The eBook is the Stud in Your Content Marketing Stable

Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs collaborate annually to produce a heap of research findings they call “B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends.” This year’s report just came out. (Presented on SlideShare here.)

In a section that probes respondents about what they perceive to be their biggest challenges, the top three results were: (1) producing enough content (2) producing content that engages, and (3) lack of budget.

Repurposing quality content helps overcome all these challenges.
If you don’t repurpose your best content, it’s time to start. And if you merely dabble in the practice, you’d be wise to step it up. The top three reasons why align with the challenges above in a big way.

  • More pages, more impressions = more content marketing power.
    Well-planned, well-executed content begs to be repurposed. Examples are plentiful. Here, I’ll offer one super simple one. You published a how-to list. Readers appreciated it. Put it in presentation format—on SlideShare—and it becomes available to millions.
  • More plays.
    The example above includes two popular formats. Care to make it three? Present the content as a webinar. It was a list. Why not publish it on Squidoo?
  • Interview someone about your list to record a podcast. You could even get more articles out of it by simply putting some twists on your list…

    Repurpose the do’s into don’ts. Make ‘em questions. Drill down on just one. Construct a top three. Highlight the uncommon ideas as “secrets.” Expand on the best question or comment the article invoked. Storify makes it a snap to gather the social media feedback you received into a story of its own. Did it feature a cool visual? Cha-ching… Pinterest, Facebook, etc. Press release? Infographic?

  • More productivity.
    That was a pretty substantial pile of ideas I just tossed your way and I could go on and on. Even though I’m writing this article to help you understand the power of repurposing content, I can’t stop my mind a-straying into the many things I should probably do to repurpose this article.

    The ideas are already there. If the piece required research or photography or whatever, it’s already been done. This cloning approach leverages the time you’ve invested and makes it incredibly more productive.

Is an eBook a free book?
“eBook” no longer translates strictly to the digital form of a “real” book you buy online.

eBooks are electronic and can really grandfather your content.

Content marketers now commonly offer eBooks (usually for free) and the deliverable might be a collection of articles, a portfolio of some sort, an industry roundup, a collection of stories, or a whitepaper-like tutorial (usually with a more pictorial style).

There are no rigid rules regarding length, presentation, or even content type. For the purpose of this article, an eBook is a free book, a collection of informative and entertaining pages created with the goal of engaging readers seeking to gather expertise in your field.

eBooks make beautiful babies.
Your eBook has reproductive powers. A “stud” is an animal whose job it is to breed great offspring. eBooks are unquestionably studs in your content marketing stable. If you prefer a tamer metaphor, think of the eBook as “cornerstone” content. “Launch” author, Michael Stelzer (founder of Social Media Examiner) dubs eBooks and the like, “nuclear content.” They can—and should—be just that.

If you’re like me and don’t have the resources to create eBooks frequently, the goal is to offer them occasionally. That said, you should plan the eBook to: (1) cover big, wide, important territory that traces to your strengths, and (2) foster a series of “children”—meaning the eBook becomes the father of all kinds of magnetic content.

After creating an eBook that covers a wide swath of an important subject, you can mine sections of it to spawn content, content and more content. Think articles, presentations, webinars, podcasts, videos, infographics, etc. The list is long. Strategic content marketers create eBooks knowing one purpose is to continuously repurpose the content it contains.

Case in point.
If you’ll indulge me, I’ll tell share with you how I’m executing this strategy in my website copywriting business.
My big beast of 2012, my stud, if you will, is an eBook called “21 Pointers to Sharpen Your Website.” I researched, wrote and labored over every detail of the publication for week, okay, months. Why? (1) I wanted it to be a seriously useful guide to optimizing your website and (2) I envisioned leveraging its themes for an entire year.

I succeeded, I think.

The eBook itself has been downloaded and shared thousands of times. It’s my website’s most popular asset. And being that it also presents 21 carefully planned, thematically related subthemes, it’s gradually (er, slowly) becoming 21 blog posts on my site. Many of the posts have been rewritten for other sites and online publications.

One chapter, “Create Magnetic Content,” gave birth to its own family tree with variations including guest posts, a popular SlideShare presentation, a BigMarker webinar, a You Tube video, a feature, and a Squidoo lens. I might have left a few off this list. And I may not be done expanding it.

You get the idea. “21 Pointers” is my content stud. “Magnetic Content” has made for studly offspring. I haven’t even mentioned the Twitter, LinkedIn and social media implications.

That eBook has made the rounds, inspired readers/viewers to hire and refer me. One of its sires, the “magnetic content” presentation I put together, inspired your SlideShare editor to ask me to write for you here. That’s been a remarkable opportunity to expand my audience, collect new leads, and land new clients.

This is how content marketing is supposed to work.
I suggest you try it. Gather your thoughts. Create and publish an eBook. See what happens. If you want to gather ideas for your eBook, may I suggest SlideShare? If you want some guidance, I’m happy to help. And if you have questions or comments, this SlideShare blog post is meant to be interactive, so type to us.

Barry FeldmanAbout Barry Feldman: After making the rounds in the ad agency business for about a decade, Barry established a freelance copywriting business in 1995. Ever since, he’s partnered with corporate marketing groups, small businesses, ad agencies, and design firms. For over 20 years Barry has worked across a spectrum of product categories for hundreds of companies big and small. Follow Barry on Twitter and SlideShare.

24 Responses to “The eBook is the Stud in Your Content Marketing Stable”

  1. jeffd

    Do you have a resource team that can produce Killer Slide Shares. Graphics, Messaging and content ?

  2. Gail

    If I wanted to share your article with a business women’s group I belong to, if I had your name and contact info all over the place and I swore on a stack of Bibles this wonderful, educational article of yours would not be sold in any way, shape or form … could I use it? Or what would I have to do to gain permission to use/share it? It is so insightful and would be so helpful to share with my colleagues. Thanks in advance, Mr. Feldman.

  3. Barry Feldman

    @gail… Use it. You have the idea. With proper attribution and backlinks, us bloggers are in complete favor of syndicating our works.

  4. Don Funke D.C.

    Taking the time to put your best information in a cohesive chunk is the biggest challenge.
    The beauty of it is that once you have it all together you can use it so many ways.

  5. April

    This is an eye opening post. One thing that I worry about in starting my blog and company is: information. WIll I have enough? What if I don’t? I get it now. I will make re-purposing a HUGE part of it. And honestly, I see how other people do it too but I never noticed until now. :)

  6. Barry Feldman

    @April It’s IMPOSSIBLE to imagine you won’t have enough information. If your area of expertise is so narrow that you couldn’t publish a steady stream of content, you’ll need to take a step back and broaden it. Keep in mind though, you don’t have to be the one and only source of information. For instance, my customers care a lot about social media, so I create helpful content on various social media subjects all the time, but often, it’s not based on my knowledge or experience. Today’s post is a great example:

  7. John

    Great read. I never thought about creating an ebook. This would fit perfectly with my product (hair weave). We’d been working on some youtube videos because many stylists that use the product make videos of the clients transformation. We could re-purpose some of these videos and make ebooks out of them . Great idea! Thanks.

  8. Christo van Zyl

    Hi Barry.

    Excellent post. Many good ideas and lots of things you reminded me to to next, or again.

    The only caution I would mention is to produce high quality content. Repurposing non-value adding content can consume valuable time while at the same time stealing time to focus on the few channels or messages that will bring home the bacon… Because, I think we can all use a little more bacon yes?

    Best regards,

  9. Stephen Hart

    I’ve just put together a kick ass e-book for my specialist industry and by coincidence last week used part of it to quickly produce an additional blog.

    So whilst I was starting to take faltering steps down this road your article has put me in the fast lane. Much appreciate it and I’m going to do some brain storming about how my Recruitment Deck of Wisdom Reshuffled can be used in more ways!

    Regards, Stephen

  10. Timothy Flynn

    Barry, I am authoring an ebook on divorce; a handbook for clients. What is your take on charging a nominal fee vs a free download? And if you prefer the latter, you at a minimum get the readers contact info for your email lists, correct?

  11. Barry Feldman

    @Timothy. Offer it free on your site. It’s for positioning you as an authority and attracting clients. If you want to experiment with selling it, try that on Amazon first. Yes, you should collect emails. Also, do everything you can to make it easy to share.

  12. Yvonne Henry

    Barry, thanks for the tips. I am curious about an ebook, but is always free?
    Thanks again Iwill be contacting you shortly.

  13. Barry Feldman

    @yvonne: No. Many companies sell eBooks. I have no rigid stance against this approach. I’m simply saying if you develop an eBook to establish authority in your field of expertise and use it as a cornerstone in your content marketing, it should be free.