by Nina Amir
“A book is the best business card you can hand out,” say the old adage. It’s not a just an empty claim, though. It’s true. Authoring a book immediately makes you an authority on your topic as well as an expert in your field. This gives you a leg up on your competition—if that competition has not authored a book as well. And it no longer matters how you publish that book as long as you write can publish one.
Featuring a published book, whether it’s an ebook, a printed book, a self-published book, or a traditionally published book, on your website, as Patrick Schwerdtfeger does, can make a huge difference to your bottom line.
Many busy entrepreneurs don’t feel they have time to write a book, though, especially when they spend so much time on social media, marketing and promotion efforts. Yet, if you are like most entrepreneurs, you probably write an enormous amount already because your have embraced social media and blogging in particular. You may be turning out a ton of content every week or month on your blog. And you probably are thinking that with all that blogging, you certainly don’t have time to write a book.
Bloggers “Book” Blogs
A lot of bloggers realize they have produced a book’s worth of content—or more—after a year or so. They then decide to repurpose their posts into an ebook or a print on demand (POD) book. This is super idea that author and book designer Joel Friedlander calls “booking” a blog. (He booked his blog and self-published it as both an ebook and a print on demand (POD) book.) Booking a blog can be time consuming and overwhelming, though, if you have a lot of content to sift through. It’s not a smart or effective way to work.
Your blog archives house all the content you’ve been producing—probably more than a book’s worth. You could “book” this content or work smarter and begin blogging a book—killing two birds with one stone (writing your book and blogging at the same time.)
After blogging for a while, some blogs becomes wildly popular and get “discovered” by an agent or traditional publisher. The blogger is offered a book deal based on the blog. The most famous blog-to-book story is, of course, Julie Powell whose blog ended up the bestselling book and movie Julie & Julia.
But there are many more blog-to-book successes stories, and some are business related, like Pamela Slim’s Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur (find her website and blog here) and Joe Ponzio’s F Wallstreet (read the blog here).
These bloggers didn’t set out to blog a book. They simply blogged and created a popular blog in the process. Then they went back and booked their blogs or wrote their books after landing traditional book deals.
It’s Easier to Blog Books
You can work smarter than these bloggers. You can blog a book—compose your book manuscript on your blog. Simply decide to write a blog post a day (or however many times a week you post to your blog) with the intention of composing a book in the process. But don’t just write any blog post. Write a blog post as one small part of the manuscript you are creating.
If you post consistently already on your blog, you actually have enough time to write a book—without doing even one different or extra thing. (Well, you might have to approach you blog a bit differently—as a book, but that’s it.) Plus, creating your book in post-sized bits likely will feel easier and more manageable for you than tackling a book project on top of all your other work.
Blogging a book is the quickest and easiest way for busy entrepreneurs to write a book, build online exposure for a company and expert status for themselves—all at the same time.
How to Blog a Client and Customer-Attracting Book
So, how do you actually blog a book related to your business that will attract clients and customers? Assuming you already have a blog set up on your website, or that your blog functions as your website, here are seven steps that will help you get your book blogged in no time. (If you don’t, first set up a blog.)
Choose a topic for your book that supports your business and your brand. Whether or not you have been blogging prior to deciding to blog a book, determine the most marketable topic for your book or the subject that will best serve your business and build your brand. This should be a book that brings in more clients and customers. When blogging a book you will not jump aimlessly from topic to topic. You will move in a focused manner from the beginning of your book to the end to get your book written. To do so you will use a content plan.
Evaluate your book’s marketability. Although you want your blogged book to support your business, you also want it to be viable a viable business proposition—a book that you can turn into an ebook and sell. (Or maybe you want to give it away for free to attract readers to your mailing list or to attract leads.) Determine if it solves a problem, adds value or in some way fills a need for readers. If you book has a market, is unique, adds value, and supports your other products and services, it is a viable business proposition.
Map out your book’s content. Take the time to brainstorm all the possible content that could be included in your book. You can do this with a mind map. When you are done, organize this into a table of contents for the book.
A mind map provides a great way to brainstorm the contents of your book and come up with a table of contents. Then break this down further into post-sized bits—actual blog posts you will write. Try using the freemind.com free mind mapping software.
Break each chapter down into post-sized bits. You will write each chapter in 250-500 word pieces—blog posts. So break your content plan into small pieces by creating 15-20 subheadings per chapter or just as many questions to answer. If you have an idea of each chapter’s length, you can determine how many subheadings, or posts, you’ll need to write to complete the chapter.
Create a business plan for your book. Take the information you accumulated in Step #2 about markets and consider how you will approach those markets. Also think about how you will promote your book as you blog it and after it has been published.
Commit to a schedule. Decide how many days you will blog your book and stick to it. The more often you blog, the faster you will gain readers. You will also get your book written faster. It’s best to plan on writing at least 2-3 days per week; 5 days per week is better, especially at first.
Produce a manuscript as you blog. Write your posts each day systematically in a word processing program, and then copy and paste them into your blogging program. In this manner you produce an actual draft manuscript you can then edit and revise.
You might actually print out the posts each day and place them in a binder, thus actually creating a physical manuscript and something akin to a book.
If you are really busy, you can write one section of a chapter (maybe three posts), for example, at one sitting rather than three posts at three different times during the week. Then schedule your posts. It’s easy using the scheduling feature in most blog programs.
If you edit the date when your post is going to be published from “publish immediately” to the date you want, and then click on “OK,” you can schedule your post to publish whenever you like.
Why a Blog and a Book Boosts Your Business
In the process of blogging your book, you will create the online discoverability you want for your company. As you publish each installment on a frequent and regular basis—a small bit of a chapter, the higher up in the search engine results pages your business’ website rises. The reason for this is simple: Each post contains keywords and keyword phrases. As you publish posts, your blog gets cataloged by search engine spiders, and you see your page ranking rising and your web traffic following suit. This makes you and your company more visible online. This helps potential customers and clients searching for anything related to these topics land on your site.
Indeed, a blog provides the best tool available today for small businesses wanting to become more discoverable online than their competition. Blog more than your competition, and you’ll be found first in the search engines. If potential clients and customers do find your competition’s blog as well as yours, though, and your competition has authored a book and you haven’t, they may actually click though to check out the other business instead of yours. Why? An author always seems like more of an authority—on anything. That’s why you want to blog a book. Get your business promoted on line and achieve author status fast!
In the process, you will also achieve expert status. All those blog post on the topic of your expertise will provide you with authority; the book will simply seal the deal. With each post you write and publish, you also move one step closer to finishing the first draft of your manuscript and becoming an author expert.
As you blog a book, you increase your online presence, achieve expert status and create a client and customer attracting book.
What to Do When You Finish Blogging the Book
When you have finished your manuscript, you will produce an ebook. To do so:
~ edit and revise the manuscript yourself
~ hire a professional editor to put the final touches on the manuscript
~ get a professionally designed cover made for your book
~ produce a Word document ready for uploading to Kindle (or get someone who can do this for you)
This digital version of your book allows you to:
~ Easily send it to potential clients
~ Have it available for clients and customers who prefer to read digital books
~ Make your content easily searchable
~ Stay current with the times
~ Update your book easily and quickly
But don’t stop at a digital book. Also produce a printed version of the book so you can hand a physical book to clients as well. Remember…that’s the best business card you’ll ever have. You also can’t hand out or sell digital copies of your book when you speak.
To produce a printed book, you need only get someone to design the interior of the book for you and possibly the back cover, if you didn’t do that before. The rest has all been done.
How Your Blog and Book Bring in Money
Now that you have your book written and produced, use it:
~ To bring in leads
~ Feature it on your blog or website
~ Sell it on Amazon
~ Give it away to prospects
~ Sell it at speaking engagements
~ Mention it during media gigs
~ Write blog posts that promote it
~ Use it to build your mailing list
~ Link to it in your email signature
If you follow this plan you will blog your book quickly and easily while promoting your business at the same time. New clients and customers are sure to follow. Not only that, you’ll see yourself in a new light, as well everyone else: as an author as well as a businessperson.