The Easy eBook: Electronic Storytelling Goes Beyond Novels

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The illustrious “eBook” is something that the Kindle world is more than familiar with. Who wouldn’t love a whole collection of their favorite novels in the small space of an iPad? But, these marvelous works of electronic storytelling does not stop with novels.

Professionals have been gobbling up trade publications and business tricks in the form of eBooks for years now. So, how can you, a “lowly” startup, take part in all the fun? Well, it’s probably easier than you think. Let’s break it down.

Leverage Your Existing Content

The first mistake you’re probably making is assuming that you have to start from scratch and come up with an entire book’s worth of new content to fill your shiny new publication. In actuality, you’ve probably been building a library of tips, tricks and anecdotes for a long time.

Take your blog for example, aren’t those blog posts just mini chapters on a specific topic? If you run a graphic design company, then you’ve probably been posting blogs about visual hierarchy, marketing and conversion. Perhaps, even general trends in the space. Right there, you’ve got the makings for a solid Digital Design 101 eBook.

It’s more than just your blog, though. If you have a website, you have tons of information already floating around out there. This information can include case studies, “about us” pages and philosophies. Comb through the content and see what you have. Not only can you pull information directly from your site and expand on it, but you can use the information as inspiration for a larger, all-original book.

Listen to What Your Customers Want

Alongside your wealth of existing content, you probably have piles of comments, along with feedback and criticism from your friends, family and customers. Rather than going to market with a shot-in-the-dark eBook, you can take into account what people have already told you they want.

Which blog posts are performing best? Which Facebook posts get the most likes? What customer service complaints do you get? Taking a cue from your customers will ensure that the eBook is successful, but more importantly, it will ensure that you aren’t wasting your time on developing content to begin with.

Create and Edit Your Info

Now that you’ve determined what people want to hear and you’ve compiled the already-finished content you want to feature, it’s time to actually create your masterpiece. While a bulk of the work could already be done from existing blog posts, you’ll probably need to piece together a plan and structure. How should the content be grouped? How long should it be?

Beyond this, you’ll want to set up some general commentary to allow the book to flow as one unit, rather than a disjointed pastiche of your previous blogs. Write intros, conclusions, transitions, etc. It won’t take much time, but trust us; it will add some personality, depth and reliability to your book making it a much more viable product.

Provide Sneak Peeks

Now that you’ve got your ideal content, you’ve built it out and you know it’ll be received well. How do you make it worth your while? Sure, you might want to offer your eBook for download for a reasonable price (probably a few dollars, depending on the size), but try to take things a step further.

Most people are more likely to buy something if they can get a sneak peek and feel comfortable about their full purchase. Offer up a chapter or two for free and let users take things for a spin. Then, offer a download for the whole eBook. A solid marketing tactic is also about offering discounts, promotions and giveaways for signing up for an email list or following your social channels.

The takeaway here is to make the process as easy as possible. Your core business is (probably) not writing books. So, does it make sense for you to take valuable time away from your business to write a book in its entirety? Probably not. Leverage your content and use the product as a tool for your business.

Another takeaway is to remember that selling the eBook shouldn’t be your only goal. Maybe even give it away (depending on how much work you put in). Remember, the goal is to build brand trust and gain advocates. If you’re an authority on something, your fans will follow.

Savannah Marie is a writer and consultant for Clarity Way. She writes for various publications about creative content marketing, social media and public relations.

How To Get More From Your Content Marketing Strategy

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When your business or web site offers excellent content, and sees a growing influx of visitors as a result, then your business plan and promotional strategies are clearly being well-executed. But why stop there? There is always potential to be tapped in content marketing; your business should never surrender to complacency. Success itself, alongside excellent content, can be marketed effectively if you know where to start. The tips below will help business and web site owners seize upon their initial successes to achieve yet greater recognition.

Host a Podcast

Quality webcams and microphones can be had for $100 these days, so starting a podcast can be done on the cheap. There are over 31 million people in the United States who download at least one podcast per month, so it’s a large audience to tap into. The format isn’t an issue; you just have to know what to talk about, and how to promote your podcast.

The content of podcasts can be extremely flexible, ranging from a basic lecture-type presentation to a more multi-faceted approach involving reader questions, guest appearances and relevant sound bites. Promoting your podcast can be accomplished via your business’ web site and social media, in addition to reaching out to web forums interested in your business’ niche. As your podcast brings in followers and acclaim, the listeners will come.

Create and Utilize Infographics

Infographics are a great way to condense intricate information into useful, easy-to-read tidbits with graphical accompaniments. Sites like Visual.ly allow anyone — even the artistically non-inclined — to create effective infographics for their business or website. If your company has a graphic designer, then you have even more power. Take a look at this inforgraphic from CJ Pony Parts. It goes the extra mile, making it entirely immersive by having users press the right arrow key to accelerate a car which passes by useful tidbits of information. Infographics make digesting information fun, especially when spreading that information is a vital part of your business’ content marketing.

Write an eBook

Do you have knowledge of a certain niche or specialty? Great! You’re qualified to write an eBook — no publishers or mainstream platform required. In fact, you can host it right on your business’ web site, or on Amazon, where many user-submitted eBooks are popular on Kindle.

The point of an eBook is to channel your business’ specialty into an engrossing yet easy read. No one wants to read an eBook exclusively about one business, so be sure to reach out and examine your niche as a whole. Whether you create a self-help or informational eBook, hosting it as a PDF on your site will stir readers’ interests — especially if you come up with an eye-catching title that piques curiosity, like “Ten Things You Didn’t Know About…”

If you noticed a trend among the three tips above, it’s that they are all methods in condensing useful information to an easy-to-read or easy-to-listen format. Your audience never wants to become overwhelmed by information. Identifying the most important tidbits and implementing them in infographics, podcasts, or eBooks can be an effective way to expand the reach of your business. Conciseness and presentation are often key components of marketing success.

Scott Huntington is a writer, reporter, blogger, and social media guru. He currently lives in PA and with his wife and son. Follow Scott at @SMHuntington

Throwback Thursday: Top 4 Engaging Content Marketing Strategies

throwback-thursday‘Content Marketing’ has become a huge buzzword in the SEO and social media world as of late, and many businesses are starting to invest in content specialists to regularly create and distribute interesting and engaging content to their online audience, whether it is through their website or through social media. By offering content with value to your audience, you can build up your online community and create a network of individuals who are strongly connected with your business. To learn more about content marketing and how it can help your online marketing strategy, be sure to check out our Throwback Thursday blog post, ‘Top 4 Engaging Content Marketing Strategies!’

At BizBrag, users are able to efficiently manage their content marketing strategies by creating powerful, SEO-friendly webpages called Braggits. Braggits can be used to create lists, share videos, offer tips, promote sales, and much more. By creating this engaging content and sharing with your online community, you can boost your customers confidence in your business and create lasting, meaningful relationships that are the key to a successful and long-lasting business!

How to Produce Smart Content for Small Businesses

smart-contentYour small business website deserves more content than just a few pages of generic blurbs. If you want to inspire and excite your customers, you need to provide content that is unique and offers relevant information that engages your readers. By featuring smart content on your site, you’ll attract fresh attention to your company. Here are a few strategies that you can employ that will not only engage your audience, but boost your SEO as well! Let us know what you think of these strategies in the comments, and feel free to add some of your own, as well! Read more of this post

How to Create Viral Content

Viral Marketing - Word of MouthThere is a fundamental flaw of online businesses (and offline businesses as well) that infects new business owners just as much as old pros – and while some are able to win and survive despite dragging this massive ball and chain around with them at all junctures, the simple fact of the matter is that just a single shift in outlook can create the kind of content that goes viral –  without dropping insane amounts of money to get the ball rolling in the SEO world.

This subtle shift is the absolute 100% difference that successful titans of industry have that other people don’t, and the moment you move over to this way of thinking is the moment you strap a rocket on your back in all phases of your marketing online.

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Social & Search Round Up: Week 3

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Hey Braggers! Now that the holiday season is behind us, we’re ready to get back in gear with week three of the Social & Search Round Up! It’s been a super busy week around the office, but we made sure to search high and low for the best articles on the web. Here are this week’s picks – let us know what you think of this week’s round up in the comments!

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6 Effective Tips on Keeping Blog Readers Engaged in 2013

2013blogWith so many blogs on the internet, it can be difficult to keep the attention of subscribers or even bring new viewers into the fold. The tendencies of an audience to wander can be overcome by keeping your blog fresh and interesting to read. A good blog will entertain and inform subscribers in a way that will have them coming back for more. Also, many SEO’s and online marketers believe that content marketing, or the practice of regularly creating and distributing high-quality, interesting, and engaging content for the benefit of readers, will become even more important in 2013. Blogs are a great way to practice content marketing, and blogs that consistently publish high-quality, well-written content will most likely see more success than poorly written, thin blogs that do not provide value to the reader.

Here are a few tips to help you maintain a successful and active blog, giving you the chance to spread your message in 2013!

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