Apple Books Business Content Marketing Strategy

The new publishing

From the HB Blog

Gone are the days where writers and content creators needed a publishing house to help them distribute their latest work. Today, a piece of content can be shared effortlessly through a company’s web site or social media channel(s).

Where does that leave books?

Going digital

eBooks exploded over the past couple of years – first, with the development of Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes n Noble’s Nook. Now, the iPad has taken the market to new heights. In fact, the move has destroyed some businesses – most notably, Borders.

Publishers and authors can decide to release a book… without printing. Via Amazon, Barnes n Noble, or the iTunes Store, users can purchase directly from a publishing house.

The self-author

More recently, authors are foregoing the business model all together. Rather than work with a publisher to determine cost, shipments, and logistics, forward-thinking creators can work with Amazon’s Domino Project to offer free, short-form books. A good example: Julien Smith, who previously wrote (and distributed in the traditional fashion) “Trust Agents,” released a book through Amazon with a free digital download.

Beyond reading

Apple’s latest investment goes beyond the printed word. Their iBooks Author program provides content creators another distribution stream… but with interactive content.

Authors can create books that feature animations, photos, and videos for use on the iPad. And they can be sold for as little as $0.

Opportunities abound

So we’ve gone from the printed word, to eBooks, to interactive offerings (all within a few years). Needless to say, the creation of free eBooks or iBooks should be a part of many companies’ future content marketing plans.

Apple Books Self


Steve JobsMy sister kindly bought me the Steve Jobs biography for Christmas (thanks Lu!). Naturally, the beginning of the book retells Jobs’s earlier years – specifically, his concentration on Zen Buddhism and the self.

Although I do not consider myself a Zen Buddhist, the end of the calendar year offers unique opportunities to ask self-facing questions. What did I accomplish in 2011? What goals should I set for 2012? How can I become a better me?

Concentrate on a few goals

Chris Brogan uses his “3 words” to drive his rebirth every new year. At HB, we set four broad goals with specific, attainable tasks to complete throughout the year.

I plan to do the same for 2012. My three key developmental areas:

  • Writing and content development. Via JRHcreative and The HB Blog, I plan to write several blog posts a month. Some will serve as video posts.
  • Contributions. I will comment feverishly on marketing blogs and Google+ to stay abreast on industry trends and its fire starters.
  • Think big. My sense of design drives my thinking  – but I want to bring that aesthetic to my strategic development, content development, an ideation process.

One year from now, I plan to share my successes in a similar blog post… and develop three new concentrations for 2013.

What are your plans for next year? 

Apple Culture Design

Bringing Feedback to the Forefront

Finding Nemo Seagulls
Mine?! Mine?! Yours.

One of Steve Jobs’s legacies lives on at Pixar Animation Studios. Much like Apple, Pixar creates a unique, organic culture resulting in incredible, award-winning animated films. How do they do it?


Pixar prides themselves on constant feedback, a concept discussed in this Harvard Business Review article. Peers provide candid thoughts and recommendations throughout the movie-making process. Sometimes, Pixar will scrap an entire sequence or storyline based on internal team discussion.


How can feedback play a role in your life? I experienced an incredible session of feedback today while practicing for next week’s talk at Syracuse University. I shared the entire talk and presentation in front of my teammates (HBers), who provided straightforward feedback that will result in a better speech.


The best way to improve your product, brand or service? Share. As much as possible. Have a design that isn’t complete? Or the first few pages of a screenplay? Or maybe the first draft of a video blog? Share, share, share. A culture of sharing results in the best possible work. Just look at Pixar.

Apple Culture Design


Steve Jobs

As a creative, Steve Jobs’s leadership in the design of Apple’s products greatly influenced my career path. Perhaps more importantly, Jobs helped to develop an amazing culture at Apple – one that will continue to define the company he helped create. Rest in peace.