E-books: The Core of Content Marketing
[This is the third article in my “thought leadership” series.]
Now that you have conducted some research on your customers and identified their most common questions and concerns, it’s time to put that knowledge to use in your content marketing campaign.
Sometimes blogging simply does not provide the length or depth needed to adequately cover a topic or answer a complex question for a company’s target audience. Enter the e-book*.
An e-book is a PDF-formatted document that:
- Identifies a market problem.
- Supplies an answer to the problem.
- Is targeted to a specific group of people.
A typical e-book (a.k.a. free report) is 10-30 pages in length, presented in landscape format with a color design and often includes images, illustrations, charts and graphs, if appropriate to the topic. In contrast to a white paper, the e-book is designed to have an entertainment and motivational element behind its educational purpose. It should be fun to read.
This is where your survey system becomes important. If your company understands customers’ needs and challenges, it can begin to create an editorial plan for e-books which precisely target specific groups and provide answers to their questions.
Types of e-books include, but are not limited to:
- “How-to” (steps to accomplish a task).
- Top 10 lists (to solve a problem).
- Reports based upon research.
The e-book should be posted to your company’s online library or resource page and heavily promoted via news releases, newsletters, your blog, social media sites and other channels as appropriate.
If the e-book is a “hit” among the first readers, they will often share it with their friends, creating a word-of-mouth marketing effect, which will send more interested prospects to your company’s website for more information.
*This term is not to be confused with the type of “e-books” available for purchase and download for an electronic book reader such as Amazon Kindle or Apple iPad.