What are eBooks?eBooks are a great way to build upon your well-oiled content marketing machine. It is perfect for businesses and organizations that want to explain complex information in a readable and easily digestible way.
The content presented in an eBook is sort of a cross between the more serious white paper and the infographics that rely on visually appealing readers with their design and flow.
The Content Marketing Institute describes eBooks in the following way:
"Think of it as a white paper on steroids: a report, generally 12 – 40 or more pages in length, that presents complex information in a visually attractive, reader-friendly format. The content is both informative and entertaining; the tone, collegial; the format, 'chunky' rather than linear, to facilitate skimming and scanning."Compared to other content marketing strategies, eBooks are longer and represent a more educational form of content. Aside from white papers, it is the best way to communicate your brand or company's expertise in a particular area in a creative capacity.
Why eBooks?1. You can advance your company or organization as a thought leader.
This definition is helpful as it allows companies to understand that a critical dimension of branding. When individuals and other companies respect your knowledge in a particular subject, you improve the public perception of your business as a legitimate source of expertise. eBooks help you present information in a way that commands both the attention and respect of your market.
Organizations like the Content Marketing Institute release eBooks that inform and solidify the general understanding that the organization has valuable expertise in giving content marketing advice to businesses. For example, check out the "100 Content Marketing Examples" eBook released by CMI. Notice the combination of aesthetics and content - the blending of visual appealing images and information about businesses can succeed using similar marketing tactics.
2. You can increase search engine visibility.
Businesses that diversify the type of content being published online can significantly boost their online presence and increase their search engine optimization (SEO).
eBooks, because they are searchable, can be a valuable landing page for those who were looking for answers for a particular question. For example, typing in "100 examples of content marketing" or "top 100 content marketing examples" will yield the eBook created by CMI mentioned earlier. If your content is valuable and the eBook provides insight that others found useful, other organizations and websites with high authority may provide anchor texts (clickable text in a hyperlink) to the content itself and lift your position in popular search engines.
If your website is already running and you have a company blog (we highly recommend that you do), you can pick up some leads by displaying the eBook on your home page or writing about the type of content being presented in a blog pot. Having multiple mentions of the subject matter being written throughout your website and building backlinks to your home page or a particular landing page can be valuable in populating search results with your company's name at the front. Remember, not many individuals venture further than the fifth or sixth search result, and a vast majority will never click on the second page to see the results presented there. Building your position on the search engine results is an invaluable asset to increasing traffic to your site.
3. You can capture a target audience at both ends of the sales funnel.
Jonathan Kranz from Kranz Communications wrote that "Most often, my clients see ebooks as attractive tools at the front end of the sales funnel, as a way to build brands and attract leads. But… at least two of my clients used ebooks for leverage at the back end of the funnel, convincing fence-sitting prospects that they (my clients) were the true experts within their prospects’ short lists, inspiring those prospects to commit and become customers."
The dual function of eBooks is evident in the way that consumers are attracted by the content.
First, by increasing search engine visibility and thereby creating organic traffic to your site, customers who are searching online for a particular product or service may stumble upon your blog that provides more information your level of expertise. Prospective customers who were made aware of your product or service because they were linked to your website from different site or because of organic searches on a search engine are those near the front end of the sales funnel. They're aware of your product and aware of a problem or issue for which they'd like a solution. Your landing pages, blogs, online PDF eBooks were able to attract their attention and notify them of your website's existence. In this circumstance, your eBook can bolster your legitimacy and expertise even before consumers were aware of a particular service or product you provide.
Second, those in the back end of the sales funnel may have been familiar with the product or service that you provide but remained indecisive. They may be comparing the quality of your service with that of another competitor and trying to identify niches that may be more suitable to their tastes. In this case, eBooks can be instrumental in communicating your professional knowledge of the particular subject matter. Those who have dedicated the resources to create a lengthier identification of problems and explanations for solutions are companies that are more attractive to the indecisive consumer.
Next StepsYou have to develop your distribution strategy early, as a poor one may lead to lackluster results and a poor investment of the resources that you used to create it. If you are still building traffic, use the eBook as a promotional tool to drive traffic and capture leads. Some websites send newsletters or emails that promote a free, downloadable eBook that may be of value to the recipient.
Make sure to include a call to action in your eBook. Where should the reader go for more information? What should the reader to next? Is there a resource on your website that helps answer additional questions? Can the reader sign up or subscribe for more emails like these? The CMI suggests providing links and calls to action on every page because, "Why not?" It will only help build upon your SEO and help your readers have access to convenient resources. Don't forget to set up your analytics so you can track your returns on the investment.
Having trouble starting? Check out this blog post by HubSpot on creating an eBook from start to finish (you gain access to some templates as well).
For more information about creating valuable content for marketing to general audiences as well as for specific military audiences, check out some of previous blog posts about content marketing. Check out some of RallyPoint's unique Business Services here and have access to more than 740,000 members of the military and former military on our social network.