Bookstrapping Thought Leadership

Posted on 28. Jul, 2011 by in B2B Marketing, Content, expertise marketing



There is no better thought leadership content than a book. While the traditional book as we think about is the ultimate thought leadership vehicle, it doesn’t particularly have to be as traditional as paper. Today it’s often much better to produce an e-book, which is less expensive, more immediate and has almost the same effect.


Anyone in business probably knows the concept of bootstrapping, the growing of a business through your own savings and cash flow. It’s a tried and true entrepreneurial technique used by millions of businesses when they begin their business journey.

Bookstrapping is a similar way of producing high-end thought leadership content.

Thanks to Seth Godin, of  The Domino Project, for the term.

Godin describes bookstrapping as “write a book, codify a manifesto, put it into the world and use it to attract, organize and build a platform.”

This is opposed to the traditional publishing model of “Be famous, build a platform, organize a tribe, then we’ll publish your non-fiction book”

With this description, Godin is talking about the newer method of publishing an e-book instead of the traditional publisher-controlled paper book method.

While he focuses on the manifesto aspect, the same principle applies — with a twist –to any business that is trying to create customer interest and loyalty through thought leadership content.

Why shouldn’t B2B companies, any service business, or product supplier, publish an e-book that delves deep into a subject about which it knows a considerable amount?

Such a book would not only educate readers, it will create trust and authority around the author. Even if your business involves something far more mundane than a manifesto, there are still many people who would probably be interested in your subject area, and would welcome a well-planned and written book that elucidates the subject.

The magic of the internet can make it happen. Via the net, people who are interested in subjects as rare as shoes for three-toed people can find you. And they might welcome a lot of advice about living with three toes. (I know I would if I only had three toes — if anything I’d welcome the knowledge that there are others out there like me.)

Also, an ebook, if promoted correctly, is far more targeted than a simple blog. This is because blogs act at the beginning of the engagement cycle, while ebooks are generally aimed at prospects who are farther along the sales funnel.

Of course, there are some caveats here. For example, don’t just take a white paper and turn it into an ebook. In our hurry-up world, white papers are losing traction because they take too long to read.

An ebook that’s really an extended white paper would gain even fewer readers, even if it is tricked out with some graphics and put in a different format. Instead, the information flow and logic chain will have to be stronger and deeper to continue to hold a reader’s attention.

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