Like a white paper, a pertinent and relevant ebook is a powerful lead-generating tool. Now we are not discussing ebooks as in Amazon Kindle ebooks—and there is some confusion because these days “ebook” means books read on electronic devices.
Instead, we are referring to electronic books, generally published in Adobe Acrobat format, that are used to show thought leadership, explain a subject, or take a position, much like traditional white papers.
The ebook is essentially a unique twist on the white paper format. The format provides a more engaging experience for the reader, builds a case, and uses a more design-intensive format. It’s fun, too. You see a lot of retro ’50s and early ’60s style designs and unique graphics in ebooks. This is definitely not white-paper style.
Just like a well-formed white paper, an ebook tells your prospects that you are a credible source of information, giving you that sought-after expert status. The best part about an ebook is that it is distributed widely for free and is intended to go viral.
In “The New Rules of Viral Marketing,” David Meerman Scott goes so far to say, “ebooks have become the stylish younger sister to the nerdy white paper.” He further stresses the importance the ebook serves by stating that, “ebooks have a great deal of importance to readers. People can instantly see the value of a product that looks like for-purchase content but can actually be downloaded for free. In my opinion, ebooks should be material people want to read, compared to the dense and usually boring white paper, which our buyers feel they should read but often don’t.”
We believe that each are valid tools. It all depends upon the specific marketing message and the audience you are trying to reach. And, the release of an ebook can also be a web and social media catalyst.