Take your expertise to the next level
Author a book and you'll not only alter your life, you'll captivate the people who matter most to your business.
Write a book—and grow your visibility as a thought leader
Although North American companies spend a whopping $50 billion each year on leadership development, most leaders just aren't ready to lead, says the Conference Board. Why? They lack soft skills. Shoring up your soft skills is the quickest way to leadership success in today's world. Soft skills include building trust, inspiring and attracting talent and articulating a compelling business vision and purpose. If you're a CEO, entrepreneur or business manager, one of the best ways to do this is to author a top-notch business book that builds your credibility by showcasing your expertise.
But writing and publishing your own story goes well beyond building your personal brand: it enhances your company's visibility and amplifies your business's core messages in ways that traditional marketing and pr simply can't. If you're worried about the time and effort involved, rest assured. The process doesn't have to be as painful or time-consuming as you might think -- if you have the right partner.
It's time to stop being invisible to the people who count most to your business.
your Story, Well told, creates Value
In a world of constant change, the spotlight shines ever more brightly on how well CEOs and business leaders communicate to the world. Successfully managing innovation, and the organizational change that comes with it, requires intense focus. Studies continue to show that the most successful change programs are built around a common ingredient: the right story. Investors, customers and stakeholders are becoming increasingly aware that:
- story creates meaning
- meaning creates awareness
- awareness creates value
It's not much of a leap, then, to realize that story creates value. The story behind the brand is the X-factor for many of the world’s most valued and highest performing companies. Look at Apple. Its core story – that “people with passion can change the world” – aligned perfectly with the values of Apple's core employee group. It was a big ask, changing the world. But Apple delivered on it.
Of course, not every company’s products are in a position to change the world. But every CEO is in a position to change the world in which their company operates. How? By being a better storyteller. Or by hiring a storyteller or ghostwriter who is willing to help them become a better storyteller.
Ghostwriters are, by definition, Anonymous
There's no shame in hiring a ghostwriter. Ghostwriters have been around since Shakespeare's time, and nearly half of all today's business books are fully or partially written with the help of a ghost. In fact, publishers prefer receiving business manuscripts that have a ghostwriter attached because it enhances the book's potential marketability. The key to success in today's marketplace is to engage. In other words, to sell without selling. And what better way to showcase your story or your expertise than by writing a well researched book?
The old ways of advertising and selling are disappearing fast. Today, selling is as much about telling the customer's story as the seller's. Relevant, useful, findable content has replaced glitter and gloss because the only thing more relevant to the customer than the cost is WIIFM -- What's in it for me?
"What's in it for me?", a.k.a. Your Value Proposition
So how do you best answer your prospect's unsaid WIIFM question? By articulating a clear value proposition. Value is the tipping point. If you can articulate it effectively and concisely (not an easy thing to do) you will hook your prospects nearly every time. If you can't, you will have wasted your money contacting them.
We all know that perceived value is often as important as actual value. Clarity, cut and colour became the value proposition for diamonds, along with a marvellous ad slogan, Diamonds Are Forever, that completed the story. Why else would something not that scarce and not that hard to make continue to be so expensive? Your own value story can make or break your company's future. It's the foundation underlying all your customer interactions, whether told directly by a salesperson or indirectly through marketing. So make it a good one.
Story = strategy. Strategy drives value.
Why story? Today's customers and prospects are inundated with marketing messages, making it increasingly difficult for companies to get their message heard. Yet heard they must be. Studies show that both B2B and B2C audiences respond best to stories, long and short. Unlike Powerpoint, stories target the emotions as well as the intellect. Research shows that intellectual appeals do not affect behaviour or drive change. Stories overcome reader cynicism and resistance by offering an emotional connection, a new perspective and (if told well) actionable information. An excellent article, "How to Become Your Company's Storyteller", can be found at Entrepreneur.com
4 great ways to start telling telling your story
First, consider reading one or more of these fascinating books. They're all about storytelling from a business perspective:
Second, watch any Steven Spielberg or James Cameron or David Lean movie. Observe how the story begins (set-up), complicates (middle) and pays off (ending). Believe it or not, this 3 act structure is contained within virtually every great story, corporate or not, that has found an audience over the past several hundred years.
Third, consider getting acquainted with the 5 Rules of Business Storytelling.
Fourth, think about your company's story for a moment, because every company has one.
What's your story? How do you want to tell it?