Articles, insights and updates on professional content writing and content marketing for business leaders and authors.
5 Ways To Generate Ideas For Your Business Book
It's one thing to know you want a business book, but where do you actually start? The first thing you need to do is decide on a relevant and interesting topic to write about. That in itself could take months, so here are my top tips for getting started on a business book your target audience will want to read:
1. Answer the question you get asked the most by your prospects/clients
Solving a problem for the people you want to work with is ideal. Your book will instantly be useful to them and will make them feel understood and connected with. Once they've learnt something from you, they'll understand who you are and what you do. It'll be a no-brainer for them to get in touch to continue the conversation.
2. Use existing content
No-one's expecting you to reinvent the wheel with your book. If you have a lot of content already in the form of presentation notes, blog posts and other publications, use it! Identify a central theme or point and develop it in your book. As a general rule, if you can talk on a topic for 90 minutes - 2 hours, you've got enough content to write a book.
3. Focus on creating value for the reader
While it might be tempting to use the book as a platform to promote your business services and processes, this shouldn't be the central point. Books are intelligent and educational, and that is what your reader will be expecting when they start reading. Not a 300 page sales pitch! Focus on giving away some of your best information, share questions and comments you'd usually reserve for a paid consultation and include a practical section in your book that your readers can interact with. Demonstrating how you can help is far more powerful than just telling someone.
4. Keep it simple
It's tempting to see a book as some sort of epic labour of love that takes months or years to create, but that can lead to over-complicating the whole process. Once you've identified central theme or question your book will address and you've pulled together all your existing content and research on the topic, pick out 5-10 main points, and use those as chapters. This automatically gives your book structure and you a plan to keep you on track. Order your chapters so that your book has a beginning, middle and end. It just needs to flow.
5. Let your ideal client lead the way
When used right, your book is a very powerful marketing tool. But that's just it; the key to having a successful book is on how you use it, rather than how long it takes you or how well it's written (although that certainly helps!) Ask yourself what the purpose of your book is and why it's important. Not just for you, but for the reader. If the aim of your book is to get more clients, imagine your best possible client and write for them. If the point is to elevate your thought leader status and get more speaking gigs, imagine yourself giving the talk of a lifetime and write for the people in that audience.
Knowing what to write about can be confusing for authors, particularly if you're new to it. It can be easy to give in to the temptation of procrastination - "I can't decide what to write about, I obviously need to give this book some more thought" - so to navigate this tricky part of the planning process, we take all WBR clients through a simple exercise we call Topic Selection. Topic Selection asks the author to list every question, problem, opportunity and strength their ideal reader has or is likely to have. Don't worry about how many things you come out with - this part is a brainstorm so get as much down as possible. When you're done and have nothing more to add, go through the list and eliminate anything repetitive, and anything you don't want to allocate business resources to in the future. The points you'll be left with are either: Potential topics for your book - in that case, you can choose the one tha…
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The purpose of a foreword is to reinforce the message within the book and give it maximum credibility via a personal message to the reader. It is written by someone who isn’t the author, who has a high profile in the field the book contributes to and someone whom the reader likely knows of and respects. It’s a great bit of marketing for the book and expert positioning for the writer and the author. Placed within the book itself, it goes before the preface, introduction and other content. Because of its positioning, the foreword has the power to set the readers’ expectations for the entire book. Some key points good forewords include are (in no particular order): A few lines that sum up the essence of the book, the overall message, its purpose A paragraph or two on how and when the expert and the book’s author first met with a few lines on their ‘journey’ together from then until now - the aim of doing this is to back-up the autho…