In today’s episode, co-host Shaheen Samavati chats with Stacy Ennis, a best-selling author, book coach and speaker, about the book writing process and how publishing a book can act as a form of content marketing.

As a published author, experienced ghostwriter and founder of Nonfiction Book School, Stacy specializes in guiding aspiring authors and business leaders through the transformative process of writing a book. Many of Stacy’s clients are business leaders who want to share their ideas and stories with their audience as a way to promote their personal brand and business.

During their conversation, Stacy and Shaheen offer loads of insider tips on where to start the process of writing a book as a content marketing tool and the different options for writing and publishing. 

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on YouTube, listen to the podcast on Apple or Spotify, and read a recap of the conversation below!

How can writing a book help grow your business?

There are a few ways writing a book can help promote your brand and grow your business. Stacy shared an example of a solopreneur she worked with who, after developing a clear framework around his ideas, landed an excellent keynote opportunity after launching his book. This opportunity immediately paid off his entire investment in the book.

Another C-level executive that Stacy worked with said that the process of writing her book helped shape her ideas and get clarity on what she wanted to accomplish with her company. Learning to prioritize time for thinking and creativity also shifted her way of working.

“Having time to think completely changes everything.” – Stacy Ennis

Another multi-published author said, “A book is worth a million dollars in revenue.” 

Can anyone write a book?

According to Stacy, anyone can learn how to write a book, but you need to know that it requires a specific skill set. Just because you can write, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can jump straight into writing a book—and that’s where many aspiring authors hit a block.

If you treat book writing as a separate skill set, you can start to develop your ability over time.

Another common writing block Stacy sees among her clients is that, at some point, they’ve had a negative experience with writing. It’s important to remember that negative writing experiences don’t mean that you can never write anything meaningful and valuable.

“So many of us take negative feedback to heart and don’t allow ourselves to be open to other writing opportunities or other ways to express ourselves.” – Stacy Ennis

What is a good starting point for writing a book as a content marketing tool?

If you’re thinking about writing a book as a marketing tool, Stacy’s first piece of advice is to not fall into the mindset of thinking: “‘I’m just going to get something done really quickly and get it to market,’ without really caring what it’s about.”

That’s a really bad strategy. Here’s why:

  • A bad book is a reflection of your brand and your company
  • A poorly written and constructed book will have a short shelf life

The first step you should take is to define your vision for your business. Get clear on what you’re trying to achieve and what impact you want to make in the world. Then, figure out how a book will be a catalyst to helping you achieve that impact and grow your brand awareness. 

Also, start thinking about a practical way to teach others about your idea as that will start to form the framework for the book.

Taking time to go through this process forces you to create something meaningful.

“When you write a book, you don’t want it to just be plugging your company the whole time. It has to be an entity in and of itself that brings value to the reader—whether it’s entertaining, informative or transforming.”

Stacy adds that when working through ideation and outlining, consider how the book will become “fertile soil from which all kinds of things can grow.” For example, can it help you or people from your company get more keynote speaking gigs to gain more brand awareness?

A good book idea is often a blend between an idea book and a how-to book.

Check out Stacy’s free guide on how to find a book idea.

Is it possible to use existing content and turn it into a book?

Many clients and students come to Stacy with the idea that they can simply combine a bunch of content they already have into a book. But that’s actually more complicated than writing from scratch. 

Stacy recommends first building a full outline of the book and only then going through your existing content to see what you can repurpose.

Once you do the due diligence of outlining the book, you need to mindfully ask what fits into your outline. Chances are, not as much will actually fit into the book as you think it will.” 

However, this isn’t to say that this strategy is impossible. Shaheen brought up a great example of where this strategy worked:

“A famous example is The 4-Hour Workweek, which is clearly an extended version of a bunch of content that Timothy Ferriss had done. But a lot of it was so detailed and valuable, and he added a lot more to it, making it such a big seller.”  

How can you repurpose book content into marketing content?

Stacy explains that they do loads of interviews with authors during their ghostwriting process. These interviews turn into the transcripts they use to write the book, but they can also be used for marketing content. The hundreds of pages of transcripts are like marketing gold.

“I’m a huge believer in using any good piece of content at least four times. That’s the minimum, and you could probably use it a lot more.” – Stacy Ennis

For example, you can pull out quotes from the transcripts and excerpts from your book to use on your social media or add to blog posts.

It’s important to develop some sort of tracking system that makes it easy to find certain topics you’ve already spoken or written about. This makes it easier to find content when writing a book and looking for marketing copy.

Self-published vs. pitching a publisher?

Many of Stacy’s clients choose a hybrid approach between traditional and self-publishing:

“You work with an established publisher, but you’re paying them to publish your book. It’s very different from self-publishing, where you manage many moving parts.” 

Stacy urges any author thinking about self-publishing to hire a self-publishing project manager:

It’s an investment, but having somebody that knows what they’re doing will actually save you thousands of dollars and at least a dozen headaches.”

When does it make sense to get your book ghostwritten?

As Stacy mentioned, book-writing is a specific skill. And for some, it doesn’t make sense to devote the time and energy needed to learn how to write a book. They’re too busy doing other things—like running a business.

That’s why many business leaders can benefit from the collaborative process of ghostwriting, as it’s an opportunity to marry their ideas and expertise with a writer’s skills.

You can check out Shaheen and Kyler’s speaker profiles if you’d like to have either of them speak at your next event or be a guest on your podcast.

Check out more posts on the writing process:

To read the full transcript, click on page number 2 below.