You’re ready to embark on your next content marketing campaign and you’ve decided an ebook is the way to go. This may sound simple, but the truth is, there are so many types of ebook that it can feel like going into an ice cream parlor—everything looks good, but only one flavor will win you over. And you don’t want to choose an ebook that will have you gazing at your companion’s double scoop, wishing you’d gone with a different option.
In this blog post, we offer five criteria that will help you narrow down the type of ebook that’s right for your campaign.
1. Audience: If your audience is at the beginning of their buying journey, then your flavor is…
This ebook targets readers who are new to your brand and focuses on creating awareness. It spotlights basic business value propositions and how those differ from competing solutions. These ebooks provide a high-level overview of ways the solution(s) can help solve readers’ problems. Keep the content between three and six pages, as you don’t want to bombard your audience with too much information. Remember: chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry: Set the stage by showing you understand the challenge, explain how the product works, and support your claims with a customer success story.
2. Depth: If you need to detail product use cases and solution architectures, then your flavor is…
Product-centric ebooks are like dark chocolate—some people love it, nay, need it, while others are a hard pass for the moment—which makes knowing your audience especially crucial when choosing this flavor. Your readers should be mid-funnel and want to learn specifics about your offering and how your product compares to other options. Because this flavor is a more overt sell, keep the content straightforward and informative. Follow it up with a call to action that moves them closer to conversion, such as watching a demo, signing up for a trial, or speaking with an agent. It’s rich in flavor, it stands out, and it’s key to getting your reader to buy what you’re selling.
3. Breadth: If you’re trying to appeal to a broad audience, then your flavor is…
Sometimes you want to mix it up—but this only works if everything makes sense altogether. (In restaurants, this is called a “chaos menu.”) If you want an all-of-the-above mash-up—product and feature descriptions, tips and advice, case studies, a predictive analysis on what’s next, and partners’ capabilities—make sure you delineate sections and arrange information so that it flows organically. Make it easier for a discerning reader to find the parts they’re most interested in while supporting read-throughs with clear connections from one item to the next. For example, if you spend one chapter highlighting a product and its features, transition into a product-centered customer success story or include a graphic illustrating how the product works with customer systems. If your ebook covers multiple topics, think about topic progression. For example, if you offer migration and modernization services, start with migration and move into modernization, (not vice versa, nor jumping back and forth between the two).
4. Positioning: If you offer a new concept or framework that makes you stand out among competitors, then your flavor is…
This ebook flavor is ideal for demonstrating your brand’s thought leadership by sharing expertise-based, innovative ideas. This isn’t for ice cream newbies; the content should target mid-to-late funnel readers, including current customers you want to upsell. Your readers don’t need to learn about what your business does or its value. Your already-invested audience wants confirmation that you’re deeply familiar with their industry’s unique challenges so they can turn to you for an effective, experience-filled approach to problem solving—now and in the future. These ebooks tend to be longer and can be up to 12 pages. They can include forward-thinking concepts such as perceived future trends, case studies, research, guidance, and scenarios.
5. Collaboration: If you want to showcase how your organization or solution works with a large cloud provider, then your flavor is…
Berries and cream
Some campaigns are based on joint solutions that explain how two offerings provide something better together for shared customers. Create this flavor by turning the collaborative benefit into a theme throughout the ebook. You don’t want berries on one side and cream on the other. Chances are that your reader is familiar with your brand or your partner’s, but they may not have tried the mélange. Briefly describe each of your flavors and make evident why they taste so good together—better than any competitor combo. Explain what your reader can accomplish with your integrations, demonstrate your capabilities through a customer story, and wrap up with a summary of sweet benefits. Or a napkin. Either one.
We’ve spilled many secret ingredients of our successful ebooks with you, but those are only the cherries on top. To recruit our Michelin Star–worthy word chefs for your next ebook, contact us.