An Extension of the Creative Process
You did it! You finished that piece that you’ve been working on for months.
You have hit a major milestone in your career, and now, all you have to do is hit “publish,” sit back, and watch the royalty checks flow. Right?
Wrong....Now that you have finished creating, the work is really only just beginning. It’s time to share the message or story with the world, and that takes sharing it in the right way, with the right audience, in the right setting. It’s time for branding and marketing.
As a creator, this can be scary, and maybe even a little intimidating (at least, that’s the way it was for me). I published my first book, did a happy dance, and then went and hid for almost two years before I even tried to sell the book, hoping and wishing and trying to make myself believe that someone would find the book online, buy it, tell everyone in the world about it, and the rest would be history.
I still slap myself on the head for that one. Before launching my books, I launched a bakery business, which I built from the ground up. Marketing and advertising and promotion was a natural part of the process for me. It was easy for me to do. The product looked great and tasted great, and the services I was offering with my cooking classes provided an experience that I felt I could easily define.
It was quite a pivot, then, when the message I was sharing as an author stemmed directly from my personal experience. I had to be real and raw and open with my readers. That made me want to run and hide, and as a result, I forgot that I had to spend time marketing and promoting and advertising as an author, just like I did as a bakery owner and cooking class instructor.
It was unrealistic of me to think that I could sit back and rest on my laurels, hoping and praying that someone else would do the work of promoting my book for me. It didn’t work that way at all, and, in reality, that’s not how the world works. If you published any piece of creative writing, art, or music, and you intend to sell that work, it requires a different kind of mindset.
You need to take off the hat of a creator or artist or author or musician, and put on the hat of a creative entrepreneur, because that is what you are! If you intend to sell your work independently, congratulations! You are now a business owner. And, PS, if you are hoping to be traditionally published, in many cases, a publisher is going to look at your marketing plan and consider your platform and following before they decide to take you on and publish your work. So marketing and branding is just as important for you, too.
Again, there are no easy, quick fixes.
Don’t be afraid! Take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay, I promise. It’s time for a different approach, and this is where marketing and branding come in. You are a creative entrepreneur. You got this!
Let’s face it - your message or story is more than just a book or song. It’s more than just some paint on a canvas. It has the power to stir emotion in other people, invoke a new feeling or thought, and can create a new conversation for the world. Interacting with your work is an experiential moment, and that experience, that feeling, is what is going to attract your ideal customers.
The language that you use on your social media posts, the colors, the images all relate to the brand message, and the feeling that your brand evokes in other people. For March Forth Media Company, I wanted vibrant, feel-good colors, a mix of bold and fun and flowy fonts, and a simple logo that conveyed two things - progress and movement. And the brand had to be synonymous with one tagline and one hashtag in particular - “this is where you pivot” and #powertopivot.
Your brand as a creator is as important as the work you put out into the world. It’s a promise you are making to your customers. It makes you memorable with the world. It gives you identity.
And, ultimately, your branding is an extension of your creative process, because you get to create the brand in a way that feels authentic to you, and you alone. This is the beautiful part of being an independent creator. You don’t need to worry about any other company telling you how your brand “should” feel. Your creative brand is all about you, your work, and the feeling you want associated with the two.
For my fiction authors, branding is like creating a new character with your business. You are defining your business personality. That is going to guide the actions you take, the messages you share, and where you share them. It builds your credibility, and creates loyalty among
followers. And, it will help you stand out from the crazy, crowded world of publishing, media, and art.
In truth, this part of the process is best done when you can work through some of the marketing questions in advance of your launch. That doesn’t always work, though. If you are anything like me, it took me some time to figure out my main message, and understand what it is I was offering. I knew I had something to share - my books were written for a reason, but it took me some time to develop the look and feel. Know that, no matter the “how” and “when” of your brand development, it’s totally okay.
Okay, are you ready to get started with your branding strategy? Here are some questions to help you get started...
1. Identify your target audience.
It’s so important to understand to whom your work will speak, and how it will impact that audience. Who does your work serve? Who is your ideal customer? Why do they need your message?
2. Develop your brand voice.
How do you want your audience to see you and your message?What will they think when they see your work?
3. Think about your unique selling proposition.
This sounds like crazy business speak, I know. In easier terms, why are people attracted to your work? Is it the way you craft your characters or the visuals in your setting? What are your strengths as a creator?
4. How do you want your brand to look and feel?
Think logo, colors, images. This creates a consistent visual for your followers. When they see that image, they get excited and delighted, because they know that means your work is there!
These are some simple questions to get you started, and we can definitely go deeper.
Stay tuned to us here on the blog for more marketing and branding strategy to help you pivot in your creative business.
Remember: You are never stuck. You are never lost. You are never alone. At any given moment, you can use your power to pivot, make a new choice, and start again! Are you ready? It’s time to pivot.
If you are looking to build a brand and a business that you love, and you need a little help to get there, reach out to me. I can help! At March Forth Media Company, I help creative entrepreneurs launch, scale, and grow their business, working with you to build your business and marketing plan, and providing strategies and solutions to help you implement that plan in a truly authentic way. I can’t wait to work with you!
Now, it's your turn to share...
How can you pivot to a new mindset in your creative business today? Where do you feel you need to change your outlook? How can we help?
Continue the conversation in the comments below, or reach out to us via email, or over on social media:
And stay connected over on The Power to Pivot Podcast, where we are continuing the conversation, and sharing stories of those who have pivoted in their own lives.
Elizabeth A. Miles is an author, coach, entrepreneur, and founder of March Forth Media Company. She has a bachelors degree in psychology and a master’s degree in business administration. She is an expert on mindset, gaining confidence, and authenticity, helping clients confidently publish and promote their work while building a creative business they love.
This is where you pivot!