With so many books on the market and so many blogs in the blogosphere, how do you make sure your blogged book actually has impact on anyone? How do you make sure each post you publish gets read and, shared—more than just once but thousands of times?
I’ve written many times about becoming an author of change. That means you have a mission or purpose and want to impact people with your words–your book–in such a way that they take action, they create change in their lives or in the world. For that to happen, you must impact them on some level.
That only happens if what you write touches someone deeply, inspires them. That only happens when you connect with them through your writing–or in other ways besides your writing. That only happens if what you write has a clear focus and message. Then you have impact.
That’s what you need if your blogged book is to get discovered by a literary agent or publisher. That’s what it takes for thousands of readers a day and to feel so moved to want to share a post with their friends. But why would anyone want to do that?
Good question right?
So is this one: What’s the formula for a post, or even a status update, that will develop the kind of fan base—author platform—that simply can’t wait to read what you write next, share what you write as well as purchase your books? What does it take for someone to tweet out what you say at a speech and then for their follower to spread those 140 characters thousands of times?
Today, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith released a new book that answers these questions. Three years ago, they wrote their bestseller, Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust, but things have changed since then. In their new book, The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?, Brogan and Smith continue the conversation and show that to make people truly care about what you have to say, you need more than just a good idea, trust among your audience, or a platform. You need a potent mix of these things and more. And it’s not just about social networking. In fact, social networking is just what we use a lot of the time to transmit our message as if we were broadcasters communicating via a television station. Here, we are using our blogs (but they discuss more than just blogs and social networks).
I don’t do many reviews here on the blog, but several thing about this book make me want to talk about it. First, it does, indeed, help you blog a book that authors change. As they mention, you want your passion to meld with the passions of your readers to create change in the world. (I often talk about combining your passion and purpose to inspire others.) Additionally, Smith and Brogan point out that the most successful television stations, just as an example, are those that focus on viewer passions. If you watch sports, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Think of your blog and your blogged book (your website) as your channel in cyberspace. Don’t you want to know how to express your passion in a way that brings in more readers who share your passion–readers who will also purchase your blogged book (and other things you have to offer), as well as help spread the word about you and your work–to your channel?
Additionally, The Impact Equation uses one of my favorite words (one associated with what I do as the Inspiration to Creation Coach), CREATE, as an acronym for the actual equation. “Creation is at the center of lots of your future work, and Impact is the goal,” the authors write. So, what is The Impact Equation?
Impact = C x (R + E + A + T + E)
And that’s where the book starts to get interesting as it explores the meaning of these words and how you can look at them to discern how well you create impact now and how you can improve how you do so in the future.
C stands for “Contrast,” or the differentiation, interest or positioning of an idea.
R stands for “Reach,” or the number of people you can connect with.
E stands for “Exposure,” or how often you connect with the people you can reach.
A stands for “Articulation,” or about how easily someone can understand your idea or message.
T stands for “Trust,” something we feel but which is not clearly understood.
E stands for “Echo,” the feeling or connection given to a reader, visitor or participant.
This equation an easily be applied to how we evaluate a book idea (even with a book proposal).
- Contrast is the uniqueness of your book idea.
- Reach is the market.
- Exposure is your platform and promotion plan.
- Articulation is your pitch.
- Trust is still just that…trust–how it comes across in your work.
- Echo is your voice and how it affects readers.
(Trust and Echo together come across as authenticity in writing, but Brogan and Smith delve into these in The Impact Equation and these elements can be looked at further in terms of a book and an author’s success potential.)
The Impact Equation can be applied to your blog or blogged book to figure out what you are doing right or wrong. The authors focus on four areas that help you apply the equation:
- Human Element
I found this interesting and useful as well, especially for authors. They point out they point out the need for goals when you want to achieve something great, and the necessity of clarity in articulation of idea. Think finishing your blogged book (or any book) and your pitch, query, proposal. This all applies, not to mention that it applies to each post you write. And, of course, platform–that dreaded word in the world of authors, a necessity if you want to sell books to readers or to publishers–is discussed here not as concept but in terms of how to build it. And then comes the human element, which we forget is what social media is supposed to allow us to be good at. The book is filled with worksheet pages to fill out and use to help us with all four of these areas so we can have more Impact, which I totally love. You can also apply it to your whole book concept, to your blog posts, to the promotion you have tied into your blog, such as your social media status updates, or even to your your ad campaigns. I plan to apply it to my speeches and presentations as well.
I was enticed to purchase the book by the Amazon book description that included phenomenally successful British singer Adele as an example of someone who has Impact with a capital “I.” It explained, “For most musicians, onstage banter basically consists of yelling ‘Hello, Cleveland!’ But Adele connects with her audience, pausing between songs to discuss a falling-out with her friends, or the drama of a break up. Each of these moments comes off as if she were talking directly with you, and you can easily relate.”
“If that is Impact, I can do that,” I thought. And so can you. Because having Impact is about you…who you are and how you create and communicate via the channel you create, in this case your blog and blogged book. And The Impact Equation teaches us how. Inside the The Impact Equation I found the tools and metrics that guarantee a message will be heard, will cause others to take action.
As Smith and Brogan write, “We believe the path to achieving impact is to drive the CREATE formula of the Impact Equation through goals, into ideas, and onto well-developed platforms and then to follow up by nurturing the human elements of your community.” This sounds awfully similar to what I’ve been telling aspiring authors for years. Start building your platform from the moment you have an idea for a book–or from the moment you think you might want to write a book. Then create firm goals with deadlines for how you will get that book written. Then use your platform to help sell books.
Of course, blogging a book helps you build that platform and write your book, accomplishing a good bit of this at the same time. But if you really want to see if you are having any impact with your book, your posts or your promotional efforts, I suggest getting a copy of The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise? and putting The Impact Equation to use.
About the Authors of The Impact Equation
Julien Smith is the bestselling author of three books: the first, Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust (with Chris Brogan) was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. His most recent bestseller, The Flinch, has over 100,000 copies distributed. And he has just released The Impact Equation, again co-authored with Chris Brogan.
Julien has been an author, a professional voice actor + radio broadcaster, a consultant and speaker at some of the largest corporations in the world, including Microsoft, American Express, Heineken International, and more. His work has also appeared in Cosmopolitan, GQ, CNN, and a host of other publications.
Chris Brogan is CEO & President of Human Business Works, a business design company using publishing and media to provide tools and smarts to help professionals work better, do the work they want, and to be brave. He is the New York Times bestselling co-author of The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?, and a sought-after professional keynote speaker. He also plays in the band, D3one3, with Jacqueline Carly.
If you live in N. California, attend this one-time-only small group workshop in the Santa Cruz Mountains on How to Blog Your Way to a Book Deal on October 27. Space limited to 10; only 5 spots left as of 10/16. Learn the basics of blogging a book and start blogging yours!
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