By Mike Greece, APR, MG Integrated Marketing
If Yogi Berra were alive today and someone asked his opinion about engaging digital consumers, he might say: “The trouble with content marketing (CM) is you need content!” The marketing tactic of choice for many category leaders today, the continuous and costly (time and energy) CM bugaboo is about creating new “stuff” – feeding the beast – with useful, timely, unselfish information, insights, and illumination to engage and create followers, advocates, and buyers.
The nature of effective content involves: (1) authenticity; (2) newness; (3) empathy; and (4) usefulness.
Many brands, large and small, have discovered a “sidecar” traveler that can provide these benefits through a sustainable respite from the 24/7 grind to replenish the content-marketing food supply, i.e., the business book.
Properly organized to benefit the reader, the collection of a body of relevant knowledge by a brand’s leadership is a highly leverage-able platform for long-term authority (“author” being the root word), authenticity, vision, and engagement, particularly if the book helps to solve a burning issue in the business ecosystem.
Beyond the impact of continuously deploying excerpts online, a book’s life force can enhance the brand’s credibility and mind-share through traditional and social media presence, speaking engagements, webinars, and the like – all made easier by a brand’s hood ornament who “wrote the book on the subject.”
Supplementing CM, the business book is a lightning rod for supercharging a brand, product, or service – often creating conversation advantage in competitive industry silos by leveling the playing field in the battle for market awareness.
It particularly serves as a high-value, compelling marquis for marketing activity and influence in the service sector where innovation and notoriety take the form of thought leadership and over-the-horizon insights that are a compelling currency for conversations and winning attention.
Throughout the evolution of marketing over the past 50 years, but specifically in the last 10 “Internet years”, the continual quest is for content that differentiates an enterprise, provides a compelling voice and stimulates market interest. Clever marketers continually struggle to create more engaging language than “bigger”, “better”, “faster”, “cheaper”, “cooler”… and today, marketing content that “helps” rather than “sells” – borrowing an insight from Jay Baer’s 2013 book Youtility about effective 21st-century marketing.
Most marketing campaigns are long, forced marches requiring time to achieve success, deploying multiple tactics across multiple channels relying on long-term budgets.
The leveragability of the “helping”, not “self-serving”, strategic business book’s ROI is significant, cost-effective (often paying for itself in sales) brand awareness, credibility and market attraction. It opens doors with influencers, prospects, and reassures current clients and stakeholders of the brand’s importance and thought leadership. A CEO who is an author carries gravitas and authenticity. It’s a person who people(prospects, press, customers, influencers) want to talk to, engage and buy stuff. Business books spawn meetings, conversations, speeches, workshops, and ultimately the illusion of category leadership.
It’s the secret weapon in a noisy, crowded electronic era.
But don’t take my word for it. Look at the number of hard cover business books online at Amazon today, most of them published independently – more than 1.8 million available just in the primary business categories.
Like movie theaters after the invention of the VCR, books have a compelling and profound survivability in the digital era of the 21st century and provide a perennial food supply to ease the daily challenges of content marketing.