Great content is at the heart of any successful social-media strategy. After all, the best way to be invited to the table is to bring something nutritious to the feast.

The e-book, a more up-to-date and reader-friendly version of the traditional whitepaper, can be the entrée that sets your networks salivating. Properly planned, an e-book can elevate your organization above a morass of competitors and establish it as the go-to authority in your industry.

Yet without careful planning, your e-book may become a sinkhole of confused agendas, missed opportunities, and poor distribution. I can't anticipate every issue or anxiety, but after many bruising battles with that beast we call experience, I can suggest a few things that might help you avoid the pains and achieve the gains.

1. Establish buy-in on the e-book concept

By "concept," I don't mean the subject or topic of your book (though you need buy-in for that, too). I mean consensus on the very idea of producing an e-book itself: creating useful content that is of value to prospects but that does not overtly promote products, services, brand, or company.

Frankly, some people just cannot wrap their heads around that idea and will insist that you link every e-book section or idea to a product or service feature that addresses the topic at hand.

That won't work. Anything that smells of direct promotion undermines your credibility and, therefore, the whole point of writing the e-book. If the powers that be can't be persuaded, abandon ship. Give up the e-book, and try something else.

2. Get approval on the outline before writing the first draft

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Jonathan Kranz is the author of Writing Copy for Dummies and a copywriting veteran now in his 21st year of independent practice. A popular and provocative speaker, Jonathan offers in-house marketing writing training sessions to help organizations create more content, more effectively.

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Twitter: @jonkranz