If there is only one thing you do every day without fail as an inbound marketer, it’s content creation. Day in and day out, you’re constantly creating content. It can be overwhelming – not only do you need new content; you need it to be relevant and remarkable. It’s hard enough coming up with new blog posts regularly and frequently. Add in videos, webinars and long-form content like eBooks and whitepapers, and you’ve got more than just your hands full, they’re overflowing.
It’s no wonder that lots of companies publish a blog, add in the occasional video or webinar, and call it a day. Perhaps they feel they have neither the talent nor the time to publish an eBook in-house. Perhaps they simply don’t have the time. There are compelling reasons, however, to make the extra effort to publish eBooks and whitepapers.
- Generate leads. eBooks and whitepapers are great at generating leads. In order to get the content, your reader has to give up at least their name and email address. Now you’ve got a lead. If you offer several eBooks or whitepapers, they might well come back after reading the first one and check out some of your other content. Now you’ve got a warm lead, someone who is definitely interested in what you offer and thus is more likely to want to talk to you. And from the point of view of the reader, you’re giving them information they want, not marketing your business. It’s a softer approach that resonates with people who feel marketed out.
- Move leads further down the sales funnel. Blogging gets you recognized, can increase your search engine rankings and builds a following; and some who read your blog will click on the CTA you put at the end of every post. (You are doing that, right?) When you offer eBooks, you can move that lead further down the sales funnel.eBook and whitepaper content tends to be middle-of-the-funnel material that requires a larger commitment from the reader. It’s longer and thus takes more time to read. It’s also more in-depth than a blog article. A reader who is committed enough to download your eBook, is probably closer to being ready to buy than a blog reader who skims your article in a minute or two.
- Increase your credibility. Content marketing relies on three relationship factors to bring leads to you. One, they know who you are. Two, they like you. Three, they trust you. This is where long-form content comes into play. If your book is well-written, thoughtful, and answers readers’ questions or solves a problem they have, you become their friend in need, their go-to hero. There is probably nothing in this world that can build instant trust; it takes time to do that, but an eBook can carry you a long way towards that goal.
- Showcase your expertise. When you publish an eBook or whitepaper, you become an expert in the eyes of your readers. Many people think that writing, never mind publishing, a book is such a tremendous undertaking, that no one but an authority on the subject would attempt it. If your eBook helps them, they begin to look to you for answers to their other questions and problems in your area of expertise.
- Show you care. There’s huge demand for digital books. For every 100 print books they sell, Amazon sells about 180 books in digital format. Of course, you’re not selling your eBook, you’re giving it away. The unspoken message is, “My mission is to serve my readers/customers, so I am giving this eBook/whitepaper to you.” An eBook or whitepaper written as part of your content marketing strategy is shorter, easier to read, and, hopefully, more interesting than an academic tome. In other words it’s accessible. You write it for your target audience, your buyer persona. When you speak (that is, write) directly to your reader, you demonstrate your company’s authenticity and transparency.
Of course, there are lots more reasons to publish an eBook, like being able to claim authorship on your LinkedIn profile, but for marketing, it boils down to giving your audience what they want/need to choose your company to buy from. Check back tomorrow to read about HOW to write and publish an eBook.