4 Ways to Target Your Book’s Readers

Many of my author-clients are business entrepreneurs who want to increase their business platform by writing a book. Too often, they start by asking themselves, “What should I write?” when the real question they need to be asking is: “Who am I writing for?”

Writing a business book for the wrong audience will at best do nothing to help you grow your business and at worst, could even damage your brand. When you know who your readers are, what their problem is, and what they want, you can write more clearly — and more helpfully.

Here are 4 ways to target your book’s readers:

1. Start with your favorite clients.

If you’re already in business, think of three clients who either succeeded wildly beyond your expectations, or who you enjoyed working with so much you would jump at the chance to work with them again. Maybe they were so happy with their results that they bragged about you to everyone they knew.

If you haven’t yet started your business, or you don’t have any good clients, think of your hypothetical ideal client – who you wish you had.

It’s important to start from this positive aspect of your business for two reasons:

First, revisiting a gratifying experience where you truly helped a client with a problem helps you better able to view your role in your client’s growth, and how you may have approached their problem in a totally unique way. Second, starting from your ideal client helps you see your strengths — the same strengths you should emphasize in your book.

2. Look for the common thread.

Pinpointing the common thread among your favorite clients is a great way to identify your ideal reader. By asking questions like “How did I help her through her problem?” and “What was it about my work that nurtured such great results?” you’re able to visualize who exactly you’re writing for.

The goal here is to identify aspects of your business strategy that you’ve been implementing over and over, and how your ideal clients benefit from them. Is there a specific way you finessed a breakthrough with these clients?

3. Address their needs.

Imagine your favorite clients have never met you before and are checking out your book in the bookstore. How will you entice them to buy your business book? How can you improve their lives in ways they haven’t thought of before?

People buy nonfiction books to solve problems: to improve their dating life, to lose weight, to help them overcome obstacles, to throw the perfect party. When you understand the needs of your audience you write in a focused way that serves the needs of the reader. And when you focus on your readers’ needs, you not only improve their lives, you increase your status as an expert. And that leads to more — and better — clients.

4. Stay Specific.

As you get underway with writing your draft avoid the temptation expand your book in ways that might speak to a lot of different readers. Trying to appeal to and solve everyone’s problems can actually weaken a book — and dilute your brand.

While some authors might think that narrowing your audience will keep your book from selling, it’s just the opposite. Think about it: a 55-year-old businessman will certainly see the world (and will interpret a book) differently from a young entrepreneur who is just starting out. Rather than trying to market to the young and old, experienced and novice alike, devote your energies to really speaking to one specific kind of readership. They’ll thank you for listening.

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