As the founder of a publishing company focused specifically on serving high achievers, I see the same problem over and over.
When a top performer decides they want to write a book (or do anything else, for that matter), their goal is to be the best. They end up focusing on selling as many books as they can, and that leads them off track.
But the smartest leaders we work with have a different goal: use the book to get attention.
I don’t mean the Kim Kardashian, “everyone look at me,” narcissistic type of attention. What I mean is that getting people’s awareness is the key to achieving other goals – whether that’s landing incredible opportunities, hiring more great people, raising money for a startup venture, or get speaking gigs, attention paves the road to unlocking these opportunities.
Out of all the ways of generating positive attention, writing and publishing a book is not only one of the best ways to get attention, it’s one of the most under-utilized by top performers who are busy building their careers.
Looking at the stories of hundreds of leaders we’ve worked with, there are four main ways that books lead to attention to grow businesses and careers:
Let Your Expertise, Authority, and Credibility Be Known
How many people in your life have written books? Probably not too many.
But what about the top experts in your field — how many of them are published authors?
In many circles, a book starting to be considered the new business card. That’s not 100% accurate. You can go to Staples and get business cards. You can’t go to Staples and author a book.
Publishing a book can be risky. You can’t fake your expertise. Once your ideas are out in the world, anyone who reads it will be able to tell whether you know what you’re talking about or you don’t.
That’s why writing and publishing continues to be a rare and reliable signal of credibility and authority. This is doubly true if you have something important to say.
The payoff for taking this risk is that you get much more credit for a good book than other forms of content.
Imagine if people in your field knew that you literally wrote the book on your topic. You’ll be seen as an authority before you even open your mouth to introduce yourself.
Build Relationships With Thousands Of People (Even While You Sleep)
If you could spend quality time with thousands of people in your industry, how would that impact your business?
For most top performers, hundreds of doors would open and lead to to new opportunities, clients, and partnerships. The challenge, of course, is that spending one-on-one time with thousands of people is exhausting and time consuming, if not impossible.
A book allows you to, in effect, clone yourself. Once it is written, it can be consumed by thousands or millions of people without you having to lift a finger. And that at the very least starts the process of making a connection with these thousands of readers.
People who read your book will understand your ideas and see you as an expert in your field (which is great for word of mouth). Even better, the people who see real potential to work together will reach out to you with opportunities to do so.
Our most successful authors think of their book like an automated business development representative — going out 24 hours a day, forging relationships, and bringing opportunities back to them.
We recently ended up on the other side of this situation, where we found an hired an expert from their book. When we started Book In A Box and the growth started taking off, we ran into issues. We realized we were not experts at managing a fast growing company. We needed someone to help us learn how to scale our company.
So what did we do? We went to Amazon to find books that would help us.
After speaking to friends and browsing Amazon for books that would help us, my business partner purchased a book called Double Double by Cameron Herold. Upon reading it, we both immediately knew that Cameron was the guy to help us scale the business.
A few years later, that book has gotten Cameron the opportunity to coach our full executive team, earn tens of thousands of dollars from us, and even own a piece of our company.
He didn’t need to spend his time, energy, and marketing dollars to find us. We found him and were already qualified. Because he’d created a great book, it was doing the networking and teaching on his behalf, 24 hours a day, seven days per week, and it was there waiting for us when we went looking for it.
Become The Media’s Favorite Expert To Attract Attention For Your Craft
Everyone wants media coverage, but how many people get it?
On the other hand, journalists are constantly looking for experts to comment on topics. They don’t have time to talk to all seven billion people on the planet, so they use shortcuts to find who the experts are. How do they know the people they talk to are experts?
Because they wrote the book on it! The experts wrote the books. Commentators are the ones who write blog posts.
Once you’re a published author, you’ll find that media coverage becomes exponentially easier to get.
If you’re extra lucky, the media will sometimes come directly to you. Most often, however, you’ll have to pitch them. Your pitches and attempts to get published or book speaking gigs will be much more effective when you have the credibility of having authored a book on the topic.
Beyond just the media, a book is often considered a new standard to shortcut your career advancement. It helps you to get past the gatekeepers who control access to the spaces you most want to access to: lecture halls, television studios, boardrooms, media pages, special events, and even people’s minds.
Give The People Something Good To Say (About You!)
It’s a commonly repeated business maxim that “Word of Mouth is the best form of marketing.”
For business leaders, that boils down to your reputation. What other people say about you when you are not there. When someone you trust tells you to trust someone, you pay attention.
Anything that helps other people talk about you in a beneficial way helps your reputation, and a book enables word of mouth better than almost anything else.
Writing a book enables you to craft what story people will tell about you. A good book shows people the exact terms, phrases, and ideas that you want them to repeat to other people.
This is especially true of a book that is valuable to people and solves a specific problem (perhaps one you’ve spent your career solving). People won’t be able to stop themselves from sharing your solutions with someone else who has that problem.
Why? Because that makes them look good. That’s why word of mouth works so well – because everyone wants to look good and be helpful to the people in their life.
Is It Time For You To Write Your Book?
In this day and age, attention is the pathway towards better opportunities, a stronger professional brand, and greater credibility in the industry.
You’ve worked hard to get there where you are in life. You might imagine that writing a book will be a big challenge. The truth is, publishing doesn’t have to be as difficult, or take up as much time as many believe. As top performers, you understand the power of leveraging a team to achieve results. Why not leverage a team of experts to create your book?
There are multiple ways to do this. At our company, we surround our authors with a team of publishing professionals that are experts at extracting ideas and turning them into a manuscript, using only 25-30 hours of your time, all spent speaking on the phone. Other ways including using your existing teams (e.g. if you are a business owner), hiring a ghostwriter (can be expensive and not in your voice), or partnering with a co-author who enjoys the writing process and wants to leverage their ideas (can be great if you get the right fit).
The bottom line is simple: If you believe that publishing a book — and the authority, media, attention, and word of mouth that comes with it — can contribute to your career growth, you owe it to yourself to find a way to make it happen.
And you will.
Zach Obront is the co-founder of Book In A Box, where he helps busy professionals write and publish their books. He’s also the author of The Book In A Box Method.