By Michele Linn published December 23, 2010

Content Marketing e-books: 8 Examples that Work

People learn about content marketing in different ways, and sometimes the best way to understand something is to see it in action. Over the holidays, we’ll be sharing a bunch of different content marketing examples submitted by our contributors.

First up: e-books. If you are new to e-books, here’s a quick definition from the Content Marketing Playbook (which, coincidentally, is a great example of an e-book):

Think of it as a white paper on steroids (the sexy white paper): a report, generally 12 – 40 or more pages in length, that presents complex information in a visually attractive, reader-friendly format. The content is both informative and entertaining; the tone, collegial; the format, “chunky” rather than linear, to facilitate skimming and scanning.

Here, Doug Kessler shares two of his favorite examples.

B2B Marketing Manifesto

I don’t want to over-plug, but our B2B Marketing Manifesto exceeded all our expectations this year.

It’s a 48-pager on the new challenges of B2B marketing and the things we all need to get good at.

Four reasons I think it worked for us:

  • It presented the right messages for the market at the time
  • Strong design really ‘sold’ the content
  • A bit of attitude and energy made it fun to read
  • The generosity of some top influencers in the market who gave us great reviews, linked to us and tweeted with intent

The fourth of these is by far the most important — but I guess we wouldn’t have earned that without the first three.

It didn’t hurt that the e-book title included a good search keyphrase for us (B2B Marketing), so backlinks tended to include valuable anchor text.


Definitive Guide to Lead Scoring

Marketo’s Definitive Guide to Lead Scoring is another winner (Velocity helped with sub-editing and design).

It’s so effective because it draws on Marketo’s real expertise. No one knows more than these guys about lead scoring, and they really rolled up their sleeves and shared their ‘chops’ with the market. At a time when content is getting shorter and shorter, a ‘definitive guide’ can be exactly right.

More examples

Looking for more examples? Here are some of my favorites, which I recently wrote about at Savvy B2B Marketing when my “Savvy Sisters” and I shared our favorite e-books:

You can also check out this CMI post from David Meerman Scott that covers essential characteristics of e-books and provides a sample of each.

We’d love to get your thoughts. What other examples would you add to the list? Share them in the comments below.

Looking to score big points with your target audience? CMI’s 2016 Content Marketing Playbook has tips, insights, and ideas that can help increase your success with 24 of the top content marketing tactics.

Author: Michele Linn

Michele is the Vice President of Content at the Content Marketing Institute. She is one of those people who truly loves what she does and who she works with. You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn.

Other posts by Michele Linn

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  • Rob Berman

    Really timely post since I am beginning to work on an e-book with a group. The e-book about e-books is such a brilliant idea. I am printing a hard copy and bookmarking it.

    • Michele Linn

      Glad the post is helpful, Rob. Let me know if you encounter any other eBooks you love!

  • Doug kessler

    Thanks for this post and for all the great posts since CMI began.
    Personally, I loved the eBook eBook by Jonathan Kranz, the MLT Blogging eBook and all of David Meerman Scott’s eBooks (which always look great too).

    When I look at your list, it makes me feel that a style is emerging for eBooks — just as a dry, academic, pseudo-neutral style seemed to dominate the white paper genre. My favourite eBooks tend to have a personal, ‘eye-to-eye’ writing style that turns casual browsers into readers. EBooks seem to welcome an open honesty that today’s B2B reader appreciates (given the turgid, technicratic hard-sell they get in so many other places).

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