Posted: August 24th, 2012 | Author: Genevieve DeGuzman | Filed under: Articles, Branding, Entrepreneurship & Business, social media | Tags: branding, marketing strategy | Comments Off
Brand development is something that a lot of indie authors cringe at doing, and find a little opaque–but it’s become a necessity. Know your brand or not, sink or swim, authors need to know what it means and how to do it.
As a writer, you devote most of your time to refining and developing your creative ideas, honing your voice, polishing your prose. But even as the technology and tools have made it easier than ever to publish on your own (all those publishers who ever sent you rejection letters, be damned!), putting something out there doesn’t mean your readers will come.
On your own, you’ve had to arrange for editing, layout, and cover design most likely. Well, it’s the same thing with marketing as you move into the post-publication phase: bringing visibility to your book and to you as an author–the post-creative high called “selling.”
And all that author business stuff starts with branding.
If the idea of branding feels distasteful, full of complex marketing shill you’d rather ignore or shunt off to a PR firm, think again. Whether you work with a big name publisher, or a plucky small press (like us!), you’ll still have to pull your weight in getting your work in front of people and establishing your reputation as a credible, engaging author.
Time for branding 101. In an article for FreelanceSwitch, I discuss simple, D-I-Y branding strategies that authors and writers can adapt for their publishing efforts. Check them out at FreelanceSwitch and see what you can adapt for your book marketing efforts.
Posted: January 23rd, 2012 | Author: Genevieve DeGuzman | Filed under: Entrepreneurship & Business, Writing Tips, social media | Tags: business, business idea, business strategy, emotional connections, manifestos, marketing strategy, social enterprise, SocialEarth, storytelling, storytelling techniques, target market, telling a good story, writing, writing tips | Comments Off
(Note: This post was originally written for SocialEarth.org.)
Socially responsible enterprises thrive because they are able to move people to change. How do they do this? By tapping into the emotional connections that inspire.
Stories act like catalysts to action. Businesses should take note.
In the old, business-as-usual paradigm of getting information across about your business, think of the familiar tools you’ve used: Powerpoint presentations, jargon-laden bullet point lists, sterling but stale reports and policy briefs, manifestos that are intellectually seductive, though emotionally hollow. What do they have in common? These are tools and techniques that convey information but don’t do much else for your cause. Numbers are the lingua franca of business, but I argue that much more can be gained in adding storytelling strategies to your campaigns.
Companies that are focused on a business idea that solves a social or environmental problem, or are trying to make a change in the communities around them have one thorny obstacle to overcome: the inertia of indifference and getting buy-in from your market. Your target market has to care enough to use your products or services not because you tell them it’s good for them and the community around them, but because they feel moved at some level to do business with you.
What Businesses Can Learn from Writers
Social enterprises can improve the way they do business by focusing on good storytelling– in their marketing and promotional campaigns, in the way they give people glimpses of their ventures, and in how they interact with customers or clients. Storytelling humanizes your business. A good story connects your business to your target market in a very visceral and potent way.
At Night Owls Press, we make it our mission to help small businesses and organizations tell those stories that inform, motivate, and inspire.
Why should a business care about telling a good story? Stories are what make up our lives. They make us feel connected, alive. They provide the material that moves people to act. As an editor, I always tell authors I work with that their first job is to get their works read. No self-respecting writer should dismiss the value of readership.
It’s the same in business. Don’t dismiss the value of reaching out to your clients, your employees, and the community around you. If people are inspired and compelled by your story, then they will want to know more about you and your company. By exploiting that intrinsic love of a good yarn, many businesses can start forming that invaluable base of followers, clients, fans, and admirers.
Constructing a good story and compelling narrative isn’t rocket science, though it often makes people nervous. “I’m not a writer,” they say. How do you get started? Read the rest of our article at SocialEarth.org.
(Images: Jill Clardy and Casey David)
Posted: March 8th, 2011 | Author: Genevieve DeGuzman | Filed under: Cool, social media | Tags: design, digital, scrapbook, timelines, video | Comments Off
With social media becoming increasingly a part of our daily lives, much of our personal history– our daily woes and moments of euphoria– are scattered across Facebook pages, Tweets, blogs, LinkedIn profiles, and other digital platforms.
The problem with social media is the very nature of its existence. It lives on the cloud. It consumes all our attention when it pops up on our newsfeed or when it is read online. But like a cloud it is also ephemeral and evaporates quickly once the moment passes. Tools like Facebook or Twitter exist in the here-and-now. If we got a stab of nostalgia and wanted to go back through our online lives– it would be cumbersome and difficult.
What’s easy? Having a scrapbook. I kept a journal when I was in my teens and if I ever wanted to relive that night on 28 August 1995, it would be very easy to pick up the notebook and flip to the date. It’s much more of a chore when it comes to wading through the amalgam of online detritus floating around.
Enter the Digital Scrapbook: Memolane.com is a new start-up based in Denmark and San Francisco that herds together all these disparate data points into a symphony of your life. Using the timeline format, Memolane gives you your own interactive, digital scrapbook, a continuous narrative shaped by all the bits of Facebook, Twitter, and other digital activity you engage in. You can become an instant curator of your own life.
Eric Lagier, founder of the service, tells the NY Times: “The Internet tells the story of our lives and it is still unexplored…It is a modern-day scrapbook that writes itself.”
As a search tool, it is unique– letting you track things like where you have eaten or visited– and with just a snap, you are in memory lane.
The Memolane interface lets you plug into your social media accounts and import all that you’ve done and organizes the mess– in clean chronological order– into an archive that would make a librarian weep with jealousy. The timeline moves horizontally on your screen and you can expand it and move through it by clicking on the left-right arrow keys.
So far, it is just a presentation layer of your social media data stored elsewhere, and it is a nice launchpad for narcissists and obsessive compulsives who want to organize their digital lives better. But what makes Memolane even more useful is for people who want to record a timeline of a major event (say, your pregnancy with the twins, or your founding of a start-up). Watch out for more integrations with music and video. Could prove to be interesting.