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Ron LIeback of ContentMender: “Excepting and learning from negative criticism”

The book has been the ultimate credential for influencing prospective clients and loyalty among existing clients. ContentMender is an SEO agency with a sharp focus on written content. When you become an expert on what you’re selling and have the book to back that, your services or products will resonate with buyers quicker. As a part […]

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The book has been the ultimate credential for influencing prospective clients and loyalty among existing clients. ContentMender is an SEO agency with a sharp focus on written content. When you become an expert on what you’re selling and have the book to back that, your services or products will resonate with buyers quicker.


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 Ron Lieback.

Lieback is the founder/CEO of ContentMender, an SEO-driven content marketing agency, and founder of 365 to Vision, a productivity hacking brand that’s the focus of his books. Lieback, who has ghostwritten over 500 articles for major CEOs and founders in publications like Forbes, also runs the online operations at UltimateMotorcycling.com, a publication that garners a million readers monthly across its website and digital magazine. 365 to Vision: Modern Writer’s Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time), is the debut book in the 365 to Vision series.


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?

I’ve been writing since around the turn of the century within various disciplines, from traditional journalism to fiction to digital. I had my ups and downs in the beginning, using writing as a form of relaxation and also as a way to supplement some income. But I learned how to match my passions with the written word, and haven’t truly worked since that day. Over the past decade, I discovered how to create a seven-figure business and travel the world doing what I love. This prompted my idea to write about writing, and show others how to create more quality writing in less time, which will allow them to screw around in life and do what they truly love.

Can you share a pivotal story that shaped the course of your career?

A nervous breakdown. At one point in my mid-20s, I was playing music, writing, taking 21 credits per semester, and working full time at a local newspaper. I slept minimally, thinking I can do it all. I was wrong and literally crashed. When I awoke from that day I decided at that point to change everything in my life, and writing was at the core center. I went from a dreamer of the arts to an executioner in business and set out to learn everything possible to build a business based on the essential elements of writing.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Are you working on any new writing projects?

Currently, I’m completing the final edits on my second book in the “365 to Vision” series: 365 to Vision: Time Management Inverted (Productivity Hacks for Stress-Free Living). I’m also working through acquiring my first company, a relationship that began due to my debut book.

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?

Modern Writer’s Guide was designed to be read quickly, and provide valuable lessons from craft to form to writing for SEO learning tips from journalism to embracing productivity habits. The main theme running through the book is just what the subtitle says: how to produce more quality writing in less time. Within the first three months of publication, readers mostly responded to chapters three and four on routines and time management, respectively. Those chapters show that writing isn’t a process of waiting for the proverbial muse but rather a process of routines and a focus on optimizing time when writing (zero distractions from email or text, and a disciplined schedule daily).

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?

The three character traits are:

1 — Excepting and learning from negative criticism: haters will always exist, and they’ll always find something wrong with what you wrote, whether not agreeing with a principal or a missed comma. Learn early to deal with criticism. Embrace it, and learn from it. Sometimes it’s warranted, other times not so much. Regardless, it’ll happen. Deal with it professionally.

2 — Willingness to learn the world of book marketing: you can’t be successful without readers, just as a business can’t be successful without customers/clients. Read everything you can about marketing your book. Immediately begin publicizing your book as much as possible through traditional PR outreach, guest posting on relevant and reputable websites, and learn the world of Amazon advertising. The latter is vital for success, along with learning how to optimize your Amazon book page.

3 — Don’t expect to retire: many people think publishing a book means you become rich. It’s far from it. But it will make your business rich if you know how to market yourself and your company through your book.

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?

The book has been the ultimate credential for influencing prospective clients and loyalty among existing clients. ContentMender is an SEO agency with a sharp focus on written content. When you become an expert on what you’re selling and have the book to back that, your services or products will resonate with buyers quicker.

The book also opened a few relationships with some other authors/experts mentioned within the book, which led to future business among my company. One led to possibly my first company acquisition, which is underway as I type.

Can you talk to our readers a bit about the benefits of becoming an author and promoting a book? Can you explain to other leaders why they should invest resources and energy into this? Can you share a few examples of how writing a book in particular and thought leadership in general can create lucrative opportunities and help a business or brand grow?

Becoming an author will position you as an authority within your industry immediately. Just make sure it’s well written, edited, and puts the reader’s interests first. I’d argue that writing a book is an essential portion of brand awareness — more so than the usual social media posting and guest posting across other channels. My book has helped seal a few of ContentMender’s largest clients, and opened up relationships with key players within my industry that have led to other opportunities, such as ghostwriting for both books and regular articles, productivity and writing consulting, and even a possible acquisition of a company.

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 a story about that which other aspiring writers can learn from?

I wish I knew about pre-sales. Basically, you can promote your book before it hits the market, and create an aggressive campaign leading up to your sales date. That way the book will hit a higher rank for a category you’re promoting within Amazon, and help your overall sales rank. I choose here to only talk about Amazon because that’s where the bulk of my book sales come from. I’m a firm believer in an 80/20 lifestyle, so I put all of my energy into promoting and selling on Amazon.

Also, I wish I got some pre-copies out to published authors or other experts within my industry for some quick testimony blurbs. Nothing sells a book like having an established expert/author endorsing it. They will also naturally promote your book if featured on the covers. This is a huge opportunity I missed out on, though I’ll be doing just that when I release the second edition of Modern Writer’s Guide.

Based on your experience, which promotional elements would you recommend to an author to cover on their own and when would you recommend engaging a book publicist or marketing expert?

I think authors should personally reach out to reputable publications that can help push their names either by offering guest posts or asking to be featured. It never hurts to simply ask. Find a reputable agency to take care of advertising on Amazon because it’s a very unique machine. And also, never release a book without a dedicated website, even if it’s a one-page website, though a multiple-page website will also be better. Here, hire an expert digital marketeer to create an SEO-friendly website that’s optimized for your book title and your author name. This helps build further credibility and provides a channel that you own where you can frequently blog or link to from other PR materials. I say publication you own because many rely only on channels they don’t own — Medium, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Any of those channels can remove your content quickly. Basically, you don’t own it. The key is to have your own blog on your own website, what I call “home base”, and amplify those blogs on social media.

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.

1 — Build a Website and Newsletter List: I covered this above. Build a website. Create it so it highlights your voice, opinions, and uniqueness about your brand. And never build one without SEO in mind. Also, make one of your major CTAs a newsletter signup form, and begin building your newsletter list. This will allow you to constantly communicate with your current readers, build loyalty, and allow you to promote your services/products or get ready for your next book launch!

2 — Blog Frequently: This is imperative for success. Blog on your websites constantly and consistently. This will help build your brand awareness, and build your rankings online for your book and what lessons you’re sharing from your book. Also, if you have a business, blog under your own byline. The more writing you do, the better you’ll become, and the larger you’ll grow.

3 — Amplify through Social and Create a Following: Do this by constantly posting across your social channels. Also, repurpose already published pieces on channels like Medium or LinkedIn. If you’ve got a post that’s resonating on a channel like Facebook, through a few bucks worth of advertising spend and target your specific audience.

4 — Advertise on Amazon: Amazon controls the book marketplace. Learn how to advertise wisely on Amazon, targeting fellow authors within your niche or business categories.

5 — Guest post everywhere and build reputations with publications: One of my most solid marketing channels is through guest posting on reputable and relevant websites. I can attribute over $200K a year in business revenue directly to prospective clients I’ve gained through my guest posts. I also gained some readers, and each one typically links to my website in a bio, which helps my SEO. Remember to never be self-promotional when guest posting — always provide value, and focus on adding unique value to the publication and its readers first. Can’t keep up with your guest posting? Hire a ghostwriting but ALWAYS do the final edits and put your twist on those words.

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, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Dave Asprey. He was literally a “game changer” for me, and influenced me to become a biohacker. Biohacking is a huge part of my productivity habits. I’d also like to sip some wine with Tim Ferriss and Bret Easton Ellis, two of my favorite authors from two drastically different worlds.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I publish frequently on a few channels, including

  • 365toVision.com
  • ContentMender.com
  • SearchEngineJournal.com
  • Forbes.com

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.

Thanks! It was my pleasure 🙂

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