The days of the snail-mail newsletter are over. Not only do they cost a lot to produce, the manpower and expense of mailing only to receive a response rate of single percentages has made this form of advertising obsolete for all but the most deep-pocketed businesses.
Instead, owners are turning to the web to build authority and credibility for themselves and their brand.
Whitepapers and ebooks are one of the more popular ways. A whitepaper is an authoritative publication often meant to present an issue and offer a solution. When used in marketing, a soft call to action may be employed at the end.
Many writers view ebooks and whitepapers as synonymous but ebooks are considered lighter, more interactive, and often shorter. What’s important is that either of these will work for raising awareness of your brand. Here’s how to get started.
Find a topic
Of course, pick a topic that is directly related to your business. If you sell baseball memorabilia online your publication might be “A Buyer’s Guide to Baseball Cards.” Next, pick a topic where you have expertise. Your experience will prove valuable. Anybody can find information on just about any topic but very few can offer real experiences.
Focus on Actionable Advice
The formula is simple: present the topic, outline the problems, and provide solutions. If you try to interweave sales lingo into your publication, people will stop reading.
Hire a Writer
It’s vital that your publication read like a professionally published book, be free of spelling, grammar, and style errors, and present the material concisely. If you are a strong writer, start constructing your outline. If you’re not, hire somebody.
There are a lot of freelance writers willing to take on the project but remember that if you look for the cheapest writer, you won’t be satisfied.
Make it Visual
Ask your writer to include an executive summary and plenty of subheadings. Once you receive the product and are satisfied with the text, add images, enlarge and boldface the subheadings, and add other visual elements like quotes and other art.
If you don’t have an eye for graphic design, turn to the freelance community for help. Financially investing in its publication will likely yield better results than if the product turns out looking amateur.
Once your publication is formatted, save it as a PDF. If you plan to give it away free of charge, write a press release, promote it on your website, send it to your email list, tell people about it on all of your social media profiles, and call in some favors with friends and colleagues to help get the word out.
If you plan to sell your ebook, read the guidelines for the platform you choose. Most, like Amazon, have specific formatting guidelines you’re required to follow before it will accept your submission.
Although your ebook or whitepaper should be branded with your logo and brief bio at the end, avoid any kind of hard call to action. Your motivation should not be to make a sale. Instead, to build yourself and your brand as an authority in your line of work.
Once you establish yourself as an authority, you’ll see an increase in business. Think of this as a longer term investment that will pay off in time.