Guest post by Alex Clifford
You may or may not be using ebooks as part of your content marketing. Done well, they can be the ‘killer’ part of your content marketing. You’ll get attention, time and influence. Which is much more than the hurried blog reader will give you.
However, ebooks are surrounded by myths and assumptions. So in order for your ebook to be a lead-generating beast, here’s what you need to forget.
“People will download it because it’s free”
In the early days of the internet, people downloaded everything that was free. It was a novelty.
But it’s no longer like that. If they’re exchanging their contact details, they need to know that they’re getting something valuable. Play up the benefits of why they should read your ebook. What will they gain from reading it? Why should they share their contact details with you?
They won’t take it just because it’s free. Point out the benefits.
“It’s easy to tell the difference between my content and crap content”
It used to be easy to spot the difference between good ebooks and bad ebooks. You know, crappy bloggers with their 200-page ebook. Yellow highlighter everywhere. Poorly written content. Then they’d spam you forever. It was truly awful!
Times have changed. Velocity Partners argue that crap content will become more widespread in companies in 2013. But it will masquerade as good content.
“We’re about to be covered in crap content. The weak stuff will look a lot like the good stuff. Snappy titles. Come-hither subtitles. Friendly, open design. But it’s only when people actually eat the stuff, they realise how bad it is.” they argue.
You’ll be competing against content which looks great but tastes awful. So make sure your content is presented well! Otherwise it won’t even get a look in.
“I can write it in a hurry”
Writing a good ebook isn’t as simple as just hitting the keyboard and typing all day. It needs structure. It needs planning. It needs to read well.
First of all, you need a skeleton. What do you want to achieve with your ebook? Who’s going to be reading it? What is the big, spinal idea behind it?
Start with that. Then plan out a list of chapter titles. Only then should you add flesh to the limbs. Keep writing bits here and there until you’re done.
When it’s at a first draft, you’ll want to go over it. You should want to edit it, before you’re happy with it. Editing can be quite time intensive, so you might want to get a professional freelance editor to do this for you.
If it was written in a hurry and wasn’t edited well, your readers will know. It won’t flow. Or it’ll be choppy. Or some bits will lack energy. So make sure you’ve got plenty of time for production.
“If I make it, people will come”
You can’t just assume that people will read your content and then share it onto social networks.
You need to be a proactive social ninja, rockstar, guru… and take up one of those job titles! Build sharing tools on your website, and track how well your content spreads, and how many people are downloading it.
Your ebooks are likely to be the explosive part of your content marketing. They’ll transform your visitors into leads, and your leads into customers. It’ll be the difference between just having people who read your blog, and actual customers. But if you’re going to use ebooks, make sure you don’t believe those myths above!
Alex Clifford is Marketing Executive at Virally. Virally is a platform for your content marketing campaigns, it helps your content spread on social networks and gives you richer information about your leads. Visit Virally’s blog for more tips on content marketing.