Naming Your Writing Business: When Catchy Becomes Risky

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Writers are a creative bunch with have diverse interests and unique personalities. You know that truth if you are one and that you’re willing to take creative risks.

If you have a particularly artistic streak, you might choose our business name based on your distinct personas rather than with a focus on your target clients. You might make that choice even when you write editorial content for quite a few corporate clients.

However, sometimes, what you call our enterprise draws attention away from the excellence of our work. You might experience tension between expressing and maintaining your creativity versus attracting the right attention to your business. And, that might mean gambling with your revenue to remain “true” to your identity in your business name.

A Discussion with Other Writers

Some time back, I was in an exchange on Facebook with a group of other writers about naming businesses. That brought to mind an article I read several years ago about the importance of choosing the right naming strategy for any business.

One of the arguments the author made in that article is to make the name catchy.

We were providing input to another writer about her proposed business name, which was certainly catchy. But, the crux of the debate became, “When is “catchy” actually “risky”?”

We discussed the proposed name at length. And, naturally, as a longtime branding professional and former owner of a digital marketing and web branding agency, I had a lot of thoughts about the name.

I was concerned for this young writer about what images the name she wanted to use might conjure up, particularly among some audiences. The name she wanted to use was “risque” and her audience was conservative. So, while I usually agree with the “catchy” naming strategy (hence the name of this blog), in this debate, I took a different stance.

I argued, instead, that making a business name too memorable won’t work for all businesses. It could backfire as it has for me in the past.

Considerations to Make When Naming Your Writing Business

Business names, especially catchy names, are like baby names. For most writing businesses, hey should be carefully chosen using a reasoned approach. Remember, you’ll have to live with that name for at least a little while.

So, for writers deciding what to name their businesses, here are three considerations you should make when selecting the right name.

Is your business name accurately descriptive of your enterprise?

What do you want to come to the minds of your key audiences when they hear or see your business name? Branding, as it relates to choosing a service company name, is about creating the image you want others to have of your business.

Many writers name their businesses for themselves, and that’s fine as long as they maintain a good reputation (and aren’t going to be confused with a more famous writer of the same name).

When we named businesses as part of rebranding campaigns when I was a digital agency owner, however, we most often named the company based on what it did.

So, when you decide to name your business something other than your given name, like Thrive Media, the name of the parent company for Get Money Moxie, it should be descriptive of what your writing business offers.

And, it should be apparent what the purpose of your writing business is. For example, my firm provides writing services that help my clients show their readers how to make courageous money decisions on their way to wealth. That audience-first focus enhances my clients’ communications efforts to increase revenue.

When you name your business based on its purpose, you don’t have to explain, often continuously, what your company does. (And, if you do, it’s a quick conversation.)

Is your business name distracting?

This is where you must consider whether “catchy” is actually “risky.” While many branding professionals, including me, are proponents of the “do brand you” school of thought, writers must consider what their business name says to others about “brand you.”

There are situations when having a business name that’s the talk of the industry is appropriate.

But, when yours conjures up undesirable images (ones you don’t want to be associated with you or your business), brands you in a way that detracts from focusing on the quality of your core offerings or confuses the public about what your offerings are, you should reconsider that business name.

And, regardless of your gender, don’t use names that are racy unless you write in a genre or for clients who serve those audiences.

You want prospective editors and clients asking you about your excellent writing, not wanting to have extended conversations about your business name and how it relates to your business.

The story behind your business name is only great if it doesn’t distract others from what you offer and prevent them from hiring you after they learn why you called your business what you have.

Also, you will dread signing contracts and sharing your business card at networking events if observers question your firm name sarcastically too frequently.

Trust me. I know. Even I’ve made some mistakes with business names in the past. I had a few that were a bit too ‘cutesy’ or clever, and I ended up changing them after few people took me seriously or most people snickered when I told them the name.

Is your business name industry appropriate?

Writing is, of course, a business and it’s part of the communications industry. Your business is competing with multiple other businesses and, like it or not, particularly in the corporate writing arena, you are judged, in part, by your business name.

While writers are quite creative, we often forget that the corporate world is still more conservative. So, name your business something that is appropriate for the industry you’re targeting.

In fact, search online for your proposed name to see what your business name brings up. I guarantee you that you will learn very quickly if it’s appropriate for the kind of clients you want to attract.

For example, you love 70s funk music and listen to it while you write. But, you write about public policy.

You probably don’t want to name your business “Funky Dancer Communications.” That’s more of an ode to your hobby or personality than your writing expertise.

And, it may confuse your target client when they are considering which writing business to hire.

That’s probably not what you want.

Think Like a Consultant When Naming Your Business

Business development is as serious an endeavor when you’re a consultant in any other industry. As a writer, you are a communications consultant, and you want to think like one when conducting all business activities.

Branding is an especially critical business strategy because it determines how your target clients see your business. It’s particularly vital when you’re trying to start and grow your writing business.

So, while you want to have your creativity on display with your audience, keep in mind how you want to represent your brand when you’re naming your business.

Then, when you’re discussing how excellent you are at your writing niche, your audience’s focus is on exactly that and not on something unrelated to your core services like why you named your business what you did.

(c) 2015-2018. Dahna M. Chandler for Get Money Moxie, Inc. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express written permission of the author.

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