May 19, 2017

3 Ways to Use eBooks in Your Content Marketing Strategy

by Digital Marketing Institute

Creating great content is one of the best ways to reach out to prospects and generate leads.

Content can come in a variety of forms, from YouTube videos to blog posts. One unique strength of eBooks is that they’re downloadable. Instead of feeling like yet another blog post or video, a downloadable eBook feels far more like a real object of value.

This means you can use eBooks as lead generation tools, offering your users the chance to opt in with their contact information in exchange for your information. Writing an eBook also gives you the ability to showcase your authority on a subject in greater level of depth than a blog post allows.

The popularity and perceived value of eBooks has made them a favourite of online marketers. In fact, digital marketing expert Neil Patel lists eBooks second on his list of ways to create lead generating content, behind data-driven case studies.

It’s safe to say that eBooks – for the immediate future, at least – should play an integral role in your content marketing strategy. Below, we’ll share three ways that you can use eBooks to earn more traffic, generate more leads and drive more revenue for your business.

Use your eBook to strengthen your brand

In today's commercial battlefield, brand trust and authority is everything. In fact, studies suggest that 63% of customers would only buy from an authentic brand. That’s a difficult statistic to ignore.

One of the best ways to show people how trustworthy you are is by creating an eBook on a subject that they care about and answering their questions or concerns in a creative, engaging way.

When brainstorming for your eBook, consult your buyer personas to examine your customers' wants, needs and desires.

Can’t think of a subject for your eBook? One great way to discover eBook opportunities is to use Buzzsumo to search for topics your competitors haven’t yet written about.

Use Buzzsumo to search for topics your competitors haven’t yet written about.

For example, we typed “eBook writing” into Buzzsumo as a search keyword, only to find that there are only two recent resources directly related to the subject. Both were less than 2,000 words in length and only covered the basics of writing and publishing an eBook.

As a writer, there are two areas you should focus on when creating your first eBook:

  • Content. Make sure each chapter you produce provides a unique takeaway and concludes with a concise call to action. Emails with a single call-to-action increase clicks by up to 3 71%, highlighting the need for strong copy that engages your users.
  • Design. As Hubspot’s Pamela Vaughan puts it, a consistent brand style guide will give all of your publications a “more professional, branded look which translates into a sense of credibility.”

One example of the perfect marriage between compelling content and strong design comes in the form of Marketo's Definitive Guide to Lead Scoring, which combines an accessible layout with striking visuals and a valuable direct marketing message.

Use an eBook as the heart of your marketing campaign

With Google switching to mobile-first indexing, there’s still huge value in short and medium form blog posts. However, when it comes to complex topics, users tend to opt for longer form content over shorter, simpler blog posts.

According to Neil Patel, 1500 to 3000+ word blog posts drive more traffic and, as a result, more conversions. It seems that today's users prefer content that’s more detailed and packed with value.

Creating an eBook that’s built around the theme of your marketing campaign lets you showcase your authority on the subject, all while giving you a huge resource from which you can extract and repurpose content.

By taking the best and most relevant chapters of your eBook and using the existing content to produce blog posts, promotional emails, infographics, videos and podcasts, you stand to drive engagement, generate leads and produce conversions without extra effort.

You’ll want to tweak and tailor the content to fit the medium on which you're promoting it, but this will take considerably less time than creating fresh content for your campaign.

Not only does repurposing content from your eBook let you enjoy optimal ROI from your hard work; you'll also be able to cross promote the eBook in the process, expanding your reach and building valuable brand awareness.

Repurposing eBook content can also work the other way. For example, ProBlogger's Darren Rowse gained a massive amount of positive feedback for his series 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

Despite being formatted and packaged as an eBook and sold for $29.99, it was partially made up of content Rowse had already published online. Even years after its launch, it’s still available. It’s even bought and used as material for online courses.

Use an eBook to build an email marketing list

A targeted email list can help you to communicate with your audience effectively, but growing your list can be tough.

Due to the perceived value of an eBook, potential customers are more likely to give up their contact details in return for the information you have to offer.

A recent study shows that email marketing produces the best ROI of any marketing channel, so building a healthy list is a great gateway to gaining more conversions.

Once you’ve created your eBook, you can build an SEO optimised landing page on your website with a call to action to sign up in return for your free eBook.

Once your landing page has been published, you can also take to social media to promote your eBook and encourage your target audience to opt in. 92% of consumers trust the recommendations of their peers over regular online ads. Promoting your eBook via social media makes it far easier to build the social proof that creates trust and inspires people to opt-in and receive your content.

With a combination of social media marketing, informational blog posts though content repurposing and landing page optimisation, your eBook can grow into a powerful lead generation tool.

For tips on boosting organic search rankings for your eBook landing page, read our top 10 natural SEO tips.

Modern web users want a brand that’s human, that they can trust and a that can connect with them on a personal level. If you're looking to improve your content marketing efforts this year, build brand awareness and drive more conversions than ever before, creating an eBook and using it as an integral part of your content marketing campaign is a great strategy.

Looking to improve your digital marketing strategy? Check out our essential marketing guide and get your next campaign off the ground.

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