Recently, I helped with the creation of a beautiful book, The Golden Five Framework: Harnessing Five Essential Types of Marketing for the 21st Century, by entrepreneur and marketing guru Jackie Camacho-Ruiz. Jackie and I go back. Way back to the days she had not yet even established her publishing company, Fig Factor Media. Back then, I strictly wrote marketing content for her but then started helping authors turn their visions into reality. It’s a satisfying use of my writing skills.
The publication of a book is an amazing thing for anyone, but for Jackie, publishing the Golden Five Framework was the culmination of more than a decade as a marketing professional. In that time, her perspective on marketing evolved organically from how her agency, JJR Marketing, helped her clients market their products and services. Always a giver, Jackie wanted to encapsulate her recipe for marketing success in a business book. I was honored she asked me to help.
Jackie’s book falls into the genre of “thought leadership” or, as I call them, “guru guides.” It’s the kind of book that helps business professionals learn, grow, and prosper. And that is what The Golden Five Framework is. For any marketing professional, it reframes marketing into five categories that encapsulate the many different tools, both traditional and digital, that marketing professionals can use within those categories. It’s brimming with case studies and laid out in a readable format with pictures and graphics to illustrate points. I highly recommend it for any marketing professional but particularly for agency owners, as it includes a chapter that directly addresses the needs of the audience.
When I help an author put together a thought leadership business book, I watch them struggle or soar. Jackie soared because she was so prepared for the task at hand. The key is preparation and knowing what to do next.
So, I thought sharing a few tips with aspiring business authors may help them better prepare for taking on what can be one of the most challenging projects of their lives—encapsulating their journey or business philosophy. Here are my top five takeaways I’ve learned from helping experts with their thought leadership books:
- Know Your Framework. Thought leaders I have worked with have fashioned their approaches to business into methodologies, strategies, frameworks, or formulas to present in a book. Understand what you will explain before you sit down to write about it in Chapter 1 of your book. Know it well and also, how you will describe each step or part of the approach or framework. Will you present a piece or step of it in each chapter? Or will you show the reader how to apply your thought leadership throughout the book? Will you need illustrations, graphs, charts, etc.?
- Make it Snappy. From acronyms to numbers, ordering the thought behind your business philosophy will make what you have to say memorable and repeatable. I have worked with authors who have used acronyms, like HEROic Leadership: The Secret to Developing Stronger High Performing Teams Using Psychological Capital; or the NCG Factor: A Formula for Building Life-Changing Relationships from College to Retirement. Books like the Golden Five Framework number points to create a more accessible format.
- Gather Your Stories and Sources in Advance. If you present a viewpoint, readers want to hear some examples to illustrate them, especially from your personal experience. If you gather these ahead of time, it will speed up the construction of your book. You will not have to search for an example when you write about a concept. You will have it at your fingertips.
- Plan Your Infographics Early. Is your book technical? You may require one or more infographics to help the reader understand what you are trying to explain. Infographics will take some graphic design, either from you or someone you know. As early as possible, sit down and determine where in the book you want and need an infographic. Start on them early so they do not delay the publication date. Take time to design them well, as they cannot be edited after publication. Also, make sure you include a copyright statement in your book that the infographics cannot be reproduced without permission.
- Consider the Value Adds. When you have a piece of thought leadership as significant as a book, you have the potential to do more with it if you consider “value adds.” Here are just a few ideas to consider creating to bring your intellectual property to life, provide more value to your readers, and possibly open new revenue streams:
- Companion workbook to solidify concepts
- Downloadable companion piece, available on your website or a landing page via a QR code from the book
- An assessment or quiz in the book
- Infographics or charts
- Note pages or room to make calculations or answer questions
- Relevant photos
In the case of The Golden Five, readers will find an appendix brimming with helpful resources including an online assessment of their marketing status, a quick guide to the five types of marketing, a marketing calendar template and more.
Writing a book is always challenging and when you intend to encapsulate your business philosophy, it becomes even more difficult. Hopefully these tips will encourage you to take the first step. And if you need a partner along the way, reach out for developmental editing, ghostwriting, or publishing advice at firstname.lastname@example.org.