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Personal Branding: The World Is Your Platform

Today the blog features a guest post by Paula Brown about your personal brand platform. She can be found on Twitter @paulajbrown.

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When interviewed by a literary agent a couple of years back, the key question was: “What is your personal brand platform?”

It was not about the book, about my “art” or about my passion to get the book to market. This omnipotent, omnipresent word “platform” drove this industry that I knew so very little about. After much fact finding, talking to authors, attending conferences, I carefully and successfully presented my “personal brand platform”.

Personal brand platform is the deal-maker and breaker.  New and experienced authors are judged by their expertise, influence, and connections within their content niche. It is not “all about the book”; it is all about the platform.

At first pass, do the author’s credentials, current relevancy, unique appeal, balance the financial risk and efforts taken by a publisher? Second is the work itself, the clever or intriguing headline, topic or content.

An author’s value to a publisher is their known expertise with their book’s audience.

Jeff Herman, author of the series “Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents”, states that 98% of the authors who literary agents review are denied, and of those who do sign contracts with agents, a very small percentage get published.* Tough odds, all based on platform.

This commentary is not about publishing, this article is about helping make clear the importance of your individual “personal brand platform” or what we call in advertising; one’s “personal brand”. My deep experience in the creative side of branding as a Creative Director | Art Director helped me understand the publishing world’s choices based upon my personal brand platform. It is your personal brand, your core of influence.

What is your “personal brand platform”?

The present economy is a direct parallel to what the odds have always been in the publishing world, especially a new author. In this competitive environment, present your skills, worth, talents, to employers. They are looking at your “platform”, not your genius. Have you defined what makes you the expert, unique, of value? What makes you worth taking the “risk” to hire? Like an author, when your platform is strong you are the recipient of multiple offers!

Personal Brand Platform Points

Whether you are consulting, in transition, or holding a position, always refresh, walk and talk your brand.

1. What makes you unique?

What is it about you, your passion that sets your story apart from everyone else? Take a look at the competition, what “titles” are already out there, how can you be unique and come from your strengths? This is “non – fiction” personal branding that must reflect your own integrities. Copycat story lines will not get support, only your true story creates your personal brand.

2. Single Focus is your goal.

A great book has a main theme that creates the foundation for a good story. What is your “story”? What is your exact title, your exact industry, even your exact desired location? It’s your story, begin it with letting people know who you are, always have a single focus, and avoid being “everything to everyone”. This single focus creates your public profiles; resume to social media and group profiles. Your message consistency is key so you are remembered and referred by your network of helpful people.

3. What is your “plan of action”?

Clearly outline the “how and where” of your personal branding.  A writer creates a schedule and table of contents. Include your mission, vision, positioning statement, and specific deadlines for your days, weeks. Place a date “stake” in your calendar for your goal fulfillments. Give yourself a schedule that shows progress as well as time for networking with your helpful folks. Most important, schedule time for fun, friends, family, and home to maintain your balance and well being!

4. Broadcast your personal brand.

Books sell when seen as the new trend or of a high degree of current interest. Show potential employers and clients that you are knowledgeable about the current trends, spotting and sharing new innovations that show you are “in touch” and of value. Get your LinkedIn profile to 100%. Put updates on trends relevant to your niche on Linked in, Facebook and Twitter at least 2 times a week.

5. Talk your potential, not your past.

A personal brand begins with “what you have done”, the listing of awards, positions of the past…keep your brand in the present by pointing out your potential not your past. Tell your story in the present, what is of interest that you can share with your client right NOW.

6. Always GIVE first.

Personal brands are about the expertise you have to offer, what you can share with a partnership. Just like a book, your story is to share with many people. With Social Media, the protocol is of “Give First”. Give value to your niche; share your story, expertise, unique integrity and truth.

Personal Brand Platform Persistence

The single focus consistent platform of my book created a successful release, PR, sales, rights sold to the UK and translation into Italian. Being doggedly persistent to my platform’s story and goals paid off. A strong platform with determined follow through is essential for brand “you”. Ad agency, Mc Cann Erickson’s famous philosophy: “Truth Well Told” describes what a brand needs, a strong true story. “Truth” is most always told by the relentless, consistent telling of one’s story. By expressing your platform with persistence and confidence, others will telegraph your brand; helping you manifest the opportunity to shine, grow, and share your talents.

I am still learning from my newest role of author.

My brand is in transition.  It is a dynamic, challenging experience to come full circle back to my passion in helping a company move their innovations forward via brand.  As Creative Director | Art Director my platform creates the expression of the heart or emotional essence of my client’s brand, be it a cause, service, or product.

That’s my true story.

Paula Brown is a Creative Director | Art Director (and now Author) presently acting as a consultant via her firm Paula Brown Creative. Her passion is branding a company to reflect and grow from its unique emotional essence and benefit. See more about Paula and her brand at Paula Brown Creative.

Photo Credit

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Tags: | | | | |
Categories: Personal Branding
  • Timmy it’s unfair to Paula Brown not to put her contact info where it’s easy to see. Twitter. Linkedin. Blog etc — Link at the end goes nowhere

  • Animal – fixed the link at the bottom and will add another. Thanks for the heads up. A rookie mistake . . .

  • Tim, well written post. I guarantee you can get a book deal if you can show a publish that a company will already purchase 15,000 copies. Also, if you have an email list of 30,000+ you are looked at favorably. The problem with relying on your platform though, is that the book won’t become “a classic” unless the content is groundbreaking. You won’t get the word-of-mouth if the book isn’t incredible, regardless of how big your platform is.

  • Thanks Dan! Your comment is a great help to folks. Yes, a publisher will look at the numbers. Platform is indeed more than “numbers”. Being a first time author, the content of the book also is key…and would have never been bought unless there was a high level of proven expertise out there in the world which is shown by one’s platform. Platform gets you “in the door”, it is your content and product that makes the total success!

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  • Grail Duewell

    What is your personal platform? It’s all about your Bio Interview. All the truth but the truth about yourself. The creation that bring out the best of the best in yourself as an individual. Your goal set, how do you reach your goals and how your skills set fit you into the world. Your accomplishments, achievements, and how you demonstrate the core value and differentiate yourself from the rest. By preparation, demonstrate value, active listner, problem solver and above all is really narrow down on about ” Tell me about yourself” and ” your power story.” All the best!

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  • Paula – thanks for a great post. Your experience translates well for the journey of a job seeker!

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  • Jim Brewer

    Brilliant article. Thanks for sharing your advice and experiences in publishing AND branding. Good luck!

    James C Brewer, President/CEO
    Techmar Corporation

  • Thanks for the comment, Jim. And I’ll keep looking for strong guest posts like this one from Paula. 🙂

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  • Pat from JobToga

    “Talk your potential, not your past”. So True! The second that I started to shift the focus from my past to potential during interviews, I saw immediate success. Thanks for this great guest post Paula!

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