In today’s competitive marketplace, there’s no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy for producing a desired result. One thing that remains timeless, however, is that customer loyalty increases when your customers feels connected to your brand — to your story. For the past 30 years, I’ve concentrated my marketing efforts around building authentic brands through a variety of marketing channels, starting with Direct Response TV. Today I utilize numerous channels in marketing each new product — all of them focused on telling a story and fostering trust.
But most marketing channels are limited in the amount of content you can include when developing your story. The aim is to grab the customer’s attention in as few choice words as possible, with a focus on the benefits of the product (why you can’t live without it!) and a persuasive call to action. But there’s one, big exception: Writing a book.
My history with writing books started in 1984. My first was a self-published how-to guide to buying real estate with no money down. This simple, 40-page booklet sold for $20, and it supplemented the materials I was already using to promote a seminar business. The book provided some extra money, but more importantly it gave me additional credibility with my audiences. Being introduced as the “Author of…” helped me close more sales; and because it was self-published, it was also easy to print more on command!
The ultimate in content marketing
Shortly after I left the real estate seminar business I launched my own company called Trillium Health Products. At Trillium, our goal was to educate consumers on the health benefits of consuming more fruits and vegetables in their diet. My team set the Juiceman Juicer apart from other, more recognizable brands because we used live seminars to educate people about the benefits of drinking fresh juice, a lesson I learned in the real estate business. An array of marketing channels supported these live events, including infomercials. Our pitchman Jay Kordich, known as The Juiceman, was captivating, as well as an authority on the topic of juicing. With the success of the business and a growing mailing list; the high visibility of our spokesperson, plus built-in audiences from coast-to-coast seminars, we were in a unique position to create some books about juicing.
The Juiceman’s Power of Juicing sold over a million copies, and it became a New York Times #1 best seller soon after its release by Simon & Schuster in 1993. The 288-page book afforded space to tell Jay’s inspirational story. There was also ample room for fresh juice recipes and tips on the nutritional values of particular fruits and vegetables. An even bigger surprise to me was the extent to which the publication of the book generated new (and bigger) marketing opportunities, including a segment on 20/20 and feature stories in Success, Forbes, Fortune, and the Wall Street Journal. Ultimately, the book brought greater credibility to the business, which enabled us to expand and add more books, including Juicing for Life (Prima), another best seller by Trillium spokeswomen Cherie Calbom and Maureen Keene, and The Complete Book of Juicing by Dr Michael Murray.
My one regret looking back was that I did not personally write a book about the success of Trillium Health Products and the marketing strategy that launched it from start-up to $75 million in just a few action-packed years. At the time, I didn’t fully appreciate the unique role that writing books played in building the Trillium brand. It would be more than 20 years before I started utilizing books again as an integral part of my marketing design.
It took me a long time to think of myself as someone with a story to tell. I’d spent my entire adult life putting other people’s stories first. But in 2010, my colleague Tim O’Brien suggested I write a book about my formula for building big brands. Since selling Trillium Health Products in 1993, I’d helped build several popular brands, like Sonicare, Clarisonic, George Foreman Grill, OxiClean, Rug Doctor, GoPro Camera, and more. Tim convinced me that my persistent professional achievements were special and that by sharing my unique approach I could potentially help others succeed. I’d never really thought about what I had to offer outside what I knew best — how to identify brands with potential, and how to position them to win. I began to realize that maybe that alone was a story worth telling.
Since 2010, I’ve had three books published, each involving people I’ve worked with, all of whom have contributed to my success. Ron Lynch, a partner in my direct marketing agency, was a co-author of my first book, Buy Now! (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011). My colleague and good friend Barb Westfield co-authored my second book, Building Billion Dollar Brands (Advantage Media Group, 2018). Their experience added to the credibility of these books, and they made the writing experience a lot smoother!
In my newest book, Video Persuasion (Arcie Publishing, 2019), I am the sole author; however, I’ve included in-depth interviews with 10 marketing experts — all of whom are leaders in their fields. Utilizing authentic testimonials is a strategy I’ve used from the start for persuading people to buy my products and services. Applying that same logic to book-writing has helped increase my credibility as an author, and it has reinforced my image as a leader in the marketing field.
Following is a list of the benefits I’ve experienced from writing a book:
- Establishes credibility
- Fosters trust and loyalty
- Helps build mailing lists
- Boosts marketing efforts online and off
- Opens doors for PR appearances and podcasts
- Leads to speaking engagements
- Offers a bigger stage from which to tell your brand story
- Is the ultimate in content marketing
- Can be adapted to an online course format
- Generates extra revenue
Ready to write YOUR book?
Writing a book is a major commitment, but depending on where you are in your career it can give you the boost you’re looking for. In my next blog, Write a Book, Build Your Brand, Part 2, I’ll walk you through the basic steps for creating your first book, from finding a book agent and shopping for publishers, to developing a realistic plan and an outline to help you get started. In my experience, writing a book is a great way to build your brand, and there’s another benefit I haven’t mentioned yet, and that is the colossal sense of accomplishment that comes from seeing your story in print.
Originally published on Rick Cesari
Rick Cesari has been in the direct response and video marketing industry since 1994 and consulting since 1999. His passion is continuing that work and speaking to organizations to share that breadth of knowledge. You can follow his updates on RickCesari.com.