While in some circumstances, an eBook is simply an electronic version of the latest best-selling fiction, in the content marketing world, an eBook is a marketing tool that can be used to position yourself as an authority on industry-specific topics and to generate leads. When done correctly, an eBook can solicit contact information and bring the lead one step closer to becoming an actual client. An eBook is a free giveaway that can produce a huge return.
The idea of writing a “book” may be daunting, especially for a financial advisor. (Where do you start? And how exactly is an eBook different from other forms of content you produce?) But it shouldn’t be.
Here’s all you need to know about an eBook and how to get started right away.
What is an eBook?
For a financial advisor, an eBook is an in-depth explanation of a specific topic (ideally, a service you may provide or a pain point of your ideal clients). Leads should be able to easily download these eBooks from your financial advisor website to better understand the topic covered and build confidence in moving forward with hiring you as their financial advisor.
How is an eBook Different from a Blog Post?
Contrary to popular belief, an eBook is not just a longer version of a blog post. While a blog post is usually a single entry varying from 800 to 1,500 words in total, an eBook typically has a more structured and in-depth format and can range from 1,500 words to tens of thousands of words, depending on the topic. Most eBooks have a title page, table of contents, introduction, main body, summary, thank you page and company contact information page. An eBook should also be branded with logos and include page numbers and linked references.
And while a blog post is meant to be read quickly and digested in one sitting, a well-done eBook may require multiple sessions of reading to get through the content. The information should be organized into sections, especially if the eBook is covering multiple topics within the same subject. For example, if the eBook is about types of investing scenarios to achieve overall retirement goals, the main subject is retirement, but the individual topics can be treated as “chapters” to tie the whole book together.
What an eBook is Not
An eBook is not a direct sales tool. The goal of an eBook is to inform your readers about topics relevant to them; not make them feel like they are being directly sold or marketed to. An eBook is also not a blog post. Yes, this was discussed already. But it’s so important that it merits being covered twice. Due to the comparatively minimal effort required, blog posts have the ability to cover trending topics and highly timely and newsworthy subjects because they can be created essentially on-demand. Since an eBook requires more time and resources, it should cover topics that are relevant but also evergreen, so you can get the most longevity and value out of the project.
How to Determine Who Will Author the eBook
While a blog post is typically written by a key staff member or the marketing team, an eBook may require a more established industry expert’s touch. While the entire eBook doesn’t necessarily have to be authored by a third party, it can be co-authored by an industry expert, or even feature contributing content. Some eBooks simply have a forward or an introduction from a well-known authority on the subject and gain powerful clout and reach. However, if your firm decides to author 100 percent of the content, it’s crucial to properly cite the author(s) qualifications and background. Take the time either in the introduction or the conclusion of the eBook’s structure to include photos and bios of the authors.
What Topics to Cover
While not a direct sales tool, an eBook should still leave the reader wanting more information and give them a reason to utilize your firm’s services. Unless you have access to an industry expert as mentioned above, stick to topics your firm has extensive knowledge about and can use to fill an entire eBook. If you’re not sure what to cover, look at some of your most successful blog posts and generate some content ideas that you can develop further to give a more detailed perspective. Another way to find ideas is to take a look at your most profitable clients and build an eBook based on what subjects/topics would attract similar clients to download and generate leads from there. You may also want to consider what your competitors are doing, and then do it better. If there are topics being covered over and over (and they can be made evergreen), then take a nod from those pieces and create something better – and with your firm’s unique perspective or approach that sets you apart.
Optimizing eBook Content
Since the ultimate goal of an eBook is to establish yourself as an authority on a specific topic or subject, tying in other custom content is a great way to validate your position. For example, link in relevant blog posts and/or whitepapers where it fits into the context of the eBook. This not only supports your position as an expert, but also drives traffic back to your website. Also, because an eBook is a piece of content that lives on the Internet, it should be SEO optimized like any blog post or website content. The title should be optimized to show up in search engines, and there should be relevant keywords and alternative descriptions for images.
Get the Most Mileage from Your eBook
First of all, you need to determine how readers will access the content. As a lead generation tool, it’s a good idea to, at minimum, have the eBook content behind a form, meaning that readers will have to enter their email address (and whatever other information you choose to collect) before they can download the eBook. From there, you can create a follow-up campaign to send marketing materials and possibly turn those downloads into clients.
An eBook is also a great way to get social media traffic. By posting bits of information, or “teaser content,” on social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, you can create interest in an eBook and increase downloads. And because social content can be shared easily, be sure to optimize the posts for all channels to get the greatest possible reach and exposure to potential clients.
Now that you understand the basics of an eBook, let’s get started! The content marketing experts at Paladin know what it takes to create a successful eBook and will work with you every step of the way. Contact us today.