Top 3 things I’ve learned about Brand from Reality TV

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By Traci Tyne Hilton

That’s right. Blogging TV again. Why? Because there is no better place to learn about brand right now than Food Network Star, and because I love watching TV.

#3: Your brand is your unique point of view and voice.

The Meat on the Side girl, from a season or two back, cannot star in the same show that the Butcher Babe stars in. The Sandwich Guy cannot do the show that the gluten free girl can do. I cannot write the books God has prepared you to write. All of your experiences and your taste come together to be your books. The closer you stick to your own experiences and passions, the more your readers will love your books.

Your brand is not a catch phrase, or a color scheme. Your brand is not a nickname or an avatar. Catch phrases, color schemes, nicknames and avatars can be used to express your brand, but they do not make your brand. Creating books that deliver a consistent and fantastic reading experience comes first. The marketing builds from that, not the other way around.

#2. Listen to your mentors

The very awesomest thing about ACFW is the mentoring spirit of the experienced authors. They participate in the Loops. They lead classes online. They go to conferences. For the introverts in our midst, this is the time to screw your courage to the sticking place. It can be hard to reach out to new people, but it is always worth it.

Did you all watch Food Network Star this year? No? Oh, I feel sorry for you! You missed Luca Della Casa, the only thing on the screen more delicious than the food. This young Italian man was…worth watching. But, he lost the second round because he had a difficult time communicating with the cameras and talking about his food. Later in the show they gave the chefs who had been eliminated the chance to come back. Luca won that second chance. When asked how he had managed such a big transformation, he responded: “I listened to my mentors and did what they said.” If you have a chance to listen to an experience writer talk about how to develop your brand, or about your writing and what makes it special, pay close attention!

#1. You might be wrong about your brand.

Every season someone on Food Network TV has got themselves totally wrong. There was this other Italian guy once that looked kind of like The Rock, and he was going to do this tough guy food thing. But, every time he talked about cooking he seemed to bring up his Mama’s kitchen. And that worked way better than the tough guy thing. He didn’t realize it himself, but the mentors did, and they directed him to what was really going on in his kitchen.

You might be calling yourself one thing, and writing in an entirely different direction. As your body of work develops, hold it up to the one-sentence career pitch you use on your blog and email and see how it compares. If it doesn’t seem to fit, one of them is wrong for your brand. Your brand is your unique perspective on the world. Your books should deliver that consistently to your readers. Your one-sentence, if you chose to use one, should summarize that, not create it.

I highly recommend watching Food Network TV with an eye for all of the moments where the mentors help the talent define themselves, and be themselves on TV and in the kitchen.

And now I’m off to see how many more TV theme blogs I need to write before I can count Hulu Plus as a tax deduction!

Traci HiltonTraci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery Series, and The Plain Jane Mystery Series. Traci lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, their two daughters, and their dogs, Dr. Watson and Archie. Traci blogs at .

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