How Writing a Book Made the Agency an Authority in their Niche
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.
If you have ever wondered how to become a leader in your market, 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.