Ebooks are a great way to tell the story of your brand

BY HEATHER WIED

If you’re marketing prod­ucts and services, or creating brand awareness, ebooks can be an incredibly useful tool. Marketers can use ebooks for both lead generation and brand build­ing. Typical uses include giving away e-books to en­tice potential customers or using an ebook to tell your company’s story, outline your value proposition, and highlight market differenti­ators.

Ebooks are popular be­cause they’re an effective marketing solution that is relatively inexpensive to produce, distribute, and share. If you’re ready to jump on the ebook band­wagon to generate leads or build your company’s brand, you’ll have some decisions to make about publishing format.

Here’s a quick overview of the three main main formats available and the pros and cons of each one.

PDF (Portable Document Format)

The default ebook format choice for many marketers, a PDF is a method for creat­ing and sharing documents from a variety of file types. Creating a PDF requires little specialized technical knowledge or software, so marketers can easily con­vert existing collateral into an ebook, create a PDF, and share it as a file attachment. PDFs preserve the original layout, which makes design­ers happy. The downside is that the fixed layout won’t necessarily render correctly on different device types, and readability can be a major hurdle on smaller screens.

EPUB (Electronic Publica­tion)

A distribution and in­terchange format that is XML-based, EPUB is the most widely supported ven­dor-neutral ebook format. It allows marketers to distrib­ute rich media elements in a single-file format across virtually all device types. There are currently two versions: release 2, the standard most ebook pro­ducers still use, and version 3, an updated release. EPUB features a flowable layout, which means people can view EPUB ebooks on all types of devices and screen sizes. It also works with native multimedia players, meaning users can view video and other elements using their device with­out having to download a player.

Mobi

A digital rights-protect­ed format proprietary to Amazon, Mobi is the ebook format used for Amazon’s popular Kindle devices. Like EPUB, Mobi reflows design to fit different screen sizes and enables embedding of rich media elements, such as video. Because Kindle is the most popular ereader, many potential customers can view ebooks in Mobi format. However, Mobi incorporates digital rights management elements that can make it difficult for readers to share material, a challenge PDF and EPUB-based e-books eliminate.

Each of those format types offers unique features and advantages, so as a mar­keter, you’ll need to decide which format works best for your campaign goals.

Remember that when it’s time to select which format to use, you’ll need to keep your campaign goals in mind and choose wisely.

“When it’s time to se­lect which format to use, to keep your campaign goals in mind.”

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