Branding For Beginners
by Bernadette Geyer
Can you share a bit about your back story with us.
When we were in our early 30s, my husband asked me what I thought about the idea of living overseas at some point in our lives. I told him “You do what you have to do to make that a potential option and I’ll do what I have to do.” We set a 10-year plan. He got his MBA and I amassed the skills I would need to run my own editorial services business. When our daughter was old enough to go to school, we put her in a German immersion program.
After my husband’s stepfather passed away, we took a look at our lives and the treadmill we were on. We realized that we couldn’t sit around waiting for someone to hand us an opportunity – like the people you see on House Hunters International – and that we would have to make our own opportunity if we wanted to “do that thing we always wanted to do.” So we sold everything and moved to Berlin with our daughter.
Now, I work part-time as Head of Communications for a nonprofit, and I run my own editorial services business that offers copy editing and translation (German-to-English) services.
How and when did you know that you wanted to write a book?
I only have so many hours in a day to provide actual “services” to clients. I realized that my income was limited by the number of hours I could do work. As a translator, you can’t really “scale up” with your business. I had been offering online workshops on the topic of branding based on my many years in marketing and editing – I’ve seen all the ways businesses sabotage their brand image through inconsistencies in their marketing materials.
Because I did not really like the platform my online workshop was on, I realized I could turn the workshop into a book that would be less expensive for the very small businesses that were the people I wanted to help!
Tell us about your book.
Branding for Beginners offers a simple, step-by-step guide for creating a Brand Style Guide – basically a cheat sheet for how you talk about and present your business to current and potential customers.
When small businesses think about branding or creating a brand image, many think “Oh, I’m too small to worry about that.” Or they think it’s sleazy to worry about branding. But after years of working on marketing materials for small businesses and nonprofits, I realized the biggest branding obstacle for many of them was just staying consistent in the way they talk about their business – both online and offline.
By creating a Brand Style Guide that you can quickly refer to, you can save time and reduce stress when you’re creating your marketing materials. You don’t have to rush around trying to figure out “How did I say that last time?” or “What font did we use on our brochure?”
By staying consistent in the look of your marketing materials and in the words you use to describe your business, you create your “brand image.” The repetition, over time, causes your brand image to stick in the minds of your potential customers and ensure that they remember you.
What were the hardest things you faced whilst you were writing it?
Carving out time for the book-writing process was challenging for me – as it is with so many other writers. But the materials were already there from the workshop I had taught, so I basically broke the job down into four major tasks: making an outline that I could follow, organizing the already-written materials to fit the outline, finessing the text in its proper order, and then editing the book. Tackling it step-by-step, one hour per day, I managed to get all of the text done in about 4 months. Another challenging aspect was figuring out the self-publishing process through CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing. I knew the book would be too small to pitch to a business book publisher, so I decided from the start I would self-publish it.
What were the best things you experienced during the process?
The first best thing was all the support from my family and friends who knew I was putting together this book. The second best thing was just the sense of accomplishment I felt when I actually launched the book and saw it listed online. I had challenged myself to do this in fall 2017, and published it less than a year later.
What’s next for you?
Currently, I’m doing a “podcast tour” to promote Branding for Beginners. In addition to my job with the Berlin-based nonprofit, I am also translating a couple of books for clients. Once I have finished those, I plan to start working on a second business book of my own. It’s based on a lot of writings I have already done regarding the creation of content for businesses, so it’s just a matter of organizing and finessing. The book will be a bit longer than Branding for Beginners, so I plan to approach business book publishers with this one.
Can you share your top 3 #booktips.
1) Outline first. In detail. It’s much easier to rearrange the items listed on an outline than it is to reorder a book once you’ve written it.
2) Set aside time. No one “finds time” to do things that are important. Time is not like coins that fall out of your pocket between the seat cushions. You don’t just lift the corner of a pillow and discover 10 extra minutes.
3) Editing takes almost as long as writing the first draft – if not the same amount of time. Don’t rush to get the book out on the market. Revise and proofread – or pay someone to do it for you if you don’t trust your own eyes.
How can people connect with you online and find out more about your book?
Bernadette Geyer founded Geyer Editorial Services in 2006 and offers copy editing and translation to a variety of clients from solopreneurs and professional speakers to startups and small businesses. With more than 25 years of marketing experience, she also serves as head of communications for Hostwriter, a Berlin-based nonprofit. In addition to her business writings, Geyer is also a creative writer and has been widely published in magazines both in print and online, including AFAR, The Massachusetts Review, Oxford American, The Writer, and elsewhere.
Website – http://geyereditorial.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GeyerEditorial/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/bernadettegeyer/
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