OUCH! No, not that kind of branding!
If readers enjoyed your article because the writing is distinctly yours, they will want to read more items with your by-line. This is the best way to brand yourself and get your distinctive voice to the marketplace.
So, how do you know that every sentence bears the stamp of who you are and delivers your personality? Because you wrote it! You didn’t plagiarize from anyone else. The work carries your energy and reflects your personality or viewpoint. After you’ve been writing for awhile—assuming the writing is original—you can’t help but develop your own brand. It will happen naturally.
‘THE HOOK’ OR OPENING SENTENCE
A favorite technique for that all-important opener is to ask a question. Usually that question will be your reason for writing your article.
For example: “Should we outlaw capital punishment?”; “How can we make our environment healthier for ourselves and our children?”; “What makes a best-selling book series for children?”; “Why do people like to see violent films?”
The hook leads a reader directly to the issue your article will address. If people are interested in the subject—if they’ve been asking the same questions, they will immediately identify with you and read on.
AFTER THE OPENING STATEMENT
If the article intends to present a viewpoint, you will state your opinion and support it with examples and illustrations as well as footnoted references. Then you will deliver opposing opinions with examples and illustrations, also well footnoted.
In the next part of the article, you will persuade your reader that they should support your viewpoint or perspective. Write this portion of the article with passion, yet without blaming, criticizing or judging others… and always without any mudslinging. Humor works wonders; it has its own magical shorthand.
Provide many examples and argue your point with strong visuals and viscerals. Make it so convincing, the reader will pore over it from start to finish, put it down and shout, “Yes! This writer really does have something to say. Even if I may not totally agree with them or agree with them at all, they’ve shown me there’s more than one side to this issue. They have also illustrated a whole new way of looking at this matter.”
Your article may even convince them to dig deeper and eventually change or expand their perception. And of course, that is your goal: to persuade or influence people.
Believe in what you write. This is easy if you believe in yourself, know what you stand for and give it all you’ve got. You can never go wrong if you take the greatest risk possible by giving all and expecting nothing in return. Yes, you do have an agenda. We all have agendas or we wouldn’t be human. Our agenda may be simply to have a joyous life and be free to do as we choose. Or our agenda may be to get people to vote for a certain candidate for City Councilperson in the next election.
The word “agenda” gets negative press when it refers to controlling or manipulating others for self-serving purposes.
As with all writing, be natural. A short time ago, the entire staff of a morning news channel, including the two anchor persons, visited five area fitness centers to report on different types of workouts. One of the anchor persons, a young woman, has a very pale complexion with dark hair. She said she sweats a lot when she works out, so she doesn’t wear any makeup.
The workout sessions were videotaped and I was shocked and amused to note how different this woman looked without camera makeup. Her face was a total washout. When she was interviewed on camera during the workout, her personality changed as well. The same transformation happened with the men. Their veneer fell away and they were their natural selves.
When exercising vigorously, you cannot put on any airs. You have to yield to nature—let go and sweat. Let go and BE.
If you are a female, imagine that you’re doing your writing while you’re at a fitness center—no make-up, no fancy outfit, just you in the raw. Get naked.
If you are a male, imagine that you’re in the wilderness, fishing, hunting, hiking… far away from the boardroom or office.
Let people get to know who you are behind the veneer. Create an authentic group of loyal supporters!