Thursday, September 3, 2015

My Name is My Brand When Writing Online

When writing online, your pen-name is a vital part of your marketing strategy. You can use use your real name, but there are considerations that speak against this. A well chosen pseudonym for a pen-name can make all the difference between success and failure in writing online. Before you set out writing online, consider the question of your name first.

The song Remember My Name from the musical Fame is as relevant to online writers as to any other person or company trying to make a mark on the internet. If your articles are a success with readers, they will want to remember your name, and it should be easily found in Google Search for them to come back to you at any time.

Many shared earning sites (and any number of other sites where you have to sign up to) will ask your for a user name you want to use when on site. If you want to be remembered, Writer123 or asdf-zxcv just won't do. Go for something that looks like a real name. Your own might do, but if you are John Smith, then there might be one or two others of that ilk, too. And if you are the real Zac Efron (but not the actor), then you contend for the 3 millionths page place. This won't do at all.

Sharing the real name with a celebrity might have other drawbacks, too. If you're named Harry Potter or Ben Wishaw, you'll spend more time proving to lawyers that you have the right to use the name than writing online. And there is always the consideration for Google Search rankings to consider. A completely different approach is therefore necessary to get you noticed from day one (or shortly after).

You will have guessed by now that my pen-name Patrick von Stutenzee is not my real name. I chose it very deliberately. Here is my reasoning behind the choice. I remembered an obscure but beautiful little lake near Karlsruhe in Germany by the name of Stutensee. I reasoned that there wouldn't be too many searches going for that; and then I changed the spelling a wee bit. When I checked on Google Search, I found that nothing and no one else is spelled Stutenzee. Unique spelling is a great help in searches, I can assure you.

Beside the lake, there is Castle Stutenzee, a little hunting lodge of the Grand Dukes of Baden. That gave me the idea to add the Von to the name to add a bit of panache to my writing persona. I added a first name I liked and there was my complete writing persona all ready to go. It took Google Search about a year to stop proposing 'do you mean Stutensee', but I think meanwhile I've established my presence on the internet as my own brand.

Once you have established your writing persona, be consistent. It is now a live person, and every profile in connection with it should hold the same name or if pressed for space the salient parts of it. Meaning that my Google+ and Facebook profiles have the full name, while my Twitter account is reduced to the Stutenzee part. Any other place my writer self signs up for for any reason is under that name, always. Consistency is part of the marketing plan.

When you do that, remember that your pen-name is now a brand, much like Coca Cola or McDonald's. It has to be used and promoted to stay in people's mind. While this will not sell any of your articles on its own, it is an important part of your marketing strategy. People having read and liked an article of yours will be searching for other information about other things, too. If they recognize your name, they might go for your article rather than go for a random result. Or they might even search for you by name when they liked what you are writing online.

Further reading
How to Start Writing Online
Getting Ideas for Writing Online Articles
Writing Online for a Niche Market


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