In the last two years something rather special thing has happened in the publishing industry. No, I’m not talking about the rise of the internet, or even the arrival of the eBook, it’s something in the background that has revolutionised the distribution of content. It means that businesses that want to get their name, brand and value proposition in front of millions can do so for the cost of a newspaper advert.
The best way to explain is to talk through an example. Imagine you are a specialist hypnotherapist with a practice that consults with children and adults. You have developed a very successful new way to cure bedwetting in children, and you want to generate as many bookings into your practice as possible. So you write a book that explains the methodology.
The book is published by a modern publisher that is connected into digital printing and they load your details into the major book databases. Within a few days, your book and your brand appears on literally tens of thousands of websites around the world including huge names like Amazon, Tesco, Waterstones, Barnes and Noble and more. This is because there has been a revolution in the distribution systems of content and within an instant the metadata and images are sent around the world – only a few years ago and the data would have gone out quarterly on a CD. See Stop Bedwetting in 7 Days.
The concept of a book as a marketing tool is not too new, but few realise that the revolution in book data distribution has turned it into a very powerful one. Coupled with digital printing bringing print runs from the thousands down to the tens, you have a very viable new marketing tool.
There are some very important elements here.
1. Title Keywords: You will see that the titles of the books are quite long. This is to ensure that they are carrying the necessary keywords that people are searching for. In addition to on-site searches in the bookstores, the search engines are also scouring the web for these keywords and many ecommerce website these days include the titles in the URLs – so for example – http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Stop-Bedwetting-In-7-Days-A-Simple-Step-By-Step-Guide-To-Help-Children-Conquer-Bedwetting-Problems-In-Just-A-Few-Days/Alicia-Eaton/e/9781904312703/
2. You are presenting yourselves through your expertise. This is a subtle indirect sell for your organisation/brand. In the same way you promote yourselves using social media by providing interesting and expert content (Tweets, Blog Entries, Articles etc) publishing a book on your area of expertise is a way for people to see your expertise in a tangible form before contacting you.
3. Public perception of publishing is still one of reverence – despite the fact that commercial publishing has made it easier than ever to get a book on your subject area published, the general opinion of published authors is high “She must be an expert, she has had a book published on it”. For those of you worried that means anyone can do this don’t panic – the reality is that you still do need a very good product as a book because if the content is poor it will get bad reviews and put people off, but the beauty of the low entry cost is that more niche and specialist subjects can be covered.
I know many of you will be wondering if this is only applicable to professional practitioners but it really can be applied in most industries. In the marketing field an excellent example is The Hotel Success Handbook. A collaboration between two leading consultants – one in marketing and one in hospitality – that have put together their collective methods to help small hotels do their marketing. They launched in March and already have sold lots of books around the world but critically have the book on their stand at trade shows. Instant credibility especially with industry experts giving them quotes and endorsements. They have already had bookings for the consultancy as a result of the book. A book makes the expertise tangible – you can pick it up and dive in, it can give potential customers a lot of confidence. That neatly brings us on to an additional key point:
4. As with all good marketing tools the book is going to be successful if it is part of an overall marketing plan, and the ‘call to action’ is there for the customer to take. As most book distribution is by the web, customers and leads will be largely web based. Take a look at the Stop Bedwetting and Hotel Success Handbook websites for examples of how the authors are professionally capturing that traffic.
Let’s take another example. Imagine you are a sports club with a fantastic history and a website with loads of amazing content and pictures. You want to share that history with as many fans as you can but also you want to generate some income for your club. So you go to the digital publisher and once again the book is available worldwide. The description refers to your club website so visitor numbers grow significantly. You are working with a modern publisher so in addition to royalties on the book, you can also sell copies yourselves in the club shop. In fact, you recoup your publishing costs on the day of the launch of the book at the club lunch before the game (see For College, Club & Country – A History of Clifton Rugby Football Club).
So for a modest budget (a few hundred dollars), and some time organising your content, you can create and extremely powerful, mass exposure, tangible marketing tool. Combined with Social Media its strength becomes quite amazing – oh and we didn’t even cover yet how eBook versions take it to yet another level as you can include interactive content and hyperlinks in those…..