That’s right. Become a published author.
Yes, you have time!
Read on for WHY this may be THE content marketing strategy your business needs, and HOW to get it done!
WHY Your Business Needs a Book
YOU know you’re an expert, but do THEY know it?
We’ve all heard the phrase, “He wrote the book on it.” It’s an expression indicating someone is an expert on a particular topic. These days, if you have expertise, particularly in a well-defined niche, you literally can write a book on it! And the best part: With the self-publishing resources available, you don’t even have to pitch your idea to a publisher. So if you need to establish thought leadership—which will in turn boost your credibility, help you build trust with your audience, and generate more leads—grab that laptop and a cup of coffee, and take a deep dive into your field of expertise.
Your established client base is begging for more!
If you have a happy client base and/or an active social media following, they’re probably already asking you for more of what you offer. If you’re engaged with your audience, you know what they’re struggling with right now—and most importantly what additional information they’d pay for. Don’t skip out on this valuable opportunity! If you can deliver the answers your audience is seeking in book form, you have a powerful new lead generation resource (with a proper launch/marketing strategy…a post for another day)—not to mention book sales as a new source of revenue for your business.
You’re tired of marketing EXPENSES that don’t get results; you’re ready to invest in a marketing ASSET that WILL produce results…for years to come!
Stop gambling on advertising, and start betting on your own expertise! Even the cleverest of ads may not generate the results you’re looking for. You could spend thousands placing a huge color ad in a well-circulated publication and not get a single phone call. Why roll the dice? Take those dollars and invest in yourself. Put your value into print, and watch it work for you time and time again. A book not only will establish you as a thought leader in your industry, but it also will serve as a marketing MACHINE—provided that you use it to its full potential as a platform for spinning off numerous other forms of related content.
You want to stand out.
According to research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, approximately 80% of companies maintain a blog, but less than a third of them have published a book. Differentiation is critical in today’s marketplace. Employing a lesser-used form of content will help you stand out from the competition. Added bonus: Some of the best book marketing strategies also look quite a bit different from what everyone else is doing, so you’ll set yourself apart as you launch and promote your book as well!
HOW to Get the Writing Done Fast
So, now you’re sold on the idea of writing a book for your business, but you feel overwhelmed by the task?
Fear not! It’s easier and cheaper than ever to become a published author. And if you’ve been plugging away at your blog or writing articles for industry publications for a while now, you’ve already got a great start on your content.
Here are some common concerns and links to resources that will resolve them lickety-split:
Fear of the blank page
If you’ve got a blog, you don’t have a blank page. If you’ve written articles, reports, white papers, or even copy for your website, you don’t have a blank page. Conduct a quick inventory of your existing content, including a review of the comments, questions, and emails you’ve received from your audience.
Tip: You can use Social Crawlytics to quickly point you to your most popular content (and that of your competitors, if you so desire). This exercise should lead you to plenty of book-theme ideas for brainstorming with your team.
How to organize + outline
Once you’ve chosen a specific (this is key) theme that will resonate with your audience and address their needs (also key), you need to create a book outline. There are many ways to do this, but here are a few suggestions:
- Mindmapping – Take a blank sheet of paper, and write your book theme in the center. Jot down ideas, chapter titles, graphics/quotes/examples to be included, etc. around the page as they come to mind. Use lines/arrows to make connections and indicate logical flow. Or, if you’re a digital person and want to get fancy with it, you can try one of the many digital mind mapping tools available.
- Think Outcome and Work Backwards – What do you want your readers to FEEL, KNOW, and DO when they’ve finished your book? What information do you need to provide for that to happen? Use your answers to organize your content.
- Get Headline Happy – Are you best at summarizing the big picture, as opposed to breaking down all the details? Then you’re probably great at crafting compelling headlines and titles! Jot down attention-grabbing headlines (which could become chapter or section titles) related to your theme that address the key topics you need to cover. Order, reorder, and build out your outline from those.
How to get the writing done
Again, if you’ve got a blog or inventory of articles, you probably already have a lot of relevant content you can use, reuse, or expand upon easily. If not, the writing task isn’t as hard as you might think, especially once you’ve gone through the exercises noted above. Just do it…one day at a time!
Tip: Set a daily writing goal, block out a set writing time on your daily/weekly schedule (depending on how quickly you’d like to complete the task), and stick to it.
Don’t consider yourself a writer, or don’t feel particularly efficient at it? Consider presenting the content of your book orally, to a colleague/friend/family member or to yourself, or have someone interview you. Record, transcribe, and voila! You’ve got a draft. You’ll probably have some editing to do, but at least you’ll have the content down.
Tip: You can find affordable transcriptionists online using LinkedIn, Fivrr, or Google.
Alternatively, you could hire a ghostwriter. This would be a skilled freelance professional who can easily gain an understanding of your business and your target audience, effectively capture your voice, and quickly crank out the content when provided with your mind map, outline, access to subject matter experts, etc. Gather some quotes. You may find that outsourcing and overseeing the writing is more cost-effective than doing it yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that! You’ll still author and direct the content.
Tip: Use LinkedIn to find a selection of professionals that meet your specific criteria. Perhaps you’d prefer to work with someone local who has written, ghostwritten, or edited books or other long-form content in your industry? LinkedIn’s advanced search tool can lead you directly to a handful of folks (if not more) that you can reach out to.
How long should it be?
Wondering about the ideal length for your book? There is no magic formula, unfortunately. Take a look at other books that have been published in your industry with related content. Look at their lengths and scan their reviews. The key is to make your book as long as it needs to be to cover your topic thoroughly without being overly complex or wordy (Your editor can help you with this—stay tuned, I’ll be writing another post that’ll cover editing services.).
Have you thought about writing a book? Leave a comment and let us know what’s holding you back?
Photo credit: adamr, freedigitalphotos.net