Some posts by US marketer David Meerman Scott on free ebooks (i.e. books available in their entirety online , whether to be read online or printed), which he’s also written about in more detail in The new rules of viral marketing (itself an ebook), have got me convinced that organisations should be publishing a lot more of them. Not reams and reams: 15-30 pages is enough, nicely laid out both for reading online or if printed, and easy to read.
What’s the point? Like any publication, ebooks can showcase expertise. Done well, they can enable stakeholders to understand your position on a given issue – imperative for the array of companies, agencies, associations and pressure groups in Brussels – and perhaps even win them over. Or if you’re looking to win new business, prospects who have read a relevant and high-quality publication you’ve produced are more likely to trust that you’re capable of producing good work for them. And so on.
Expertise can be showcased in a number of ways, but ebooks have some great benefits:
- Like any publication, they’ll always be available. Unlike books and reports however, they won’t gather dust on a shelf, but can be sent time and time again, be uploaded to any site anywhere by anyone, and be saved on social bookmarking sites so other users find them easily.
- Unlike traditional publications, they’re free to publish (apart from the time to write them of course).
- What’s more, they’re easy to publish – type it up, get someone to brush it up to look decent, and upload it.
- As alluded to in the first point, they’re free and easy to distribute. Put download buttons on your site, send a link around – and if the content is good, it may go viral. David Meerman Scott’s ebooks have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times and he states that he’s never spent a penny on promoting them.
If you’d like to see what a few ebooks look like, take your pick from this list of ebooks on social media compiled by Chris Brogan, or wait until February, when an ebook I’m writing with ZN on online communications in Brussels should be available!