“Content is the cost of entry to relevance in today’s society”.
Gary Vaynerchuk said that and he is right, whether you like it or not.
An eBook and other content are the 2019 version of a salesman for your business. They will push possible clients down the sales funnel.
The sole purpose of eBooks, among other content, is to provide value. To provide complex and complicated information in a simpler format, like that of an infographic.
This type of content makes digesting complex information much easier.
Content is one of the most important tools for generating leads in inbound marketing.
I have observed that CMOs and marketing heads with half baked knowledge are getting complacent.
They visit various conferences and read on LinkedIn, or read blogs and watch videos. And everything they see, they compile meaninglessly and try to turn their compilation into an ‘original’ piece of content.
Suddenly everyone is making content, so these heads too want to fit in!
Jumping into something that’s popular without understanding, has no positive outcome.
Firstly, to create an eBook, an enormous amount of knowledge is required.
Complex concepts are to be converted into something that is easy to digest for all. This is impossible to do if you don’t understand the concept thoroughly.
Secondly, the sample size for any research going into deciding the content of the ebook needs to be much larger.
Merely 10–20 lines of something you have newly written won’t help. To bring in seriousness and to actually give value, the knowledge and research has to go a long way.
Thirdly, the sample of people chosen for research have to be aware of the subject matter.
For example, when doing research on a steel plant, one shouldn’t send to people a Google doc with a multiple choice questionnaire. Instead, ask for their views on the steel industry. Or else, wrong inferences will be drawn. It’s going to be a flawed ebook and of no use to the reader. Moreover, to understand the growth of digital marketing, if one randomly sends Google Docs to 200–300 students, instead of digital Marketers in practice, the study ends up showing the growth to be 900%. It won’t match the real scenario. The information collected shall be wrong and misleading. This method of carrying on research through Google docs is incorrect.
I have seen the CMO of a company worth 600 crores sending Google docs to the employees of the same company asking for their inputs on a research topic.
These employees had absolutely no idea about the research topic. The ‘quality’ answers were then compiled into what I call a “Fake Book”. They started with the idea of writing an eBook and ended up with something that has to try very hard to seem even relevant or contextual.
Modern marketers, like the rats in the story of the Pied Piper, are increasingly competing more and more to make Fakebooks with the sole objective of selling.
Their sole objective behind compiling an ebook is no longer that of imparting knowledge but of selling and promoting their products.
E-books should be composed for each of the stages of the buyer’s journey, starting from the Awareness Stage, then to the Consideration Stage and finally the Decision stage gently, nudging readers from one stage to the other.
None of the present day marketers follow the same. They are busy making the ‘Desperate useless ebook’.
Hubspot is the best example of how to compile and share ebooks in the correct manner. Their ebooks are informative and serve the sole purpose of sharing information. They never sell their products or software through their ebooks. This, in turn, earns them respect from their readers and their followers.
Thus the primary objective of an eBook shall always be that of sharing knowledge and information.