The Art of Personal Branding

I think the How to… digital comic articles are done for the time being so this week I’m gonna change things up. This does however still fall in line with the topic of Making Comics.

I want to talk about branding.

One of the smartest things you can do as a budding comic creator is to establish your personal brand. You’d be surprised at how many people fail at something so simple. In the beginning I was of course part of that group as well, not 100% but — I can tell you that that has since changed.

What I’m referring to exactly is those people that hide behind eccentric or downright silly usernames on social networks, message boards or even email.

Here’s a perfect example I found recently from Andy Khouri of Comics Alliance on his Twitter account. As a reminder since it’s Twitter, you have to read from the bottom up. (I didn’t bother altering it.)

Andy K Twitter screengrabFor those unfamiliar with the site Andy writes a column every week titled “Best Art Ever (This Week).” It’s a great feature and an endless source of inspiration for any artist so do check it out. You can also follow Andy on Twitter here.

But back to the point.

My mission for doing these sorts of posts is simple. I want to help you. There seems to be a wealth of information on how to create comics out there but sadly there’s not a lot of business related comic information. Part of being a comics creator or really ANY kind of creator means you have to think about the business side. You are in essence an entrepreneur.

All you have to do is take a look at what’s going on in the traditional publishing world to get a sense of what I’m talking about. In the prose world we’ve got a ton of self published writers striking it out on their own though their ebooks. But with that power of control comes an even greater responsibility. When you’re in charge as a self publisher the bulk of the work falls onto your shoulders. You become the brand.

So I ask you, what good is it when your name is hidden from the world?

What if I had continued to hide behind my alias these past 10 plus years on message boards? Or hell, stuck with that awful somethinsomethingdotsomethingdotcom web domain that I had when I first started my comics career? Can you imagine how many people may have never discovered me? How much web traffic would I have lost all because they couldn’t find me?!

You have one goal: become a brand.

It doesn’t have to be as hard as many people think. Brand your name, then your name will help sell your products. The internet has valuable real estate that you want to command. How you can claim that real estate is by using your real name. You want to dominate that Google search when someone types in your name. You want those first three pages of the search to be about you. At bare minimum at least the very first page. This can be pretty easy to achieve when you’re active on the web, have accounts set up on the social networks and you have some product available.

Again I ask, what good does it do if I post some rockin’ piece of art on the net and everyone loves it but no one has any idea who did it? Or do I really want to be known as cheezy45 for the rest of my life on the web? How does that help me? Does that make me look like a professional?

So if you are one of these people I highly suggest you start making some changes today.

Here are some of the basics to help you out:

  • Set up a web domain in your name
  • Set your Twitter account to show your name (the username doesn’t have to be your name but at least have it featured in your Profile)
  • Set your Facebook page with your name
  • Set up your email using your name (I still haven’t started doing this myself. I have it but I still need to get all my contacts transferred over.)
  • Get your Message board accounts in your name (Most boards are instituting rules stating as such nowadays anyway.)
  • Set your DeviantART account to show your name

These are the first steps in establishing your brand name. There are many other things you can do but I think these are the most important.

If you’re not participating in social media or message boards at all, I suggest you start that shit right away. You are missing out on a huge audience that’s just waiting to get to know you. Network, network, network.

As always I encourage you to comment below with any questions and to share this post back out to everyone around you. Like you, there’s many other would-be creators dying at the chance to learn something new about creating comics.

If you have any ideas for future topics, I welcome your suggestions as well!

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About Adam

Adam got his start in comics illustrating and colouring the book Shuddertown from Image Comics/Shadowline. He’s now concentrating his efforts on self-publishing and a larger move into writing novels and helping other authors get their work published. He recently launched his first small press publishing company, EnemyOne, which was realistically over 10 years in the making. He enjoys reading comic books and in particular old, pulpy, crime novels.

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