When many hear the term “eBook” they immediately think of cozying up with their Kindle to catch up on a favorite novel. Many people think of eBooks as mediums for professional authors and writers. However, eBooks can and should be used for marketing purposes as well and, as such, can be a very useful tool in your PR toolbox.
You may be asking yourself “why would I want to write a book?” Or “how would an eBook actually turn the dial for my organization?” And even thinking “writing a book sounds like it would take way too much time and energy.”’ We totally get it. However, there are many reasons to write an eBook, especially for leaders of purpose-driven organizations.
eBooks are an amazing tool for thought leadership and expert positioning, they represent a plethora of content that can easily be repurposed on owned media channels, they highlight your expertise and purpose, and they can earn you recognition from the press. Finally, they probably don’t require as much effort as you might imagine. Let’s take a deep dive and explore the wonderful world of eBooks.
What exactly is an eBook?
Ebooks are a medium to compile and share in-depth information with target audiences in a long-form format. eBooks really shine in terms of showcasing you or your organization’s expertise and thought-leadership in a particular area or topic. If your organization provides therapy for women suffering from addiction, perhaps your eBook will focus on different care models and success rates for the demographic you serve. If your company provides B2B strategy and support to improve workplace equity, then your eBook might be an in-depth discussion on challenges, solutions, and opportunities to improve workplace culture. Whatever your story, your work, or your purpose, eBooks provide a fantastic opportunity to share your passion and voice.
When thinking about your eBook topic, think first about your areas of expertise. Why do you do what you do? Who do you serve? How are you making a difference? What challenges do you or your community face, and what solutions do you provide? We guarantee you will have a lot to say when you look at the topics that come from the root of your purpose. The eBook will practically write itself!
Second, think about your target audiences. Who are you writing for? What do they want to know? Are they your constituents? Your clients? Potential partners? Think about your overall marketing goals and how your eBook could support what you want to achieve from an outreach, marketing, or sales perspective. An eBook is an amazing tool to amplify your voice in a particular topic area, so who needs to hear what you have to say? Once you’ve selected your topic and an audience target, you’ll be ready to write!
eBook best practices
Though an eBook can certainly be a text-heavy long-form essay, most people who write an eBook for PR and marketing purposes will include more visual and interactive elements such as charts, infographics, and even videos to help explain complicated concepts. Here are a few best practices for writing an eBook:
- Think about your audience and how they will engage with your eBook. Will a scholarly article format be the best model to get your message across? Or would your audience be more engaged with visual storytelling elements?
- Next, you will need to select the file format for your eBook. There are several publishing choices available and each have their own pros and cons in terms of capabilities. Again, think about your audience, what kinds of elements will interest them (text, video, etc.), and where they are likely to interact with your eBook (on your website, downloaded for their Kindle, etc.). The most common file formats are epub, mobi, PDF and HTML5. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, so research each type before deciding on the format that works best for you and your audience.
- Once you are ready to get to work, select a catchy title for your eBook and think about cover graphics that will grab your audiences’ attention. How can you capture your purpose or cause in the title? How can you explain the immediate need for your work? Remember, your eBook is a marketing tool, so position it as such! While drab titles likely won’t get any clicks, creative and catchy titles will capture the attention and imagination of your audience!
- Include a bio section explaining who you are and why you are an expert on your topic. You’re still convincing folks they NEED to read your eBook, so tell them exactly why you are the foremost expert in your field.
- Make sure your eBook is formatted in a way that makes it easy for your audience to download, print, or access on their mobile device. It would be a bummer to go through all the work of writing your eBook and then not be able to print it out and share it at your upcoming board meeting.
- Don’t forget to include a call to action as part of the conclusion of your eBook. What should your reader do now? Donate to support your organization? Sign up to volunteer? Pay for your ongoing professional services? Whatever it is, create a conversion tool that allows your readers to further engage with you or your organization.
Why should you add an eBook to your marketing and communications plan?
If you’re still not convinced, remember, from a PR perspective eBooks are a fantastic way to garner media attention. The publication of your eBook can and should be a press-worthy moment, so get that press release drafted and ready to send. You are an expert in your field, showcase your thought leadership, and amplify the reach of your ideas with a media outreach campaign to highlight the publication of your eBook.
Further, once you’ve published this long-form piece, remember, you can take bits and pieces, images and infographics, and repurpose them for your owned media channels such as your e-newsletter, blog, and social channels. Track your success by looking at SEO metrics, social shares, digital downloads, and lead generation. When all is said and published, eBooks are certainly worth the effort!
Diana Crawford is a seasoned public relations consultant with more than 15 years of agency, consulting, and in-house experience. She joined Orapin in 2013 and manages account services and client communications strategy development. She has worked across a variety of industries and has expertise with professional services, food/alcohol, health and wellness, lifestyle, sports, education, tech, and non-profit organizations.