February 24, 2021 8 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In the fall of 2005, an unexpected conversation with Lee Huebner and his sagacious advice laid the foundation for my skill diversification, and successful stint as an online news media and publishing entrepreneur. An alumnus of Harvard University and Northwestern University, Lee had served as the publisher and CEO of the Paris-based International Herald Tribune, considered the first global newspaper. He had also chaired the American Chamber of Commerce in France.
Lee’s advice on the benefits of becoming an author and its cogency in strengthening the entrepreneurial brand deeply influenced me to turn my expertise and experience into my first non-fiction book, which was followed by another book that was published a few years into my first digital news media venture.
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The second book was born out of entrepreneurial risk, ambiguity, rejection, hope, and persistence. And this book brought about the most transformative change in my career — it enabled me to stay focused on solutions and opportunities, not problems, it helped me develop a healthy relationship with my readers, it aided us in getting extensive media coverage that spruced up our sales and collaborative partnerships, and it fortified our online news media and publishing business that some years later led to its profitable sale. And if there are five things in common among successful entrepreneurship, writing a book, and impactful marketing, it is differentiation, authenticity, credibility, visibility, and trust.
Entrepreneurs and startup founders know that marketing starts with them and gets more powerful when every employee becomes a marketer for their company. They know that marketing is about building the extraordinary, and they also know that marketing and communications dexterity is to deepen relationships with internal and external customers, focus on the emotions behind the buying decisions, engage in gripping storytelling to capture their customer’s attention, offer solutions or answers to alleviate customer concerns, and blend the art of intuition with the analysis of data science to unearth insights that will improve marketing return on investment.
So most entrepreneurs rely on email marketing, social media marketing, digital marketing, influencer marketing, varied types of content marketing (long-form and short-form content), public relations and communications strategies and tactics to grow and brand their business.
While all these forms of marketing are pervasive, effective, and influential mediums for marketing success, there is no better marketing medium for entrepreneurs and startup founders than writing a book to promote their business, products or services, and to turn their skills, expertise, experience, and knowledge (SEEK) into content that will resonate with their audience, and help establish differentiation, authenticity, credibility, visibility, and trust.
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Each time an entrepreneur or a subject-matter expert asks me for marketing or content advice, as have some of them during the global health crisis, I ardently said, “A book is the most powerful marketing medium for discerning entrepreneurs, and writing a book enables you to set yourself apart from other experts and entrepreneurs in your field. Write a book, ask your content or communications team to create a book, or sign up with a ghostwriter to author a book for you.”
Here are the four reasons why writing a book is a potent marketing and differentiation imperative for an enlightened entrepreneur:
1. A book enables you to differentiate effectively
Long before the term authorpreneur was coined, British author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle combined his love of medicine and literature to write mystery stories and created a fictional private detective, Sherlock Holmes.
Conan Doyle fused his interest and skills to give the world a brilliant and memorable detective that appears as authentic and lifelike as you and me. And even after 133 years since Sherlock Holmes was introduced to the world, Sir Doyle is remembered even today by millions worldwide.
He effectively differentiated himself from other doctors who had started their medical practice by creating a product that offered tremendous value and high reading recall. As someone with a flourishing medical practice, he created history and left a legacy to be remembered by because of his power of storytelling, imagination, observation, deduction, and words coalesced and adopted through an uncommon approach – writing books.
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In today’s ultra-competitive landscape, doing what most entrepreneurs and marketers do is fine, but your company and you are unique and different, and so is your story and SEEK.
I am an active proponent of digital or video storytelling (watching) and podcasting (listening) as two of the top three entrepreneurial marketing mediums, but if I had to put my money on the most powerful and differentiated marketing medium for entrepreneurs, hands down it would be writing a book (reading). And most entrepreneurs who availed this advice and went on to write a book or hired someone to do so, have gone beyond being an entrepreneur – they have become a brand, a thought leader, or a credible authority in their chosen arena, enhanced their visibility, and forged connections and collaborations they thought were beyond their reach.
In essence, their book has helped them stand out from the crowd in a short attention span, digitally distracted world, and if distinguishing yourself from others is the primary goal of any marketing effort, then writing a book is the best way to meet that purpose.
2. A book will force you to walk the walk
From experience, I can tell you that there is a high probability that writing a book will prevent you from getting complacent in your business. Complacency can be the death knell for an entrepreneur, and writing a book will ensure your thoughts, words, and actions are aligned. It will guarantee that you follow the published advice you give to others so that the preacher in you stays as an evolving doer.
Once you put your book in the public domain, there is a subtle pressure to continually adapt, learn, and change, which is an important step toward reinventing yourself as an entrepreneur with a growth mindset.
A prominent creative entrepreneur once told me, “When you write a book, or hire a ghostwriter to write a book for you, you will become a better reader, storyteller, seller, marketer, communicator, observer, listener, thinker, risk-taker, innovator, and problem solver.” I couldn’t agree more because most of these attributes are qualities shared by successful authors and perspicacious entrepreneurs.
3. A book can help the entrepreneur go international
Your book’s International readership can result in international entrepreneurship.
I have observed how book writing, design, and marketing has helped a number of entrepreneurs go international. It has helped them gain an in-depth understanding of the economic, political, legal, socio-cultural, technological, and environmental factors prevalent in some of the world’s most lucrative markets for English-language books, the U.S., the U.K., India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada, and armed with this comprehensive understanding it has also enabled them to successfully promote their products or services in these countries.
4. A book can provide you multiple streams of income
A book isn’t just about the royalties you receive from book sales. You can turn a single book into a TV or streaming series, use it to sell your software, product, or an online course, command a higher fee as a speaker, consultant, coach, or an agency, and even attract high-profile clients. Your book could also lead you to be asked or invited to join the boards of companies and seriously boost your career.
I have witnessed the power of books to inspire, inform, educate, engage, persuade, entertain, or amuse. Your book will help you showcase your authenticity, statement of differentiation, expertise or skills, and assist you in staying true to your purpose and passion.
Remember, there is a book in every discriminating entrepreneur, and if you are one, start writing your book today. Write a page every day, and you can complete your book in less than a year. And if you don’t have the time or lack the ability to do so, hire a ghostwriter to capture your voice and turn it into a compelling read.
Embrace the most effective marketing and differentiation conduit to keep the reins of the entrepreneurial journey in your hands and thriving – turn your SEEK into a book this year.