The benefits of books for readers are well known. But they’re also are fantastic tools for authors to build their brands and businesses, says Michael Hanrahan.
As a publisher and the owner of Publish Central, Michael Hanrahan has successfully put hundreds of books to print over more than 20 years and seen first hand the life-changing impact that writing a book can have on personal brands and businesses.
Michael said he started a publishing house to help small business owners put their stories into writing.
“We love helping people get their knowledge and their skills out there and sharing this information. So many people have all sorts of knowledge that other people want and need,” Michael told KnowHow founder Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast.
He believes that writing a book holds great value for any business owner, serving as an effective promotional tool. It also taps into the interests of readers, even when you don’t always consider your story or information important.
“Anybody who’s been in business for even just a couple of years and even if you’re just remotely good at what you’re doing, you’ve got enough knowledge to write a book,” Michael said.
“For the authors that we work with, the book is actually a marketing tool to help them build their business. It’s all about building your profile … there’s all sorts of things you can get from writing a book for your business.
“You kind of almost assume that ‘everybody knows this stuff, no one’s interested in it’ … then I’ll sit down next to someone who says ‘what do you do?’ and I tell them and they say, ‘I want to right a book’. And they chew your ear for three hours because they want to learn all about how to do it. So it’s very easy to forget how much people want to hear the information that you’ve got.”
The process of writing a book also helps business owners to analyse their operations, understand how they’re progressing and if there is room for improvement and also the clarity of their communication and message.
“There’s actually a very good hidden benefit of writing a book … you’ve got to sit down and think really clearly about what you’re doing and how you’re going to explain it to people. So, it’s a great way for you to get some introspection on what you’re doing,” he said.
Once business owners have decided to write a book, Michael said the two next questions to tackle are: ‘what to write about?’ and ‘who would want to read it?’.
“You’ve got to answer these questions before you’ve even sat down, because you can’t decide what you’re going to write about if you don’t know who your readers are going to be,” Michael said.
“If you’re writing a book, have a think about, well, ‘what’s one of the most common problems our customers have? What information do we get asked over and over again? What sort of information do people really need?’ So that’s a really good starting point.”
Once you have answered these questions, Michael said the next steps for potential authors is to brainstorm and compile their content list.
“Once you’ve done that first step, do a bit of a brainstorm … if it’s good, then the next step is to go through and pick out what you think the key topics are from that area … and that forms the start of your contents list,” he said.
“You should then be able to fill in that contents list with all the other topics that you’ve written down … and before long, you’ll have a list of, you know, seven, eight, nine topics with another list of seven or eight or nine subheadings underneath that.
“Suddenly you’re already starting to get the context for your book. And then if you’re writing, say, a 30,000 word book, then it’s just about filling in each of those with 300-400 words, rather than thinking ‘oh I’d better sit down and write thirty thousand words, where do I start?’”
Want to know more? Listen to Bushy Martin’s full interview with Michael Hanrahan here.
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