Do you have an eBook that is not generating the traffic or interest you would like? Assuming that the content is relevant to your readers and answers the question, “What’s in it for me?” your issue may be that the piece is difficult to find or you aren’t encouraging your readers to share it.
There are some simple changes you can make to extend the reach of your eBook. Here are five things you can do to make your eBook easier to find and your customers more likely to pass it along.
Choose a title that includes common keywords
Think about the general terms that your readers are monitoring and searching for (of course, these words may be very different than the words you use to describe yourself). Include these keywords in your title so your piece can be more easily found via RSS and Twitter.
Optimize the PDF for more specific keywords
Of course, you also want your eBook to show up in organic search, such as Google. Instead of focusing on common (and highly competitive) keywords that would use in your title, optimize your eBook for long-tail keywords, which are targeted and specific.
Check out this article that walks you through the specific steps of how to optimize a PDF.
Design your eBook so it can be easily skimmed
We all need to realize that most readers skim and don’t read. So, even if your content is outstanding, you need to make sure that key points jump out easily; otherwise, your readers won’t take take time to read your eBook, and they certainly won’t take the time to pass it along.
Clare McDermott had a great post last week on how to use information design to improve your content. She aptly stated, “We are a generation of skimmers and snackers. No matter how beautifully written or logically compelling your report may be, you should always design for those of us with mild attention deficits.”
Clare suggests using callout boxes, shaded text boxes and bullets to make your piece easier to skim. Also consider these ideas:
- Include an executive and concluding summary
- Use your headers to tell a story
- Use fonts and spacing that are easy to read and skim
Include social sharing options
This may seem obvious, but it’s something I don’t see many people do: If you want your eBook to be shared, include social sharing options that encourage readers to pass it along.
My favorite example of this is the B2B Email Marketing Best Practices eBook from Proteus B2B Marketing (note: you can view a sample or register to download the entire eBook). There are a couple of ways that you can share the eBook:
- Footer inclues four ways to share the eBook (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and email).
- Introduction inclues four ways to share the eBook plus four ways to connect with the company and author.
Just by having these options available, readers are reminded that they can share your eBook. Galen De Young, the author of the eBook, provides some additional advice on how to make your PDFs social media friendly.
Don’t require registration
If you want your eBook to have the greatest reach, consider not requiring registration. I find this stat from David Meerman Scott’s book, World Wide Rave fascinating:
“When you eliminate the requirement of supplying personal information in order to receive something, the number of downloads or views goes up by as much as a factor of 50. That’s right — if you require an email address or other personal information, perhaps only 2 percent of your audience will bother to download your stuff.”
If your eBook is intended to to generate awareness, strongly consider removing the registration requirement. I also tell clients that it is a good idea to remove the registration requirement if they do not have an immediate plan for the information collected. If you are simply collecting leads for a program you want to start someday, chances are your next contact with your readers–that is weeks or months away–will feel disjointed to them.
There can be good reasons to ask for registration (such as the desire to nurture them), but limit the information you require. The more information you ask for, the less likely it is that people will download or share your content.
What other tips do you have for expanding the reach of eBooks?