Reading a Book for All Its Worth!

Reading for Maximum Impact

We all learned to read at an early age, but what have we done to improve on those skills since then? Reading is the most common practice of highly successful people, but how can you maximize that so you get all of the benefit possible?

How many books are published every year? Search Amazon for Business Books. There are more than 2 million results. Where do you start? What do you consume? What will be the benefit? How do you decide?

I know that reading will benefit me. Deciding the value of what to read is more challenging than simply reading for volume. If my goal is to read 25 books per year that can easily be achieved. If my goals is to read one book that will increase my impact by 25 times that’s a completely different story. One will benefit me to some degree. The other can be life changing.

Thoughts that go through my head:

  • If I read the last 17 books written on time management what new thing can I expect to learn? Will that be a good use of my time?
  • If I read a book just to finish it, what difference does it make?  
  • What will I be quoting from that book 10 years from now?
  • What am I quoting from a book I read 10 years ago?reading
  • Is this book in alignment with my purpose in life?

In other words, we need to approach reading as deliberately as any other business decision. It’s a resource available to us. Treat it the same as you would a time or money resource. Give it the same care and consideration. Give it the same devotion.

I’m not talking about seeing how much you can consume. Reading one book in a year that increases my impact by 25 times is a 1000 times better than reading 25 books with no impact.

Selecting the Right Book

Here are the steps I follow to select a book:

  • I select what I’m going to read carefully including the aesthetics.  
    • What is the look of the book? There really isn’t any excuse today for a poorly designed book. It has to look appealing.
    • Does the front cover make the contents clear?
    • Does the back cover give me convincing reasons to read the book?
  • The author
    • What do I know about the author and his/her background that would indicate alignment with my purpose?
    • Have they demonstrated their ability to speak with authority on the topic? What are some of their past works?
    • Where can I find the author besides this book?
    • What do I believe his/her purpose is for writing this book?
    • What new unique perspective or voice will he/she lend that will benefit me the most?
  • Background thoughts
    • What other books have I read on this topic?
    • Have I read other books by this author?
    • How will those things influence my reading of this book?
    • Would it benefit me to go back and review what I have already read rather than starting again here? Revisiting a topic over and over again without taking action is a very bad habit.
    • Can I connect this “unknown” to my “known” to expedite the implementation process?
  • State my objective clearly
    • How do I expect this book to impact my purpose?
    • What do I expect to get from this book that I don’t already know?
    • A book can only fill one of three purposes:
      • Introduce you to a new concept, idea, position, or perspective.
      • Reinforce an existing idea, concept etc…
      • Challenge an existing concept, idea etc…
    • Where do I see this book on that spectrum?
    • How does that objective align with my purpose right now? If I don’t intend to consider taking some positive action on this topic then don’t let this book become some kind of rabbit trail.
  • Evaluate the contents
    • Read the the jacket. What did I learn about the book? The author? What did others say?
    • Scan the Table of Contents. How well organized is the material? 
    • Read the index (if it has one) looking for additional resources to supplement the book as well as contact information on the author.
    • Select 2-3 chapter titles that sound like they will fulfill my objective. Read the first 3 paragraphs of each of those chapters. Do they fulfill the promise of fulfilling my objective?
    • What is the writing style like? Does it move quickly or do I have to wade through a lot of fluff to get to the point? Note: If I can’t get the full impact of the point in the first three paragraphs, then I will waste a lot of time even if the content is stellar.
    • What strengths can I identify in those 9 paragraphs from the author? What weaknesses do I see?

I do all of that BEFORE I decide to purchase/read any book.

You think that’s a lot of work?

A lot of work is reading something that won’t help me achieve my objective. Getting 150 pages into a book that is wasting my time and not moving me closer to my goals – that’s too much work. Better to spend some time on the front end than waste a bunch on the back end.

I’ve Made My Choice Now What?

Once I’ve decided this book is worthy of my time, I have another process that I follow every single time.

Note: I don’t read fiction so I never have to change my approach.

I follow these steps exactly every time I read a book.

  • First I prep the book for an easy quick read. I make sure to “break-in” the pages so it opens easily and I have no trouble manipulating the book.
  • I write my objective for reading the book inside the cover. This is just a sentence or two. I’m going to refer to this often.
  • Next I read through the book as quickly as possible.
    • Almost at a speed reading pace with a pen in hand. (You can’t speed read and make notes.)
    • I put a tick mark beside everything that catches my attention.
    • I note in the margin where I have heard that topic before by the author’s name only. Example: Tracy.
    • Next I summarize the chapter with a single word or phrase that comes from my reservoir of “known” information. For example: Reading a chapter on “The Lies that Mislead Us.” I summarized with Accurate Truth, that is one of Napoleon Hill’s Seventeen Laws of Success. (I’ll talk about the value of this more later.)
    • I do this for every chapter until I’ve completed the book. Then I write a very brief summary on the inside of the back cover.
    • I compare the inside of the front cover with the inside of the back cover to determine what I do next.

The Magic Happens in the Second Read

If the book summary seems like it has fulfilled the promise and purpose of the book, then I decide to give it a second read. This “read” is very different from the first go through.

  • I scan through the book stopping at every tick mark I placed on the first read. This time carefully reading the context of the thought that triggered the original tick mark. I might highlight the idea captured in context. I might make notes in the margin. Linking to other books and ideas is something I do frequently in the margins.
  • If there are chapters where the summary doesn’t meet expectations then I skip it on this second go. Myreading goal is not to waste time, but to maximize it. A useless chapter will get no more of my time.
  • At the end of the saved chapters I now write a summary of the personal impact it has made on my stated purpose. This is important. This personal summary helps deliver me from the urge to just get finished. I now have a bigger goal. I’m out to develop mastery so I can improve.
  • Next I write a complete summary inside the back cover. I answer these questions:
    • How did this book actually impact my life and business?
    • Does this relate to other things I knew about this topic before I started?
    • How will I put this to work immediately?
    • Can I take this topic, using this material, and teach it to other people?

Maximizing the Impact

If I decide this is a topic that I could teach and other people would benefit from me teaching it. Then I proceed to the next step…

  • I’m going to scan through the book a third time. This time only pausing at the places where I’ve made notes. I’m looking specifically for “transferable” information. So I ask the following questions:
    • What attracted me to this topic in the first place?
    • What market (avatar/community) shares that same need and would be attracted to the same information if delivered by me?
    • Are there other resources or unique perspectives I could bring to this topic that would help people to implement this in their life/business?

      Note: This is one of the reasons I write the first thing I think of that is connected to the subject in its context. Because here I’m going to identify my unique perspective. When I read that statement the first thing I thought of was…, but it wasn’t the first thing the author thought. That’s my unique perspective. Those things come from my experiences. Often times my unique perspective and my unique experiences are the very thing some people need.
  • Next I identify the elements that will make up a basic step-by-step for “my friend” who needs to experience the same thing in their life.
    • I note the things that I would put in a basic outline.
    • Then I connect the outline with “links” to other supporting thoughts. I find these…
      • In my own experiences.
      • From the things I have read.
      • Stories from the lives of the people I know.
  • Finally I apply this to as many different means of delivering my unique discoveries to my world as possible. I pick the top three. Here are just few to get started…
    • Checklist
    • How to Guide
    • Step-by-Step Outline
    • Infographic
    • Webinar
    • Mind Map
    • Ebook
    • Membership Course

This is how you can read one book and multiply your impact by 25 times.

I created the Self-Directed Learning Project (SDLP) to teach you how to do this. The SDLP includes training on how to get someone to actually pay you for your efforts.

 

Daily Content Creation – Then Life Happens

Can’t Talk…Now What?

My daily content creation might be in jeopardy. Not being able to talk for 14 days has caused some pretty strange behaviors and some serious reflection.

First The Strange Behavior

I dreamed all night about the value of communication. Really that’s weird! I dream about all of the ways that I communicate over the course of the week. The process of taking a Live Feed on Facebook and turning it into a podcast. I thought about how I take the video content and turn it into worksheets, checklists, blog posts, and training programs.  daily content creationThen I woke and realized that too many things began with the live video. I almost shut down my daily content creation because it all began with me speaking on live video.

There was a time when I wrote first, then spoke what I wrote. But I learned that the live “interaction” allowed me to formulate thoughts from a place that made content more engaging. In other words, I learned to work from a strength. I coach people to do this all the time. In the Content Creation Marketing Machine we always start where you work best and build on that platform.

Now The Serious Reflection

Now I’m going through a temporary disruption of that process. I can’t talk. So what does that mean for my daily content creation? How will I continue to touch my audience in the absence of a voice?

This is what I’ve learned:

  • Video can’t be the only thing I do. If video was my only method of creating content I would be in trouble, but it’s not. In addition to Live Feed videos I also do daily quotes, twitter posts, blog posts, share other people’s content, and offer insight from articles affecting the industry.
  • Draw from my archives. I have a huge library of content from which I can draw. Creating “evergreen” content, the kind of content that’s relevant regardless of what is happening in the world, allows me to draw from that library. Yesterday I shared from the archives “Positive on the Offensive” – always a timely topic.
  • Stay engaged. Just because I can’t talk doesn’t mean that I can’t touch. I have consistently done a video broadcast Monday – Thursday at 9:00am for almost 2 years. There is an expectation that I will be Live at 9:00. When I can’t fulfill that obligation I still need to communicate. I still need to share why. I don’t like to expose my life on FB, but sharing the struggle allows people to care. Allow them to engage with you even if the format changes.
  • Have a plan to expand my footprint. Limitations always cause me to recognize I need to grow. I had become very comfortable with my content process then it got disrupted – time to reevaluate. Obviously there are some automations that would improve the process. However automations can only run what has already been created. Creating additional types of content takes on a new priority. Quizzes, personal messages, forums, Q&A platforms all look like very attractive ways to expand my presence.

So What About You?

Are you depending on a limited number of touch points with your audience? If for some reason that were to be put on hold do you have a plan?

I started the Content Creation Marketing Machine so you could maintain continuous contact with your audience. I was in the process of kicking that program off when this flu hit. Because of that delay I’m making a special offer to anyone who is ready to grow their audience. Use the button below to find out more. The offer changes as soon as I get my voice back.

daily content creation

The Content Marketing Creation Machine

Content Marketing in a Digital Age

Content marketing is a very hot topic. Unlike many marketing trends that catch fire and die quickly, content marketing is here to stay. It’s a proven way to interest customers and convert them into buyers.

The magnitude of information thrown at customers every day causes them to guard their attention closely. If you want to grab your customers’ attention, you need to produce content that solves real problems of higher quality than that of your competitors. That’s a tall order.

“The reality is that while website content can be a great marketing tool, it can also be a trap for the unwary who miss some key opportunities to really develop their marketing efforts online successfully.

“You can read a great guide to creating great content marketing by content marketing guru Neil Patel right here.” via 3 Ways To Destroy Your Website Authority With Bad Content Marketing (And How to Change That For Good)

Write for a Community NOT for an Avatar

Popular marketing says, Create an avatar, spell out all of the demographics and psychographics of that individual. Then write specifically with that person in mind. Visualize them. Speak directly to them. Meet their needs.

Let’s challenge that thinking for a bit.  What if you wrote for a specific community? What if you focused on meeting the needs of a community instead of an individual?

Some examples of a community:

  • Senior citizens
  • Millennials
  • Parents of teenagers
  • Veterans
  • Spouses of soldiers
  • Living in Rural America
  • Teachers of preschoolers
  • Recovering disco fans

You get the idea. The community interest is the glue that binds the community not the demographics or psychographics. Each member of the community may drive a range of vehicles, shop in a diversity of locations, or have different spending habits. but they’re loyal to the community. Address the community and you reach a broader base in a more targeted manner. Address the behaviors and spending habits and you’ll be chasing forever.

Writing for the community sets you apart as the expert. When you speak to the needs of the community you’re talking to their loyalties. Try to address each individual and you risk missing them all.

Example:

Your business is recycled Japanese car parts. Who should your avatar include? Doctors? Retired School Teachers? Yuppies? Car enthusiasts?

How would you know for sure? You could take a look at your current client list. Or you could consider Miata owners community. Would it be easier to target the community or target individuals in that community?

This is a diverse group of people as you can imagine. Targeting a specific demographic you very well could miss your target. By meeting the needs of the Miata Owners Community you speak to the loyalty of the group.

 

Community focus flies in the face of traditional marketing

Traditional marketing says, “create an avatar (your ideal client), give him/her a name, know everything you can about that person, then speak specifically to them.”

Let’s go back to your business. Your business is selling recycled imported car parts. It’s not, to sell to a retired school teacher who likes to cruise around with the top down. Who makes $64,000 a year and invests heavily in the stock market. This school teacher has 7 grandkids and reads the Wall Street Journal daily. 

You sell recycled imported car parts…

Who is in the market for your business? Focus on the avatar and you’ll struggle trying to hit the target. Focus on the community and hit it with deadeye accuracy.

What if you frequently contributed quality content to the Miata Owners Community about: “The care of imported cars.” “Where to source quality parts.” “Ten really cool places to take a road trip in your amazing Miata on days when you can ride with your top down.” “The Top Twelve Best Brokers in America to Buy a Vintage Miata.” “Tips for insuring a vintage import.” 

You get the idea. When you’re contributing to the community you stand out from the crowd. Your contribution increases the value of the community. You’re demonstrating that you care about people who own Miata’s.

Studying the community allows you to focus your Content Marketing…

  • Read what they write. Listen to their questions. Tap into feelings and emotions in your writing. Once you understand how your buyers want to feel when they use your product, you can evoke those feelings with your content.
  • Know your communities’ buying triggers. Then send your emails and messages at the right time to interest buyers. You can also make sure that the same content is on your website and anywhere else your buyers find you.
  • Directly address problems the community experiences. Solving problems in the community helps you stand out as the expert. Your content, however you deliver it, should focus on problem solving. The result is revenue.
  • Invite influencers to persuade them. Knowing who your customers listen to (you’ll discover this by listening to and participating in the community) and respect is an important piece of the content puzzle. You want to include influencer endorsements/attributions in your content whenever possible.
  • Let the community set the tone of your voice. Listening will help you determine whether you need a formal voice or something more conversational.

What about Google and SEO?

Organic search results are important, but familiarity with an author carries weight as well. What if they began their Google search looking for you?

If potential buyers are finding you in the communities they love, they will start looking for you when they need what you sell. Build your brand around the value you bring. Content marketing puts you in multiple places all of the time, building your brand (demonstrating your value).

Quality content marketing is the secret to ranking well, but more important is building buyer confidence. You build buyer confidence by creating quality content consistently with authority and supported by market influencers.

Measure Quality by Engagement

Do you get the picture? Quality content is king because it helps you stand out in a noisy crowd. Content that doesn’t engage the audience is just noise. Standing out is essential to getting found.

 

Not just interesting, but useful

It’s not enough to create quality content. You must create useful content as well. Write something that creates an actionable item for your reader. Something that they can immediately put to work. What impact do you think your content would have if you began, “Before the Spring weather hits here are 5 things to post on the wall in your garage. Simple things you can do to extend the life of your roof. None of them require you to leave your mower.”

Become a resource and people will get to know, like, and trust you. When they’re ready to buy, they will also buy from you. A resource of useful information is invaluable in the world of many noises.

 

Don’t just care, listen

It’s not enough to say you care. You must provide a feedback mechanism…it’s called listening! The skill of listening is the most powerful content creation tool you possess. Image the impact that your content would have if you began, “I was reading in the group yesterday and 12 people mentioned that they ________ so I’ve created this ________ to help you find a local solution to __________.”  Then speak to them in their terms, exactly the way they describe the issue.

This is demonstrated listening. A skill that few possess, but an expert has mastered. An expert knows how to listen so that the question behind the question becomes obvious. Having understood the real question, the expert then formulates the response in such a way that the audience embraces the answer.

 

Not just facts, but relatable stories

The art of storytelling is getting lost in our 140 (now 280 characters) character limit world. A story that is meaningful and related to the topic at hand, is more valuable than any other form of communication. Our brains are wired for stories, perfect this skill and your content will stand out!

Create Engaging, Curated Content Like a Machine

Creating high quality content is work! Unless you want cookie cutter results it will always be work. BUT we have a process that can reduce the work and allow you to focus on your unique voice. Let’s talk about it…

Finally, a Discovering Content Solution that Works

Nuzzel a Great Tool for Discovering Content

Discovering content that my client and prospects need and want is a daily challenge. I search for and read a ton of content everyday. I do so to provide the best quality information possible to my tribe. So any time I can find something that will help me connect with quality trending information I immediately check it out. 

Nuzzel is such a product. 

I’ve found this to be more helpful than Buzzsumo for finding the content that my audience is consuming. I’m going to save the comparisons for another video, but for now let me introduce you to the coolest tool that tracks the very things that your audience is reading.

Content and SEO

Nuzzel is rapidly becoming my “goto app” for discovering content. I want to know what my audience is interested in and how to connect to their needs. The video above demonstrates exactly how that is done. From that platform you can share, email or capture and curate in articles that you know your audience has a demonstrated interest. 

Content marketing is the way your clients and potential clients get to know, like, and trust you. It’s also essential if they’re going to find you. Relevant content is also necessary for recognition by Google. Organic searches are still the best means of converting viewers. They found you because you addressed a real need. They were searching for something and they found you. 

You build authority by directing your content to demonstrated needs. Curate that content with your unique twist and your influence begins to rise. 

 

discovering content

The landscape is changing. Quality content is still the number one thing that people are searching for, but how it’s being delivered is expanding all of the time.

More content can help, sure. But if that’s all you’re chasing… get ready to be exhausted and broke. You need strategy and innovative thinking if you want to get results now. And you still need SEO’s free, high-converting traffic. via: 6 Things New SEO Research Reveals About Content Marketing

No longer is it about the quantity of content you produce (serious questions exist about if that ever really accomplished much) it’s about the quality delivered on multiple platforms using multiple mediums.

What you need to stand out in the midst of this crowded marketplace is a clear strategy. Nuzzel can help, but you are going to need more. Creating and delivering engaging content is work that pays huge dividends.


Focus on A quality Content strategy!

The local business owner needs to connect with his/her market in new and engaging ways that makes it easy for them be found, liked and trusted. Let us help you build a strategy that will do that very thing…