variation of Scorpio. But I am learning now to cross-promote on my sites and I also have a Gravatar universal across all platforms, and an ItsMyUrls profile with scan code. I am a writer trying to promote myself as a brand so that I will get recognized and published eventually, with a goal of receiving paid assignments one day soon! I learn so much from professional writers online such as yourself! I am grateful!!
    Love & Light, Lisa

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