Whether you’re a writer who runs a business or someone who runs a business but doesn’t write, your business needs a book. If you think a book is just a way to entertain or educate, think again. A book is a way to enter your name into the consciousness of your target audience. A book, in short, is a marketing tool.
Whether you’ve spent tons of dollars marketing your business or none at all, a book is a marketing tool that can surpass all others. I know this because I’ve seen it in my own writing career, as well as in the careers of clients we’ve helped to produce books.
This is what a book can do for you.
You become an expert
If you’re looking for a way to stand out in the minds of your customers and prospects, then a book helps you do that. You move from being just the service provider, to the one who wrote the book on your subject. Writing a book lets you share your expertise, perspective, and ideas in a way that sets you apart from your competition.
We’ve had clients who have used books to help them land on television, take their businesses in a whole new direction, and even become sought after to speak at key events.
You find your customers and prospects
A book is an excellent way to qualify leads. As you go through the book, you can discuss your approach to solving your target customer’s problem, why your approach works, and how you can help this target customer with this problem. By the end of the book, you’ve become the only go-to choice for your target customer. A call to action seals the deal and tells your prospect what to do next: Contact you, sign up for your mailing list, purchase your product, or whatever you suggest.
You set the record straight
If you are annoyed at how you or your industry are perceived, or if you feel that you’ve been cast in a bad light or customers don’t really “get” you or your business, then a book can straighten that all out. A book is your chance to tell the truth as you see it, address naysayers or doubters, and correct misconceptions. When your business’s name or reputation is on the line, then a book can be an effective way of clearing the air.
You minimize damage
A book lets you tell your story in your own words. It allows you to tell your story, address your bad choices, or explain some compromising or weird decisions you made in the past so you come clean and begin to repair your reputation. This can be a way to make your bad decisions non-issues to be used by opponents or adversaries. When you’ve already pushed the skeletons out of your closet, nobody else can out you. One of the things that Barack Obama did in his 1995 book, Dreams from My Father, before launching his political career, is share that he had done some things earlier in life, including smoked pot. He took the sting out of any political opponent’s “revelations” because he had already shared it.
You share your research, methods, or journey
A book lets you share the information you have learned from working in a field or industry. You get to show why your method works, why your research is significant, and why what you say matters. We are working with a client who will use her soon-to-be-published book to share the journey of her five-year-old business. Another client will use his book to find a new audience for his business. And yet another client used a book to establish himself as an expert and share his unique perspective to gain visibility and clients.
You raise your visibility
A book has the added benefit of being one of the few marketing tools that actually creates new opportunities for you. For instance, your book can position you as an expert and this can lead to paid speaking engagements, media appearances, and more opportunities including new product development. We’ve had clients who have been on local, regional, and national television news broadcasts, as well as interviewed in prominent newspapers and magazines.
Imagine a book that has new customers, prospects, media and others coming to you. Seeking you out. Wanting to work with you.
You build a legacy
At some point, we all begin to think about the next generation. Writing a book can be a way to leave something for the next generation, build a legacy, and capture history. In the business context, writing a book for this reason can allow you to chronicle important developments in your life or business that led to your success. It can also be a way to offer advice or insight for the future, so people following in your footsteps can learn from your example.
You can pivot
A book can allow you to tweak your professional profile and expand into a new area. This pivot can be helpful if you have built a reputation or name in one industry, but want to leverage that reputation into a new career or a new area of focus. A book can allow you to unify your previous experience with your new focus to create a new or expanded brand. For instance, if you have been in one industry for a dozen years but are now interested in speaking or coaching on a topic not exactly related, then you can use a book to showcase why your previous experience actually translates to this new area. Even if you don’t have much experience in the new area, the book can transfer your previous credibility or reputation to this new area.
That’s the power of a book.
As you can see, a book is a marketing tool that works 24/7 on your behalf. It increases your stature, gets you in front of customers and prospects, and creates new opportunities for you and your business. Many aspiring authors and business owners get intimidated by the idea of writing a book and so they put it off for later — or never. They think they don’t have the time, skill, or organizational abilities to pull off a whole book.
But the benefit of producing a book can far outweigh any of those concerns — especially when you realize you can hire an editor to polish up a manuscript you have collecting dust or a ghostwriter who can use her time and skill to write the book you want. I know these objections don’t hold up, because I’ve seen it time and time again, as we’ve taken the headache out of book writing and publishing for many of our clients. Whatever objections they had for holding off on doing their books disappeared once they realized they didn’t have to approach the book writing and publishing process alone. And in many instances, they were able to realize true benefits of integrating books into their businesses and land new clients and opportunities.
What about you? Are you planning a book for 2013?