eBooks definitely aren’t a fleeting trend. Studies by the Content Marketing Institute have found that 32% of B2B marketers are currently using long-form content offers for marketing, and an additional 54% intend to increase their spending on custom content in the next year. According to leading expert Joe Pulizzi, it’s now necessary to publish “epic” content marketing to stand out from your competition – and that requires product that’s definitively needed in your niche, and best of breed. There’s few better ways to provide serious value to your audience than with a carefully-researched, brilliantly-designed eBook. Here are some ways to make your next long-form content really stand out from the rest.
1. Include a Table-of-Contents
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To position your eBook as a resource that your readers can return to time and time again, it’s critical to include a table of contents. Unless your eBook is particularly short-in-length, page numbers allow your readers to quickly access the information they care about most, and navigate easily.
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2. Spotlight Your Author
image credit: cheri lasota
People don’t buy from faceless corporations, they buy from brands they know and trust. One easy way to put a human face on your brand is with an “about the author” page in your eBook which includes a photo and a brief bio of the writer. HubSpot’s Pamela Vaughan writes that you could see secondary benefits of this feature, including team members more willing to write eBooks due to the fact they’ll be credited and able to build though leadership.
It may be wise to rethink your plan of designing 8.5’’ x 11’’ pages, considering the explosion of mobile consumers in recent years. Marketer Dianna Huff recommends formatting your pages to fit an iPad screen that’s 9.5’’ x 7.31’’. In order to accommodate mobile users on all screen sizes, ensure you’re not filling your pages with too much copy. If your company’s customers are tech-savvy, heavy mobile users, it may be wise to opt for a publishing platform with built-in mobile optimization.
4. Use One Topic per Page
Accommodate modern consumer’s overwhelming tendency to skim through content by sticking to covering one topic per page in your eBook, and using page headers to introduce the topic of each page.
image credit: HubSpot
It’s fine if your topics spill over onto multiple pages, as long as you’re labeling the content clearly to provide an optimal user experience.
5. Rich Media
Few brands have truly leveraged the potential of electronic platforms for including rich media in their eBooks. With the right digital publishing software, it’s possible to provide audio, video clips, and flash, in addition to links to pages on your website. When correctly used, rich media can immerse your audience in an educational experience.
6. eCommerce Integration
eBooks shouldn’t generally be a platform for making sales, but providing links to products that don’t disrupt the user experience can be a service to your readers. When providing tutorials or reviews of services, a click-to-buy feature can benefit both your brand and the end user.
7. Consistent, Socially-Integrated Footers
Make it easy for your readers to share your content on their social media networks with branded footers which include one-click social media sharing buttons.
8. Visual Elements
Every eBook should include visual elements to enhance the reader’s ability to digest the content, especially if you’re covering technical or complex ideas. Not every eBook needs to be a visually-rich feast of high-quality pictures – though that’s certainly one way to make a lasting impression. At a minimum, use graphic design principles like whitespace and infographics to help draw attention to important stats, facts, and ideas.
Entice your readers into taking action by including a link to read another one of your eBooks, learn more about your product, or connect on social media on the final page. Calls-to-Actions shouldn’t be a prominent part of your eBook design, but can allow you to capture repeat conversions from interested readers.
How have you taken your brand’s eBooks from basic long-form content offers to visually-rich brand experiences? Are there any important design elements that didn’t make this list?