Authenticity in Marketing
We all know that when it comes to writing, we have to find our voice. What we don’t often hear is that the same is true for us as marketers. There are right and wrong ways to market your book as well as your brand as an author. Much of what separates the right from the wrong comes down to authenticity.
There are many inauthentic ways to advertise. One example would be putting your book cover up on Twitter with a link for people to preorder it. Before you take an approach like this one, ask yourself if such a tactic would work on you. Is that how you buy books? I don’t, nor do I know anyone who does. Turning it into a meme with a quote attached isn’t going to make it any more authentic.
Finding your Authentic Voice
Sometimes finding your authentic voice comes through trial and error. Video is incredibly impactful in the world of social media, so I decided to make a series of one-minute, how-to videos related to travel (I have a travel humor series). The videos were okay, but I felt terribly uncomfortable making them. At heart, I am not comfortable telling anyone how to do anything. That simply doesn’t jive with my authentic voice.
One day at Little League practice with my eight-year-old daughter, I took a softball to the face and ended up with a black eye. Whenever something unfortunate happens, I instantly start thinking of how it would make a good story. So I made a video telling the story of my black eye, also known as “How to Fail as a Little League Parent.”
Making the video was enjoyable, sharing it with people wasn’t uncomfortable, and the reaction to it was far better than what I’d received with my travel videos. The difference was authenticity. Yes, I have a travel humor series, but travel isn’t my core strength. I’m primarily a humor writer. Making people laugh is far more authentic to me than teaching travel hacks.
I continued making videos, each of which tells a funny story. The humor is usually centered on making a fool of myself or getting myself into regrettable situations. I have neither shame nor any problem being the butt of a joke.
The humor videos have taken off. Dozens of Facebook shares and thousands of views. Why? Because I’m being authentically me. I’m not doing something because I see someone else doing it. I’m not pasting a book cover across the internet with the plea that people buy it. I’m building up my brand as a humor author. I’m cultivating an audience that wants to see what I come up with next. And when my next book is released in a few months, I’ll have people watching.
If your marketing efforts are falling flat, take a step back.
- Is your marketing voice authentic?
- Is it the same voice you would use while speaking with a friend over coffee?
- What are your core strengths?
- What messages have resonated with people in the past?
Identify your authentic voice. Be yourself. Be honest. Cast aside any inclination to do what other people are doing. Not only will you find more engagement and more readers, but you might even find that you’re enjoying yourself.