One-hundred-forty-four. That’s how many times Jack Canfield’s first “Chicken Soup for the Soul®” book got rejected. A lackluster beginning for a guy who ultimately went on to sell more than 500 million copies of his books worldwide. So how did Canfield turn things around? He finally started thinking about book publishing like a marketer would.
Canfield attributes his ultimate success, in part, on his ability to tell stories: People remember stories. And his books are full of them. But the books are more than just a collection of stories. Publishing books made him an expert, something that came in handy when he spoke to groups for a fee. Books became his calling cards. Canfield even published shorter versions of some of his books and gave them away. This helped him garner interest in his brand.
In some respects, Jack Canfield’s career is the ultimate content marketing strategy success story. If you’ve thought about writing a book to promote your brand but for whatever reason are still on the fence about it, let Canfield’s career be a guide to you. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you are creating your book. These tips will help you use your published book as one of your best marketing tools.
Why do you Need a Content Marketing Strategy?
First things first… If you’re not fully employing fresh, original content as a marketing tool, you might find an introduction to the subject to be helpful. According to an article on Forbes, this type of marketing involves making and then distributing content that people find relevant and valuable. Further, consistently writing good content helps marketers acquire a specific audience and eventually create profit.
Forbes goes on to emphasize how important it is to create content that people find valuable. While this word is often used synonymously with “useful,” valuable content isn’t always useful, at least not in the way that a recipe or instructions for changing a tire would be. True enough, it can be that, too, but valuable content can also speak to the heart and soul (much like Canfield’s work.)
It’s also a bit subjective, meaning that it’s highly targeted for a specific niche. For example, a website or a book dedicated to improving your running time isn’t as likely to appeal to the average couch potato as it will to the average runner. The content that you create is determined by your audience. In this case, the avid runner would find your content creation efforts valuable. However, the couch potato may or may not be as excited by the content you create.
What Kinds of Content Can You Produce?
Before we move on solely to books-as-marketing-tools, you should know about some of the other types of content that content creators make. They’re worth mentioning because usually, a good marketing strategy involves using them in tandem. Each brings a new aspect of your brand story to the table and each appeals to a slightly different type of person.
1. Blogs and websites have been around for a long time and they’re still one of the go-to foundational pieces in your content toolbox. These web tools get picked up by the search engines, giving you free traffic. They’re the first place to look when you’re trying to create a sales funnel. Many marketers offer free white papers or videos on their sites. And those who have a book or books published can post excerpts from the books and book giveaways to support their marketing efforts.
2. Infographics are popular because they provide you with at-a-glance information. From a marketing perspective, they’re also easy to share and to pin on sites like Pinterest. This can drive an enormous amount of traffic to your other content. And this content can deal with anything. For example,you can create an infographic about the content in your book. This allows people who are short on time to get some information from your book in bite-sized chunks. Most people are very busy. The beauty of infographics is that they act as an appetizer for those who are hungry for content. It’s even better if your content satisfies the need that drove them to go looking for content in the first place.
3. Video marketing is also big. Video, according to HubSpot, has a high conversion rate – up to 80%. And most people will share a video. For book marketers, video can be a dream. Video gives authors a platform for book trailers (like movie trailers only for books.) But video does something else. If you speak on your video, it shows off your speaking and personality. If you’re trying to build a clientele or if you want to start making at least some of your money from public speaking fees, the combination of having videos showing your speaking style and published books about your area of expertise will help you immensely.
Why Writing a Book Gives You Credibility
According to an article on LinkedIn, writing a book offers numerous advantages to the content marketer. Among them are credibility and the acceleration of trust. Both of these “intangibles” are important if you’re selling big ticket items (which could be products or services.) When you pass your book on to a potential client, you become an expert in his/ her eyes. For example, let’s say you’re a marketing expert in the medical and tech fields. Let’s also say that you have a high sales closing rate. Other industry professionals in the medical or tech marketing field would probably pay very good money to read your book. It helps them gain insights into how to do their job better.
But here’s the real kicker. Books should be a cornerstone of your content marketing efforts because they produce some side benefits. Sure, they make you money if you have good book sales. But they also bring media attention to you and your brand. This, in turn, can lead to speaking engagements.
Here’s why these two factors – media attention and speaking engagements – are so important. First of all, buying advertising in magazines and newspapers can get expensive. Even an ad in the local paper or on local TV is going to cost you several hundred to several thousands of dollars. However, an article about you and your book doesn’t cost you anything. What’s more, people have a different perception of an article they read versus an ad they see. They perceive the article as truthful and authoritative. You’re more likely to be looked at as an expert if you’re interviewed by a journalist than if someone just catches sight of your ad.
As for public speaking engagements, they not only give your expert status a boost, but they can make you some pretty serious money. According to a Chron article, motivational speakers earn in the high eighties or more. The projected job growth for speakers is 21%. Additionally, most speakers offer their books for sale at their speaking engagements. If you’ve written a book and are out promoting it and your brand, then you’ll want to have books to sell and possibly even videos. (This is where it pays to do more than one type of content marketing.) The thing about books is that people keep them for a lot longer than they do most branded content. They refer back to a well-written book often as a source of information. If you’re the one who wrote the book, it’s very likely that it’s you that these same people will come looking for when they have a problem that needs solving.
A Recap of Books-as-Content
Writing and publishing a book offers you many benefits as a marketer. Here’s a look back at a few of them:
- A published book immediately establishes you as an expert in your field. It also makes people trust you and your brand.
- People keep books long after they toss out other types of content. For the people in your niche, your book can provide valuable information that they need.
- Being a published author can lead to free publicity in the media, allowing you to save on your marketing budget.
- Many public speakers, including Jack Canfield, recommend using books as a calling card for other activities, including garnering speaking engagements.
- The content from your book can be turned into other types of marketing materials like infographics and scripts for videos or podcasts.
- Book royalties can add to your bottom line but it will be a slow process.