If you want to educate a B2B audience about a new subject, an ebook is often a good way to do it. They’re long enough to give real value and insight, but with the right structure, design and copywriting, they can be engaging enough to attract readers relatively early in the buying process.

And here at Radix, ebooks are something of a speciality. We’ve written literally hundreds of them, for B2B technology brands all over the world.

On this page, we’ll share a little of what we’ve learned. Or you might prefer to simply email us and chat about your own ebook project.

eBook copywriting services: quick navigation

What makes a great B2B ebook?

In our experience, the best B2B ebooks combine three critical elements.

A clear, specific audience

You’re asking a B2B decision-maker to spend their time reading, so you need to make it clear this subject applies to them in particular. So it’s critical to know who your reader is, what matters to them, and what they want from your content.

Ideally, an ebook should provoke some kind of emotional response alongside the information. To make it resonate, you need to understand what makes the reader tick – perhaps reframing an issue they know, to introduce them to a concept they don’t. This is especially true for audiences who are relatively early in their buying process.

Genuinely helpful content

The best ebook content builds a positive association with your brand because it rewards the reader for their time. You might be sharing new research, providing useful insights, or spelling out practical steps to help them overcome a challenge; the important part is that it’s something they can actually use.

Whether you’re gating the content, or simply enticing them with a strong headline and introduction, your ebook is a promise. When you keep it – by delivering real value – your reader learns to trust you. They’re more likely to recommend the content to colleagues and peers, too.

Interesting and enjoyable to read

It shouldn’t need saying, but an ebook isn’t something to be endured. If it’s boring or difficult to read, your audience will simply stop (and possibly make a mental note not to read your content in future).

That makes great copywriting essential; usually, a great ebook is not something a subject matter expert can deliver on their own.

The good news is that in B2B, readability is often overlooked. You can often stand out in a crowded sector, simply by creating content that doesn’t feel like hard work.

When is an ebook the right choice?

We’re not content marketing strategists, but research from the Content Marketing Institute suggests ebooks are most often used to turn awareness into leads. That makes sense, because a strong, valuable ebook is attractive enough to be gated (as long as the content delivers the value you’ve promised).

But it’s a versatile format, and we regularly see clients use ebooks throughout the awareness and interest phases of the funnel. With a well-thought out, well-structured, and well-written ebook, you can collate success stories, break down topics into absorbable insights, or showcase your latest product – in one easily digestible piece of content.

So maybe you’ve discovered some revolutionary insights into an emerging cyber-security trend. Perhaps you want to educate your potential buyers on the biggest benefits of a new kind of technology. Or it could be you’ve just commissioned an industry-shaping report into digital customer experiences. If you have something valuable to share, and you want to present it in an engaging, conversational way that has weight – without getting too deep into the detail – an ebook could work well.

What’s the difference between an ebook and a white paper?

This is a common question. As longer, mid-funnel content pieces, ebooks and white papers can often overlap. Here’s how we see the distinction:

  • An ebook tends to focus the issue at a high level, where a white paper dives deeper into the technical information, and presents a solution.
  • eBooks tend to be used slightly earlier in the marketing funnel, because they’re light and engaging. White papers need more commitment to read, so the prospect is usually well on the way to a decision before engaging.
  • eBook audiences don’t often need specific technical knowledge, where a white paper reader has usually done more research, and is ready to get into the details.
  • eBooks are frequently design-led, with clearly signposted sections and bite-sized, scannable chunks. While design choices vary, white papers usually have an audience that’s already engaged, so can afford to look more serious, with lots of text to the fore.

If you’d like more detail, we have a whole blog post about the issue. But ultimately, the conventions of the format you choose are less important than focusing on your audience’s needs, and creating a piece of content that engages and delivers value.

How long should a B2B ebook be – and what should I include?

Most content marketing ebooks we write are around 2,000-2,500 words long. At this length, they have sufficient weight to be really valuable, and the sections can potentially be atomised into supporting blog content, without the reader feeling shortchanged. But they’re still light enough to be digested relatively quickly, and to offer a lighter alternative to the academic white paper style.

However, the length can be shorter or much longer, depending on your needs, and where the content fits into your marketing plan. The Radix price list includes standard options from 1,500 words upwards, and we’ve worked on documents of 10,000 words and more.

Although each ebook is different, key elements include:

A strong introduction that grabs the reader. A good introduction shows you know exactly who they are – and why they should care what you have to say.
Enticing, appealing headings, that clearly signpost the story you are telling. These should be scannable, so the reader knows what to expect, and tease them into reading the sections.
An illustrated story – and not just with graphics. Calling out key, statistics and examples adds authority and makes the piece engaging.
Key takeaways or recommendations at the end of every section. This makes the content quick to digest, drives home your point, and underlines to the reader how much they’re learning.

Most of the ebooks we write end up published as PDFs, but if you want to use new, interactive formats like Turtl, we can do that too.

How can Radix help me with my ebook content?

Clear, authoritative copywriting

We have a whole team of writers, with years of experience writing ebooks about B2B technology, for all kinds of business audiences. We aim to write in a way that’s true to your brand’s voice, but also delivers the snappy, informative experience an ebook reader expects.

SME interviews and content advice

Smart, easy-reading copy is just one area where that experience pays dividends. It also means we’re used to getting the best from subject matter experts – asking the right questions, so they don’t feel like they’re wasting their time – and finding a strong, engaging story amid the expertise. We can help you shape your content, find an angle that stands out in your sector, and devise supporting content pieces to lead your audience to the main ebook asset.

Timesaving project management support

Meanwhile, your Radix account manager will oversee the project for you. We’ll schedule interviews and writing time, provide up-front costs, and generally take the stress out of the process – so you know your copy will arrive on time with the minimum of fuss.

In fact, pretty much the only thing we don’t do for you is design the ebook document. (Though we’re happy to recommend designers if you don’t have one, and we’ll generally supply your copy with lots of suggestions for box-outs, pull quotes and other aspects to make the finished piece visually varied and appealing.)

What is your process for writing an ebook?

Through years of experience, and hundreds of ebook projects, we’ve developed a trusted process that helps us to deliver the best results. Although each ebook is different, here’s what you can expect from us:

  1. We’ll take your initial brief. This can be a written document, but usually involves a call to chat through your project and objectives.
  2. We’ll send you a fixed quote. Your Radix account manager will work with our writing team to create a quote for you to approve. This includes research and amends time, so there’ll be no hidden costs as long as the project scope stays the same.
  3. We’ll arrange interviews with your subject matter experts, if you’d like us to, saving you the time.
  4. We’ll agree a delivery schedule for the copy. In our experience, your experts’ availability is usually the main thing shapes the delivery timeline. Once these are in the diary, we’ll have a very accurate idea when you’ll receive the outline and (subject to getting your feedback promptly) the first draft of your copy.
  5. We’ll conduct the interview and research. If you prefer to interview the subject matter expert yourself, that’s fine, but we do find we get better results if we can talk direct. We’ll also conduct desk research as necessary after the interview, to flesh out the ideas and information with the right references and statistics.
  6. We’ll send you an outline of your white paper. This is a skeleton document, paying particular attention to the introduction and the information we’ll cover in each section. It’s an important step, because it gives you a chance to verify we’re taking the right approach before we go too far into the copywriting itself.
  7. We’ll review at every stage. Like all Radix copy, your ebook copy will be reviewed by a second writer at every stage, in line with our quality assurance checklist. This aims to ensure the copy is of the highest standard before it reaches you (but it’s important that you check it carefully too).
  8. We’ll write the first draft once we’ve received your consolidated feedback on the outline. This will usually be provided as a Word document, and we can email it or upload to a file sharing or collaboration platform of your choice. While we don’t do design, your copy will usually include suggestions for graphics and feature items like pull quotes, side bars and box outs.
  9. We’ll refine the document based on your feedback, until we reach a final version. We include up to two rounds of these amends in your quote, even though we rarely use them, because it’s important you’re totally happy. But we do ask you to compile feedback from any stakeholders, so we can work from definitive instructions.

Once the copy is signed off, over to you to have the content designed into an attractive ebook – and use it to start engaging readers and generating leads.

Can you show me some great ebooks you’ve written?

We’d love to; here are some examples we’re particularly pleased with. However, we’ve written a whole assortment of different ebook types, about most aspects of business-to-business technology. So if you’d like to see something more relevant to your needs, please do ask us.

HR eBookBeat your hidden hiring biases

Client: SkillSurvey (working with Velocity Partners)

The key to a truly convincing argument is clear statistics at every stage. So when digital hiring experts SkillSurvey wanted to make the case for diverse hiring processes, Radix copywriter Kieran took a forensic approach.

The resulting ebook is a credible, authoritative text that conveys an important, data-driven message.

Cybersecurity ebookGDPR and Third Party Management Guides

Client: Information Risk Management (IRM)

It’s not so long ago that EU GDPR was a huge worry for B2B audiences, and marketers were rushing to create any content they could on the issue. These guides for cybersecurity experts IRM stood out from the crowd because they were genuinely useful – not adding to the panic, but instead giving helpful advice on what to do.

In doing so (in clear, readable copy) they help to demonstrate the company’s expertise, and build trust. And although the cover says “whitepaper”, the snappy content and attractive design of these guides make them feel more like to us.

Mental Health Report 2018

Client: AdviserPlus

There’s an exception to every rule. And this ebook report didn’t follow our usual process; instead, we started with AdviserPlus’s detailed report findings, and edited them down into a compelling ebook telling an important story for HR leaders worldwide.

Cutting away 40% of the content brought the most important points to the fore – helping to underline the importance of workplace mental health.

Let’s talk about your ebook project

If you’d like to find out some more about what we do, or see some relevant examples, please do get in touch with the team. Alternatively, feel free to browse other kinds of content we can write.

We’d be delighted to discuss your ebook project.

 

 

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