Jan 31, 2018
One listener, Lisa, knows that I am writing my second book. She posed a question, “how did you come up with the subject and title of your book?”
Well, it’s hard. In the US, more than 90,000 books get published every year. Chances are whatever I want to say is likely to be said already. There is truly nothing new under the sun.
However, don’t let that discourage you from writing about your topic. It is all about how people relate to their readers.
When I think about Lisa’s question, I find that selecting a title is not much different than creating a marketing message. Your message needs to identify the unique differentiation of your products. At the same time, it needs to be relevant enough to your customers, so they can get ideas on how to address their pain points or solve their challenges.
When I select a book title, I follow that same thinking process. I try to identify a topic that is unique to my own experience and knowledge and, at the same time, is relevant to a specific segment of marketers. Coming up with the first book title, Global Content Marketing, was pretty easy. My experience at Intel had always been global. I was hoping to write something about the collaboration between the headquarters and geographies. One aspect of my jobs was editorial and content planning. The term Content Marketing was on the rise. When I started searching on Amazon, there were content marketing books, but no Global Content Marketing. Bingo. I found my topic. It was something based on my unique work experience that enterprise marketers may find interesting.
For this book, it was much harder. I didn’t want to write another content marketing book. I wanted to try something different.
Throughout the whole process, I contemplated several ideas. The first title I was thinking about was a combination of a memoir and business book. I wanted to share how I made a transition from a CPA to a traditional marketer to a digital marketer. It was certainly unique and might help people who are looking for a career transition. But here is the challenge in the publishing industry: a personal memoir is a personal memoir, and a business book is a business book. They don’t mesh. For my mash-up, who is my target audience? Am I writing to people who are over 40 looking for a career transition or am I writing to people who are interested in transitioning to the marketing field? Or am I writing for marketers who want to transition from their traditional role to digital role? Is this book about career development or just a personal memoir?
Do you see the dilemma? I could find my uniqueness, but I had a hard time identifying my target audience and coming up with positioning that makes sense.
The second idea was about technology’s role in marketing. Technology, such as AR/VR, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, will further shape digital marketing moving forward. I’d love to write a book about this. This topic could be written in multiple ways, but these two come to mind:
• Focus on high-level and future trends and their ramifications for customer behaviors, then use that as an anchor point to discuss how marketing needs to change. Keep it strategic and high-level with a lot of fun stories to share.
• Focus at the tactical level on how technologies reshape marketing from top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel, then discuss the changes in the context of processes, tools, people, and organizational structures. Hone in on case studies.
Don’t you think this is a great topic? I love this topic. If it’s written well, it’s certainly relevant to marketing professionals. The target audience is clear. But here is my challenge: I don’t necessarily have unique work experience in various technologies. It will require a massive amount of research in the behavioral science of consumers, staying on top of ever-changing technologies, and reading tons of marketing/management academic articles to formulate a solid point of view.
The more I dig into it the less I feel that I am qualified to write about it. Plus, I don’t think I have the time to pull it off. I wish I could spend 12-18 months full-time just writing about this topic. That would be super nice. But I can’t. I have to put bread on the table to feed my family. Very sad!
Then, I came to the third idea. I’ve heard about the misalignment between sales and marketing often. I had directly and indirectly supported sales teams when I was at Intel. I strongly believe marketing’s job is to support and enable sales. The term, Sales Enablement, has been popping up right and left. I did my research, and most of the sales enablement books are from the perspective of increasing sales productivity through training and development. But my experience leads to a different approach with a unique point of view.
I’ve identified a clear target audience, they are B2B marketing and sales professionals. In addition, the topic is relevant to marketers looking to better support sales.
If you are interested in writing a trade or business book, here is what I’d suggest starting to find your topic:
• Start with your expertise and experience. What can you
• Identify your audience. Who are they? How will they benefit?
• Conduct research informally or formally to validate your analysis
• Start on an outline and write your book proposal
I may be simplifying it a bit, but that’s the gist of the process I followed.
Thank you for listening, until next week.