Building Your Author Brand Online: CREATE

I recently committed to joining on as a Round Table Mentor! Applications open on October 31, 2023 for mentees. In the lead up to launching this year’s program, mentors are sharing expertise on the Round Table Mentor blog. Here’s a repost of my recent article in three parts. This is Step Two: Create. Click here to read Step One: HEAR.

Step Two: CREATE

If I had a nickel for every time someone said, “but I’m not creative/an artist/a designer” I’d be rich. Seriously, I believe every human being is creative. Sure, you might need help exercising this specific muscle but you can do it if you have enough time and a desire to do it. 

You’re a writer! What’s more creative than that?

Designing digital assets like websites, social media posts, and newsletters may seem daunting but there are several free and low cost options that provide templates. If this is the part of branding that gives you hives, there are digital creatives that can help you out. Find them through networking, searching freelancers online, contacting artists you follow to see if they do commissions, and asking for referrals from friends and colleagues whose websites and profiles you like.

I’ve found that word processing and presentation programs like Word, Pages, PowerPoint, Google Slides, and Keynote are all easy alternatives for non-designers. Besides those basic programs, a few good free options for designing social media posts include: Canva (free and premium), Adobe Photoshop Camera (free with in-app purchases), Adobe Express (free), and Instagram Layout (free).

Remember that you don’t need to create original content every day. Search hashtags or subscribe to specific feeds via RSS or Feedly to discover content that you can repost. Tools like Notion (free and premium) and Trello (free and premium) can help you to aggregate links to articles, blog posts, podcasts, and news stories to repost.

To organize my content, I am fond of kanban boards, a visual project management tool that organizes your tasks into columns. You can also make a spreadsheet (you knew I was going to say this). For a simple set-up, label the first column “To Post,” the second column, “Scheduled,” and the third column, “Posted.” Then, move each item from one column to the other as you publish your posts.

There are myriad free and premium tools out there to set up your content calendar. If you’d prefer to use your favorite spreadsheet program, search online for free content calendar templates to get you started. You can also create a dedicated view in your calendar program just for social media. The options are endless.

The important thing is that you choose a direction that is sustainable. Learning new tools can be confusing and exhausting.

Choose what you will actually use.

Another important search to do is for social media holidays or content ideas per month. Did you know that March 2nd is World Book Day or May 23rd is National Library Workers Day? Neither did I until I searched for book-related “holidays.” Note these special days and plan to create or re-post messages celebrating them on your calendar.

For scheduling posts in the future, some social networks make this task easy, while others will only let you schedule out posts if you are a business or creator account (I’m looking at you Meta Business Suite). If you don’t want to convert your profile to a business one, consider a third-party app like Hootsuite and Buffer (both offer free and premium) to schedule posts out. Canva Pro accounts can schedule posts on the most popular platforms from within the app, one of the many premium features I love.