How Writing a Book Made the Agency an Authority in their Niche

By Jason Swenk on May 15, 2014

Are you ready to make your agency the niche authority in your industry?

In his second appearance on my show, Simms discusses the big impact writing a book had on growing his business, in both expected and unexpected ways including giving his agency niche authority.

If you have ever wondered how to become a leader in your market and a niche authority, you’ve got to listen to this episode.

Simms Jenkins is the CEO of Brightwave Marketing, which is a full service email marketing agency with big clients like The Weather Channel, Cox, and Lowes.

Don’t be afraid to be special.

Sometimes we find ourselves thinking doing more is better, and doing a lot is great. Simms doesn’t want us to be afraid of being specialists. He points out that a lot of agencies are good at the things they’re doing, but they aren’t actually great at any of them.

We decided early on that we were going to be great at what we did.

Brightwave’s goal was to be the best in email, so they chose to focus on it entirely. It was this singular commitment to their niche that made the company a leader in email marketing. There were times they branched out into other areas, but quickly realized they were making a mistake. “It’s easier to be a thought leader if your focusing on one area. You’ll have a hard time separating yourself from the pack if you do a lot of different things.”

Motivation to write a book.

Writing a book was always something in the back of his mind, but Simms admits that the first book probably wouldn’t have happened when it did if the publisher had not approached him. Hoping to fill a void in the market, the publisher asked Simms to write some good, fresh information on email marketing. The result was his first book, The Truth About Email Marketing.

Years later, Simms wrote a second book, The New Inbox, which addressed the changes social and mobile had on email.

I ask Simms what it was like trying to write that first book and if he has any advice for people thinking about writing one of their own. According to Simms there aren’t a lot of reasons not to just go ahead and write. In the past, publishers were needed to give you credibility and get your book on the shelves, but now with self-publishing, “all you need is content and drive,” says Simms.

His advice is to start writing publicly, if you’re not already doing so. It helps build your confidence, as well as awareness about your message. Start a blog, keep a journal, write articles, speak at events, and talk to people. Find out what’s going on in your industry and write content around that.

But don’t think you need to write a book just for the sake of having written a book. Think about who your potential readers will be, and what they would like to read. “Book or not, make sure you’re putting out content,” he says.

Keep from feeling overwhelmed.

Instead of thinking you need to write a whole book in one sitting, Simms recommends breaking it up into smaller, more manageable chunks. He suggests creating an outline to “take that big scary goal down to little doable goals.”

You’ll have to do the marketing.

Unless you’re one of the breakout sensations, you’ll likely have to do a lot (no, probably all) of your book’s marketing. Even if you have a publisher, you shouldn’t rely on them to help. Figure out who would benefit from your book and start marketing to them.

Simms also used his speaking engagements to help promote the books. If he was delivering a keynote at a conference, he would provide the attendees with a copy of the book. He says he also experimented with social media, as well as Amazon and Kindle. “We would give away free copies or discounted copies. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s about getting the book in the hands of people that would benefit most from it and raising awareness.”

So did the book help Simms get more business? He says it’s hard to tell, since his company doesn’t spend money on marketing, but it did help separate them from the pack. “It’s nice to talk to a prospect and have them tell you they have a copy of both your books on their bookshelf.” Certainly that does give Simms a leg up over all the other agencies who don’t have books on prospects’ shelves.

After Niche Authority, What’s Next?

When you have established niche authority for your business, this may only be one of the goals or challenges you have within your agency to take it to the next level.

I have covered topics from facing failing economies and recessions or how a speaking opportunity can create business for your agency. Or maybe you want to know the four phases of growth within your agency and want extra help in taking your agency to the next level and sell your agency for a larger profit? I have all the information you need to help you through it.

You can learn more about my life and my experience as well as lots of tips, tricks and insights by reading our blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

If videos are more your thing, don’t worry, i’ve got you covered! You can check out more from my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel. There you will find advice from myself and other agency experts.

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