By Joe Pulizzi published January 5, 2013

Print Is Not Dead! Why Your Company Needs a Book and 8 Tips to Make it Happen

Recently, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by John Dumas from EntrepreneurOnFire. During the interview with John, I talked a bit about the two most important activities that helped us launch and grow into what is now the Content Marketing Institute: a blog and a book.

We launched the company back in 2007, and if I had to do it all over again in 2013, I would do the exact same thing… a blog and a book covering a particular niche area.

Funny thing is, everyone today has a blog (approximately 80 percent of companies have a blog, according to our latest content marketing research), yet less than three in 10 have a book.

Strategy first, but…

If I were a proper content marketing consultant, I would first take you down the path of identifying your customers’ needs, finding your content marketing mission statement, creating your buyer personas, and then working your content marketing channel strategy to figure out if a print book was a good content distribution method.

But today I’m feeling a bit saucy. Frankly, if you are going to position yourself and/or your company as the leading expert in your niche, you need a book. No, not an eBook distributed solely online… you need a “makes-a-big-thud-when-dropped-on-a-desk” book that is produced from dead trees.

I’m astonished and saddened that more organizations aren’t looking seriously at developing a book. But yet, some are…

Revenue Disruption from Marketo

Penned by Phil Fernandez (co-founder of Marketo), but this baby is a Marketo product. I received a signed copy in the mail as part of a very smart promotional effort by Marketo, and have also seen the book in multiple airport bookstores. The book title, “Revenue Disruption,” is a perfect description of Marketo’s mantra and purpose.

Precision Marketing from Ricoh Infoprint

From authors Sandra Zoratti & Lee Gallagher, the concepts play perfectly into the core of what Ricoh provides for customers: highly targeted and personalized content solutions. The book makes a slew of comparisons using real numbers about how precision marketing pays off more than traditional marketing.

Engagement Marketing from Constant Contact

From CEO Gail Goodman, the book provides a great road map for small businesses on how they can communicate more effectively with customers. Constant Contact, like Marketo, used a signed copy as part of its direct mail program. Honestly, it’s a helpful book and provides some great CC case studies.

Why have these companies developed a book? First, there is no better way to show true thought leadership than a printed book. A close second is this: It may be the best customer giveaway ever created (see the Marketo and Constant Contact example). And third, once the book has been developed, you have an amazing resource to develop ancillary content from the book, including more blog posts (excerpts), eBooks, SlideShare packages, white papers, and much, much more.

8 tips for making your book happen

Creating a book that makes an impact on your industry and business is anything but easy. That said, there are some tips I’ve picked up along the way that can make a difference in getting the book off the ground:

1. The deep dive content audit

You may already have a treasure trove of material that can be repurposed, or at minimum you have content that can be collected to form the initial workings of some key chapters. Be sure you do the work up front to see what you have to start with.

2. Mine the blog

For both “Get Content Get Customers” and “Managing Content Marketing,” much of the material came from existing blog posts, just reworked. If you have been blogging for at least six months, you might already have half a book.

3. Co-creation

Do you have key, noncompetitive partners that target the same prospects and customers as you? If so, consider reaching out to them about partnering on the book concept. Also, once you start promoting, you have two different networks to reach out to.

4. Get it funded

Get Content Get Customers” was self published before McGraw-Hill purchased the rights. Much of the up-front investment came from selling bulk shipments to partner companies. If you don’t like that route, find a sugar daddy that really wants to get your message out there and have them support it through either distribution or monetary funding.

5. The mission

Be very clear what you want your readers to get out of the book. Write it down and keep it posted to your wall as you work on the book. So many companies focus on what they are trying to say, instead of pinpointing the focus on the pain points of the reader.

6. Include the influencers

If possible, include key examples from industry influencers, as well as partners, as long as it’s good content. The more people you can include into your stories the more opportunities for outside sharing.

7. Consider a ghostwriter

Believe it or not, many of the books from the authors you love have been written by someone else. I know, hard to believe right? But it’s true. The best ghostwriters out there start at about $50,000 and then go up from there. If you simply can’t make the internal time or don’t have the resources to get it done, consider it.

8. Stop somewhere and realize that perfection is unattainable

We could have kept writing both books forever if we wanted to. At some point, you have to draw a line in the sand and publish it. As soon as you finish it there will be some new research, some new story, or some new perspective that you should have covered. Don’t worry about it… just use it for your next book.

For more ideas on books that serve the content marketing audience, check out CMI Books

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe's latest book is Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill). If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • Nenad
    • http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Nice!

  • http://www.heinzmarketing.com Matt Heinz

    Could. Not. Agree. More. Writing a book takes quite a bit of work, but if you break it down into smaller tasks and follow the advice above (especially the part about mining your blog and pre-writing content as blog posts before the full book publishes), it’ll happen faster and sooner than you think.

    • http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Matt…you would know this well my friend!

  • http://www.entrepreneuronfire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Joe,

    It was great chatting with you on EntrepreneurOnFire and this article as well as our interview has inspired me to write a book. I will be referring to Managing Content Marketing many times throughout my process…Thanks!

    • http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks John…looking forward to your presentation at #nmx.

  • http://www.wordspicturesweb.com/ Buddy Scalera

    Great post, Joe. The best part is that you can talk about these experiences because you’ve actually done them. You are an authority because you took the time to make yourself an authority.

    • http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks my friend!

  • http://writtent.com/ Sergey

    The articale is very informative, thank you.

    I have a question here: is it a good idea to write a book for any company regardless of the age and experience or the book is better to be written only by more or less popular company that has an authority?

    Thank you in advance.

    • http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Sergey…any company. If you are trying to be the thought leader in your industry, I feel you need one.

  • Martin

    Many thanks, Joe, for this article. I agree the benefits to companies that create books are often great and immediate. Partnering with the right publisher is also a key part of the whole process.

  • imperial bartenders

    Excellent article, we were thinking of going the e-book route due to cost. Now we will revisit the traditional method.

  • Sandra Zoratti

    Hey Joe, what a great topic, thank you! And appreciate the shout out!

  • http://www.shortcutblogging.com/ Dave Young

    We offer a service that is a hybrid of ghostwriting and blog mining. Think of it as “Content Extraction”. If you know that your head contains a book, we can help you outline it, and then use expert interviewers to pull the content out of you. If you want to go at a leisurely pace, blog it as you write it. If you want to put it in high gear, we can do that as well. We offer a free outlining tool, taught to us by a multi-million-selling author. Once you have your book outline, our professional interviewers will spend time with you to pull that content out of you. We then transcribe and re-write for blog or book content. You’ll find us by searching for Shortcut Blogging, or click on my profile.

  • http://twitter.com/sjtanton Sharon Tanton

    We agree with this completely. Writing a book is hard work, but has huge benefits. Sonja Jefferson and I learnt loads writing Valuable Content Marketing, far more than we would have done sticking to short blog posts. All that thinking has deepened our knowledge, and because we spoke to so many people while we were writing it, has widened our networks too. Our book was only published last week and the business is already reaping the benefits in terms of increased exposure and credibility. Now we’re just keeping our fingers crossed for some good reviews!

    • http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Congratulations on the book Sharon. Can’t wait to dig into it.

  • http://www.patrickwagner.com/ Patrick Wagner

    Great tips. I’m just about done my third book and I really find it hard to put a stop to updates/corrections. As you said in your post nothing can be perfect, especially with electronic copies which you can update anytime post your launch date for ebook & Kindle versions.

    • http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Excellent Patrick…would love to see a copy of your book when you’re finished.

  • Cherelle

    This has got some great tips, thank you. One question, I am in the process of developing a book and was wondering what form of distribution you found the most lucrative, ie online or book stores etc?

    Regards
    Cherelle

    • http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Cherelle…well, my first point would be that it most likely won’t be lucrative. You don’t make direct money off a book, especially if you are going to put resources into marketing it. That said, you’ll want as much distribution as possible. If you can get book store distribution, all the better, but you’ll need to deal with a respected publisher to get that. If you are self publishing, you can do print on demand + online distribution.