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A book is one of the best marketing tools you can have. It connects you with your audience, by allowing you to specifically target your message, craft stories to help that audience receive that message, and inspire action based on that message. Savvy authors and business owners realize their books aren’t just about telling stories or entertaining. Their books are about building their businesses, organizations, and careers.

That is why it’s important to approach the development of your book in this light, from the very beginning. How you develop the book will determine just how well you can reach your audience. In fact, how well you develop your book can determine whether you will reach the audience you have in mind, or an entirely different one. For instance, let’s say you want to tell your story. Well, you can tell your story in the form of a tearful memoir that appeals to your family and friends and maybe some others. Or you can tell your story by wrapping it around points, strategies, and insights that others can use in their own lives. Done this way, that story can position you as an expert on the key issue you deal with in the book. That is because you’ve crafted the book to use your story to share insight and information to help others, and not merely as a tool to get your story out without any particular benefit to the reader.

It’s the same story, but two completely different approaches. One barely appeals to a few family and friends. The other appeals to an audience that doesn’t even know you, because they care about and are interested in your topic and hope you can teach them something about how to deal with that topic or issue in their own lives. One just satisfies the ego. The other builds a brand.

A book can be key to business development, as it can be the one tool that differentiates you from your competition and allows you to land the big deal. This can work in any industry, so don’t think this is just for “literary types.” Use a book to make your brand stronger, help in business development, and take your business to another level. Whether you run a bakery, construction company, writing business, or hedge fund, a book can be your not-so-secret marketing weapon.

Writing a book to help you reach your target audience? Consider:

Content. Proper content development is essential to a book that builds your brand. Develop your content around your message. Stories, points, and illustrations that don’t support that message — no matter how cute or clever — just don’t belong. The book isn’t about confusing your reader, but informing him that you offer a solution to his problem if you are writing nonfiction or entertaining if you are a fiction writer. Any information that doesn’t further those goals needs to go.

Look. Your book doesn’t just connect you with your target audience through its content. It also does so with its look — its design. From the cover design to the interior layout, your book speaks for you. If your book’s design is off and doesn’t reinforce or support the message of the book, then this can confuse your reader. For instance, a cartoonish cover for a very serious book may have your intended reader wondering if she can take the book seriously, while a boring or overly serious cover can dissuade a reader from purchasing, even though the content at first glance seems fine.Your book’s look must set the tone for the reader’s experience. What does your book’s look say about what’s inside? Does this look fit in with the rest of your business?

Promise. You do realize your book offers a promise to your reader, right? After all, if that were not the case, you wouldn’t need the enticing promotional copy on the back cover.  That promise is that the book won’t waste her time and that she will get out of the book what you tell her she will on the cover and in promotional material. Does the book deliver? If it delivers, it builds the brand. If it doesn’t, that brand will be in shambles.

Consistency. When you are writing a book to build or grow a brand, then the book isn’t a one-off piece. It goes along with other pieces of information you have in place — your website, your other marketing materials, etc. Make sure your book fits into the overall picture. If you need to tweak the book or the other pieces of your brand, then do so.

Call to action. If you are using a book to grow a business, it needs to encourage the reader to do something. That thing could be to contact you for a consultation, join your mailing list, perform some other action, etc. Make sure this call to action is apparent and you have a place on your website or within your business where people can take this action and engage with you further. For instance, if your reader is convinced that you are the person who can help her deal with her problem, then offer a package or service she can purchase from you to deal with that problem. If your book doesn’t have a call to action, then it’s missing a big part of its purpose.

A properly created book can be a marketing tool that builds your brand and connects you with your audience and earns you prestige, income, and new business for a long time to come.

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Monica Carter Tagore is the author of the forthcoming Connect and Conquer: Grow Your Business, Organization, and Career Through Online and Offline Relationships. Join our mailing list by clicking here to be among the first to hear when it is published. Visit ConnectBeat.com for more information on connecting to your audience through social media, story, branding, and more.

 

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