Books: The new business card?

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The issue with this sort of thing is that any connection with a reader is both brief (in that it can only communicate a limited amount of information) and fleeting (in that the information is only there temporarily, before it’s replaced by the unending Facebook feeds). It’s hard to make a mark, and to engage people on any meaningful level.
So, where do we turn? Outside of typical avenues of advertising via television, radio or in print, or on the internet, how else can we reach out and touch people, to let them know we’re out there, and what we do?
There is another traditional route remaining, and one that’s becoming increasingly popular: writing a book about your business.
It’s actually astonishing this is not an outlet that has been used more in the past. Sure, we might get weighty biopics about magnates or their fat corporations – particularly when they fall into disrepute, or bankruptcy (or both) – but nobody has actually married the idea of writing a book as a form of promoting their business.
Now, this isn’t a mindless commercial, an endless practice in selling yourself – ie the literary version of an infomercial. There is no better method to disconnect from a reader than to abuse their hospitality. The intent here is to establish a meaningful dialogue.
A book allows you to develop a relationship with your reader that the transitory nature of social media or other forms of advertising do not. You can explore your past, the nature of your business, as well as your goals – the boundaries are yours to determine. But in doing this we are promoting ourselves and our business (and our values), as well as engaging consumers in a way they have not been engaged before: intimately, with a view towards developing a long and productive relationship.
Books are becoming the business card of the current generation. They are ideal particularly for smaller business, trying to find an edge on their competition, trying to entrench themselves in the community or in their field, or simply trying to establish themselves and gain a foothold.
We all have a story to share with the world. Businesses themselves have their own story.
What’s yours?

 - Blaise van Hecke is the publisher and co-owner of Busybird Publishing. She is also the author of The Book Book: 12 Steps to Successful Publishing and a contributing author to Self-Made: Real Australian Business Stories. For more information visit or contact

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  • Justin B. on 2014-08-25 4:44:15 PM

    I can see the merit and value in this, but would this be successful with a generation that is more interested in reading a headline than a news article? There will certainly be a sub-section of the population who will read the book, but I don't know how wide the reach will be. Also, at least for me, I only want to read about companies I'm interested in. I would read about what Starbucks is doing. I don't really care what Grand & Toy is doing for example.

  • Krista M on 2014-08-26 2:14:46 PM

    Goodlife Fitness, a large fitness corporation in Canada, employed this strategy. The book 'Living the Good Life' (which is freely given away in all of their clubs) was written by the CEO David Patchell Evans and chronicles his life and the story of Goodlife Fitness.

    As a member of Goodlife, I have read the book and actually did feel a deeper connection with the company after doing so. The book outlined their beliefs, values, goals, offered personal wisdom from the CEO, and made you care more about the company. I agree that books are a great way to engage your customers (if you can write a good one!)

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