We've entered the information age, and with it comes information overload. Increasingly, people are inundated with sales calls, spam mail, and other marketing materials cluttering their mailboxes, email accounts, and televisions. People are tuning out. Direct mail ends up in the trash, emails are deleted upon receipt, and buying radio or television airtime is too expensive.
So how can an expert or business break through the clutter, spread an idea, and connect with potential clients? The answer: write a business book.
The benefits of writing any book are many, but here are five powerful benefits to writing a business book in particular.
Benefit One: A Business Book Identifies Your Specialty
True thought leaders are authorities on a specific topic--and the more specific and differentiated their area of expertise, the better. Those who claim to be experts on multiple topics aren't experts at all; they're dabblers. Establishing oneself as an expert takes experience, knowledge, and a track record of results. Writing a book on that expertise cements your reputation as a thought leader in your specific area.
When people seek you out, what specific topic do they most frequently ask you about? This is probably your specialty. Research online, visit a bookstore, or study an industry association and identify the leaders in your field. Create a table listing their strengths and weaknesses. Do you see an opening that you can fill?
Benefit Two: A Business Book Defines Your Value Proposition
Once you've narrowed down your specialty and differentiated yourself from your competition, it's time to identify your key message and the value that you will bring to others. Using a nonprofit leadership example, a book could establish a value proposition of "developing socially-oriented leaders" or "teaching organizers how to motivate volunteers." Make a list of key messages, bring in a few trusted advisors, and begin brainstorming, creating, and refining until your stated value proposition is accurate and succinct. Being specific and brief will help you quickly hone in on your target audience and will help them identify you as an authority on their topic of concern. This will ultimately help you attract the right potential readers and prospective clients.
Don't rush this process. It may take some time to find the words that you feel you can build a brand around and live with for years to come.
Benefit Three: A Book Helps You Develop Your Message
You've identified your key message, and now it's time to develop the content to carry your message forward. Quite often, this process helps experts to move beyond the surface elevator pitch of their positioning and to identify and refine the specific, actionable ways that they impact others. What tips, strategies, frameworks, and examples do you have that help communicate your message and provide value to your audience? Do you have access to important statistics, research, or fellow experts? Compile all of this information into talking points and organize them by subtopic, and then pull together supporting facts and actionable tools to help the reader apply your knowledge.
Benefit Four: A Business Book Can Help You Find Clients
If your book adequately conveys the promise and purpose of your core business work, it can be a great tool to establish credibility and help attract prequalified prospects that want the additional benefit of your speaking, consulting, or coaching services. Some authors are content to use digital publishing and an online-only distribution approach, but if you're seeking wider distribution of physical copies in airport bookstores, etcetera, you'll most likely need to partner with an established publisher or distributor.
A word of caution: Do your research! From self-publishing to traditional publishing and hybrid models in between, there are multiple ways to publish. The approach that is best for you will depend on your goals, timeline, genre, and resources. Just as in any other industry, quality can vary--so do your homework to avoid the less favorable publishing routes.
Benefit Five: A Business Book Gives You Something to Promote
The first rule of generating word of mouth buzz is to give people something to talk about. A book launch gives you the opportunity to launch a media campaign around your book's release, a reason for you to connect with the media as an expert source, and physical tool to deliver to reporters, meeting planners who might be interested in you as a speaker, and your internal list of past and prospective clients.
As you secure media placements, be sure to share those articles, interviews, speaking engagements, etc. Keep a running list of your activities on your website, along with an updated press kit and speaking menu so people can easily identify you as an expert source for their topic.
- Tanya Hall is the CEO of Greenleaf Book Group, an independent publisher and distributor with a specialty in developing bestselling business titles.