The average self-published book never sells more than 250 copies in its lifetime.
I can’t even imagine putting all that love and time and effort into creating something so special and important to me only to find that nobody wants it.
Do you know what underpins successful content in this digital age? Do you know why it’s so important to carefully detail who your ideal audience is? Do you know that without a clear structure and plan, writing inspiration tends to dry up, and your book will never make it out into the world?
I founded Write Business Results (WBR) six years ago. WBR works with busy growth-focused entrepreneurs to turn their key concepts, ideas and stories into business books that leave them a legacy to be proud of, and attract five and six-figure returns.
These books are designed with specific aims at heart:
- To impact the target audience
- To produce significant business results for the author
There’s a collaborative element to putting an excellent piece of content together; everything starts with a strategic plan regardless of the topic, the individual, or the intention of the book. This is a vital part of our in-house content creation process.
The strategic plan exists to ensure the content of every book performs a commercial function. Each book is designed to lead people through an emotional journey; the content we create is designed to invoke and accelerate the journey, helping people move from reader to client.
The planning phase takes into account:
- The author’s vision
- The business goal
- The intended audience
- What the audience needs to see and hear to feel compelled to take action
The WBR team
The WBR team has its own in-house editor, Kat Lewis, and content developer, Ivan Meakins, to keep the process running as seamlessly as possible.
Kat: “An agreed structure helps to keep everybody on track. It makes sure that the book incorporates everything the author wanted, and that the information is presented in the right way for their audience to fully engage. It also helps the content to flow because it’s easy for a new author to leap to a new topic which might not yet make sense to the reader. We want to make it as easy as possible for the reader to navigate the content and find the sections that are lightbulb moments for them.”
As Kat mentions, when a new author sits down to write it’s easy for them to get inspired and race off in a new direction; a pre-planned structure helps them to relax into the process and trust that they are going to cover the information at the right time for their reader.
During our content and brand strategy sessions it’s quite normal for an author to want to share their message with ‘everyone’, but this dilutes the message to the extent that it speaks to no-one.
Ivan has some insights on the client avatar.
Ivan: “We start with the end goal and that includes highlighting exactly who the book is designed to speak to. Throughout the entire creation process we refer back to that plan and check that the content is designed with them in mind. These days people have so much access to generic information, but what they really want is a specific solution to their specific problem.
When you get this focus right for any book, blog or podcast you are speaking to the exact people who are potentially going to become your clients, as opposed to speaking to the wider world where even if you get 1,000 likes on social media it’s fool’s gold because it won’t translate into new business.”
The importance of being selective
Ivan is absolutely right. At WBR we will not accept a reader profile aimed at ‘everyone’; we help our clients drill down to a specific type of person. This is particularly pertinent for Kat when she’s overseeing the bigger picture.
Kat: “If you don’t know who you’re talking to it’s much more difficult to find relevant examples and choose the right language to draw them in. The more detail we have on the reader avatar the more weight we can give to content designed for them.
We can visualise the person that we’re writing for, think about the problems that they’re facing and how specifically this author can solve those. Even if an author has lots of information that they really want to share we still have to distil it into manageable chunks for the reader.
The author might have decades of knowledge to share but no-one can take that on board from reading a single book. You have to be selective and to do that well you need a clearly defined reader avatar.”
In addition to preventing readers from being overwhelmed, a key aim of WBR is to generate new business for each author. Ivan explains.
Ivan: “Even if an author can solve specific problems with one-on-one work with someone that doesn’t necessarily mean they can solve them all in one book. We want to pinpoint where we can give the reader the most value without overwhelming them with solutions that are impractical for them to implement themselves; if that happens we’ve confused them or discouraged them from trying again.
What we want to do is highlight the key problems and provide simple solutions that are really ‘sticky’, solutions that people can remember. This means leaving the really intense stuff that an author excels at for when they get to work with these readers face to face. The book is one of the first steps to working together; it’s not the end of the journey.”
As Ivan mentioned, it’s natural for an author who is an expert in their field to want to share as much information as possible in any piece of writing. WBR helps them to speak to their audience at the right level so that they are actively engaged.
In a podcast or a blog it’s easy to adapt the tone and content as you go along because those are an ongoing digital process (and a lot more conversational). Books are permanent; a reader might just be beginning on their own personal fact finding mission and it’s not possible for them to consume absolutely everything. WBR will help an author streamline their message and create the epiphany that compels a reader to contact them with a view to working together.
Ivan summed it up perfectly.
Ivan: “It’s a good idea to consider the three key requirements you want your readers to understand or accomplish having finished your book. Once we highlight those we reverse engineer the content we need to provide that solution.
It’s also vital for an author to find their voice and the right tone of voice. Do they want to be the author who shakes things up and becomes an industry game changer by contradicting what has been said before? Or are they sharing a compilation of other people’s knowledge? It all comes back to strategic planning; this is why we spend so much time on our initial strategy sessions.”
As Ivan says the strategy sessions take care of so much of the heavy lifting. Nine times out of ten writer’s block is due to poor planning.
How WBR can help you share your expertise
WBR offers a done-for-you service where we write the entire book or blog through content consultations with the author and provide the editorial, proofing, designing and marketing expertise, or we can work with pre-written content and develop it further.
For more information on how we can support you to develop your personal brand and bring your message to life contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In next week’s blog I’ll be sharing how you can create a content triangle by repurposing and showcasing your expertise via blogs and podcasts. If you just can’t wait until then you can listen to my full conversation with Kat and Ivan on the Interviews With Experts podcast.