Or, didn’t you realize books are the ultimate type of longform content?
I learned this lesson from an ex-boyfriend. While a professor at Wharton, he had written the must-have textbook on finance. To impress key business professionals, he gave them copies of this expensive hardcover book.
But, as a content marketer, you can use books for more than memorable business cards. Create premium quality long form content to support your customers and/or to develop new revenue streams.
For example, many not-for-profit (aka: NFP) organizations get their members to contribute recipes to create cookbooks to raise for their cause.
BUT don’t overlook the need to market your book once it’s written.
As best selling author David Meerman Scott says:
“My rule of thumb is to spend as much time marketing your book as you spend writing it. You should be working on your marketing in parallel as you are writing the book.”
So let’s take a deeper look at how you can add book marketing to your content marketing strategy to diversify your offering, to acquire customers, and to diversify your revenue streams.
Why Create Books as a Form of Content Marketing?
Create books to expand your content marketing and to build your thought leadership.
The 3 goals for creating and marketing a book are:
- Grow your audience and attract true fans who want to buy from you;
- Build awareness around your expertise and the book; and
- Drive book sales and related revenues.
Further you have an opportunity to shine because the traditional book publishing model is at risk!
And it’s not just Amazon! Now Costco, public libraries and others sell books.
For example, Ravelry, a social media platform, has transformed the publishing industry for knitting and crocheting designers.
By charging lower publishing fees than Amazon, Ravelry offers designers a global community and marketplace. And members generously add user-generated content (aka: UGC) to show off their projects and add advice for patterns.
The top designers on Ravelry, like Stephen West, have loyal followings and earn 5 to 6 figure incomes. In addition, they extend their interactions to social media and diversify their revenue streams beyond pattern sales. Here is one of Stephen West’s Ravelry patterns which was made by 1,848 members and his Instagram page (@WestKints) which has 240+k followers.
Want another reason to create book content marketing?
Because, in an era of eroded trust, people have confidence in your brand’s owned media (Source: Edelman’s Trust: The New Brand Equity 2021).
Actionable Book Marketing Tip:
- Transform and reimagine your existing content marketing into a book. For example, Andy Crestodina rewrote his blog posts about content marketing to create Content Chemistry.
How Can You Create Book Content Marketing?
When it comes to creating a book as part of your content marketing strategy, take advantage of your existing content. Include consistent content such as blogs, podcasts and/or videos. Determine which topics and authors resonate best with your audience.
Beyond Google Analytics and other website and marketing metrics, extend your analysis to social media. Refine your approach with tools like Meltwater and Talkwalker to understand how and where your audience spend their time and interact.
Also assess presentations from webinars, conferences and other events. Add these insights to determine which topics resonate best with your audience and other people’s communities.
Based on this knowledge, select one or more people in your organization to help write a book or reimagine existing content. Alternatively, hire a freelancer or ghostwriter to work with one of your executives.
Actionable Book Marketing Tip:
- Test your ideas for a book with other content articles and formats. Present or publish them on your own media or on third party websites or events.
Book Content Marketing Case Study: Test Book Ideas First
David Meerman Scott first published his ideas that became The New Rules of Marketing and PR as an ebook in 2006. In 2020, Scott updated the seventh edition of The New Rules of Marketing and PR. Published by Wiley, the Kindle version retails for $14.00 and the paperback edition retails for $16.99. It’s what Ryan Holiday calls a “perennial bestseller.”
In November 2011, Scott used this test book ideas first approach again. He published his thoughts on newsjacking in an ebook entitled Newsjacking: How to Inject your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. It retails for $6.99 on Amazon (as of September 2021).
Based on the ideas in his ebook and related speaking engagements, Scott created an online Master Newsjacking course. It sells for $449.
In 2017, newsjacking made the Oxford English Dictionary Shortlist for “Word of the Year” giving Scot credit for coining the term! They defined newsjacking as: “The practice of taking advantage of current events or news stories in such a way as to promote or advertise one’s product or brand.”
Actionable Book Marketing Tip:
- Pay attention to what your audience wants from you to continue to build your thought leadership and expand revenue streams.
What Content Should You Use To Create Book Marketing?
Among the main types of information to offer as book content marketing are:
- Foundational or Pillar Content to establish your thought leadership in a well defined niche.
- FAQ and “How To” Content to answer potential prospects’ questions while they’re researching how to solve specific needs.
- Curate either your content or other people’s content including user-generated content. For example, at Bertelsmann, we created a book of military memories from our Military Book Club Members.
Also consider the format of your books and related marketing. Offer one or more of these content formats to reach the broadest possible audience:
- Ebooks are the cheapest option since there’s low additional production costs;
- Paperback and hardcover books can be printed on-demand to avoid high pre-sale investments; and
- Audio books are the largest book marketing opportunity since more people are using more voice-first devices and listening to books when they don’t have time to read. Also, buyers test an audiobook and then buy another format. But audiobooks are expensive to produce due to the cost of voice talent or actors.
Book Content Marketing Case Study: User-Generated Content (or UGC)
Jason Miller tapped into the power of influencer marketing and user-generated content to create “Home For The Holidays”, an online and paperback recipe book for Thanksgiving 2020. He asked influencers to contribute their favorite holiday recipe. I provided a favorite I learned from my mom, “Fruit Junque”.
Subtitled, A delicious, home-cooked, 5-week menu to inspire your holidays and grow your business, Miller also created interactive content related to Active Campaign’s business automation offering.
What Are The 3 Stages Of Book Marketing Promotion?
As a rule of thumb, book creation consists of 3 phases:
- Pre-Publication. Begins when you start writing the book and lasts until 10 weeks before publication date. This period depends on the author and method of publication.
- Show Time. Starts at 10 weeks prior to the publication date, includes the publication date and the following day, and extends 2 weeks post-publication date.
- Long-term. Extends from the third week post-publication date and beyond.
Of course, internally produced ebooks can take much less time.
How Do You Market Your Book Pre-Publication?
From the point you start to create your book, your book marketing has 3 goals:
- Build your audience. Whether you have an existing community or not, start to develop deeper relationships with more people.
- Develop the book to support marketing it later. While developing each element of the book, consider how it will help you to attract influencers and buyers.
- Create book awareness. This includes speaking engagements for podcasts, webinars and conferences, publishing content on owned, social and third party media, and participating in existing communities
Marketing Inside the Book
Marketing inside the book includes everything from the book cover in. Among the top tips are:
- Create an attention-getting title and subtitle. At a minimum use online tools like CoSchedule’s Headline Studio and the Advanced Marketing Institute’s EMV Headline Analyzer. Also get feedback on social media and, where you have budget, run A/B advertising.
- Write the book blurb. This is the elevator pitch for your book.
- Develop your Table of Contents. Show prospects what the book covers so they buy it.
- Include data, examples and charts. Depending on your book format and publisher, you may only have black and white charts or full color images.
- Use quotes and case studies to get experts involved in your book success. Also get permission to use them. For example, Joe Pulizzi added about 5 to 10 pages of references to the Second Edition of Content Inc.. So he could involve them in his influencer marketing campaign.
- Ask a well known and respected individual to write the book’s foreword. This endorses your product.
- Connect with influencers to help with your book launch. So they read the book, write blurbs and reviews and promote it.
Actionable Book Marketing Tips:
- Determine who is important for the future of your book and your business. Then include them in your book. For example, in the Acknowledgement section, Paul Roetzer added a list of people who inspired him to write The Marketing Agency Blueprint (2012)
- Use professionals to edit, design and index your book.
Marketing Outside the Book Pre-publication
The top Marketing Outside the Book tactics include:
- Determine the publication date. This MAJOR factor can help or hurt your book performance. Time your book to appear when you can get the maximum audience attention.
- Develop your business or author website to support the book.For a book by a business, add a separate tab to your navigation. By contrast authors, entrepreneurs and consultants, may need a new website. For example, Dan Gingiss focused his website on his book launch.
- Build your social media presence. Use your social media assets and advertising to support your book rollout.
- Create additional materials to give-away. Include them in the book and on a related website. Some authors include a page in the book dedicated to these resources.
- Assess and set pricing and offer options Analyze how other authors and businesses price books and other information products. Where possible, test your pricing approach, assess your costs, and consider your customers’ perceived value.
Pricing Case Study: John Lee Dumas
To create the optimal size base of customers to whom you can market long-term, balance maximizing sales with appealing to the largest number of buyers. Dumas attracted 524 at $27, 1,975 buyers at $39, and 3 buyers at $6,500.
How Do You Market Your Book During Show Time?
The key to achieving book marketing success in terms of making one or more bestseller lists is to create momentum.
To do this, ramp up your book marketing in the 10 weeks prior to your publication date.
Test these tactics and put your effort on the ones yielding the greatest return.
- Run Email Outreach to “Family & Friends” and influencers who are willing to work with you. Here’s an example of the email I received from Dan Gingiss for his book, The Experience Maker.
- Expand influencer relationships to get booked for guest interviews. Include blogs, podcasts, video shows, Twitter Chats, Clubhouse and other social media venues and events and conferences. Where possible, ask interviewers to time your interview to drop just before your publication date. (See Case Studies below.)
- Create a winning Amazon Book Page. Where possible, get influencer and buyer endorsements. Also use a low price for a few days around your publication date to increase sales.
- Expand your influencer marketing beyond the book with goodie boxes. Here’s an example of the well branded box I received from Dan Gingiss. Note how he made the box and related gifts into an experience with a numbered copy of The Experience Maker where the light bulb lit up.
- Influencer Marketing ROI: How To Make Your Results Really Improve
- Add advertising and other marketing tactics such as press releases. At a minimum, advertise on Amazon. Also add other paid marketing options depending on where your audience spends their time. If necessary, hire a good book marketer!
Show Time Book Content Marketing Case Studies: Create Momentum
Mark Schaefer has published marketing books both with major publishers and on his own so he knows a thing or two about creating a book marketing campaign.
When he self-published Cumulative Advantage in January, 2021, Schaefer knew that he needed a flywheel book marketing campaign. At the heart of the launch process he gave 120 book interviews across blog posts, magazine articles, podcasts, live streaming, Masterminds/book clubs and video recordings. Due to the pandemic, Schaefer recorded them over a 10 week period.
Here’s how Schaefer described his book marketing on Business Grow:
“[T]here is a larger strategy here. … I wanted to create momentum. … [P]eak awareness in the digital world doesn’t necessarily occur over months or years. It usually happens over weeks. So my strategy was to put everything I had into promoting the book over a short period of time.”
Like Schaefer, David Meerman Scott built momentum for Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans. Scott wrote Fanocracy with his daughter, Reiko Scott. When Fanocray made the Wall Street Journal bestseller list, Scott wrote:
“A big reason we hit the list is throughout 2019, I recorded over 100 podcast episodes with a wide variety of fascinating hosts! Most dropped in the past two weeks.
I’m deeply grateful to these podcasters for not only having me on their show but also for kindly waiting to post the episodes in early 2020 to time with the Fanocracy book launch. In some cases we recorded 4 or 5 months ago!”
How Do You Market Your Book For The Long-Term?
Since creating a book as part of your content marketing strategy involves a major investment of time and resources, continue to promote and transform it to keep it visible and viable over time.
To tap into reader needs and wants, continue to monitor sales (or downloads for free options) and reader in terms of engagement, comments and letters. This yields insights so you can transform and extend the book content into related products and services your audience wants.
Actionable Book Marketing Tips:
- Keep building your thought leadership and body of work over the long-term. Bear in mind that your book is just one element of your thought leadership. For the best results, continue to expand on your ideas across content formats, platforms and devices. It’s at the heart of Mark Schaefer’s books, Known and Competitive Advantage.
- Continue to nurture your book-related community. Keep engaging with and supporting your best fans. These are the people who will buy from you over time. And they want more of you!
- Look for new related book revenue streams. By listening to your community, learn what they want from you in terms of content, products and services.
Book Content Marketing Case Study: Update Existing Book
In 2015, Joe Pulizzi first published his book, Content, Inc. with McGraw Hill. In 2020 during the pandemic, Pulizzi discovered a sizable uptick in book purchases and downloads for related podcasts.
After reviewing the numbers, Pulizzi realized the need for a new updated and expanded book. So he contacted his publisher and set to work adding new interviews and sections to the original book. Due to demonstrated desire for the book, it was fast tracked and published in about a year, a very short period of time for a major publisher.
As I mentioned above, keep your thought leadership and community going for the long-term. Pulizzi maintained his personal website and started a weekly newsletter. Below is his website that continues to promote Content, Inc..
Beyond writing the second edition of Content, Inc., Pulizzi realized that his audience wanted more information on the content entrepreneur niche. So he pivoted and created a newsletter based business called “The Tilt”. To date, it publishes a newsletter twice weekly and posts longer content on its website. In addition, Pulizzi partnered to create original research.
Book Content Marketing Case Study: Create New Revenue Streams
In 2014, Gini Dietrich published Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age through Que Publishing.
At the heart of the book was Dietrich’s PESO Model. It stands for Paid, Earned, Social and Owned and is copyrighted. (Here’s the latest version.)
To support her thought leadership and grow her revenue streams by building an engaged audience, Dietrich developed the 30 Day Comms Challenge in 2017. Its goal was to teach communications professionals the PESO Model.In 2018, Dietrich expanded the 30 Day Comms Challenge to include a book called The Communicator’s Playbook. It included multimedia and a partnership with BuzzSumo.
Book Marketing As Part Of Content Marketing Conclusion
When adding books to your content marketing strategy, plan your marketing campaign along with your book content creation. This translates to starting your marketing while developing the content of the book.
To get the most out of creating this longform content, take your book marketing seriously and invest time and resources in it.
The cheapest and most important tactic:
Time your publication date to maximize audience attention and sales.
After book publication, continue to build related thought leadership and revenue streams. To this end, keep your book-related community building activities alive to continue to grow it.
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