Successful authors tend to be highly leveraged; this doesn’t mean, however, that they are deep in debt. Rather, it means that they are committed to to recycling, reusing, and re-purposing their ideas.
Successful avoid the temptation to continually reinvent the wheel. Instead, they create a body of knowledge, and use it for multiple marketing and profiting purposes.
There are 7 key benefits successful authors enjoy when they leverage ideas into multiple projects:
- Constant improvement. Each time authors revisit a previous idea or topic, they refine their ability to communicate it more clearly, more completely, more concisely, and with greater impact. (Practice does, make perfect!) Eeach time they re-approach an idea, they typically add new details, examples, or write from a slightly different perspective.
- New markets & new formats create new prospects. Each iteration of a core idea exposes the author’s ideas and their brand to new readers & prospects. Readers who may not be interested in a $29.95 hard cover book may well be interested in a $19.95 shorter version, or a $11.95 e-book. Likewise, learning styles differ: some prospects like to learn by reading, others by listening, and still others by attending conferences or watching videos.
- Target marketing. One of the best ways authors can leverage their key ideas into new opportunities is to adapt ideas from general to specific markets. Let’s say an author is an expert on graphic design for efficient marketing. The first book uses case studies and examples from a variety of association, corporate, and small business sources. Follow-up books, e-books, workbooks, and audio/video products, however, could focus on specific markets like accountants, small medical practices, and technology start-ups or specific techniques (online, offline, networking, etc.)
- Familiarity = easier sales. Familiarity breeds comfort. Trust increases the more often a prospect encounters a helpful, relevant message–especially if each message reinforces a key concept or core idea. Jay Conrad Levinson’s stock goes up each time he comes out with a new Guerrilla Marketing book. The mere fact there are 35 books in the series provides credibility no single book could ever achieve.
- Efficiency. By building-out, or revisiting and expanding, core ideas also saves writing time, allowing authors to invest their time in activities–perhaps like coaching or consulting–which earn them the highest return. In addition, it is far easier to delegate an adaptation of an idea to a new niche, or a new format, than it is to delegate the creation of a new core idea or body of information.
- Synergy. Each time a core idea is reused, it refreshes and expands the author’s brand, helping resell previous topics and driving new traffic to the author’s website. Once at the website, readers can explore the author’s back-end products and services.
- Marketing efficiency and constant visibility. Readers and clients have short memories. Your brand jumps to the front of the line immediately after a prospect receives your newsletter or tip sheet. However, like the heart monitor traces on television shows set in hospital ICUs, peak awareness quickly begins to disappear. Authors who leverage their content, however, can keep in weekly, if not daily, contact by efficiently harvesting individual ideas–like examples or tips–from previous projects.
Examples of successfully leveraged nonfiction authors
- Jay Conrad Levinson. Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing books have sold millions of copies during the past seveal decades. Each title focuses on a specific marketing challenge (i.e., Guerrilla Marketing in Tough Times), a specific market (i.e., Guerrilla Marketing for consultants), or format (i.e., Guerrilla Marketing Online). Little wonder it’s the world’s Number 1 marketing book series.
- Bud Bilanich. I recently traced how Bud Bilanich, The Common-Sense Guy, has leveraged his daily blog posts into several books and information products at different price points.
- Guy Kawasaki. When I interviewed Guy Kawasaki about the background of his Reality Check book, I was surprised to find it, too, had originated as a series of individual blog posts. More important, he also revealed how his columns in Entrepreneur Magazine also originate as blog posts.
- C.J. Hayden. C.J. has leveraged her Get Clients Now! book into numerous streams of revenue, including a membership site, “train the trainer” certification programs, and additional products.
How do you started leveraging your content?
The starting point is to think small!
Don’t think of your book as a “big idea” as you plan and write it.
Instead, view your book from the following perspective:
- 10 Chapters
- Each chapter contains 10 ideas
A successful book is neither a miracle of inspiration nor is it a monument to author martyrdom. A successful book can be as simple as a single big idea, or premise, explained in 10 chapters, each containing 10 key ideas, or points.
Putting your ideas to work
Thinking of your book in terms of 10 chapters, each containing 10 ideas, or points, simplifies planning, writing, promoting, and profiting from your book.
This perspective simplifies your book at each of the 4 key steps in becoming profitably published:
- Step 1: Planning your book. Thinking in terms of 10 chapters, each with 10 points, focuses your planning on specific tasks. Instead of thinking abstractly, you can focus on specific ideas that will help your readers.
- Step 2: Writing your book. Writing your book becomes much easier–more like a “painting by numbers” process, or a “fill in the missing paragraphs” task needed to explain each idea, rather than starting to write with a blank screen.
- Step 3: Promoting. Promoting your book becomes easier because each of the 100 points in your book provides the starting point for a blog post, newsletter, or podcast. The 100 points also provide the starting point for groupings of key ideas, for tip sheets or speeches.
- Step 4: Profiting from your book. Your book’s original 100 key points can be developed, and re-developed, over and over again for specific market segments and product formats. Having identified your 100 key points, for example, you could prepare a follow-up Case Book containing 100 detailed case studies.
What are you waiting for?
Have you identified your big idea, your 10 chapters, and your 10 main points for each chapter? What’s holding you back?
Roger C. Parker is a “32 Million Dollar Author,” book coach, and online writing resource. His 38 books have sold 1.9 million copies in 35 languages around the world. The NY Times called his Looking Good in Print “…the one to buy when you’re buying only one!” Roger has interviewed hundreds of successfully branded authors and shares what he’s learned at Published & Profitable and in his daily writing tips blog.