In a world that is increasingly cluttered, complex, and confusing, those who figure out how to simplify their message stand to win. Think about the most memorable slogans:
- Just do it.
- Tastes great, less filling.
- Live better, save money.
- We do chicken right.
Coming up with the right combination of a few words that adequately convey who you are, what you offer,who you’re trying to serve, what benefit you bring, and how you’re different than the competition is no easy task.
We challenge our authors to answer five key questions, and I want to share three of those questions with you here. Before you can create your amazing, award-winning slogan or brand promise, stop and answer these three questions as clearly as you can.
1. Who is your primary audience?
If you’re writing a book, who is your typical or most likely reader? Don’t tell me everybody is . . . chances are, if you think you’ll attract everyone, you’ll end up attracting no one. Think about the typical person to whom you write — their age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status. The more specific you are, the better.
2. What is the benefit you offer?
Focus here not on your message but on how your message will benefit your audience. How will your message help to make their life better? Will they be thinner, smarter, richer, happier, more satisfied, or have more friends as a result of connecting with you? If so, how?
3. What is unique about your product, message, or service?
What are you going to say that hasn’t been said before? What makes your book compelling to read, your store a better place to shop, or your service better than the dozens of other organizations that offer a comparable service?
Once you have answered these three questions, work on simplifying them into one complete sentence — and then one simple phrase. That’s how you define your brand promise.
Can we help you think through your unique offer? Contact us, we’re here to help!
If you want your book to be at peak publishing potential, you need to ecstatically submit your completed manuscript to a professional editor for a Manuscript Review (MR).
Why ecstatic? Because a professional editor’s review will be the best investment you’ve made since you wrote your last sentence. Why?
- Your professional editor’s review will help you to improve and tighten your writing
- A hard copy of the review is in your hands—you can read over it again and again to improve yourself as a writer and communicator
- You will discover how to target your book more specifically to your audience
- Our HigherLife publishing team will use this new information to help you bring your message to the next level
- Whether you decide to publish with us or not, your professional editor will bring new thoughts to the table on how to market your book after publication
More specifically, here are a few of the questions that your editor will answer:
- Target audience: define it? Consider age, ethnicity, gender, interests, spiritual maturity, family status, background.
- How will this book help the reader?
- Is the chapter organization clear and on-target?
- How well the subject matter is covered? What, if any, rewrites, additions, or deletions are needed?
- What is the most unique, provocative, or interesting aspect of this book?
- How marketable is this manuscript?
A couple of months ago, I asked one of our HigherLife authors if she felt her MR for her fiction work was worth the investment of $399. I had to smile. Lesley replied, “I am thrilled with the Manuscript Review. Due to the paradigm shift I experienced from gaining understanding about the difference between telling and showing, I have gained momentum and seen the story come to
life as a result. I may even consider resubmitting the same manuscript when I am done with the rewrite.”
And Lesley is wonderful to work with as a new author. She is “thick-skinned” and willing to take advice to improve her book, work and rework her manuscript, and go the distance in making her book shine.
HigherLife has a stable of professional editors who specialize in both fiction and nonfiction editing and it’s their job to know what works in book publishing today. If you’ve written a book and would like to invest in a Manuscript Review with one of our professional editors, contact me at email@example.com.
Should your book be a paperback or a hardback? What about the size of the book? There’s no simple formula or cookie-cutter answer, but there are several factors that you should take into consideration:
1. What will the market bear? Is price a consideration? Hardback books typically have a retail price of about $5-$7 higher than paperback. And they will cost you probably only a couple bucks a book more to purchase, so financially, it would make sense to publish a hardback over a paperback right? But if your audience has some price sensitivity, then going with a hardback book could cost you both in sales and influence with your audience.
One of our clients is a successful medical professional. His book will appeal to other medical professionals (doctors, dentists etc). That audience won’t flinch at spending $20-$25 for valuable information. But if you are competing for the attention and the dollars of a summer romance novel reading audience, think twice about going with a hardback. Your audience may be willing to try something from an unknown author, but probably not willing to spend twice as much as they spend to purchase a mass market novel from a well-known author that only costs them $7.99.
2. What is the value of the information? Are you publishing exclusive information that is not readily available? Then, you might be able to go with an oversized hardback and charge $29.95 and more for that information. (Heck, some professional newsletters can cost hundreds of dollars a month and are nothing more than 4-8 pages long.) But if that information can bring the reader hundreds maybe thousands of dollars of benefit, then the cost is clearly worth paying.
3. What is the value of the author? The more well recognized the author, the easier it is to expect the audience to be willing to pay for the added expense of a hardback book. Tim Tebow recently released his memoirs…don’t get me started on what a 24 year old kid has to share with the world…but he is a sports and media darling for a variety of reasons. So, when his book came out, even though he’s a first time author, the publisher released it in hardback – and thousands of people stood in line for hours at a time waiting to buy a copy.
4. The limited access to the material. Why do you think college textbooks cost so much? In part, it’s because the information is not intended for a mass market or widely read audience. It’s targeting a specific type of student taking a specific course at a limited number of colleges and universities.
There are many, many other aspects that go into creating the “ideal” size, shape, thickness, cover design and yes, binding style of a book. Does it need to fit into a purse or pocket? Is it better to be an oversized book with a few words and big pictures (as a children’s book)? Or will a manuscript that’s over 100,000 words appear too daunting a read if it’s too thick, so the publisher chooses a thinner paper stock and perhaps tighter margins in the interior layout. Maybe it’s important to be a different trim size, well, just to be different. Good publishing takes all the subtleties into account when determining the final specifications of a book. You should, too.
Emotion sells. I don’t care how many objective facts about your product or service you have going for (or against) you. The simple truth is that emotion is what sells almost every time. Oh sure, some people are more left-brain, logic oriented and make buying decisions in a dispassionate, analytical fashion. But there is almost always some level of emotion attached to making a buying decision.
We are emotional and relational creatures. That’s just the way God made us, so it stands to reason that emotion will be wrapped up, at some level, in most all our decisions. The person or company who does a better job of tapping (positively) into the emotions of their customer will have far better results over the person who relies solely on facts and figures in presenting their case.
Have you identified the key emotions that can be shared in presenting your story, your product or service? Figuring this out will be critical to your success. Rather than sharing examples, let me show you what I mean. Watch the two short video presentations below. Both are professionally done. Both share sound benefits related to the service provided. But you tell me how you felt as you watched each one. Which video made you more interested in connecting with the doctor promoting his services?
Sticky Story Video:
See what I mean? So, before you write your next ad or create your next campaign, think about how you can create stronger emotion in your presentation. Of course, we are always here to help. Give us a call.