If you had told me when I was a kid that I would write a business book published by McGraw-Hill, there is absolutely no way I would have believed you.
Through consistent content, I've been able to build true influence, engage my audience, and create opportunity for my company. I didn't know it at the time, but with each article I wrote and distributed, I was also preparing myself to write "Top of Mind." If you're already committed to content marketing, you could very well be on your way to writing your own book. Here are three ways creating consistent content prepares you to write a book:
1. Content requires a strategy, and that strategy can benefit your book.
You don't connect with an audience or stick to a consistent content schedule without some kind of strategy. Sustained ROI doesn't happen by accident. If you're seeing results, you're probably working within a solid content marketing strategy -- and I learned that same strategy can accommodate a book pretty well without too much adjustment.
Think about it: Many of the goals (such as engaging an audience and building brand advocates) are the same, and you probably won't be veering too far off your brand's usual topics, either. The biggest difference is that you're adding another tactic into the mix.
Your team doesn't have to worry about starting an entirely new strategy from scratch before you write one word of your book. At least in the beginning, you can rely on your existing content strategy to focus your book and keep yourself aligned with the rest of your company's marketing, and as you go, you can make changes just like you would with any project.
2. You have a basic process and tested content ideas.
Fortunately, my company is a content marketing agency, so we were fortunate enough to write "Top of Mind" in-house with the help of a freelancer. Obviously, not every thought leader has that same ability, but regardless, the fact that you've been publishing content already is a great jumping-off point for a couple of reasons.
For one thing, I don't know many authors who wrote their books completely on their own. As the leader of a company, do you really have the time to hide away in a cabin in the mountains and write a book by yourself?
Of course not. That's also the case with content marketing. You need people to help you, so you likely already have a team in place to assist you in writing your book, whether you do it in-house like I did or hire a partner, and that makes the process smoother.
Secondly, bylining enough content over time should give you an idea of what topics resonate most with your audience. When you know which ideas readers love to engage with and which ones they're less crazy about, you can use that to narrow down topics for your own book.
3. You've built some influence and a network of advocates.
If I had written "Top of Mind" before I'd written other content for any online publications, I imagine it wouldn't have been that great -- I probably wouldn't have landed a deal with McGraw-Hill, and I wouldn't have been able to secure the kinds of endorsements I did from major industry influencers.
Content helps you build industry authority and bring together a network of people who like and trust your brand to advocate for you. With them, you have brand advocates who trust you enough to help you find agencies, partners, publishers, and other contacts you might need to get your book off the ground.
And once it's about ready, you've got a network to help you spread the word and drive other opportunities. These are basically the same benefits that make your current brand-building and content distribution efforts work -- except this time, you've got a book on the line.
Writing your own book is a big undertaking, but take it from someone who didn't even have becoming an author on his radar until a year and a half ago: It doesn't have to be a complicated, intimidating process. If you're already creating consistent, engaging content and you're seeing some success with it, you're a lot closer than you think.