Jodi Brandstetter of Influence Network Media: How To Grow Your Business or Brand By Writing A Book
Repurpose content. Your book can be so much more than a book. It can be a video series, blog series, a course, a presentation, etc. Reuse the content to keep the book off the bookshelf and relevant.
As a part of our series about “How You Can Grow Your Business or Brand By Writing A Book”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jodi Brandstetter.
Jodi believes every business expert has a book inside of them. As a Recruiting expert and bestselling author, Jodi understands how a book can open doors to promote your expertise as well as your business. As a hybrid publisher, Jodi has been able to help over 60 business experts become best-selling authors. Through a simplistic writing process and a best-selling strategy, Jodi and her team at Influence Network Media can open doors for success for business experts looking to produce, publish, and promote business books.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share a story about what motivated you to become an expert in the particular area that you are writing about?
As an entrepreneur, I knew how important my expertise was to my brand. And I needed to find a way to share that with my audience. A book was the best way for me to do this. After writing my first book, Hire By Design, I was able to take this book and connect with my ideal clients and secure opportunities to share my passion. I wanted to do this for others and that is why Influence Network Media was born. My business partner, Melanie, and I saw an opportunity to help business experts become sought-after business experts. We believe becoming an author is the first step to this.
Can you share a pivotal story that shaped the course of your career?
While in corporate, I had a manager called me cold, blunt, and abrasive during a performance review. That was hard to hear because I am none of these. I was a top performer for this organization and my manager was intimidated by my knowledge, empathy, and passion for my industry. This conversation helped me see the real potential I had and to not allow others’ comments to bother me. I left that company and took a role that, before the conversation with my manager, I would not have pursued. That role was the key role that I needed to eventually become an entrepreneur.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Are you working on any new writing projects?
Our Collective Book Series provides a business expert with the ability to become an author with one chapter, head shot, and bio while connecting and collaborating with other business experts.
Writing a book can be lonely and building book awareness can be difficult for one person. A collective book gives you a group of people who are going through the writing journey together and building awareness with their networks.
Our next collective book series focuses on helping small to mid-size companies with culture, communication, and talent development. These are books that need to be out in the world to help companies thrive.
So far, I have written two solo books and have been included in four collective books. I’m transitioning to focusing on helping others write but I know there are still a few books left in me to write.
Thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. Can you please tell us a bit about your book? Can you please share a specific passage or story that illustrates the main theme of your book?
My latest book is HR By Design. It is a playbook for developing creative and human-focused solutions to everyday human resources challenges.
“This book serves as a guidebook for HR professionals who are tired of the same old solutions and want to get creative with solving HR Challenges.”
You are a successful author and thought leader. Which three character traits do you feel were most instrumental to your success when launching your book? Can you please share a story or example for each?
I had a lot of imposter syndrome while writing my book. I already had a book out so why should I get to write another one? What if my first book is my only good book? Should I just focus on my first book and not write another book? Each day, I would remind myself why I was writing HR By Design. I had a business purpose as well as a need to share this methodology with HR professionals. Grit is what kept me going and ensured my book was published.
If I was not curious, my book would not be out there. HR By Design’s format was to walk someone through design thinking with a HR challenge. In order to do this, I had to talk to a lot of people plus research various topics. Since I am a curious person, I was able to do this.
I made the decision to write HR By Design in January of 2022 and I launched it at the end of March of 2022. I was able to write and market my book in three months. Having a strong book outline and knowing the amount of time it would take me to write the book, made this a success.
In my work, I have found that writing a book can be a great way to grow a brand. Can you share some stories or examples from your own experience about how you helped your own business or brand grow by writing a book? What was the “before and after picture?” What were things like before, and how did things change after the book?
This is exactly why Influence Network Media is a company today. I realized that a book can be a marketing tool for your business.
Before I published my first book, Hire By Design, my HR company was a success. I was landing clients and working on projects that I was interested in. But I was not a sought-after expert to speak at large conferences or able to get paid for speaking engagements. These were two goals that I had for myself.
After my book was published and was an Amazon Bestselling book, I had the credibility that others want a business expert to have. I was the same person but now I had my intellectual property in a container, a book.
I landed nationally recognized speaking opportunities with book signing opportunities. I was able to ask for a speaker fee. And I went from 4-figure projects to 5-figure projects.
And a new business was created just because of a book.
If a friend came to you and said “I’m considering writing a book but I’m on the fence if it is worth the effort and expense” what would you answer? Can you explain how writing a book in particular, and thought leadership in general, can create lucrative opportunities and help a business or brand grow?
I always tell people that a book is the best business card out there. However, it is only the best business card out there if you write the right book. Before you put pen to paper, you need to know the following:
- What is the goal of this book?
- How will you utilize the book in your business?
- Are you willing to work with experts to make your book a success?
- Can you commit five to ten hours a week to work on your book?
- Are you ready to talk about the book all of the time?
If you have a solid plan with goals for the book, your book can take you to the next level as a business expert. Be clear about the book idea and how you will include your book in your business. If you do this, then yes, a book is worth the expense, time, effort, and energy it takes to write and market it.
What are the things that you wish you knew about promoting a book before you started? What did you learn the hard way? Can you share some stories about that which other aspiring writers can learn from?
When I was writing my first book, Hire By Design, I knew nothing about marketing a book. I rolled up my sleeves and researched everything I could about marketing a business book.
I hired a graphic designer from a different country to create my book cover design. He did a wonderful job, but I did not ask for the graphics that he included on my book cover. He only provided me with my book cover. I would have loved to be able to use the Brain Graphic from my book in different ways.
I had a goal to be interviewed on three to four podcasts each month after I wrote Hire By Design. Researching and pitching podcasts can be a full-time job. I was able to speak on several podcasts, but I knew if I had help pitching, I could have found more podcast opportunities. I also did not hire a PR firm to help me with media opportunities. I did this with my latest book, HR By Design, and it made a huge difference with this type of media opportunities I was able to receive.
Based on your experience, which promotional elements would you recommend to an author to cover on their own and when would you recommend engaging an expert?
I recommend that authors focus on sharing their writing journey and the book with their network. This can be through social media, emails, videos, blog posts, articles etc. This is something they can do themselves.
For PR/Media opportunities, including podcasts, I recommend a PR expert to help with this. They have connections, know what the media is looking for, and you get time back to work on your business or write your book.
Wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your own experience and success, what are the “five things an author needs to know to successfully promote and market a book?” If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- Storytelling: you do not want all of your social media posts to be about buying or supporting your book. You want to gift your audience with your thoughts through storytelling. After I published Hire By Design, lots of people wanted to know how I was able to write a book. So, I told the story about my writing journey. This had an impact on people in my network and helped them see that they too can be an author.
- Create a VIP Book Tribe. A VIP Book Tribe is a group of people who support you and your book by utilizing their network to share the book. Ideally you want this tribe to either be your ideal reader or be connected to your ideal reader. This helps get your book out to a larger group. And it is always fun to share this journey with others.
- Be willing to ask your mentors or thought leaders to do a testimonial. You may think that the people you look up to would never write a testimonial for your book. Think again! I made a list of people who inspire me and who I believe are sought-after experts in my industry. 80% of them said yes to writing a testimonial for Hire By Design. It was amazing to have people who I respect so much support me and my book.
- Be vulnerable. The writing journey is not easy. Be willing to share this journey with others as well as share your real “why” for writing the book. Let people in to understand you and your heart. It makes a big difference when you are asking others to buy your book that they know the real you.
- Repurpose content. Your book can be so much more than a book. It can be a video series, blog series, a course, a presentation, etc. Reuse the content to keep the book off the bookshelf and relevant.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)
Michelle Obama — she has been a role model for me and I love her passion and grit.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Your readers can follow me on LinkedIn at https://linkedin.com/in/jodibrandstetter
Thank you for these excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent. We wish you continued success with your book promotion and growing your brand.