Hi, my name is John Hayes, I’m a marketing strategist and the author of the best-selling Becoming The Expert series of Content, Email Marketing, Social Media and eCommerce Books.
I’ve been promising myself that I would do this for quite a while now.
Welcome to the first ever episode of The Becoming The Expert Podcast. We’re going to keep it short and sweet. If you’ve got 5 or so minutes — I’d love it if you stuck around.
In this week’s episode — I want to take you back to the beginning.
A little over four years ago, something happened that changed my life.
My first book, Becoming THE Expert: Enhancing Your Business Reputation through Thought Leadership Marketing, was published.
Writing a book had always been something of a pipedream for me. I knew I wanted to write a book — but never really knew what it would be about.
I don’t mind telling you — I had many false starts along the way. My problem was I had plenty of ideas — just nothing I really believed in. And here’s the rub — if I don’t believe in something, I lose interest very quickly.
My laptop is full of the opening chapters of a number of titles that never got past the first few hundred words. I would guess, from the many, many people who when hearing that I have written books (I’m actually working on my 5th title now) tell me that they are also writing a book — which never seems to come out — this is quite a common problem.
Inspiration finally came after writing a blog post which was published on the iContact email marketing website. The blog was titled “believe in yourself, you are a thought leader” and was basically about all the amazing small business people I would meet through my job who despite years of experience, lacked the confidence to put themselves on a pedestal and position themselves as thought leaders in their various industries via their email, social media and blogging or content marketing efforts.
The blog post was incredibly well received — it got loads of shares on social media and a ton of comments — I’d clearly hit a nerve and so I set about expanding on the theme.
I always tell people that writing a book is easy. It just needs a little will power — and I’ll emphasis the word “little” here.
You just sit yourself down and write 250 words every day before you go to bed. It doesn’t matter what else you are doing — you’ve got to hack out those words. Sometime you’ll write a lot more and they will be great. Sometimes, they will be a real struggle and you’ll delete them all the next day. But stick to this plan and within 3 or 4 months you’ll have something worth running past an editor.
On a side note here — you can never underestimate the value of working with a good editor.
Originally, I was going to self-publish the book but was lucky enough to meet a publisher at an event I speaking at — and landing myself a publishing deal.
As a niche business title, it did quite well, selling several thousand copies and I’m pleased to say, four years down the line, it’s still relevant and continues to sell.
But it’s not the sales that my life.
It was the doors the book opened for me.
As someone who had written a book, I was suddenly invited to speak at more conferences, contribute more articles and participate in more online events.
It took me 20 years to build up the expertise and knowledge, I was able to share in my book — but it was the book that gave me the credibility and confidence to launch myself onto the global stage — and that pretty much happened overnight.
After writing the book, and getting initial feedback from readers — I thought to myself, I don’t want the process to end. I decided to take the book out on the road and sell tickets to an event which I called The Content Marketing Boot Camp.
The very first boot camp I organised was in my home town. Now I life in a rural Lincolnshire in the north east of England — it’s a long way from the marketing hotspots of London, New York or Californian. Nonetheless I booked a meeting space in a local business center, set up an Eventbrite page to sell the tickets and went to town promoting it on my blog, social media and via email marketing. More than a couple of people told me nobody would pay £100 to spend the day talking about content, email and social media marketing. The event sold out.
It’s funny — at times I believe it’s easier to sell a £100 ticket for a seminar than it is to sell a book for a fraction of the price. We’ll talk about that on a later podcast.
Since then The Content Marketing Boot Camp has travelled all over the UK, mainland Europe and The United States. It’s been everywhere from San Diego on the West Coast of America to Istanbul in Turkey and many places in-between.
Next month, I’m taking the Boot Camp back to Gibraltar where my last two events sold out and I’m already planning a number of sessions for early 2017. There are quite a few places I’ve not been to yet. Canada, Australia, Dubai, South Africa and Hong Kong are definitely on the wish list.
I try not to spend any money beyond a few sponsored ads on social media to promoting my events. This works to my advantage when attendees tell me that they are sceptical about the power of blogging, social media or email — I ask them how they found themselves sitting in a classroom with me. Yep — you couldn’t ask for a better testimonial.
As well as generating income, my events also fuel my content marketing and writing efforts. I rarely leave an event with the inspiration to write at least two or three blog posts — and as I have already alluded — this is where I find my inspiration to write my books.
Talk about a self-perpetuating circle
So, if you want to change your life and you have a book in you, I thoroughly recommend following my process.
- Test the water with a blog post
- Expand on successful, well-received ideas
- Take the book to the people
You’ve been listening to the Becoming The Expert Podcast — my name is John Hayes — hope to catch up with you again very soon.