If you’re trying to raise your profile and establish yourself in your field, do you know what steps to take?

How do you get the visibility you need to advance your career?

Basically—how can you stand out?

There are a lot of ways to answer these questions, but one of the very best is pretty old school: write a book.

How does a book help your career?

There are four ways this works. They are different, but they all tie together:

1. A Book Establishes Your Authority and Credibility

A lot of people like to say that “a book is the new business card.” Bullshit. Everyone has a business card. You can go to Office Depot and get business cards, but you can’t go to Office Depot and author a book.

What I like to say is a book is the new college degree.

It used to be, about forty years ago, only about 10 percent of people had college degrees. If you had one, it was a major signal of credibility and authority. It meant something.

But now that everyone goes to college, it doesn’t signal as much. So what is a signal of credibility and authority now—one that’s reliable and rare?

A book.

A book shows you can commit to something and follow through. It shows you gets things done. And most importantly, it shows the world what you know.

A book sets you up to be judged. It’s really easy to skirt by and still get a college degree. It’s really hard to manipulate your way into a good book.

Yes, being judged is risky, but that’s why you get so much credit for a good book. A book puts you in a place that most people are unwilling to go—being judged—and it usually requires a lot of work to get there. It requires you to prove you actually know something.

If you write a book that’s stupid, people are going to think you’re stupid. A good book, on the other hand, makes people think, “Oh, wow. This person’s really smart.”

This is exactly what Bob Glazer did with his book. He dove in, really shared his knowledge about his industry (corporate affiliate marketing), and got tons of credibility and authority from both the media and clients because of how good his book was.

Same with John Ruhlin. He is a gifting expert and shared all of his best secrets in his book. As a result, the book not only took off, but John now does 20+ keynote speeches a year and has seen his company double in size.

Most people are NOT willing to take that risk. They are afraid of sharing their best knowledge or showing the world what they know.

This is why we are very upfront with our clients: you can’t just vomit out nonsense, call it a book, and reap the benefits.

To get credibility and authority from a book, you have to share valuable knowledge and ideas.

If you can do that, you will rocket past all your contemporaries who do not have a book, even if they are just as smart and accomplished as you are.

2. A Book Raises Your Visibility and Gets You Media Coverage

Whenever any media outlet wants a comment, who do they go to? The expert, right? And how do they know someone is an expert?

Because the experts are the people who wrote the book.

A book is the #1 signal of expertise.

Media want to talk to experts, and they judge expertise by who wrote the book on the subject. You want visibility in your field and media coverage? Write a book that establishes you as an expert, and media coverage will be 10x easier to get.

This is EXACTLY how Melissa Gonzalez’s book got her so much coverage. Because she wrote the first book on pop-up retail, every media outlet that covered retail wanted to interview her. She was the expert on a hot new field, as proven by her book (which, as we’ve said, was very good).

The same thing with Stephan Aarstol. He wrote a book about the innovative culture at his company, and the media could not get enough of him and his book.

How many people in your field have you seen get a lot of attention simply because they wrote a book? Even if you know more than they do, they got the attention that you didn’t, simply because of their book.

(By the waythis is precisely why a niche book is better than a broad book: it helps you focus easier. There are many “general retail experts” but no “pop-up retail experts,” so Melissa was able to differentiate and brand herself quickly by dominating that single niche.)

3. A Book Helps The Right People Find And Hire You

The #1 search engine is Google. YouTube is #2. You know what #3 is?

Amazon.

Even more relevant, it’s the #1 search engine for professionals, ranking even higher than LinkedIn.

When people look for experts or authorities, what’s the first thing they think about? Same as the media—they want the person who literally “wrote the book” on the topic.

Having a great book lets people know exactly who you are and how you can help them, and it brings them right to you. It’s the best marketing tool you could ever usenot just to build your brand, but to actually attract clients.

When we started Scribe, we realized we had a rocketship that we didn’t know how to fly. We needed to learn how to scale our company. So what did I do? I went to Amazon to read books on the subject.

Turns out, there aren’t a lot of great books out there about how to professionally manage and scale a fast-growing company. The best I could find was written by Cameron Herold (it’s called Double Double). The title isn’t so great, but the book itself is amazing. I read the book, and thought, “This is genius, but I need more. I need this guy to coach me directly.”

I reached out to Cameron, and he’s now my executive coach and owns a piece of my company. That’s how valuable he’s been.

There are probably five hundred other people out there who could have taught me the same things, but Cameron is the only one that had a great book that I could use to determine that he was the guy to teach me. I never would have listened to a sales pitch. I had to see proof, and his book was it. It caused me to come to him.

4. A Book Facilitates Word of Mouth For Career Growth

There is no better marketing than word of mouth. When someone you trust tells you to use something, you listen and you use it. Anything that helps other people talk about you and your business is the best marketing tool possible.

A book enables word of mouth better than almost anything else.

This is because a book lets you put your story into people’s mouths, so when they talk about you, they’re literally just saying what you want them to say. If you have a good book, people repeat your terms, phrases, and ideas to other people.

We use this idea to help our authors position and frame their books. We say, “Imagine someone at a cocktail party who has read your book, talking to someone else in your potential audience. What would they say? Imagine what you want them to say to the others.

Once you understand that—once you can picture that conversation naturally happening between two people and if you can do that really honestly—you can almost construct the narrative of your book from that conversation.

If you can write a book that is valuable to a group of people, they will WANT to talk about your book at a cocktail party to someone else who shares that problem.

Why? Because it makes them look better. That’s how word of mouth works.

Even better, once they’ve heard about you, they can pick up your book, research you, and come track you down. Books bring you clients.

This is exactly what happened to Deb Gabor. She was a branding expert with no brand of her own. So she wrote a great book about her branding methodology, and because of its popularity, her book found its way to the desks of major CMOs. Now she’s working with clients like Dell, Microsoft, and Google.

It all sums up to this:

A book is a multi-purpose marketing tool with unique and special abilities to create attention that you use to drive your career in multiple ways.

You know how effective content marketing and inbound marketing are, right? Well, a book is content and inbound marketing on steroids.