As an entrepreneur, what do you really need? What does every entrepreneur always want more of, especially for their business? Attention.
I don’t mean that in the narcissistic “everyone look at me” sense. When I say every entrepreneur wants more attention, what I mean is that attention is the key to everything else entrepreneurs want and need. It all starts with attention.
Need to sell more products or services? Start with getting people’s attention, then you can show them how your product or service benefits them, leading them to make a purchase. Want to attract the best talent to your company? You have to get their attention, and show them why they want to join your company. Want to raise money? Got to get attention from VC’s angels, and PE funds to pitch them.
Want media coverage? Media coverage itself is about attention, but the paradox is you can’t get any without getting the media’s attention first. Want to speak at conferences or create authority for your product or company? How will anyone know they should listen if you haven’t gotten their attention about what it is you have to say yet?
You see where I am going here? There are many, many ways to get attention, but in my experience, writing and publishing a book is not only one the best way to get attention — it’s one of the most under-utilized by entrepreneurs.
How does a book get you attention?
A book is great for getting attention because it’s a multi-purpose marketing tool with unique and special abilities to create attention that you can turn into almost anything else you want — sales, media, word of mouth, authority. So, how does a book get you attention? There are four main ways:
1. A book gives you authority, credibility and expertise.
A lot of people like to say that “a book is the new business card.” I disagree, because everyone has a business card. You can go to Office Depot and get business cards, but you can’t go to Office Depot and author a book.
What I like to say is that “a book is the new college degree.” It used to be, about 40 years ago, only about 10 percent of people had college degrees. If you had one, it was a major signal of credibility and authority. It meant something. But now that everyone goes to college, it doesn’t signal as much credibility.
So what is a signal of credibility and authority now — one that’s reliable and rare? Writing and publishing a book.
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A book sets you up to be judged. It’s really easy to skirt by and get a college degree. You can’t really fake your way into writing a good book. Either you know what you’re talking about or you don’t. And a book shows you can commit to something and follow through. It shows you gets things done, things that are hard and prestigious and require a lot of skills.
Yes, being judged is risky, but that’s why you get so much credit for a good book. A book puts you in a place that most people are unwilling to go — being judged — and it usually requires a lot of work. It requires you to actually know something, and it requires that you show that knowledge to the world. If you write a book that’s stupid, people are going to think you’re stupid. But if it’s good, people are going to say you’re smart.