In order for your book to find your ideal clients–those people you most like to work with–you need to infuse your brand into your book. It’s not hard. Just a few guidelines will get you set.
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My friends, Blaine and the Fabulous Honey Parker are branding experts. In fact, they wrote the book (Billion Dollar Branding). They define brand as “the one way you want your core customer to feel about your business.”
Blaine will tell you to note that they say “feel about your business,” not “think about your business.” That’s because people buy on emotion and justify their action with logic.
You’re writing your book for a reason. You want prospects and clients to think about you and your services in a certain way. Let’s expand that to examine how you want clients to feel about working with you.
Part of how you want people to feel has to do with the industry you’re in. If you’re a business consultant, you want to come across as competent and knowledgeable, without being a know-it-all or condescending. If you’re a life coach, people might want someone who is empathetic and caring more than someone who has all the answers at their fingertips. But let’s break it down a little further.
How would you define your style? Are you formal or casual? Corporate? Professional but not stuffy? Now consider what level of formality is considered “proper” in your industry. For example, a good pediatrician is going to be a lot more user-friendly than a thoracic surgeon. The CEO of a farm machinery dealership is probably going to be in jeans more often than in a three-piece suit. Where do you fall on that spectrum? And is that how you want to be perceived?
Sometimes your style doesn’t match up with what’s expected by your profession. Hunter “Patch” Adams is much more than just a funny doctor. His style is unique and when you go to his Institute, you are getting his brand of medicine. To be different is not the easiest path, but sometimes it is the path to industry change. If your style is different, go with it. It’s much easier to accept it early on than to spend decades trying to conform to something that is not you. Don’t be afraid to put it in your book. If people don’t like your style, they’re not your people.
Persona is defined as the public image you present to the world. For example, if you went down my personal Facebook comments, you would think that I run on coffee, wine, and single malt scotch, with an unhealthy dose of chocolate and way too many pastries. If I drank even half as much wine as I celebrate on social media, I wouldn’t be able to walk, much less get anything done.
But, I also have built a reputation as a writer and people think of writers as people who drink (thanks to Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott) and basically live an indulgent lifestyle. So, I give people that. The funny quotes I post and the sly wordplays might make you think I’m a lot of fun at parties. (I’m not. I’m usually hiding in a corner wondering how soon I can go home without being rude.) The truth is, my idea of a good time is a lazy afternoon on the sofa, reading a fun mystery novel and eating Twizzlers. But people expect a writer to be a certain way.
Am I lying to people when I create my social media posts? No. I’m showing one side of my personality. I really do love coffee, wine, single malt scotch and dark chocolate. But that’s balanced out with daily exercise, occasional salads and more coffee because coffee.
I also use my persona to attract the kind of people I like to work with—that’s people who are fun to work with, who take their business seriously and themselves not as seriously. If they don’t think I’m funny, they’re not my people. (Because I’m freakin’ hysterical.) While I do some corporate work, I prefer to work with small business owners, entrepreneurs, and independent spirits. But I still want them to be business people, not dabblers.
All this leads to…
Don’t panic. As an English major, I used to break out in hives whenever professors started talking about tone and theme. I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about—or at least I couldn’t verbalize it. To this day, I couldn’t tell you the theme of most of the books I had to read in school. I’m a reader; I didn’t care what the theme was. Did the book keep me engaged or not?
And that is the key question you should keep in your mind when writing your book. In fact, you might want to write a reminder in big letters and post it conspicuously in your office: Am I keeping the reader engaged?
The tone of the book helps you keep the reader engaged. If your material is difficult to understand and your reader is the average Joe on the street, you’ll need to present the information in easy to digest bites in a non-intimidating way. You can do this by using story: examples and case studies that your reader will relate to and easily understand.
If your book is for straight logical, just-the-facts-ma’am types, then you give them those facts in a logical, almost understated way. Your case studies may include more quantified charts and graphs. They may still be stories, but there is less emotion.
Your word choice and your sentence structure create your tone. My tone? Easy, breezy, Cover Girl. (Sometimes it’s too easy, breezy.) I write long, convoluted, meandering sentences. If I wanted to convey urgency, I might use a series of short, clipped sentences. If I wanted to create fear, I would use darker, ominous words. (I mean think about it: Just the word ominous is ominous.)
Now Infuse Your Brand into Your Book
How do you want your clients to feel after working with you? Do you want them to have confidence that they have met with the person who can finally help them with their problem? Do you want them to feel like you are the go-to person with top connections who can navigate the system for them? Do you want them to feel like they’d love to just sit and have a cup of coffee with you?
Then work that into your book. Invite people to have a cup of coffee with you. I do this in several of my books and courses when I recommend that people sit with a cup of coffee or glass of wine to assist with their brainstorming session. Use case studies that show how you used your connections to create a successful outcome for someone. Quantifying your results will give people confidence in you.
You want your book to attract your people. As you’re writing, as you’re choosing your case studies, consider your brand and how you can infuse your brand into your book.