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whitepapers

Writing an ebook for content marketing

Posted on January 20, 2018 by admin tagged with , , , , under Strategy

I’ve had a few recent discussions with people asking me about creating a piece of reusable content in the form of medium-sized report, or ebook, that can be used for marketing, lead generation and sales collateral.

To answer that question I usually start by saying there a numerous options for creating reusable content and a popular one is the trusty whitepaper report. Whitepapers are low-risk projects that can be produced fairly quickly for organisations on a budget – and a pressing campaign deadline!

In this case the person had a copy of an ebook guide produced by a multinational software company and was captivated by its long-term appeal. To that I said whitepapers can be appealing too, you just need to have meaningful content in them. But no, he was convinced he wanted some that is “kept and continuously referred to rather than read once and discarded”.

With that in mind I’ve decided to put together a multi-part blog series on what’s involved to produce a longer format ebook for content marketing.

Start with understanding the desired outcome

Before you start writing your ebook, think about the options you have for longer-format content. Assess whether one or more pieces of longer-format content will work with short-format content like that found blogs and social media. And, as always, consider how the final work will fit in with your overall marketing and customer relations strategies.

In the case of an ebook, the main outcome for the business is a guide that can be used as a reference over a long period of time rather than a single-campaign whitepaper report.

The table below summarises common outcomes for report-oriented content marketing.

ProductDescription
Whitepaper
  • Vary in length and content. Start at three to five pages, but can easily turn into a 20-page technical documents.
  • Often used to support marketing campaign themes and brand positioning. E.g. “7 ways to reduce storage infrastructure costs”.
Guide or ebook
  • Longer format than a whitepaper report covering a range of topics relevant to the sponsor’s market.
  • The distribution can be electronic or print (if needed).
Printed book
  • A printed book in the traditional sense which is used to build thought leadership within an industry and beyond.
  • Usually co-authored by one of the founders of the company. See Salesforce.com’s Behind the Cloud book by Marc Benioff as an example.

Successful publishing projects require diligent planning and a mandate as to why you want to do it in the first place – ebooks are no different.

In the next instalment I’ll discuss the key steps involved in producing an ebook for marketing.