Ep 154: In a World of Author Branding, Be Consistent at Your Core
Last time we talked about having a playground. A place to relax and try new things. A place where you can experiment and be a little messy until you figure out how you want to use that space.
Consistent at Your Core
At the same time, be consistent at your core.
Not that you look exactly the same everywhere you go. I mean, that’s not even realistic. Think about it in practical terms: Sometimes you’ll be speaking at a conference and dressed in a professional outfit while other times you’ll be doing a live video feed while walking your dog. It’s appropriate and expected to literally look different and to exude a different tone in one space versus another.
But somehow I should have no question I’m listening to the same person. Everywhere I encounter you—online, at a conference, or in line at Starbucks—I should sense that you are essentially the same.
Whether you’re dressed in your best suit for a photo shoot or sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows with friends, be the same core you.
Consistent with Content
Maintain consistency in content, too, to avoid blindsiding readers.
That doesn’t mean you write the exact same subject using different examples over and over. That would get boring. And tedious.
Instead, write under the broader themes you’re known to explore. If you’re a lifestyle blogger, you might have a few subtopics you write about: travel, photography, food. And let’s say you write about those things with a frugality focus: money-saving travel tips, how to get the most out of your DSLR, meal planning on a budget.
Readers love your articles. You’re saving them money and you’re a little bit sassy when introducing a product or destination. They follow you for updates.
If you suddenly start writing about politics in a cynical tone, your audience will wonder what’s going on. You don’t sound like you and you’re not delivering them subject matter they’ve expected from you.
Now, you’re free to write whatever you want, and you may choose to leverage your platform for a higher purpose.
Why Do Readers Come to You?
Just keep your audience in mind…your readers. Why do they come to you?
If you’re the frugal travel blogger and suddenly you start spotlighting luxury hotels that cost $600 a night, and you toss French phrases around as if you’re wearing a beret and drinking champagne, readers who have appreciated your tips for backpacking across Europe and choosing the best hostel will feel like your content isn’t for them any longer.
But let’s say you won a luxury trip where your hotels would have cost $600 a night. Your readers might enjoy seeing frugal you marveling at resort living. You could position the luxury outing as Budget Traveler Stumbles into Wonderland.
Writing Coach or Arborist?
If someone comes to my website or listens to my podcast week after week expecting something related to writing encouragement, instruction, or inspiration, they’d feel confused if I suddenly offer a clinic on tree trimming. I might be an amateur arborist perfectly capable of leading a clinic on tree trimming, but my readers would be scratching their heads. “That’s weird. I come to Ann for writing input, not tree trimming advice.”
If, however, a big part of my brand is sharing stories from my personal life, perhaps my readers already knew I’m an amateur arborist, so if a comment showed up on social media about my recent neighborhood tree trimming seminar, it wouldn’t be a total shock. (I’m not an amateur arborist, for the record, so don’t ask me for tips. But I do make excellent steel cut oats, and if you ever want to know my secret, the instructions do still live on this website.)
No Big Surprises
Readers who encounter your words on a page or your images on Instagram or your remarks in a tweet or your interview on a podcast should not be shocked by a huge surprise that is incongruent with who you are and what you stand for. Your message should be relatively consistent.