Friday, November 9, 2012

From Blogger to eBook Author … The Pyramid Approach to Quickly Creating Client Credibility

By Ned Barnett, APR - Barnett Marketing Communications
This is the basis of the article published in PR News on August 13, 2012

There is something about being a published author that seems to raise a client’s credibility with the news media.  Perhaps because so many reporters, editors, producers and hosts have either written books – or wish they could have – but an individual with a topical book credit seems inherently more newsworthy, as well as more credible.  Today’s Social Networking has created an easy and ideal platform for both creating and “pre-selling” a topical non-fiction book, making it far easier for a supportive PR exec to turn a client into a respected and credible author.  Then, whether that eBook is sold or given away, its publication will transform your client into a published author – someone now perceived on the social internet as a subject matter expert and perhaps even a “thought leader,”
Following a pyramid approach – building content on top of content – this can be accomplished in few easy steps.

First, come up with a topic and a title for the book, defining the information to share and the market to reach.  Then create a table of contents for the book that is at least seven to nine chapters long.  The first chapter will tell the readers what the book is going to cover; then middle chapters will present the real and in-depth content; then, finally, the final chapter serves as a summary.   

Down the road, each of the middle chapters has the potential to be expanded into a more narrow-focused and in-depth book – a pattern followed by many successful non-fiction authors, such as John Gray, author of the “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” series.   But that’s for the future.  

Then, break down each of the middle chapters into a detailed series of sections and sub-sections, an approach that is standard for business-oriented non-fiction books.  Having done that, the book is ready to be researched and written. 

However, because this is an eBook, the material in each of these sub-sections will be written several times, in several different formats – in essence, at different levels of the content pyramid – then each will be published on the Internet and promoted as Social Media content.  Basically, as you develop the content for the book’s sections and sub-sections, you’ll keep using that same material, not once but over and over again.  That’s the Pyramid – the foundation is made up of blogs, the mid-section is built on white papers and case studies, and the capstone is the eBook.  All of it is made of the same intellectual-property material, presented in different ways to attract different audiences.

Each time some element of what will become the book is published, it will be flagged something like this:

Written by John Client, author of the forthcoming book, “John’s Book,” and based on material which has been developed for that book.

In this way, your client will already be seen as an author “of the forthcoming book.”  The credibility bestowed on authors by the media and social networking followers alike will be generated, long before the book has been completed and published.

Going from detailed breakdown to finished book, proceed as follows in creating your content pyramid:

First, for each sub-section of the book, interview your client for 30-90 minutes, obtaining the background information needed in order to write that sub-section of the book, then write up the interview and share it with you client to confirm its accuracy.  

Once cleared, take that interview material and write it in several different formats – as blogs, white papers, and case studies, before finally being rewritten as a sub-section in the book.  Not including the initial notes or the book section, each of these write-ups will be published online and promoted via social networking and traditional PR tactics.

Write the material for your clients, or engage a ghost-writer, so the client doesn’t get bogged down in the process.  In this way, all they have to do is sit for a series of brief interviews, then review and edit what you write – the notes, the blogs, the case studies, the white papers, and finally, sections of the book..  

When sub-section material is transformed into blogs, create and post video blogs as well.  Keep in mind that overly “produced” and “polished” videos often do not do well on YouTube – it seems that YouTube’s “corporate culture” prefers more off-the-cuff, “just you and me” spontaneous-looking videos, and those are easy to create.

Blogs should be informal in style.  Case studies on the same material should be factual and to the point.  White papers should have a bit of an academic feel – if research was conducted, include a list of sources at the end of the white paper.   These white papers and case studies cover the same basic material as is found in the blogs – use this “publish-in-three-formats” approach to give the market the information they want in the format they most prefer.  In addition, this provides three tools for pre-promoting the eBook, building an audience and credibility.

Finally, we take the same information and rework it into book sub-sections.  
Keep re-using the same material, in different formats that suit different people, each time gaining additional followers and further enhancing your client’s market-niche reputation.

But it’s not enough to create excellent social networking “content;” promoting this material – not once, but every time it’s used – is critical to success.

Each time you publish a blog, a white paper or case study, promote this new content via Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and other social networking sites.  Then promote it again via a press release posed via one of the major and far-reaching distribution services.   While many bloggers post a Facebook comment or a tweet promoting a blog, few ever consider the huge potential for attracting new followers that comes from creating and issuing provocative press releases to support that content.

Bottom line – create a content pyramid that focuses on making the maximum use of each sub-section in the eBook.  This chart may help you visualize how it works:

Using this approach, on the same subject matter, create at least three blogs for every white paper or case study, and two to three white papers or case studies for each book section.  Blogs should be relatively short and to the point – they should cover a single, focused topic – while white papers and case studies can cover several topics in a single document.

For each posted content item, create seven tweets, five Facebook posts, three Linkedin posts – as well as other social networking posts – along with a single press release, all to help attract people from to your published material.  
Using this approach, you build the content of an eBook via the creation of useful social networking content posts, appropriately promoted using online and traditional PR tools.  Your client will become known as an author long before the book is completed, and an eager audience will have been primed and prepped for when that book is finally produced and released. 

Case Study - How it Works:  A few years ago, an Internet “friend” of mine, David Meerman Scott, created an eBook on PR in the Social Networking age. This was produced as a free give-away eBook, and as such, it was downloaded 250,000 times.  However, an enhanced version of this free eBook was published on paper as The New Rules of Marketing and PR – and though the basic information was available in a free down-load, this book soon became a New York Times business best-seller.  That was in 2006.  

In 2010, recognizing how much the social networking market had changed in half-a-decade, Scott and his publisher came out with a 2nd Edition.  Remarkably, this second edition also became a NYT business best seller.  

This remarkable book – in two editions – was financially successful for Scott; but even better, for him, he now makes his living writing new PR-oriented business books and giving standing-room-only talks at trade conferences – and at corporate retreats – all over the world.  His is the ultimate model of the success of this pyramid approach.

Ned Barnett’s Publishing Experience:

As a key element of a forty-year PR career, and starting when his first book was published in 1982, Ned has written ten published books (mostly on marketing and PR, but one on Finance, one a biography and several others in equally diverse fields).  In addition, he’s ghost-written at least that many books for clients, along with in-depth case studies, white papers or other published works.  He has also represented a half-dozen different publishing companies; and, for a decade, he owned a literary agency.  Barnett knows something about publishing, and about what that can do for your client’s image and business.

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