Miles Rote is the head of author strategy at KAA, empowering authors through navigating book writing, editing and publishing. Check out our books.
In today’s world, time is money and attention is currency. And with advances in personal data collection, artificial intelligence and algorithms designed to keep us glued to the screen, the battle for attention has never been fiercer. But with short-form tweets, reels, threads and TikToks running at the bottom of the brainstem, businesses need to step back and think longer term.
When everyone goes left, go right. They zig, you zag. Instead of building your marketing budget and strategy around the next social media craze, you need to differentiate yourself with legacy and authority.
In my role as Director of Writer Strategy at a leading ghostwriting company that helps writers bring their stories to life, I knew the power of publishing. In this article, I would like to argue the importance of books as part of the long-term strategy of a leader or business.
Differentiate and define your brand
While most companies settle for showcasing their mission or culture on a website, Netflix took a bold step to publish a book detailing its unorthodox methodologies and values. This decision not only offered a deep dive into the mechanics behind one of the most disruptive companies in the entertainment industry, but also clearly set Netflix apart from the competition.
The choice to write “No Rules Rules” reflects the company’s commitment to providing a more immersive, comprehensive look at the company. As a result, readers get an authentic, in-depth exploration of how Netflix works, building trust and admiration along the way.
You can’t accurately prove what a company stands for in a blog article or social media post. Unlike a scroll or a tweet, books present complex and multifaceted perspectives that the short form cannot capture. And while tweets can go viral (books can too), they’re also ephemeral. They exist right now and then get buried under the avalanche of new content. Instead, books remain on the shelves—physically or digitally—for reference, discussion, and consumption. They serve as permanent testimonials in a way that tweets can rarely replicate.
Books as tools for thought leadership
Thought leadership has become a coveted position for professionals in today’s world. Hence, the competition has become much greater. Social media can help support your quest to become a thought leader, but you shouldn’t rely on it as your backbone. Do you really think a TikTok or LinkedIn post can demonstrate true authority on a topic? It may offer a snapshot, but in today’s world, you need to offer a panoramic view.
Publishing a book allows professionals to delve deeper into their subjects, explore the cracks of their knowledge, and position themselves as genuine experts in their fields. Consider the legacy of prominent business figures. It’s often their books — think Peter Thiel’s “Zero to One” or Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” — that establish their reputation. These books offer comprehensive insights into their philosophies, strategies, and visions—something 140 characters could never convey.
For business professionals, writing a book is more than just sharing a story. It’s an opportunity to showcase your brand, land speaking engagements and serve as a cornerstone of your professional legacy, establishing you as a thought leader.
From the tweets in Tomes: The Balance Of Immediacy and Impact
Instead of seeing digital content and books as rivals, leverage them symbiotically. The appeal of tweets or LinkedIn posts can be powerful teasers, drawing readers into a more in-depth exploration of a book. A tweet can be like a movie trailer that highlights an interesting image or controversial point of view and then guides the audience to the book for the full story.
Digital platforms are evolving to incorporate large format content. LinkedIn now promotes longer posts, Medium promotes detailed articles, and Twitter has expanded its character limit. This shift suggests a growing appetite for depth amid the brevity of the digital realm. Industry professionals can capitalize on this trend by turning every tweet or post into a plea: “If this excites you, there’s an ocean of knowledge in my book.”
However, the immediacy and virality of social media and digital platforms present both opportunities and challenges. A single tweet can transform a national discourse instantly, while a book takes time to be absorbed and discussed. This inherent pacing of the books, while seen as a limitation, is actually an advantage. Their inability to become sensations overnight protects them from the fleeting and sometimes reckless judgments common to digital content. This slower absorption allows for a lasting influence, a legacy that endures over time.
In the age of fast-paced digital content, the nuance and depth found in books has become more essential than ever. Social media posts, in their concise nature, often miss critical nuances in today’s world. Sure, anyone can create a tweet, but writing a book requires a tremendous amount of thought, precision, and meticulousness to ensure credibility, expertise, and authority.
Books have a nuance. Twitter has new. Both are important. One has more power than the other.
From Viral to Vital: Redefining Heritage in the Age of Digital Noise
In an age where brevity is prized and instant gratification is the norm, businesses are faced with a paradox. Do they cater to fleeting trends or invest in creating lasting legacies? The allure of viral tweets and trending hashtags is undeniable. They attract attention and can create instant conversations. However, their ephemeral nature often means they evaporate as quickly as they appear.
Books, on the other hand, with their depth and nuance, offer businesses the opportunity to set their philosophies and values in stone. These long-form narratives allow for a deep dive into complex subjects, providing an antidote to the oversimplifications that are rampant in today’s digital age. It is a distinction between fleeting impressions and lasting impact.
This is not to sideline digital or devalue it. It’s a call for businesses to think beyond the ephemeral, to value substance over sensation and depth over obfuscation. It’s time for businesses to ask themselves what legacy they want to leave behind: one that fades with the scrolling screen or one that stands the test of time.