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Books - Who Benefits?

Viv OyoluI had great fun this morning with the wonderful Viv Oyolu of AudioByte, who was interviewing me for her expert interview series. She asks great questions, and one of them seemed to me particularly interesting, and worthy of a blog post:

‘When you talk about writing a book being a way for business owners to ‘own their niche’, is this specific to any industry or sector?’

Several people have asked me whether I specialise in working with a particular business type. The answer is simply no: every business is positioned within a competitive landscape, so every business owner needs to think carefully and strategically about how to differentiate, and I can’t think of many industries where a book wouldn’t or couldn’t help in some way.

If your business depends in any significant way upon your personal expertise, if you care about establishing trust and building relationships with your clients and if you’re involved in some way in meeting your customers’ needs, then publishing a book could be a powerful marketing tool, perhaps more powerful than anything you’re currently using.

It’s still a differentiator: the Content Marketing Institute reports that while over 80% of companies have a blog, fewer than 1 in 3 have produced a book. And yet if you have a decent blog that’s been going for a year or so, you’ve already done more than half the work required to create a book, AND you have the feedback – in terms of comments and usage figures – to show you exactly where your customers’ or potential customers’ interests lie. (Conversely, once written, a book becomes a great source for additional content such as white papers, presentations, extracts for blogs etc: quality content creation is a very virtuous circle.)

When customers search for answers to their questions online and they discover relevant, well-written content from you, that is pure marketing gold. Your message is being delivered at exactly the right time to exactly the right person, someone who’s come looking for it, values it, and by extension values you for providing it. If you go beyond the blog and the website copy to offer in-depth, authoritative content in the form of a book, whether that’s sold through an online bookstore or delivered free from your site, that takes the relationship into a new dimension.

For some businesses simply increasing traffic to the website or using a free ebook to build a mailing list can be useful, but I believe the real opportunity is that the content paves the way for a deeper relationship with the customer, the opportunity to engage directly, to be the person the customer turns to when they need advice or services tailored for their specific situation:  that’s what people really value, and in a world of ubiquitous free content, that’s what can’t be commoditized.

EDIT: you can hear the interview at http://www.audio-byte.co.uk/alison-jones/

Tags: content | book

This entry was posted on 29 April 2014 at 16:40 and is filed under publishing | content strategy. You can leave a response here.

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