Write a Book. Change the World.

Cyndee Woolley's Upcoming June 2013 Book

Cyndee Woolley’s Upcoming June 2013 Book

11 Steps to Creating a
Successful Business Book.

Great business books do change the world. They change the world one discipline or market segment at a time. They make a measurable difference in how entrepreneurs and executives start, grow, and manage their businesses. And, that makes a world of difference to each business reader.

You may have the beginnings of a great business book lurking within your brain. We will show you how to take your ideas and to transform them into a business book that benefits executives and entrepreneurs–and will therefore benefit you and your business.

Cyndee Woolley and Heather Schuck have followed these rules. Their books are being published by Voyager Media Books, June 2013. You can see their book covers here.

Can you write a successful business book?

Yes, if:

  • you begin with a solid body of knowledge
  • you are willing to do the research to expand that knowledge
  • you can offer a unique approach to your market niche
  • you can write logically and coherently
  • you have self-discipline and a respect for deadlines
  • you are willing to become a one-person marketing and promotion maniac

If that sounds like you, our 11 step program will put you on the path to creating a book that changes the world for 1000s of targeted business readers who need your help.

Here are the 11 steps to transforming your ideas into a successful business book.

  1. You must define a “unique book benefit.” This is a very brief statement of 25 to 30 words that makes it instantly and intuitively clear why your target reader will benefit from reading your book. That unique book benefit should then be clearly reflected in your title and subtitle.
    This is critical because you will be competing with thousands of other business books from which your target readers can choose. When your prospective readers are book browsing–and this will be increasingly online–they need to understand what sets your book apart and why it will benefit them more than dozens of other potential choices.
  2. You need to develop an in-depth understanding of your ideal target reader. If possible, flesh out a detailed persona of exactly who will benefit the most from reading your book.
    For example, your ideal reader may be a c-level executive with 20 or more years of experience who is struggling to understand how to use content marketing and social media in his mid-size manufacturing company. He is primarily self-taught, does not have an MBA, and is skeptical of highfalutin marketing nonsense. He is reluctant, but not unwilling to embrace new ways of doing business. As a pragmatic thinker, he is looking for practical, put-it-to-work advice in any book that he reads.
    With that kind of persona in mind, you can craft your content carefully so that it will resonate perfectly with that ideal target reader. By the way, this does not mean that other readers won’t benefit, but it does mean that you will deliver maximum benefit to your target.
  3. Determine whether there is a large enough market for your book so that it can sell in the thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of copies.
    Some quick and easy research will enable you to make this determination. Among the questions you should ask:

    • Are there a number of newspapers or magazines that cover your subject area? Are their high-quality dedicated websites and blogs?
    • Using industry statistics, can you determine whether there are 100,000 people or more in your market niche?
    • Are there examples of books addressing a similar market or problem that are already selling well? A quick review of Amazon.com will give you the info you need here.
    • Will your book be different enough for business executives to add it to their must-read library? Again, an objective look through Amazon.com listings will help you with this exercise.
    • Can you identify people who definitely need the information you will be providing and would be willing to buy a book that deliver that information? Talk to your customers and prospects to find out the information that you will be delivering is something that they really, really need.
  4. You need a great title just as much as the print advertisement needs a great headline. Your title must make it crystal clear why your targeted a business reader would be crazy not to pick up your book and begin reading.
    For example, David Meerman Scott’s original 2007 classic, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR,” addressed the intense concern among the marketing and PR community that the rules were changing. But, when David wrote the book, hardly anybody understood what the new rules were or how they should respond to them. Thus, if you were a marketing pro, you knew you had to read this book in order to survive the tsunami of change in your industry.
    A corollary to this point is the need for an explanatory subtitle that provides enough extra detail to lure your potential reader inside the book. For David Meerman Scott the subtitle was, “How to use social media, blogs, news releases, online video, and viral marketing to reach buyers directly.”
    The combination of David’s title and subtitle make it clear to his target readers that his book addresses a huge problem that they face–and that it will tell them how to solve those problems.
  5. Heather final cover draftA detailed book outline is essential to providing a logical path that your readers can follow from the first sentence of the introduction to the final sentence of the last chapter. To make outline creation much less daunting, imagine giving a brief face-to-face presentation to your ideal target reader. Your outline should then derive naturally from the imaginary presentation.
    Thus, if you are writing a book about a new way of dealing with the kind of change the David Meerman Scott described, you would want to cover current market realities, what needs to change, how to make the necessary changes, and how to keep improving as you go.
    To deliver that imaginary 25 minute presentation to your client, here’s what you need to nail down:

    • How can you set the stage in 60 seconds?
    • What are the 5 to 10 most important high-level points to make with just 60 seconds per point?
    • What are the 5 to 10 best examples and/or case studies for each point you’re making—60 seconds per example?
    • How can you wrap everything up in 2 minutes so that the prospect is ready and willing to take action right now?
    • What outline content based on the preceding points would still make perfect sense to that prospect as a blueprint of your book?
  6. Commit to a regular writing schedule and stick to it. Whether you write every day, several times a week or just on the weekend, be consistent. Determine the minimum number of words you can produce each and every week until you have completed the manuscript. Keep in mind that a typical business book will be about 200 pages and 50,000 words at 250 words per page.  When the going gets tough, real authors keep writing.
    When you think you’re running into writer’s block, just write something. My all-time favorite mystery novelist, Elmore Leonard said that when he ran into trouble, he would just start laying brick. Eventually the pages get built and the book gets finished.
    Because your outline should keep you on course, you simply need to keep putting words on virtual pages within its basic structure. Keep in mind that whatever you write will require editing to transform it from adequate to brilliant, so don’t worry about generating perfect prose at this point. Keep plugging away, no matter how painful or frustrating.
  7. Because writing a book is both challenging and time-consuming, seriously consider finding a compatible co-author. I learned just how important this approach can be with our book, Get Content Get Customers. My co-author, Joe Pulizzi, and I complemented each other’s efforts as we shared continuous and constructive feedback. Joe focused more on the theory of content marketing and I did most of the interviews and case studies. What might have been a back-breaking effort became an enjoyable partnership that produced a book that has helped more than 10,000 readers understand and implement content marketing strategies. But, and it’s a big but, be certain to find a talented, reliable, and compatible writing partner who complements your strengths. Thus, if you are a 30,000 foot creative type, find a down-to-earth practical counterpart. If you hate interviewing, look for a skilled reporter who loves eliciting great stuff form interviewees.
  8. Invest in first class editorial talent to whip your book manuscript in the shape. Even the very best writers require editing. Because most of us fall into the okay to good writer category, we really need editorial help. This is true whether you plan to publish your book yourself, work with a small independent, or hope to be published by one of the big traditional publishing companies. You owe it to your readers to deliver a book that is well worth reading. Of course, no publisher is likely to accept less than a first class manuscript.
    • First, find one or more demanding writer/editors who are willing to give you objective and constructive feedback on your book. Joe Pulizzi and I were fortunate to get this kind of help from my former colleagues, Mike Azzara and David Drickhamer.  Their feedback enabled us to turn a flawed first draft into a publication-worthy business book.
    • Second, find an excellent copy editor, preferably one with business book experience. A great copy editor can transform pedestrian prose into compelling and engaging copy that is both grammatically correct and fun to read.
    • Third, get a persnickety proofreader who will eliminate the pesky typos and goofs that would keep your book from being polished and professional.
  9. Although you may have visions of being published by one of the giants–and, this is certainly possible–your best bet in today’s market is to work with a small, independent publisher or to publish the book yourself. No matter how good your manuscript, a major publishing company is unlikely to handle your book unless you are already a successful author with a powerful public platform like Seth Godin or David Meerman Scott. Moreover, your book’s time to publication is likely to be 18 to 24 months, by which time its content may sadly out of date.
    Independent publishers like Voyager Media, Inc. (the original publisher of Get Content Get Customers can to move your book to market much more quickly. In addition, because the publishing model is moving quickly online and from print to e-books, the importance of big-time publisher has diminished dramatically. In addition, Voyager Media, Inc. and several small publishers offer much higher royalty rates because they’re using an online-centric distribution model.
    You may also want to consider self-publishing through reputable providers such as Amazon.com’s CreateSpace or Wheatmark.com. You may need to make a fairly significant upfront investment to get your book into shape for self-publishing, but the best companies in this market niche do an excellent job of turning your manuscript into a print or e-book version.
  10. Finally, and most importantly, you must be ready to throw yourself wholeheartedly into the promotion of your book. It doesn’t matter whether you are self-publishing or working with a publishing company. You cannot rely completely on anyone else to make your book a success. You are the most important marketing weapon for your book. Book marketing is a topic unto itself, but here are some techniques that work well for today’s successful business authors:
    • Send lots of free books to thought leaders in your market segment who write regularly on related topics. This is the best shot you have of getting meaningful reviews in the real world. The days of hoping for a New York Times book review are pretty much ove
    • Connect with clients by providing free review copies as well as opportunities to buy bulk quantities for their organization.
    • Issue as many newsworthy press releases as possible to generate interest among both prospective reviewers and likely book buyers
    • Create a dedicated book website such as the one we built for Get Content Get Customers which still receives significant traffic three years after its initial launch.
    • Start a blog that is either specific to the book or to the topic which it covers and that provides regularly updated information to current and prospective readers.
    • Find as many opportunities as you can to speak in front of business groups who can benefit from your book’ s content who may help promote your book.
    • Use the many marketing tools that Amazon.com provides for authors including the integration of your blog on your Amazon book page.
    • Write book reviews on Amazon.com with links back to your author page.
    • Become an expert voice on LinkedIn and other forums that regularly discuss topics relevant to your book.
    • Create a Twitter account specific to your book that  provides quick and compelling 140 character content for your target readers.

 If you follow this 11 step approach to creating, publishing, and promoting your book, you are well on your way to becoming a thought leader and a trusted source of vital information for your target customers.

Your customers and your prospects will look to you first to provide the answers they need to solve their problems because your book proves that you have the expertise required to make that happen.

Your book will sell well, even if it never makes the bestseller lists. But, by publishing a book that is uniquely positioned, well targeted, content-rich, well-written, well designed, and assiduously promoted, you leapfrog you book—and your business–competition.




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How Barack Obama Became Content Marketer-In-Chief of the USA

Still skeptical of the merits of content marketing? Well, Barack Obama and his team have put content marketing at the center of their media strategy.

Bo Helping President with his Content Marketing

They have effectively dis-intermediated the media. Just as all great content marketers, they are thinking and acting like publishers.

As the AP reported recently,

The Obama White House is generating its own content like no president before, and refining its media strategies in the second term in hopes of telling a more compelling story than in the first…

…Mike McCurry, who served as press secretary to President Bill Clinton, sees an inclination by the Obama White House to “self-publish,” coupled with tactics “I never would have dreamed of in terms of restricting access” for independent news organizations.

Back in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan would famously take to the bully pulpit when he wanted to go directly to the American people with a message. But those direct to the audience performances were the exception rather than the rule.

The Obama folks have made brilliant use of 21st century technology that enables them to get a consistent stream of positive messages to their target audience without the interference of pesky, skeptical reporters.

The Obama content marketing machine serves up “a stream of words, images and videos that invariably cast the president as commanding, compassionate and on the ball. In this world, Obama’s family is always photogenic, first dog Bo is always well behaved and the vegetables in the South lawn kitchen garden always seem succulent.”(AP)

The White House press corps is exhibiting increasing frustration with their lack of access to the President. But for most Americans, and even most voters, that’s inside baseball.  They see President Obama on The View, the David Letterman show, in happy YouTube videos, and stories about the Easter egg roll on the White House lawn. How could you not love this guy?

The White House content marketing strategy is brilliant and successful.  As a direct result of that strategy, I would guess that even Americans who disagree with presidential policies still find President Obama  to be smart, charming, witty, and compassionate.

Love him or hate him, Barack Obama has become not only our commander-in-chief,  but our content marketer-in-chief.   I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a speaker at Content Marketing World 2017.






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Top Content Strategy Takeaways from Confab 2013 London—Day One

Kristina Halvorson Opening Confab 2013

Content strategists from all over the world gathered for two frosty March days in London to learn from some of the brightest minds in the content universe. I was delighted to be part of the enthusiastic crowd. 

I’ll dig more deeply into individual presentation content soon. But for now, here are some of my favorite takeaways from the many awesome presenters on the first day of Confab 2013. Content strategy may still be hard to do. But, the presenters made it easy to understand the what, why, and how of implementation.

Kristina Halvorson, Founder, Brain Traffic

  • As content strategists, we have the power to change the way our companies treat content.
  • Everybody is finding their own way so fake it till you make it.
  • Your top job is to facilitate conversations.

Kate Kiefer Lee, Content Curator, MailChimp

  • It’s vital to find your voice so that your content genuinely reflects the true nature of you and your organization. Write from the heart.
  • Empathy is critical in order to create content that really resonates with your readers.
  • Read your content out loud as if you were reading to your intended target.
  • Be honest. Honesty always pays and your customers will know when you are lying.

Leisa Reichelt,  Author, A Practical Guide to Strategic User Experience

  • People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.
  • Understand and care about where money comes in and goes out. Think in terms of customer-centric accounting.
  • Show. Don’t tell.  Prototypes are persuasive. Use prototyping so that your internal and external customers can visualize your content strategy.
  • Don’t work alone. Include key team members from the very beginning as you develop your content strategy and execution.

Margo Blumstein, Brand & Content Strategist, Appropriate, Inc.

  • Slow content can be a very good thing.  As long as your readers are willingly and actively engaged with your content, they won’t mind taking a lot of time to consume it. Disney, Patagonia, Ikea, and REI are brilliant at this.
  • Patagonia is a wonderful example of slow content online. They encourage people to read long form copy that reflects what’s truly important to them–that is, genuinely caring about the quality of our environment. Their products match that worldview beautifully

Kerry-Anne Gillowey, Content Strategy Consultant, August Sun Projects

  • Customer surveys are inferior to in person interviews. Why? Because you will never get to the in-depth insights into your customers attitudes, beliefs, and feelings, in a survey. Only by engaging them in a one on one personal interview will you be able to draw out what they really, really think.

Max Greenhut, User Experience Director, Disney

  • Disney’s goal is “to bring dreams to life and to create lifetime memories.” What a beautiful sentiment!
  • Determine exactly what guests need to know so that they can have that very enchanting Disney experience.
  • Their content strategy is all about storytelling and involves telling different stories for different audiences.

Melissa Rach, Partner, Dialog Studios

  • You must realize that content strategy requires diverting resources from current projects. Therefore, you must demonstrate tangible value that justifies that resource shift.
  • Use a simple formula to estimate value and ROI: Value = Benefits – Costs.
  • Demonstrate that, with a high degree of success probability, savings will follow from the use of content is a product, as a service, as in efficiency tool.
  • Always make your presentation of the numbers in person–or, at worst, over the phone. Never via email.

Karen McGrane, Managing Partner, Bond Art + Science

  • Although there is a digital divide globally among those with computer-based Internet access and those without, that divide is erased by the consumption of content on mobile devices.
  • All content must be created so that it can be readily consumed on PCs, tablets, or smartphones.
  • There is no such thing as good writing for mobile. There is just good writing.
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How a Gardening Company Newsjacked a Blizzard

Meadows Farms snow newsletter

Making Your Customers Grow In Spite of the Snow

Very few customers of Meadows Farms are giving a moments thought to spring planting as the Washington DC area faces a huge snowstorm. so rather than fight the obvious, the folks at Meadows Farms used to their newsletter to offer sound advice about dealing with the blizzard.

Not only did the relevant and compelling newsletter content address  weather challenges that were critical to its customers.  Their very practical advice demonstrated that Meadows Farms really cared about their well-being  and that of their landscapes and gardens.

We can be darned sure that for most of its prospects, Meadows Farms will be the first—and perhaps the only–gardening shop  they visit when the snow melts, the grass starts growing, and the daffodils begin to adorn yards all over the DC area.

A tip of the hat to Rohit Bhargava for his Facebook mention of the newsletter.

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5 Ideas for New Business Blog Topics for a New Year

Written by Patsi Krakoff.

Let’s face it – Business blogging can get repetitive. It seems as if there are only so many blog topics out there for your readers, and you’ve exhausted them all.

We know the key to a successful business blog is fresh content, which brings more reader who might be potential new clients.

But what exactly does “fresh” content entail? New topics or a different perspective on a problem, or an innovative tip – these are all good. Swapping guest blog posts with another business also infuses new life into a blog. Sometimes hiring a new writer can help bring new ideas, views, and topics to a blog.

Covering new topics is one of the best ways to get new readership as well as appeal to your current audience.

Here are some ideas for new blog content for the New Year:

  1. Guest bloggers – having a guest blogger can breathe new life into your blog. Guest bloggers offer a fresh perspective and new topics. Consider asking a guest blogger to contribute a whole series of posts rather than just one.
  2. Cover current events – instead of just focusing on what is going on with your business specifically, scour the web for business news articles that are related to your area of expertise. You can put a personal spin on the story as well as offer tips or advice that are related.
  3. Make your own news – consider covering events related to your industry by going to them in person. Not only will you learn things for yourself, it’s a great way to create content and buzz about your industry.
  4. Go multi-media – a blog doesn’t have to be just a block of words on a web page. Consider adding specialized images or video content to your posts. As a blog writer and business owner, appearing on camera can make you appear more personable to your readers.
  5. Tell your company story – this could even work as a series for your blog. Tell the story of how your company came to be. You can go so many different ways with this one. You can start right when you started the business, or go as far back as how when you were a kid you dreamed of being (fill in the blank). A series will keep your readers coming back to see the next installment.

Read the full story on Patsi’s blog.


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Should you outsource your content writing or do it in-house?

“When does it make sense to outsource your content writing work? Outsourcing can be cost-effective but that it depends on your individual business needs.

The answer varies from where you look at it. As a content writer I would suggest you to outsource your content writing work as much as possible, and even time management gurus like Tim Ferris suggest that outsourcing is the key to maximizing your productivity.

On the other hand there are many people who think that efficiency can only be achieved if you have in-house content writers because then they get to understand your business from within and they can relate to you more because they are exclusively writing for you.

Both points are right. Just because I provide professional content writing services I’m not going to insist that you should always outsource your content needs. Every business has its unique needs and restraints and one must act accordingly. There is never a fit-all solution.

But one thing cannot be denied: content marketing is unavoidable. Big businesses have already invested millions of dollars in their content marketing strategies, and even smaller businesses are realizing it’s massive potential. Once you know how important content marketing is for your business, it’s up to you whether you want to outsource your content writing or you want to do it in-house. Being a content writer I can throw some light on why you should outsource, but then again, I’m not saying that you should DEFINITELY outsource. Here are some reasons to outsource your content writing needs:

  • You don’t want to hire a full-time writer
  • You don’t have enough office space
  • You would have written yourself but you don’t have enough time
  • You’re not very comfortable with the language in which you need to create your content
  • You want to tap into the global talent pool rather than restricting yourself to local talent
  • You are totally comfortable working with professionals from remote locations
  • You don’t have regular content writing needs

In good business sense, you should outsource your content writing if you are a small business because there is greater flexibility and less cost involved. For instance, it doesn’t make sense to hire a full-time content writer if you just require three blog posts every week.

On the other hand, if you are a big business and you need to publish scores of pages every day and almost all the content is specialized, you should have a team of in-house content writers.

See on crediblecontent.net

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Content marketing: the Anatomy of Great Content

The Anatomy of Great Content: a framework for content marketers to develop great content for content marketing on the social web

See on www.steveseager.com

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Forbes Magazine Expert Columnist Features Content Marketing

Lisa Arthur, CMO of Teradata Applications Interviews Newt Barrett on Keeping Content Marketing Real

Lisa wanted to know how you can be sure that your content marketing strategy is authentic. I believe it’s not difficult if you stick to several core principals and think of content marketing just as journalists have thought of news and features for 100s of years. Understand your readers and address their most important concerns in a compelling way.

Here’s an excerpt from the Forbes article:

Genuine fake watches

“We need some authenticity in the world!” Donny Deutsch declared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno a few weeks ago. “We are losing authenticity everywhere in society,” he said, citing recent fiascos involving Beyonce’s performance at the inaugurationLance Armstrong and Manti Te’o. Is Donny right? And if so, why are brands so caught up in this struggle? Is “faking it” easier –or more difficult –than ever before?

For insight, I turned to Newt Barrett, who’s at the forefront of content marketing and co-author of Get Content, Get Customers, which urges marketers to adopt a brand new marketing mindset. Content marketing is a hot topic among CMOs, and I see it as one of the primary factors that can make –or break –brand authenticity in today’s marketplace.

LA: Tell me about the “new marketing mindset” you describe in your book. How have the rules changed? What role does authenticity play?

NB: The new marketing mindset is simple. It means to think like a publisher. Simply put:

  • Define an ideal set of customers.
  • Determine exactly what is most important for them to know.
  • Deliver that information in a relevant and compelling way.
  • Engender a level of trust that makes it easy for them to buy from you.

That’s the essence of content marketing.

Under the old rules, marketers created outbound messages about products and services. But, to reach their customers, they depended upon third-party media companies that stood between the marketer and the customer.

Under the new rules, marketers can go directly to their customers using inexpensive but powerful technologies that displace traditional media. However, they must still use time-tested reporting and writing skills that made trade and consumer publications must reading for prospective buyers.

Authenticity is essential. In the 2013 Super Bowl, Budweiser brilliantly remembered this marketing truth while Volkswagen sadly forgot. The Clydesdale colt’s reunion with his trainer made both tenderhearted moms and tough old Marines misty-eyed. At the phony end of the scale, the white business guy with the awful Jamaican accent gave new meaning to inauthentic for the VW bug.

 Read the entire article at Forbes.com.

Learn more about Lisa Arthur.



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How Constant Contact Walks the Content Marketing Walk

Action-oriented Website Transforms Visitors into Buyers.

We’ve long been impressed with Constant Contact. Almost 5 years ago, we wrote about their excellent eNewsletter as an example of effective content marketing–that even small companies with low budgets could emulate.  They have grown from 25,000 customers in 2004 to 250,000 customers in 2008 and more than 500,000 customers in the third quarter 2012. A combination of great content and great products has empowered that growth.

Now more than ever, they not only provide terrific content, but they make it easy for buyers to take action.

Their impressive growth stems directly from their ability to help their customers grow

Because Constant Contact’s success is directly tied to the success of its customers, it must provide relevant and valuable content in order to empower their customers to succeed.  I have been a fan and a user of their email marketing and research products for many years.  They do an exceptional job of online marketing, of course. Impressively, they are also experts at in-person content marketing via their regional reps who teach business owners and managers how to market effectively. Read More »

Posted in Content Marketing, Email Marketing, eNewsletters, News, Online, Social Media, Success Stories, Top Posts, Websites | Tagged | Comments closed

Why Your Blog Should be Your Top Social Media Tool

We often talk about the need to develop a content marketing mindset. This requires companies to think like publishers.

And that sounds an awful lot like social media in a definition that I saved and have embraced from Wikipedia several years ago:

Social media is information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologue (one to many) into dialog (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers.


Thanks to free or inexpensive blogging tools, any individual can be on the same technological footing as the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.  That may seem relatively obvious to many of you.  What I think is less obvious is that your blog is every bit as much a social media tool as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.  In fact, I believe that a blog is the most important social media weapon in your arsenal. Read More »

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