This celebrity ghostwriter says there are six things that every piece of content needs to have in order to be considered influential.
This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, celebrity ghostwriter Joshua Lisec shares his six pillars of influential content - a formula that any marketer can use to create better content, whether it be for a blog or a full-blown book.
In addition to being an accomplished author himself, Joshua has ghostwritten more than 40 books for celebrities, well-known entrepreneurs and other people who have compelling stories they want to tell, and he's used the six pillars in each of these cases to create books that have gone on to become best sellers and produce significant business for his clients.
Highlights from my conversation with Joshua include:
Before Joshua agrees to work with business clients, he holds a manuscript strategy session in which he identifies what that client wants a book to accomplish for their business.
Once he begins working with clients, Joshua starts by reviewing their existing body of work which can include anything from blogs they've written to YouTube videos, to case studies on their website.
When setting expectations, Joshua tells his clients to expect to put in an hour a week for the first few months.
Next he looks at the books that are in your category. What are your future readers saying about those books? What did they love? What did they not like? What did they buy hoping to learn but did not? By looking at what the market is saying, he can narrow down everything that you could write about to what you must write about.
He suggests going to Amazon, GoodReads and Barnes & Noble and looking at the neutral (as opposed to very positive or negative) reviews of books to see what people are saying about them.
When Joshua begins to write, he ensures that everything he creates follows the 6 pillars of influential content.
The first pillar is credibility. This is your lived experience of how you made progress, how you got from where you were in the land of suck to success, how you're going to help people achieve that as well. Even if that success is merely progress. That's good enough.
The second pillar is connection. This is where you're telling your readers what they actually want to read. You know this because you've gone and looked at neutral feedback of other books. So you know what your readers want, what they don't, you structure your book to give them what they want, but also make sure they're following a step-by-step path to get there.
The third pillar is compelling. Write at the fifth grade level. Simple English, easy to read. Anyone who's a PhD can understand it. Anyone who's a kid can understand it.
The fourth pillar is counter industry. Name and shame the bad ideas. Not the companies, not the brands. The bad ideas, and explain why they did not work for your readers. You create a special intimate trust bond when you do that.
The fifth pillar is a call to action. Make it stupid simple for people to get into your funnel. Make it better, faster, cheaper, easier than DIY-ing it, following the instruction inside of the book, literally copying by hand into their journal. And give them the templates, download one email, everything.
Circulation is the sixth pillar. This is where you're applying your advice to literally as many people as possible, but you're still targeting your specific avatar, your target market by of having 80% of the examples or so be your target market with the other 20% being people who are just wildly not, but that's okay because you're still reaching that broad audience. You are also writing for your ideal reader.
I'm your host, Kathleen Booth. And this week my guest is Joshua Lisec, who is a celebrity ghostwriter. Joshua, tell me more about what that is.
Joshua Lisec (Guest): Sure thing, Kathleen. Glad to be on with you today. As you said, I am indeed a celebrity ghostwriter. In fact, I am the only award-winning, celebrity recommended, number one international best-selling, certified professional ghostwriter on the planet.
Joshua and Kathleen recording this episode.
Kathleen: Oh my God. There were so many adjectives in there.
Joshua: Indeed, indeed. You could say writing books is a bit of an obsession of mine. I've ghosted over 40 of them in addition to my own books I've authored over the years. I have worked with everyone from your A-list celebrity types, your big day entrepreneurs, the breakout stars of tomorrow and the occasional great grandma wants to share with the kids what it was like to grow up during the war.
Kathleen: Great. I am fascinated by this topic because I've always wanted to write a book, but I'm one of the many, many legions of people who talks a great game and then never puts pen to paper.
And if somebody is listening they might be wondering, well, what does this have to do with inbound marketing?
And what I thought was so interesting about it is that you have actually worked with people who are looking to write books with the ultimate objective of generating business, not just telling their life story. And you have some really interesting insights into what it takes to write a book that will accomplish that goal and then also how to promote it. So I'm excited to dig in.
Joshua: As am I.
When should you consider writing a book?
Kathleen: Yeah, let's start with if you have somebody come to you who says, "I have a business and I think that writing a book could be a great way to generate leads or build my business or et cetera. Talk me through like is there a conversation you have with them to determine whether that in fact is the right way to accomplish that goal?
Joshua: Absolutely. We have what's called a manuscript strategy session which we get into the details, what is it that you want your book to do for your business? Every entrepreneur, business owner, marketer that I work with who wants to write a book, they see an end result.
So I want to mail copies of my book, autograph with the handwritten letter to my dream 100 prospects. I've got clients, they do that, they don't even promote the book. They just do that and they get their multimillion-dollar deals, when you add up all the consulting and the gigs that come from that.
You have people who use their book as kind of a springboard to join an online program, very successful track record there. So when we get into is what do you see your book doing for your business that you cannot do without the book, because a book is like a key that opens any door of authority, influence and credibility that you desire. So we have to get clear on which one it is that you wanted to open. That's the very first thing.
So we're talking about the end game, first part of the conversation. Then we get into what this book needs to do, what content it needs to share in order to make that happen. And there's a specific model that I use with every author.
It's called the 6 Pillars Of Influential Content. It's a model to create well, influential content, whether that's a 300-page book or a 300-word blog post.
It applies to all of them because any content, any message that you're getting out into the world needs to pull people in, persuade them to do it your way and then gently push them, propel them to take the next step and ascend inside of your business. It's a true inbound marketing project.
So that's what we get into in this conversation. We'll get into the six pillars later on here in this conversation, you and I Kathleen, but we want to make sure that your message your book, idea, does in fact check all six box so to speak, that you have everything, and there's some authors that don't. So I'm very frank with people like, it doesn't make sense for you to write a book at this point if you don't have the track record yet.
Although I will say that most people who wonder if they do have a track record or not, those are the ones who need to be writing the books. It's the one who were like, "I got this." Who usually have no idea what they're talking about. So that's something that I found and it's been interesting, is if you're questioning like, maybe I should, maybe I should, there's a good chance you have long ago checked all six boxes inside of your business and it does make sense to write a book to generate inbound leads.
What does it take to write a book?
Kathleen: Oh, I have so many questions. I guess first would be, I talked about how I've always wanted to write a book, but I've never done it. What kind of expectation setting do you do with people who come to you saying they think they want to do this, as far as like the amount of time and effort and an input that's required to produce a really good book?
Joshua: Sure thing. Yeah, this is not one of those processes where it's like hey, I'm going to interview you, question and answer like a journalist, transcribe the answers, fix the typos, hey, it's a book. No, it's not. It's barely a booklet. It's a transcript that's probably not worth the bytes of data that make it up in the digital file. We do it different.
Rather than say, "Oh, question asked, question answered." We want to start with the body of work you already have so everyone who comes to me, even if they're at the beginning of their career as an entrepreneur, maybe they had, 20, 30 years in corporate world, now to launch the consulting business and they want to book to propel them to credibility into that go-to expert status and then industry, you're starting with something.
Maybe it's articles you've written, a newsletter you put out, maybe you've given speeches, you have presentation. I had one client who, he had over 250,000 words worth of YouTube videos when we transcribed all of them. So I felt like Michelangelo carving away everything that wasn't David from this block of marble so to speak. So everyone is starting with something. So we want to first see what do you already have that we could potentially repurpose for this book. Obviously kind of massage it into something different, make it be what it needs to be for this book, but there's something there.
Are there success stories? Are there clients you work with that have done amazing things? Do you want to perhaps connect me with some of your clients and we can interview them and put together their success stories into this book? Even if you have very few, very few things you need to get this book going, I always tell my clients, "Expect to put in about an hour a week for the first two to three months. That's it." So people are like, "Wow, I can definitely do that."
Kathleen: Less than I was expecting, I'll be honest.
Joshua: Yeah, it's a lot more attractive to do that than to try to DIY it and you're getting up at 5:00 and staring at a blank Word document for two or three hours and then you're like, "Screw this, I'm onto something else."
Joshua: So the reason why we don't need that much time is because once we have our kind of body of work and repurpose this material.
What we do next is we go and look at the books that are in your category. What are your future readers saying about those books? What did they love? What did they not like? What did they buy hoping to learn but did not? That's your opening. So by looking with the market is saying we narrow down everything that you could write about to what you must write about.
That combined with the material you already have gives us a solid direction and structure for the book. So these few conversations over a couple of months, an hour a week fills in all those additional gaps. We have everything we need for a winning profitable lead generating book.
Kathleen: So are you basically then going onto like amazon.com and reading reviews? Is that how you're doing that research?
Joshua: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, yes. One of my clients is in the reputation management industry. In fact, he's the CEO of the largest one in the eastern hemisphere and he's taught me something, working with him I've learned quite a bit about authentic reviews and what do buyers look for when they look at reviews, what is most important? How can you tell a fake review? So there's a lot of five-star reviews that are obviously fake. Even if it says verified, unfortunately. And there's a lot of one-star reviews that it's the competing author who's paid for these fake reviews on their competition. That's very common, unfortunately.
So we look at the neutral reviews, which by and large tend to be honest authentic reviews, the two, three and four star reviews. That's where people have put some thought into what they want to say. Like, "I bought this book because I wanted to learn about topic A, B, C. And it was promised in the book description on Amazon. I saw in the book cover jacket. I saw them on a webinar promoting their book." I said, "Hey, it covers this topic I really want to learn about. It's critical for my business." You buy the book. There's one paragraph.
So yes, it was mentioned, but you're going to say this in the real like, "Hey, I bought the book to learn A, B, C. I got one paragraph." And you'll see patterns across the different places where there are reviews, even on the Google Play or Apple iBooks for example, you'll start seeing patterns where people are saying the same sort of things over and over. The author said they would cover this, they did not. I felt like they over-promised and under-delivered.
That's a gap in the market that you can fill because what you don't want to do is to write about something that no one cares about, that is irrelevant or has already been covered. We see that as well. People say, "Just stop talking about topic X, Y, Z. I've seen it enough." And you'll see that often, like, "This book is just rehashed advice from Russell Brunson or from Tony Robbins or for Carrie Green or whoever. We've seen this again. We're done. Let's try something different." So that also is kind of a warning sign for you to avoid that topic or to give a unique take on it that has been seen before.
Kathleen: I love that advice to look for the neutral reviews because you're right, nobody's going to plant a bunch of neutral ones and there's also ... But even if the positive ones are genuine, there's not a lot to necessarily learn from that as much as there is from the neutral ones where there's something somebody thought was missing. So that's a great piece of advice.
Is it fair to say, when I was listening to you talk earlier about how you start working with authors, is it fair to say that if you are someone who is a prolific content creator, like if you have a YouTube channel, if you're blogging a lot, that you are probably a really good candidate for this kind of thing, just because of because you do have so much out there already?
Joshua: Absolutely. Absolutely. Because in that case you have this vast body of work that to you is overwhelming. You're at a strange paradox because there's so many things you can write about, but when you start you type chapter one, you don't know what to say. And like, "I could say this and this and this and that topic and that topic and all these other things."
Well, the process that I've designed is one that helps you sort out the topics you shouldn't write about. They're fine to have on your YouTube channel, a course about it for example, maybe you have an e-book that you've done before, a series of webinars.
But the process will help you identify the most profitable content that should be in this book in order to generate those leads, get the media appearances, the speaking invitations, converting people from being a reader into a high ticket client, maybe a member of your exclusive mastermind. So that a $15 sale becomes a $15,000 lifetime customer value relationship.
The 6 pillars of influential content
Kathleen: Interesting. So somebody decides they're going to move forward, you do the strategy session with them, you then go review, you look at the reviews of the other books in the space to see kind of what people are hoping for, what might have been missing, what makes a great book. And then you're ready to begin. Can you talk a little bit about the six pillars that you alluded to earlier?
Joshua: Absolutely. As we get into that, I do want to mention that the manuscript size of the session is at no cost to authors because that's where we want to make sure that it actually makes sense for us to work together, is a book in the cards for you. So that, of course, is a complimentary experienced authors. With that said, let's get into those 6 Pillars Of Influential Content and how you get those in the book.
So everyone listening right now, think about your book idea because that's where we're going to go. If you can check all six pillars, and I'll show you how, or if it's clear that it's not a right fit for you, that's okay. Maybe the time will come for you to write a book.
Kathleen: I love this. This is my opportunity to see if that that kernel of a book that I've been harboring in my head is real. So let's do it.
Joshua: Perfect. The first pillar of influential content is credibility. By this I do not mean, "Hey, I know what I'm talking about. I have the credentials and I have the experience, 20 years, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." Basically what's on your resume or CV. That's not what I mean, because what you'll be doing is competing against other authors, who, well they have all the credentials, they have the resume, the cover letter as well.
Your credibility is your lived experience, your unique journey from the land of suck to where you are now, success, because what you are as the author is you are a Sherpa, a guide, the person who's taking folks on the journey from again, where they are, where you used to be, to where they want to be, to where you are now. So the best way to build the credibility pillar is to open the book sharing your story, how exactly you did that, how you became this unique expert.
In short form content, this could be as quick as a simple sentence that's towards the beginning. And I in fact practice what I preach. At the outset of this call, I built my credibility pillar in this interview, this content, mentioning that I was the only such and such, award-winning celebrity recommended international best-selling certified ghostwriter in the world. No one can touch that.
And in your case, you also have a combination of lived experience, yes, credentials, the track record, but the unique story to get to where you are today. So that's the story you want to tell in the first chapter, is build that credibility pillar and then towards the end of the chapter of make this great transition to say, "And now I'm going to help you. Here's how we're going to get there." Give a quick preview what you're going to cover in the book and then list in a glorious row of bullets, a column, you might say, "Here's all the ways your life is going to change."
Think of these as action verbs. Second person, you're going to do this and this and this and this and this. The reason why we're doing all this, we're essentially selling the book. We're selling you, the author, in chapter one because people can get it for free on Amazon. I'm the guy who always download the book samples to see if I want to proceed further. So are your readers. You can even go and look at the read more or look inside on Amazon. So the purpose of chapter one, this opening chapter, introduction, whatever you call it, is to sell people on buying the book.
Kathleen: So to clarify, you're saying that chapter one will be free?
Joshua: Yes, that's just how it is inside of Amazon in our day and age. People will click it, they'll look at the table of contents and they'll look to start checking out chapter one to see if this thing's worthwhile. So that's where you need to sell people on your unique credibility that you're the person, not just how this is a great book. But like, "Wow, I want this person to take me on the journey that they themselves have successfully accomplished so I can get there and reap the rewards as well."
Kathleen: Got it.
Joshua: That's the best-seller.
Kathleen: That's pillar number one, right?
Joshua: That's right, credibility.
Joshua: Second pillar is connection and we've already covered this a little bit where we have all the things you could write about, we're connecting marketplace demand with your knowledge base and we're making sure that the contents of this book, look at the table of contents match what people actually want. You are connecting your material to the demand of the marketplace. That's why it's so critical to look at the reviews. So you know what people want to read the next book, that they check out that's in the category that you are.
Make sure that the entire structure of the book is including the things that people want to learn from you, but also it's in a linear order. Remember, you're taking people on this journey and all best-selling stories, whether it's fiction, novels, literature, movies television, they follow what's called the hero's journey. We co-op that for nonfiction. It's not a protagonist who's the hero. It's the reader who is the hero.
And so what we have to do is connect their story to yours and bring them along with you. And structuring your books that there's a clear outcome, set clear sets of outcomes for them that they're going to learn these things going to have this type of confidence. They're going to be able to do a A, B, C things, get this result, this outcome. That's very, very attractive. That's the purpose of the second pillar, connection.
Kathleen: Very cool. I want to go back for one second to the first one, credibility because something was like in my head as you were talking. You talked about credibility needing ... Like you're the expert explaining what your success has been. If somebody's listening, I feel like one of the questions that they might have is, "Well, I'm not this super successful person, I haven't gone on to do great things." Can you maybe put a little bit more definition around what success really means? How high is that bar?
Joshua: Sure. Sure. So I think Tim Ferriss did a really good job of answering that question about 12 years ago with the four-hour work week, which is that if you are further along, then the next person, to that person, you're the expert. You're the expert on the progress that you have made. So it's not like it's totally perfect. Authors that I have, in many cases they've gone on a journey, they've achieved some sort of success, but bare minimum progress.
And let's be real, if you haven't achieved progress for yourself or for your customers your clients, you don't even have a business. Like you're a wantreprenuer at this point. And I don't even think you would be the ideal listener for this podcast. So for everyone listening, it doesn't just have to be your personal story. It can be your journey of creating success stories.
I have a lot of people who own different types of agencies, graphic agencies, digital marketing agencies. So for them, their credibility is their journey taking other people to the land of profitability and spending less time in their marketing campaign. So they can kind of borrow from that success and they might say like, "Hey, I can do the same for you."
Kathleen: I love that Tim Ferriss thing that you mentioned because that really puts it in perspective and I think would take the pressure off of a lot of people who might otherwise disqualify themselves from this. I deal with this all the time in my job. I do marketing and I have a lot of experience, but I don't consider myself by any stretch to be a top marketing expert. But it's funny, I'll have a lot of people come to me and ask me for advice and it's because for whatever reason they feel like I have more experience than they do.
I think when you frame it in that light, you can all of a sudden start to see yourself differently. I don't have to be an expert to everyone. I just have to be an expert to the particular audience that I'm writing to.
Joshua: That's right. You've made more progress, and that progress is worth at least 20 bucks.
Joshua: To learn about to how to achieve that as well.
Kathleen: All right. Okay. So we talked about pillars number one and two. What's pillar number three?
Joshua: Compelling. So this is where you don't want to write a textbook. I find that people who come from 8:00 to 5:00 world, the corporate world, they tend to knock over this pillar, demolish this pillar, unfortunately. The kind of simple hard-and-fast rule for building the compelling pillar is to write at the fifth grade level. Imagine that you were literally writing for children. The fifth grade reading level is the industry standard within publishing. Get too abstract, use too much jargon, then you're going to fly over people's heads, they're gonna have to reread it. If they can't visualize it, if it's not a sensory experience, if it is not a metaphor or an analogy to introduce something, then it's not going to be compelling, it's going to be cryptic, which is not one of the six pillars of influential content. The inverse of this.
So always think about how can you make it simpler, what's the simplest way you can say this with as few words as possible. Cut all those prepositions out of your sentences. You don't need them. Throw away the adverbs. If you feel like you need the adverbs, it's more likely that your verb isn't strong or descriptive enough. I need to be able to picture exactly what you mean when you use a verb without the adverb thrown in there. Think of adverbs are like salt, too much of it and you just can't. It's a garnish, you might say.
So compelling, write at the fifth grade level, use visual language, concrete, simple terms that anyone who doesn't have anything close to your experience, even someone outside of your industry can pick it up, can learn from you and can take action based on that.
Kathleen: Joshua, this one pillar is like a masterclass in how to do marketing right, not just how to write great copy, because really this is the biggest mistake I see most marketers make. My audience is full of marketers and it's just unbelievable. They put their marketing hat on, they forget that they're human beings. They speak like marketers, not like humans. They use fancy words that don't mean anything to their audiences because they think it makes them look smarter. It's just uh, marketers, and I love myself and we're the worst.
We love using jargon and it's funny because I just a week and a half ago started a new job and this is really resonating with me because I'm coming in to a cybersecurity company where it would be very easy to speak at a level that like even somebody with a PhD couldn't understand because cybersecurity is so complicated. One of the reasons they hired me was because I don't come from that background and they're like, "We need help translating this for the normal person."
But it's not even just translating it for the normal person, like boiling it down even further, and I feel like this is such a universal challenge with marketing, with communications in general, is de-complicating the things we're saying. Any further advice on that? When you are working with people, how do you get people out of that habit of making it too complicated?
Joshua: Sure. Well, of course, that's one of the things that I do for them, is I bring you-
Kathleen: How do you do it?
Joshua: I bring it down from the 12th to the fifth grade. Well, one of the things, there's all sorts of different tools that you can use to literally look at what's the reading level of this. It would be the Flesch-Kincaid score, that great average will tell you, "Hey, this is written in 11.8." Who is the end of a junior year of high school. Well, I need to bring it down to that fifth grade? A practical terms of people who want to DIY this, what's your industry?
So in this case it would be the cybersecurity. So if you have position that's in the idea of marketing cybersecurity, maybe there's specific solutions or type of technology that it is that you want to be marketing. Here's what you do. You go on to Google, you type in what a technology is. You put that in, that's your first keyword. And then you type Wikipedia Simple English. That will pull up the version of Wikipedia, not the normal one that's kind of like the default for people in the English language, but there's an alternative Wikipedia in Simple English. It's literally one of the languages, German, French, for example, English, Simple English.
And go look at how that article describes your product, your technology, its uses, its function. That's more so how you want to be writing in your copy.
Kathleen: Okay, how did I not know that this was a thing? Who uses this? How did I not know about Simple English Wikipedia?
Joshua: It's very popular in the ESL where the English is a second language community because that's how they kind of get their ... I guess they could say get their brains and the vocabulary around more, I guess you could take industry topics, not so your everyday kind of vernacular English, but rather on specific topics that maybe jargon doesn't easily translate into their native language, well, Wikipedia Simple English is perfect. So that's how you write copy especially in the technical fields. Is consulting the Simple English Wikipedia article on your product or on the technology.
Kathleen: That is so fascinating. I feel like as a marketer I want to incorporate that into everything I do now because I mean, that's it. You go to write an email, you need to simplify it. You come up with your about us page in your website, you need to simplify it. It applies to everything we do as marketers. It's all about boiling it down. So I'm like going to bookmark Simple English Wikipedia going forward. So that is an awesome tip. I love it. All right, what's next? I can't wait to hear the next one.
Joshua: The fourth pillar is counter industry. And this applies to all sorts of marketing, not just using a book to generate leads for your business or for your clients' businesses. The kind of industry pillar goes like this. I would say this to authors, in digital marketing as an example, there are over 50,000 books that people can buy, why should people buy yours? I usually get a deer in the headlights look at that point like, right.
Kathleen: I don't know.
Joshua: And now we need to get some clarity like okay, when people come to you, when your prospects come to you, what did they try before that didn't work? Where did they get that advice? Oh, they got it in a TED Talk? Oh, they got it from this famous person who's on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine? Everyone else is following their advice and it's not working anymore? Call that crap out. The counter industry pillar is all about not specifically pointing to hey, this person gets terrible advice, but name and shame the ideas, the strategies, the ways to go about getting results that you know aren't working. Maybe they're not working anymore.
A lot of my digital marketing clients who come from that space are asked to call out what their clientele are still trying to do that just does not work anymore. Maybe worked 10 years ago, but times have changed. So this is where you can really set yourself apart, make your value proposition shine by consistently pointing out why you're doing it the way you're doing it? Why you're giving specific steps to accomplish this objective? Why are you teaching it this way? Why they want to follow your framework your model your approach to things rather than what they've done before?
Even just spending a couple of sentences on why it doesn't work anymore the way that used to work. That's totally fine. Another common thing off authors will do especially in saturated markets where there's so much competition, spend a chapter on the myths about your industry, an entire chapter. I do this all the time with clients where okay, what are the terrible pieces of advice has that all of your clients are following? That's a chapter and that needs to be towards the beginning because then you're going to tell them how to do it properly.
So this way you can go counter to what the industry titans have been saying and you can be the person who gives that aha moment and they realize, "So that's why famous person ABC's ideas aren't working for me. I thought it was my fault. I thought that was my problem. I thought something's wrong with me." And you just say, "No, either they don't work. They just don't work period or they stop working because of an industry shift for example or saturation in that space."
So you can give people a glorious sigh of relief. There is an amazing quote that I always like to reference. It's called the One Sentence Persuasion Course. And it goes like this. As my marketer Blair warned, "People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies." So persuasion in a sentence is that right there.
The counter industry pillar takes on justifying the failures like, hey, you got sucky advice. That's why it didn't work. You allayed their fears. Oh, yes. There's good reason to fear doing it the same way that you've always been. We're doing it differently. We're doing it a way that works. You can rest easy. And you confirm their suspicions as well because you knew it couldn't be you that was screwed up, it was the process you're following that's broken. Throw rocks at their enemies, well, literally say, "Hey, these are stupid ideas. Let's break them down and explain why they don't work."
Of the several little points of persuasion right there in that one sense, this fourth pillar just about takes on all of them and implements them for you. So this is an underused pillar. Make sure that you take advantage of it in your content.
Kathleen: That's such a great quote that you pulled. I love that. And this whole topic kind of harkens back to that notion and marketing of having a common enemy, because that's what kind of gets people emotionally tied in with what you're advocating for, whether that's selling a product or a service or an idea. When you have a common enemy, people feel more of a sense of belonging, like it's us against them. And the common enemy doesn't have to be a person or a company, as you said, it could be an idea or an approach that's outdated. So I can see where that would work really well. All right, what's our next pillar?
Joshua: The fifth pillar is the call to action. And this, like the third pillar compelling, simple as possible. What exactly do you want people to do next? With books, this is how you make the big money. Everyone listening now is heard of Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson. Jay Conrad Levinson, when asked about his first book Guerrilla Marketing, he said, "Guerrilla Marketing made me $10 million. The royalties only paid about 30,000, but the consulting, the coaching, the speaking, the products, the programs that I sold because I wrote this book account for the remaining $9.9 million."
And of course, that's because he has a strong call to action to go get his free newsletter, to get updates, to learn more, to be part of his tribe, his world. So this is the way where you get from the $15 sale of the paperback the $15,000 mastermind. Make it an easy road to ascend right into your business to buy your other products and programs. And the way that you can do this inside of a book is to have free content upgrades.
I'll give you an example from digital marketing. There's a client that I had, he, in his case, he told me later that his book was directly responsible for $1 million in revenue inside of this business over a 12-month period because he had a strong call to action. It went like this. So there's a chapter on how to write copy and design high converting landing pages for his specific industry, like the things that you need to be aware of in here in this industry that apply really to this industry, the specifics.
He gives you the formulas, the templates, everything you need to go do it yourself. Then at the end of the chapter we say, "Hold on. You don't need to do it yourself. Go to this free page. Share your email with us so that we can send you this downloadable template." And saying ClickFunnels obviously because that's what they were using and you get your affiliate income for signing people up for ClickFunnels. He'd already written the copies, designed it. It was exactly what was explained inside of this chapter that we given you the how-to process.
So you can DIY it or you could be smart and just go download the templates for free basically. And we have these sorts of free content upgrades for every topic from getting reviews, like here's a, go get this downloadable script, word-for-word script that you can copy and paste it so it's tech-based. You don't have to copy it from the book, type it into your computer. You just go download it. All sorts of free content upgrades that make it easier, faster and cheaper to implement what's taught in the book.
So think about how you can give away as much how-to knowledge as possible. Literally your step-by-step processes. Don't worry about giving away the farm, as we say here in Ohio, give it all away because what you'll do is halfway through this book, you'll overwhelm people with so much to do to get the results that we like, "Is there a faster way to do this?" And then you come right along and say, "Yes, I have these content upgrades, these templates, these tools, these tactics, these techniques, download them all in one place."
And it's the logical call to action. So people go from the book to being on your list and now they're in your funnel for your webinar, for your discovery call, for whatever your offer looks like to turn a once-off client into some serious high ticket income.
Kathleen: Yeah, you pretty much answered the question I was going to ask, which is what's the right way to do that call to action, because I am sure that there are plenty of people who hear do a call to action and think, "Oh, I'll offer like a free consultation or a meeting with me to scope out a project or whatever." And that's very, very bottom of the funnel and I think probably a little bit more salesy than makes sense. So I like the idea of giving people tools that they can use to DIY things and in doing so bringing them into your orbit.
You mentioned getting them signed up to receive your emails or to watch your webinars. I would imagine you could also probably, if you're really being a savvy digital marketer, you would have retargeting pixels on your website. So even if they don't fill out a form, as long as they visit your site and you have that Facebook pixel, what have you, you can then go and serve them up with retargeting ads on other platforms.
Joshua: Absolutely. Absolutely. A strong call to action is a difference between losing money on a book and making a crap ton.
Kathleen: Yeah, that's a technical term, right? Crap ton.
Joshua: That's right. Simple English Wikipedia.
Kathleen: Yes, that's writing for the fifth grader, right? All right, next pillar, we're on the last one now, right?
Joshua: Yes, the sixth and final pillar is circulation. There is, and I know everyone in the audience has heard this before. If you're marketing to everyone, you're marketing to no one. That's like marketing 101. The inverse is true in publishing. To have a successful book right for anyone, for everyone. The reason why, 92% of book sales are according to Nielsen come from word-of-mouth marketing. It's the number one way that you're going to get people to buy the book.
Think about every famous, take personal development. Think of all the personal development books, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Just take those two examples. Who wants to be more effective person? Who wants to win friends and influence people? Everyone. Of course, it just so happens that the authors were targeting the business professionals who could ... Let's take the 7 Habits for example.
That person wanted to do more keynote speaking, wanted to be in front of more business people, who want to be more effective executives for example, they wanted to ... He basically had these consulting services lined up for a specific type of reader. So what you want to do is think about all the different types of people that your advice, that your strategies can apply to, can be useful for. So it has broad, it has circulation potential where your ideal client could give it to their spouse, their spouse could give it to their college-age kid. The college-age kid could read it and recommend it to the professor. Professor could recommend to the dean. Dean can recommend it to ... So on and so forth.
This is how massive book sales come about, not through selling one copy the time, but through creating circulation inside of an individual reader's network with your book. So then you say, "Well, how do I actually get people to take my call to action? I'm writing for everyone. How does that work?" What you do is when you're giving your examples of how to follow your strategies step-by-step, because you're giving the how-to, the step-by-step, your examples will be your ideal clients. So you make them the stars. You highlight how you've helped your specific market or industry.
Throw in a few other examples, think 80/20. 80% of the examples are your specific avatar or avatars, your ideal clients, and then there's some that are kind of completely unrelated, but you're still covering them. So that's how you get circulation while also still having a specific message that is useful to your target market.
Kathleen: So helpful. I love this framework. Can you just quickly go back and summarize the six again so that we can remember and really kind of like cement it in our heads?
Joshua: Absolutely, the 6 Pillars Of Influential Content. The first pillar, credibility. This is your lived experience of how you made progress, how you got from where you were in the land of suck to success, how you're going to help people achieve that as well. Even if that success is merely progress. That's good enough.
Second pillar, connection. This is where you're telling your readers what they actually want to read, you know this because you've gone and looked at neutral feedback of other books. So you know what your readers want, what they don't, you structure your book to give them what they want, but also make sure they're following a step-by-step path to get there.
Third pillar, compelling. Write at the fifth grade level. Simple English, easy to read. Anyone who's a PhD can understand it. Anyone who's a kid can understand it.
Fourth pillar, counter industry. Name and shame the bad ideas. Not the companies, not the brands. The bad ideas, and explain why they did not work for your readers. You create a special intimate trust bond when you do that.
Fifth pillar, call to action. Make it stupid simple for people to get into your funnel. Make it better, faster, cheaper, easier than DIY-ing it, following the instruction inside of the book, literally copying by hand into their journal. And give them the templates, download one email, everything.
Circulation is the sixth pillar. This is where you're applying your advice to literally as many people as possible, but you're still targeting your specific avatar, your target market by of having 80% of the examples or so be your target market with the other 20% being people who are just wildly not, but that's okay because you're still reaching that broad audience. You are also writing for your ideal reader.
Options for publishing your book
Kathleen: Great advice. Thank you for summarizing that. I feel like there's not enough time in the world for me to ask all the questions I want to ask you, because this is so interesting.
I wanted to talk about promoting your book and all this other stuff, but we're running out of time. So a couple of just short final questions here.
I've done some other interviews with people who've talked about writing books and they've talked about how it's become so easy now to get your book printed. There's Kindle Direct Publishing. There's Amazon's Solutions where you can print even one book at a time.
So it sounds like if I'm correct, there's really nothing that should stand in your way of creating this book because we no longer live in the days when you have to contract with a publishing house and spend $20,000 to get your run of books printed. Is that right?
Joshua: It depends on what your objectives are. I have authors whose hearts are set on the traditional path, the agent, the publishing deal, the six-figure book deal for example. I have a track record of helping authors go down that path. I wrote a piece for the Nonfiction Authors Association about how to actually do that, what some of my clients' experience have been, the pros and cons of that.
With self publishing a big concern people have is quality because there are so many shoddily thrown together books that are self-published. A lot of people are like, "Oh, you self-publish? I don't know man." That's what people will say. So what we've done inside of my business is we've developed a complimentary service to ghostwriting called ghost publishing. Ghost writing, someone else does all the work, you take all the credit.
Ghost publishing, someone else launches a publishing business, your own imprint right alongside of your business. You don't have to do any of the work. We've combined the best of self-publishing, which is higher royalties, total control over the process, your timeline. We've blended that in with the best of traditional publishing, which is industry standard quality. The quality, the level of attention to detail that comes from New York City publishers, we apply that to this book process. Also distribution, the total number of countries, access to wholesale channels, the low margin, high volume sales through bookstores, libraries, book fairs. All that's available through this process.
There's also special little things that go on the copyright page for example every traditionally published book has, no self published book does. It will set you apart. You get that as part of this process. So most of our authors actually choose the ghost publishing model because they get the quality of a big five, like Simon & Schuster, Random House quality book and the distribution of that process, but they get the creative control, the freedom that's afforded by, and also the speed that's afforded by self-publishing.
Promoting your book
Kathleen: Okay, that's good to know. And then you get your book published and you're like, then what? You have to get it into people's hands. Any quick like two minutes or under words of advice for the best way to promote your book?
Joshua: Sure thing. There's a couple. One of which every New York Times, Wall Street Journal best-selling campaign you see nowadays follows this process I'm about to explain to you. It's a special limited time bonus.
When your book comes out you want people to buy as many copies as soon as possible. One of the ways we do this, especially in the digital marketing space, is an expiring bonus that's available for like 48 hours after the publication date, 48 hours afterwards.
So basically it goes like this. Buy the book within two days, you have two days to buy the book now that's out, and forward your purchase confirmation to this special email and we'll send you the audiobook edition for free. You'll also get access to one of our premium courses at no cost to you and you'll be signed up for a live question answered webinar exclusively with the author to talk about the book, ask any question you have seven days from today. You only get access to these bonuses if you buy within the next 48 hours. Come on. Let's do this.
And usually there's like a price promotion in there, knock $5 off the price, 99 cents exclusively for the first few days for example. That's how you get lots of people to buy at once. Then when let's say on Amazon you rocket up in the best-seller and now you're number one because you're selling beaucoup copies, take screenshots of your book as a best-seller. Oh, look, you're number one. Oh look, you're in front of Gary Vee, Robert Kiyosaki, Anthony Robbins. Oh my goodness. Share that everywhere on all your social media channels.
I had one author. She doubled her best goal for book sales because she started showing all those screenshots of her book selling more than copies than the celebrity writer next to her. So do not discount what a simple screenshot can do because success begets success. Follow that. Use the special limited time bonus offer and you will start your authorship journey off right.
How to connect with Joshua
Kathleen: Great. All right, we're close to the top of our hour so I don't want to end without asking you a couple of questions. First one is, if somebody is listening and they want to learn more or they have a question for you, what's the best way for them to reach out and connect?
Joshua: Absolutely. A couple different ways. If you are an aspiring author and you want to have the key that opens any door of opportunity that you desire for your business or for your career, I work with several people who work in the corporate world and they want to use the book to earn that that promotion quite frankly. So what their objective is head on over to entrepreneurswordsmith.com. There's a few free tools that you can find there. One of which is a Book Ideas Generator.
You're sitting there wondering, could I have a book in me? Does that make sense? But what is the title? I have no idea. What would I write about? I'm not sure. What you have to do is just type in your industry and your product or service and this thing will spit out in seconds winning book ideas for you personally, title and subtitle, to get those wheels turning and help put some structure to a winning book idea for you. That's The Entrepreneur's Wordsmith if you're the aspiring author.
If you are a marketer maybe, a copywriter and you like this idea of the big money ghost writing world where you're working with celebrities and thought leaders and the influencers of tomorrow, I can teach you how to get into this world at ghostwriteandprosper.com. I have a free training there called the 7 Myths About Ghost Writing That Keep Most Freelance Writers Broke As F.
Kathleen: That's a great name. I bet that resonates a lot with people.
Joshua: It does. It does. I think the average or median income rather, the median income for freelance writer somewhere around 40,000. So yes. Yes. That should be one project, not your annual income my friends.
Kathleen's two questions
Kathleen: Right. All right. So then the two questions I always ask all of my guests, which I definitely want to ask you, this is obviously a podcast about inbound marketing. Writing and publishing a book is one form of inbound marketing, if you're trying to do it for marketing or business purposes. Is there somebody out there, a company or an individual that you think is really killing it with inbound marketing right now?
Joshua: Absolutely. Absolutely. Her name is Heather Prestanski. She is a sales and marketing consultant for high-ticket businesses. So basically, is your product or service more than a couple thousand bucks, she is the one to follow, Heather Prestanski.
Kathleen: Great. I will definitely check her out. That's a new name and I always like when I get new names. And then the last question is, the world of digital marketing is changing so quickly. How do you personally stay up to date with everything?
Joshua: Well, one of the ways I do is set the trend myself. One thing I did not mention today is that I am the only, the first and only ghostwriter in the world who uses a software driven process to write in my author's authentic voice. Each of us has our own unique fingerprints. We all have our own unique way to communicate. We use the data science of stylometry to literally measure and understand your unique author voice and then we recreate that on the page. So that's where the future is going and we're already there.
Kathleen: Awesome. Well Joshua, so much good stuff here. I really could talk to you forever. I feel like there was probably four podcasts that we smashed into one today. But thank you for sharing all that. I love the six pillars. I'm going to like write them and put them on my note next to my computer, because I think it really can apply to any kind of marketing copywriting, not just writing a book and it's a great framework for it. So thank you for coming on.
You know what to do next...
Kathleen: And if you are listening and you like what you heard or you learned something new, I know I learned a lot, please go to Apple podcasts and leave the podcast a five star review because that is how other people find us and we get new listeners and if you know if somebody else who's doing kick-ass inbound marketing work tweet me @WorkMommyWork because I would love to interview them. That's it for this week. Thank you so much Joshua.
Joshua: And thank you Kathleen. I enjoyed myself today.
Kathleen: That was a lot of fun.
Want to stay updated when the podcast is released?
Drop us your name and email address below and we’ll send you the show notes every Monday!