When you’re building your content marketing strategy, it’s important to consider all the ways you can reach your target audience. Focusing on your website, blog, and social media are not enough, because the amount of information that can be digested by readers on these channels is limited. Often, due to the fact readers scan, you have limited space to go in-depth about any of the solutions your business can provide.
But by creating an ebook and including it in your strategy, you are able to create a longer form of content that lets your potential customers know more about who you are and what you can offer. After all, they’ve downloaded it so they are willing to spend more time consuming it.
In recent years, ebooks have become a staple in content marketing, and it’s because brands are aware more people are reading them. It shows in the soaring sales of tablets and e-readers worldwide.
A study by the Guardian found that people recall information better when read from a printed book, but the mobility of an e-reader lets people take their books with them no matter where they go.
Favouring real books over ebooks (or vice versa) depends on certain circumstances. Publishers of books in all formats made almost $26 billion in revenue last year in the U.S. and $2.04 billion coming from ebook sales.
In May 2020, however, digital book revenues rose 39.2% compared to May 2019, generating $113 million USD. Additionally, 53% of individuals who own e-readers state that they now read more books than they did before.
This shows that, though gradual, demand for ebooks is once again on an upward trend.
But despite this evidence, many businesses are still not putting much effort into ebook creation.
They rely on what’s more familiar, and that often results in their content not being seen. Social media alone is oversaturated with paid ads and influencer posts, and it’s become less about how good your material is and instead about how much you have in your budget to boost.
By building your brand with an ebook, you can enjoy versatility in marketing. For one, your main subject is your expertise, which will help you stand out in today’s competitive marketplace.
This will earn the trust of your customers and accelerate your lead generation efforts. And you can use an ebook in so many ways (i.e. as a gift for customers who sign up for your email lists or as an actual product you can sell online).
That’s what three brands did, and they are now recognised authorities in their industries.
Hubspot uses ebooks to talk comprehensively about content. They have resources on social media management, SEO and ecommerce that are used to introduce the software they’ve developed for businesses.
Upwork, the largest database of freelancers worldwide, creates ebooks to guide beginners in remote work. And Hootsuite uses their annual Trends Report to share emergent social media trends and behaviours.
Like these companies, why not use ebooks to take control of your content and provide value that will help establish your authority in your industry?
In this blog, we’ll discuss how you can write an ebook that will represent who you are as an entrepreneur or business and raise your brand ahead of your competitors.
What is an ebook?
An ebook is an electronic version of a book or a publication. Its format allows it to be read on any number of devices like a laptop, tablet, phone, or e-reader. Because they exist in electronic form, they are distributed easily and at little to no cost.
Shopping for ebooks is the same as walking along a bookstore aisle and browsing hundreds of titles. But people love ebooks, because they are downloadable within minutes. You don’t have to go to a shop to buy them or wait for delivery.
They’re also more portable than physical books. If you’re reading on your tablet, it’s much easier to store compared to lugging around a huge hardcover in your bag while commuting.
E-readers can house thousands of ebooks on one device because of their small file size. And they save the environment too, reducing an enormous carbon footprint caused by printing.
Ebooks for businesses are usually a maximum of 125 pages long, broken down into subsections. Because of its digital format, some use visually appealing design elements to provide a clearer pathway for the reader to understand the ideas being presented.
How ebooks boost your brand
While it all boils down to knowing what you’re going to create and for what purpose you’ll be writing it, you’ll only succeed if your work is quality.
When you create an ebook that adds value to your potential customers it will enable you to:
Start a relationship with the reader
Reaching prospective buyers through a blog post, social media website, or paid ad is great, but with an ebook, you can develop an ongoing conversation.
Because an ebook is a more extensive piece of content, it has a lasting effect because you will be engaging with your audience for a longer time span.
The key is to keep your audience entertained and engaged, and that’s best achieved by being authentic. Share your brand’s beliefs, values, and mission. Let your personality shine through so your customers will easily relate with you.
Position your brand as an authority
When you position yourself as an authority in your industry, your customers will choose you over your competitors.
Ebooks let you demonstrate your knowledge. By doing so, you firm up your brand’s identity as a trusted source for solving serious pain points.
Remember, the more value you provide, the more your readers will associate your brand with the wealth of content they’ve received.
Reach a larger market
Your ebooks can reach prospective customers through a variety of channels. You can distribute through e-newsletters, ad placements on social media, or through a landing page on your website. Think about your target readers and how they will best see or find your ebook, so that you don’t miss any opportunities.
Build your email list
The most common inbound strategy that marketers use with ebooks is to offer it if they join their email list. If you can convince them to sign up, they become your immediate prospects that can be nurtured into paying customers.
Generate more leads
Ebooks give you the chance to showcase your brand’s capabilities. You can weave in your own case studies or input positive client experiences to support your content.
Because they’ve seen how you can solve their problems, your readers will believe in what you can offer, generating more leads and sales in the process.
The styles of ebooks you should create
Before writing, start by planning out the type of ebook you want to create.
Know your topic and the specific lessons or insights you want to share. Think of creative ways to present your ideas so that you champion your brand from start to finish.
The ebook you’re creating shouldn’t only be valuable to your target market, it should benefit your business as well. Ask yourself what role it will play in your overall marketing strategy and what results you want it to achieve (i.e leads, sales, online reach, etc.)
When you are sure about your objectives, you will then know what style of ebook you need to utilise.
Whether you’re marketing to other businesses or to consumers, storytelling works. It’s a style that has proven effective for years, and that’s why you need to share Your Hero’s Journey.
It’s a 12 step process to:
- Introduce yourself as the hero.
- Set up your circumstances.
- Create empathy for you and your journey.
- Detail the business opportunity in front of you.
- Explain the situation you’ve been thrust into.
- Detail how you are pursuing your opportunity.
- Highlight the conflict you’ve faced along the way.
- Introduce your support network.
- Explain how your journey has transformed you.
- Build to the climax of your story.
- Share the results of what you’ve gone through.
- Explain why you’re now best placed to serve your customers.
When you use the Hero’s Journey structure, it takes your audience on an adventure through your highs and lows as an entrepreneur. It shares your inspirations and motivations for starting your business, and allows your audience to relate and empathise with you.
You have the chance to deep dive into a topic or problem with ebooks. Thus, they’re the perfect medium for those who want to develop thought leadership content.
To be seen as a genuine thought leader, your ebook needs to discuss an idea that’s new, different, or even controversial within your industry. Then, you need to build on it.
Thought leadership ebooks are designed to be evergreen references that people can use as a trusted resource. Your claims should be backed up by research and data to provide relevant answers your readers need.
An ebook written as a branded story promotes your businesses and the good that you do. The narrative takes your readers to who you are and how you want to be seen in your marketplace. It aims to influence your customers to think of you and realise why they should engage with your brand.
Creating how-to guides takes a lot of time. It has to flow from start to finish. Clarity is key, whether you’re explaining how to use your newest product or showing the step-by-step process of a service. You have to foresee any questions your readers may have and address them in the content.
A capability statement ebook is all about your brand: what you offer, the work you’ve done, and what goals you are aiming to achieve. It’s your portfolio in full display. It can also feature you and your team, case studies, and awards received.
These ebooks are a great way to separate you from your competitors. It goes beyond selling; it’s about letting your audience see your worth.
Ebooks are now a staple in a companies’ marketing strategy. If you do it well, it will give you a direct line of communication with your ideal customers, position you as an authority, build your email lists and generate leads.