The Internet and airwaves are overwhelmed by too many messages. You want to cut through the clutter and reach your core client, but how can you do that in a way that is credible, direct, and impactful? The best way is to publish a book.
According to Alan Weiss, bestselling author of How to Establish a Unique Brand in the Consulting Profession, a book is “the best branding technique of them all”—particularly for consultants.
A book lends instant credibility to the author. It is also a powerful communication tool, one that both educates your client and demonstrates the philosophies, tools, and skills you incorporate into your business.
More powerful than a brochure or white paper, a book is an in-depth presentation in a portable format that is always ready to play.
After reading your book, clients and event coordinators know what kind of message you will deliver should they hire you as a consultant or book you as a speaker.
Mary Lou Quinlan—expert marketing consultant, founder of Just Ask a Woman, and author of three books, including her latest release, What She’s Not Telling You—uses her books not only to educate clients, but also to raise her company’s profile. “Thanks to my books, we have attained the highest awareness among our relevant competitors, attracted new clients, penetrated new markets, and garnered paid speeches,” she says.
Retail distribution was not a primary concern for Quinlan. Instead she used the book to reach her target audience, chief marketing officers, by focusing on airport stores and back-of-room sales during speeches and events, and by using the book as a sales tool during initial meetings.
Her strategy worked well, allowing her to expand beyond business firms to major players in the lifestyle industry and helping her secure a spot as a correspondent for CBS News.
Rich Horwath, consultant and founder of the Strategic Thinking Institute, also saw great success following the publication of his book Deep Dive.
Says Horwath, “Since releasing the book I have seen increased name recognition as the thought leader on the topic of strategic thinking; the acquisition of consulting, training, and speaking engagements based on people reading Deep Dive; and an increase of 50 percent in my keynote speaking fees.”
Horwath caters to senior-level executives, so he focused on retail and airport distribution for his book in addition to back-of-room sales.
Since his target client is frequently travelling, Horwath says that “airport locations were critical to generating awareness and demand.”
General retail distribution helped him achieve thought-leader status on a broad level, allowing him to compete with the stalwarts of the industry.
The benefits of a book are numerous, but actually publishing a book is not easy. Consultants considering writing a book should ask themselves the following questions:
- What is your reason for writing the book (to educate, to boost brand awareness, to earn revenue from back-of-room sales, etc.)
- What value will your book bring to the audience? What problem does it solve?
- Why are you the best person to deliver this message?
- How is your book or message different from what’s already out there?
A book is an extension of your consulting practice. Just as with any business decision, you should research your options very carefully before signing on with a publisher or distributor.
Make sure the publisher understands and can help you meet your goals. Verify their reputation and ability to deliver the services and results you need.
Above all, determine what level of control you want, how much time and money you are willing and able to invest, and what you want the book to do for you both in the short term and long term before committing to a contract.
Today’s post is by Clint Greenleaf, the founder and CEO of Greenleaf Book Group. GBG, an Inc 500 Company, is a leading publisher and distributor with several New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. Clint (a CPA) sits on the University of Texas Libraries Board, is a board member of AOL Small Business, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc magazine, Fox Business, MSBNC, Money magazine, Forbes, and Entrepreneur. Clint speaks about publishing and entrepreneurship across the country at conferences, seminars, and schools.