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.
The written word has been used to communicate our most important messages since the beginning of time. Cavemen and women used early forms of language to write on cave walls, passing on information to future tribes and generations. In fact, I bet if you think of any of your business role models right now, they are also an author.
The word ‘author’ stems from the same word as ‘authority’ in Latin - auctoritatem - meaninginvention, advice, opinion, influence, command, or the noun auctor; promoter, producer, father, progenitor; builder, founder; trustworthy writer; historian; performer, doer; responsible person, teacher, literally one who causes to grow (ref).
It’s no surprise in that case that successful business leaders are authors and vice versa, given that in order to be successful you need to create, promote, influence, produce, build, found, do, teach, ‘cause to grow’ and assume responsibility. Knowing even just that little bit of history therefore makes it completely log…
Perhaps in our shortest blog EVER, today we expose the B word…
The 3-letter laggard loitering around so many aspiring authors… That waspish self-talk we know doesn’t serve us but somehow can’t resist… The crème de la crème of procrastination…
It’s that big BUT!
No matter how hard you try, you can’t shake a feeling that you haven’t been cautious enough. You want to start, but you need to do more research before starting something this personal.
You’ve been burned in the past by service providers and just don’t feel comfortable relinquishing control. Perhaps you’re lacking clear criteria or a decision-making process and that’s keeping this project stagnant in your pipeline but without a clear way forward, what can you do?
We do get ourselves into some decision-making dilemmas and with the average adult making 35,000 decisions each day, that's not surprising. In business, it could arguably be more. However, these dilemmas are not always helpful.
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…