The Importance of Human Branding in an AI World
A guest post by Connor Whiteley
Change is the only constant.
Now I know that this is something we say a lot, but it’s very true.
Especially for authors, because things are constantly changing for us. For example, in 2018 Amazon moved to a more advertising focused business model, in 2019 there was a massive tipping point for audiobooks as well as The Bookseller reports that audio is the fastest growing market segment in the publishing market.
So, I wonder what this year or the next few years will bring?
Well, I can tell you that it will probably involve Artificial Intelligence and the need for human branding.
What is human branding?
Human branding is a passion of mine. It’s the process of making your author brand more human. We humans connect with other humans, so readers or customers who see your brand as human are 2.1 times more likely to appreciate your author brand. People are 1.6 times more likely to purchase from a human brand.
Therefore, as an independent author myself, I quite like those stats since they show that human branding can help you to get more sales and as authors, I think we’d all like that.
why should i care about human branding?
Linking back to the opening quote about change, human branding is the future of marketing. Why? Because Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already being used by several companies to create content, narrate audiobooks and more.
These uses of AI will impact us as authors and they’ll provide us with many opportunities, but they’ll have negative consequences as well.
The first AI textbook was published in April 2019, according to an article in The Verge. The growth in writing tools available further enables AI to write their own books. Therefore, in the next few years, we could see a lot more machine-generated books on the market. That means even more content in the ocean of books on Amazon and other bookstores.
The result: the only way to stand out in this new AI marketplace will be to double down on being human. Our human branding.
There will, however, be a lot of exciting opportunities for authors as well.
artificial intelligence that will impact authors
- According to Forbes, text generation AI is already used for journalism including tools and companies like Automated Insights, Narrative Science and Bertie. Meaning there will be more blog content to compete with.
- DeepZen is starting to sell AI narrated audiobooks.
two ways to build a more human brand
We need to talk about how to make your author brand more human. Here are two easy ways to do that. There are more, but these are two you can begin implementing right away.
Personally, I hate having my photo taken but it’s a key factor for human branding in my (or any) business. I’ve done a few photoshoots with my dad as the photographer—hey, it saves money! When a potential reader sees my book, they’ll also see the human who wrote it.
As a result, on my website, I have various pictures of myself with my books. Readers constantly see pictures of books. They rarely see a picture of an author with their book.
This makes them stop for a moment, focus on the picture. They’re seeing you, the author, with your book. They’re more likely to develop a connection with you because we humans connect with other humans. They’re more likely to know, like and trust you. This is a very important concept for human branding—we’re more likely to do business with people that we know, like and trust.
I’ll prove it to you.
Which picture do you focus on more?
Chances are, it’s the picture of me looking very happy while holding my book.
The takeaway here is that you should take photos of you with your book to use on social media and your website. These photos are more likely to connect with readers. Your readers will see you as a real human, they’ll be more likely to follow and buy from you because of the know, like, trust principle.
Now I’ve never been much of a social media user but as an author, I use Twitter and Pinterest. I like these platforms. They work for me. A great piece of advice for authors: pick a social media platform that you like and use it. Don’t feel you have to use (e.g.) Facebook just because everyone else is. You do you.
Social media can be very useful for human branding because it gives you a platform to be personal, to share your photos and your life with others. I know this can sound scary, but start with sharing a few photos of a fun day out. Ease yourself in that way.
For example, I’m a University student in Canterbury, England, and I visited the Cathedral one day. I shared my photos on social media.
Now that wasn’t greatly personal, but it gave readers and fans a glimpse into my life and the inspiration for my next book. Sharing on social media can lead to connections being made with your readers. They’ll appreciate what you’re sharing and will want to know more about you. You’ll gain followers and even subscribers for your mailing list.
As they get to know, like and trust you even more, they’ll eventually buy your books or other products.
I’ve introduced you to human branding and suggested two ways you can use it to improve your author brand so you can stand out in the present and future.
If you want more information about human branding, its importance and ways to make your brand more human, then please check out www.connorwhiteley.net/humanbranding to find my book Human Branding for Authors: How to be Human in an AI World.
For more information on writing, please check out: www.connorwhiteley.net/writing
I hope that you’ve enjoyed the post and have a great day everyone!