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3 Ways Ebooks Could Help Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy

06/11/2015 01:48 pm ET | Updated Jun 11, 2016

Due to Google's new search algorithms, Jesse Noyes, senior director of content marketing for Kapost, says that "thin" online content, like low-quality guest blog posts are out this year and that "fat" content is in for the year 2015. She also explains that "fat" content is anything that can be broken up and used for multi-channel campaigns, such as ebooks, white papers, infographics and videos.

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Image Credit: Creative Commons, Jonas Tana

Ebooks are especially "fat", expected to grow from $2.31 billion in 2011 to $8.69 billion in 2018. With self-published ebooks comprising 32% of Amazon's daily ebook sales at the end of the quarter ending October 2, 2014, marketers should be taking advantage of this type of content marketing.

But publishing ebooks is expensive. How can you justify the cost of publishing ebooks?

Is the ROI good enough that your company's content marketing plan can benefit from it? Absolutely. Let's look at 4 reasons that ebooks will improve your content marketing strategy for 2015:

Ebooks generate leads
As a marketing tool, ebooks are unique because they don't seem like a marketing tactic. Applying a medium usually used to entertain, you can offer your company's expertise to a targeted audience. You can use customer testimonials and turn them into case studies, having an industry expert show how customer's issues were solved.

Marketers employing a hard-sell will find potential customers running from the tactic like they're being chased by a bear. But with an ebook, not only can you control the content, you can control the tone, making it seem less like a marketing scheme and inviting customers to come looking for your product or service, instead of the other way around. Adding videos, audio, and appealing graphics makes it exciting for the customer.

Ebooks are available on mobile devices through apps like NOOK® by BARNES & NOBLE, convenient because they offer immediate results. You can offer recipes, coupons, and other special offers that require a click to access. Those clicks will take them to your company's website or Facebook page, making contact with your brand immediately instead of requiring a lead to write down a web address to look at later. The results are also quantifiable because you can track the clicks and also, at the very least, you can require an email address in order for a customer to access the ebook. When you have that email address, you can then market to them on a regular basis, keeping your brand in the forefront.

Ebooks build brands
Using an ebook to boost your brand image is valuable in getting customers to connect the ebook to your existing brand. An ebook is of no value to your content marketing strategy if it doesn't connect to your brand.

So how do you connect to your brand?

According to Rachel A. Olsen, author of Shark Tank MOMpreneurs Take A Bite Out of Publicity, and Best Mom Products, "It adds a level of credibility and seriousness to what you are providing and makes you stand out in your field as an expert." She goes on to say, "The benefits include raising your profile, obtaining traction with potential customers, and creating awareness." She equates ebooks as a modern equivalent to the business card.

Ebooks offer valuable knowledge to your target audience
Ebook authors should stick to a topic that they are an expert in - don't try to expound on a topic that you aren't completely familiar with. And your ebook should not be about the product or the service your brand offers. Says Aria Solar, an inbound marketing coordinator, "It is important to use the ebook to inform and educate your audience. This shows that you are willing to spend time doing something for them and gain their trust." She goes on to say, "Through content and design, you can also entertain and captivate the audience, thus driving them to come back to your website in the future." The topic of your ebook should be about something relevant to the industry, something that will draw your audience in and teach them something.

You can use an ebook to set your company up as a thought-leader and a trusted source of information on the topic. In case you missed it, you may check out my 9 recommended e-books for marketers this 2015.