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How Brands Can Leverage Self-Publishing



How Brands Can Leverage Self-Publishing

By Karen Geier

It used to be that brands were simply broadcasters – they jumped onto your TV for 30 seconds or interrupted your magazine articles, or they were the only thing breaking up your monotony on long drives. But the game has fundamentally changed – broadcasting is simply no longer the way forward. Brands now have to provide value in the form of great, useful, shareable content. This means everything from a simple tweet to blogging and event marketing.

What is useful content?

Useful content is relevant content that your customers resonate with and use in their lives.

Useful content can take many forms, ranging from a photo of how to “hack” your product to a long-form article on an issue close to your company. If it inspires people to keep reading and possibly even perform another action (which may or may not be a direct sale or referral for you), then it’s useful.

The goal when creating any content should be to interest and engage the consumer, not to get your five talking points across intact.

If you regularly connect with your fans and followers and produce content they really like, you should consider offline options to help your brand become more of a regular part of your customers’ lives. One way to do that is to self-publish works purpose-built for them.

Self-publishing: What it means

Self -publishing used to mean paying someone who ran ads in the back of a magazine a lot of money and having to sell those books out of your truck. Self-publishing has rapidly evolved.

The on-demand economy has made it so authors can now use tools from retailers like Amazon and Kobo to create and distribute their own works, and even in the case of Amazon and some other start-up on-demand publishers, issue copies of a book on demand – meaning you as a brand do not have to hold on to inventory (unless it is part of your strategy).

Why you might not want to partner with a publishing house

If you are a big brand with a lot of traction, it might seem like your best bet for publishing would be to go to the pros. But there are considerations you might want to make before you proceed:

  • There is no guarantee that the time and money your brand will spend trying to secure a publishing deal will pay off.
  • Turnaround times for books are usually measured in years, and you can expect the bulk of that time to be your author submitting round after round of edits and changes to your publisher. This could cut into the timeliness and profitability of your project
  • As the author, you will have no control over the marketing of your book. If the point of publishing a book is to provide value to your customers, then the value is significantly diminished if your publisher decides to market your book to a different audience.

How to get started with self-publishing

The first consideration for your book should be content coupled with format. Content refers to the basic message you want to send out and how you tell that story, while format pertains to whether your book is a long-form novel, a comic book, a collection of short stories, an art book, or a DIY guide.

You might not want to overthink your first self-published work – if you have pieces that resonated with your fans already, you might be able to compile, adapt, or build upon them.

Your second consideration should be the publishing method. Brands have had success simply publishing downloadable materials such as eBooks. This is the least expensive method, but it leaves out some of your potential fans who might not be into ereading.

Once you have a sense of the scope of your project, you can begin finding the right publisher fit, whether it’s an established company or a startup company.

If you plan to include art, hire a professional. People will not forgive poor layouts in a book regardless of whether it’s free.

Promoting your book

You can always drum up excitement through your direct marketing and social media channels for your book, but you might consider putting some PR behind it as well. This is a perfect opportunity to announce your project with a news release at the very least.

Don’t forget that you can give away a physical book, whether at events or conferences, in gift bags, or in the lobby of your office. Put a link to your eBook in all the email signatures at your company.

Self-publishing is a great way to extend your brand though longer-form content. It just takes planning and an understanding of your audience.


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