What’s an ebook then? Like the ones they sell on Amazon?
Well, no. Some of you may own an ebook reader, on which you can download your favourite novels for when you go on holiday or…to bed. Marketing ebooks are different from these because they are much shorter, hopefully more informative, and are hardly ever about wizards.
eBooks are used as an alternative to things like white papers, often containing interactive elements, like pages you can turn with your mouse, embedded videos, and hyperlinks to further information. The ones we produce at Radix are normally between 8-12 pages long, are largely conversational in tone and full of lots of nice design elements. The idea is they are fun to read and less ‘academic’ than a lot of traditional long-form marketing materials.
What are they used for?
eBooks are most often used as top-of-funnel pieces to raise awareness of an issue or educate an audience. Many of the ones we write at Radix are also used to showcase the benefits of products or product ranges, collate customer success stories, or provide thought-leadership on emerging trends.
How should an ebook be written?
I’m glad you asked. The whole purpose of an ebook is to make complicated or large amounts of content easily digestible.
Here are our top 5 tips for doing just that:
1. Know your audience, and write specifically for them – a catch-all approach will catch no-one. Research their persona so you know what their job role is, what their needs are, and what part of the solution you’re promoting will appeal to them.
2. Give your ebook a catchy title that highlights a problem your target audience has
And a subtitle that explains how your ebook will help them to solve it
3. Write it in everyday, conversational language – the sort your audience actually uses. (Sometimes it’s useful to find people who fit the persona on Twitter and see the kind of language they use in their tweets – not very scientific, but at least it helps to remind you that you’re writing for a fellow human being.)
4. Minimize the amount of content on each page.
Break up texts into small chunks.
Highlight key points with interesting facts, figures and “quotes”.
You can also break up text with videos and pictures.
5. Think about how much of your ebook actually needs to be written, and what elements could be conveyed by design or illustration instead. Include basic instructions to the designer to explain how the illustration, design, or layout of the finished piece needs to complement the copy.
Great. Are there any things to avoid when writing an ebook?
Yes: don’t plagiarise, libel, or use Comic Sans. Although do remember that you can’t be charged for libelling the dead. Henry VI taught me that during one of his horse-stealing, crop-ruining, drinking binges.
On a serious note, the purpose of an ebook is to educate and explain relatively dense amounts of information in a fun and succinct manner. For this reason it’s best not to make them too long as you’ll risk losing your audience’s attention. As an illustration, take this quote from a strangely anti-ebook blog post on the website TheMcMethod.com, which has used an unusual and convoluted bovine analogy to complain about a lack of brevity.
“Giving someone an ebook is like giving someone an entire cow to eat. Who the hell eats a cow? No one. A cow is too big to eat or digest. Imagine trying to eat a whole cow. Ugh.”
Is giving someone an ebook like giving someone a cow?
Well no, not actually. In fact, barely even metaphorically. I guess what we’re staying here is make your ebooks…easily digestible. It’s probably worth using your own judgement however, considering the above blog was trying to sell something that could
“See your business grow by at least 25% in the next 90 days.”
What was it trying to sell?
Probably 75% of a cow.
Do you have any good ebook examples?
We could show you some of the ebooks we’ve created, but our confidentiality agreements mean we would then have to kill you. Instead, why not look at these examples we’ve sourced from the web:
The 7 Myths of Content Marketing
Lose Control of Your Marketing!
Content tips with a copy focus
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