If you want to write a book, the first step is to determine why you are writing a book and the desired outcomes as a result of writing it — your vision. The next step is to determine your target reader, the reader who NEEDS your book. Although you may have different buyer personas, the clearer you are about who is receiving your message, the better the outcome. Books (or blog posts or other marketing materials) succeed when you are laser-focused on a single reader. If I am reading a book, I want to feel like it was written just for me. So, how do you do that? Start by answering these questions:

  • What problem are you trying to solve? Write down a clear and concise description of the problem.
  • Who currently has that problem? Identify them in terms of demographics. Write their bio and everything you “know” about them. Give them a name and cut out a picture of them. Are there one or two descriptors that are more important? Are they interior designers in Chicago or college-educated single moms?
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Location
    • Education
    • Income
    • Occupation
    • Ethnicity
    • Marital Status
    • Number of Children
  • Now, look at the psychographics of your target reader. Psychographics give you another level of insight into what they think and how they live.
    • Behavior
    • Values
    • Personality
    • Interests or hobbies
    • Attitudes
    • …among other descriptors
  • Are you selling B2B or B2C (to businesses or consumers)?
  • Where do they currently hang out? Get a clear picture of how they spend their time and with whom.
    • Online – social media platforms and groups where they interact, where they shop, and what sites they visit
    • Offline – groups they belong to, what they do for fun, where they shop, where they work
  • How are they currently trying to solve their problem?
    • Have they purchased from you before?
    • Have they purchased other books, online programs, or attended classes at a local college?
    • Are they willing to spend (more) money to solve the problem?
    • What is the competition doing to get them to spend money?
  • What are their motivations? Do they want to get thinner or healthier, make more money, move up the corporate ladder, be happier, have the satisfaction of doing it themselves, save money, be a trendsetter or thought leader? Knowing whether you are solving a big problem or a little problem in their mind is important, as well.
  • What are the costs or ramifications to your ideal client if they don’t take the necessary steps to solve their problem?

Even if you have been in business for years, it pays to examine your target reader and their motivations as they can change over time. Perhaps, your book targets just a segment of your audience. Or maybe, you are adding new products or services to attract a new customer type or expand into a new geographic region. Take time to really understand your ideal reader, your ideal customer, their problem, their motivation for solving the problem, and what they are willing to do to solve the problem. Doing so will ensure that you have an audience for your book once it is published and put you in the best situation to solve their problem while increasing your book sales and your business.

So, what do you do with this information?

You will quickly lose readers who sense you are in this for yourself. They want to know, “what’s in it for me?” You don’t have to tell the reader how great you are at what you do. Show them that you are an expert through the wisdom you share. At the end of each chapter, but most certainly by the end of the book, ask yourself, “So, what?” From the reader’s perspective, how does this solve my problem? How does it make my life better; happier, richer, healthier, more prepared, or able to do something with more skill?

It isn’t enough to tell your story and hope a reader will extract the meaning. Give readers information directly that can help them solve their problems. If your story is relevant and compelling, use it as the backdrop that ties the book together.

It is important to determine why you are writing the book, who you are writing it for, and the benefits to each party before you put a single word on a page. Don’t skimp on dedicating an adequate amount of time toward this task. It will serve you well in the end.

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