Why write a business book?

Some of the things that have happened to authors I’ve worked with after they’ve published their business books:

They’ve been invited to Westminster to assist MPs in their understanding of a crucial business and social issue.

They have gained a handful of NEDs.

They have become the go to spokesperson in the media for their particular area of expertise.

They’ve racked up numerous speaking engagements at conferences in the UK and worldwide.

I’m not writing this to show off. I simply wish to illustrate the point that the way to get you and your business noticed is to write a book about your subject. It’s a brilliant way to get attention (and what business doesn’t want attention?). It’s also the perfect vehicle to ‘own’ your sector. To create a stamp that says: I know about this. I am the expert. This was the very reason why I penned my own book: The Complete Guide to GhostwritingIf I wrote the book, I must know what I am talking about, right? (I do, by the way).

If you are successful in business, you’ll already know there are many ways to get yourself in front of your target audience. Doing what you do well, is obviously vital. Understanding your customer is a must too. As is creating value. However, as every successful businessperson knows, you can’t do this in a vacuum. You have to tell people about yourself. All the time.

I’ll add a short caveat here: there are some business leaders that pen their biographies to record their careers, or create a historical record, or simply set the record straight. That is, however, a small subset. By far the greatest majority of business books are written and published to advance the career of their authors and spread the word about what they do. The beauty of business books is that they are great at doing this. Even better, they achieve their goal in a range of different ways.

One of the best ways to explain it is through the words of an author I once worked with, who told me his book was a ‘posh business card’. When I thought about it I realised he was right. Almost everyone has a business card, but how many people in your sector have one that stands out and instantly says: the person that just gave you this is the authority in his sector. A business book with your name on the cover is an immediate signal of credibility and authority. It shows you are ready for your knowledge to be judged and are prepared to stand squarely behind what you know. If you wrote a terrible book, people would say it was terrible and you knew nothing. But if it is good and you are standing behind it, your audience will instantly see you are the person in the know.

What makes it all the more powerful is the fact that not that many people are prepared to put themselves out there like that. It’s seen as a risk to show the world what you know, or worse, what you don’t know.

Authoritative business books are a brilliant way to get media coverage too. In my ‘former life’ I was a national newspaper journalist. With this hat on, I can tell you that I would always prefer to consult with a clear expert in the field I was writing about. Again, the fact my chosen source had a published book was an easy shorthand to show I was making the right call. Having a book to your name (or is it your name on a book?) is also a great hook for your PR and marketing team to get their teeth into. They can set you up as a spokesperson on your area of expertise. Mr or Ms X ‘has just published a book on that’ is a great opener when speaking to news outlets, whether traditional newspapers, TV news channels, or online.

Publishing your own business book helps people find you and your company, which is surely a key aim for any organisation, whether you are just starting a business or running one that has been going for years. After all, if potential customers don’t know who you are, they won’t be able to weigh up whether or not to use your services. Also, consider this; Amazon takes third place in the list of top ranked search engines, behind Google and YouTube. So, when people are searching for buying information, the chances are the person who literally ‘wrote the book’ on the subject will feature highly in their search. A great book brings people to your business. Being a published author doesn’t just build your brand, it sells it too.

Why, you may ask, would you want to give away all your hard-earned secrets in a book? Couldn’t I write a blog post and keep the rest to myself? After all, if you have spent many years building up your expertise it may feel odd laying it all out for everyone to read. Well, it’s for the same reason I was very happy to outline everything I knew about ghostwriting in my own book. As a published author on ghostwriting, it shows how I understand everything about this service and how useful it can be in a range of situations. Sure, anyone could go off and start their own ghostwriting business on the back of it (and I have heard from people that have), but many other readers became clients. They were curious about what a ghostwriter could do for them, checked out the market and found me. Job done.

As noted earlier, a business book can also create many speaking opportunities. There’s a flipside to this too. Many of my clients say a book of the film (or talk) is a really helpful addition to their existing rounds of the conference circuit. As any regular speaker will know, if they do their job well, they will be inundated with requests for advice and further information after an appearance. Take along a stack of your books and you’ll be able to satisfy all those requests at a stroke and make some useful contacts too.

Telling the world about your accomplishments and ideas is not just satisfying and fulfilling: it will have a real impact on your bottom line. If you want to stand out, show off your expertise, sell more product, make more contacts, as well as a name for yourself and your business, it all starts with a really good book.