Your online presence and personal brand are crucial aspects of building a successful career.
Your website, social media accounts, content, and personal brand all contribute to your overall “author platform” and can make or break your ability to connect with readers, gain visibility, and sell books.
But how do you know if your author platform and brand strategy are working for you?
The answer? By conducting a thorough audit.
In this post, I’ll walk you through the process of conducting an author platform and brand audit – including a comprehensive checklist to help you evaluate where you are now (so you can get to where you want to be).
Note: If you’d like to work together to conduct a platform and brand audit for your author business, click here to get all the details.
The first step in conducting an author platform audit is to evaluate your website. Your website is the hub of your online presence, and it’s important that it accurately reflects your brand and provides a positive experience for your readers.
When conducting your website audit, you’ll want to consider the following:
- Design and layout: Is your website visually appealing and easy to navigate? Is it obvious to readers or visitors of your site what you offer and what you would like them to do next (i.e., do you have clear calls to action)?
- Branding: Is your website consistent with your overall branding, including colors, fonts, and imagery?
- Content: Is your website content up-to-date, relevant, and well-written? Are your book descriptions and reviews prominently displayed?
- SEO: Is your website optimized for search engines? Are your titles, descriptions, and headings properly formatted?
- Mobile responsiveness: Is your website optimized for mobile devices and does it display correctly on different screen sizes?
- Social media integration: Are your social media accounts prominently displayed and easy to access? Are your social media feeds embedded on your website? Are your accounts active and up-to-date?
- Analytics: Are you using tools like Google Analytics to track your website traffic and engagement?
- Contact information: Have you included your contact information, such as an email address or contact form, so that readers, media, and others can easily get in touch with you?
- Security: Is your website secure? Do you have an SSL certificate in place to protect personal information?
Social Media Audit
Social media is often an important component of an author platform. It allows you to connect with readers, build relationships, and promote your books.
Here are just a few of the ways authors are using social media to promote their work and build their brand:
- To establish a presence: Set up accounts on the most relevant social media platforms for you and your ideal readers (such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok). Use these platforms to share updates about your writing, upcoming events, and new book releases.
- To connect with readers: Use social media to interact with your readers, answer questions, and respond to comments. This can help you build a community of loyal fans who will be more likely to buy your books and spread the word about your work.
- To share behind-the-scenes content: Share photos and videos of your writing process, research, and inspiration. This can give readers a glimpse into your life as an author and make them feel more connected to your work.
- To collaborate with other authors: Use social media to connect with other authors in your genre. You can share each other’s content, give shout-outs, and collaborate on projects.
- To utilize book promotions: Share book reviews, cover reveals, and release day promotions with your followers. This can help create excitement for your book and increase visibility on the social media platform.
- To host giveaways and contests: Use social media to host giveaways and contests to promote your book, reward readers, and grow your audience.
The key things to remember when using social media are to be consistent and authentic, post regularly, and interact with your audience. And since social media algorithms change frequently, it’s also important to stay informed about the latest best practices and adapt your strategy as needed.
So when conducting your social media audit, consider the following:
- Brand consistency: Are your social media profiles consistent with your website and overall brand?
- Content: Are you posting relevant and engaging content that resonates with your target audience?
- Engagement: Are you actively engaging with your followers, responding to comments and messages, and fostering a sense of community?
- Followers: Are you targeting the right audience and growing your followers at a steady rate?
- Analytics: Are you using tools like Audience Insights or Twitter Analytics to track your social media engagement and reach?
Your content – whether it’s blog posts, articles, training, or books – is foundational to your author platform.
As a strategy, authors use content marketing to create and distribute valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and engage a specific target audience (and ultimately drive book sales).
You can use content marketing to promote your books and build your brand via:
- Blogging: Create a blog where you can share insights on your writing process, research, book-related topics, and inspiration. You can also use your blog to share book excerpts, reviews, and other content related to your books.
- Podcasting: Start a podcast where you can share your thoughts on the writing process, discuss your books, and interview other authors or experts in your genre.
- Newsletters: Create a newsletter where you can share updates on your writing, upcoming events, and new book releases.
- E-books: Create e-books, guides, or cheat sheets on topics related to your books or your writing process and make them available for free download on your website.
- Webinars: Host webinars where you can discuss your books, share writing tips, offer training, and answer questions from your readers.
- Video: Create videos to share your thoughts on the writing process, discuss your books, collaborate with other authors, and interact with your readers.
When conducting your content audit, consider the following:
- Quality: Is your content well-written, informative, and engaging? Are you providing value to your readers?
- Relevance: Is your content relevant to your target audience and niche? (This is where a lot of authors go wrong by creating content for other writers instead of their potential readers.)
- Promotion: Are you effectively promoting your content on your website, through social media accounts, and via your network?
- Engagement: Are you fostering engagement and encouraging comments, shares, and feedback?
- Analytics: Are you using tools like Google Analytics to track your content engagement and reach?
Author Brand Audit
Your personal brand as an author is a vital part of your business. It’s how you present yourself to the world and how people perceive you and your work. It includes your unique style, values, and personality, as well as the types of books you write and the audience you target.
To learn more, check out this three-part series that:
- Clarifies what personal branding is, and why it’s essential to incorporate it into your writing business if you want to stand out from the crowd.
- Covers the most common mistakes writers make when building their author brand.
- And focuses on brand strategy and how you can connect your work and writing to the people who will be most inclined to read and appreciate it.
The short version? Having a strong author brand helps you stand out in a crowded market and attract a loyal readership. It can also make it much easier to sell your books, secure book deals, and grow your writing career.
When conducting your author brand audit, be sure to consider the following:
- Brand message: Is your brand message clear and consistent across all of your online platforms?
- Brand image: Does your personal image align with your brand message? (Are you walking the talk?)
- Brand voice: Is your brand voice recognizable and consistent across all of your online platforms?
- Brand reach: Are you reaching the right audience and effectively communicating your brand message to them?
- Brand engagement: Are you fostering engagement and building relationships with your audience through your personal brand?
Your Platform & Brand Audit Checklist
To help you conduct your own comprehensive author platform and brand audit, here’s a simple checklist to guide you through the process:
- Website Audit
- Evaluate the design and layout of your website
- Assess the quality and relevance of your website content
- Evaluate your website’s SEO
- Check for social media integration
- Analyze your website traffic and engagement using tools like Google Analytics
- Social Media Audit
- Ensure consistency with your website and overall brand
- Evaluate the quality and relevance of your social media content
- Assess your engagement with followers and foster a sense of community
- Analyze your social media reach and engagement using tools like Audience Insights or Twitter Analytics
- Content Audit
- Assess the quality and relevance of your content, including blog posts, articles, and books
- Evaluate your content promotion strategies
- Assess engagement and encourage comments and shares
- Analyze your content engagement and reach using tools like Google Analytics
- Author Brand Audit
- Evaluate the consistency and clarity of your brand message
- Assess the alignment of your personal image with your brand message
- Evaluate the consistency of your brand voice across all online platforms
- Assess your brand reach and engagement with your target audience
By conducting a comprehensive author platform and brand audit and using the checklist provided, you can gain a better understanding of your online presence and author business, and identify areas for improvement.
Remember that building a successful author platform and personal brand takes time and effort, but by regularly conducting audits and making changes based on your findings, you can increase your visibility, connect with your ideal readers, and ultimately sell more books.