What is an eBook and why your cybersecurity marketing team needs one

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eBooks have really started to become a favorite for all high-performing cybersecurity marketing teams.

Experts such as Neil Patel note, “…an eBook may be a prospect’s first interaction with you and your content. As a result, you’ll want to create an incredible first impression. The best way you can do this is by creating an eBook that is based around a problem your prospects want to solve.”

What is an eBook in Content Marketing?

The term was coined in the early 2000s as a way of describing a book that could be read electronically. But since then, the content marketing world has taken the term and developed its own version.

According to MagNet, “…marketing eBooks are primarily used as informative and captivating aids and so they should be visually engaging, with imagery to help soften the content and explain complicated ideas.”

For me, an eBook isn’t a promotional asset. This is a resource that is adding TRUE value to the reader. People don’t want to be sold to. They want to learn, be entertained, and take away lessons and insights that they can apply in their work life.

Why create an eBook?

There are many reasons why the best cybersecurity marketing teams are creating eBooks. Here are three areas that really stand out to me:

Build trust and brand recognition

Working on an eBook allows you to pull in so many different areas of the business. You can talk with sales, marketing, product management, HR, and others to understand some of your customer’s pain points.

Identifying the needs of the industry is a great way to build up that trust. And when it comes to recognition, having a group of internal and external cybersecurity experts contributing can go a long way in driving some much-needed brand recognition.  

Lead magnet

After your eBook is ready, you need to start promoting. One tactic would be to keep this behind a form on a landing page and ask readers to put in their email (and other relevant details) to download. You can simply integrate these names with your email marketing list and start nurturing them about your products and solutions.

A resource for the whole marketing team and beyond.

One of the best things you can do with an eBook, especially if it’s crowdsourced, is to repurpose the content in different forms for the rest of the marketing team to use. Here is a list of some things I’d consider doing with a finished eBook:

Blog content

There are a ton of ways to repurpose the content as blog content. For example, you could take different chapters of the eBook that might need more detail and expand on them in the form of a blog post. You could actually follow up with the contributors to elaborate further on a particular topic or question that stood out to you. This is a great way to increase awareness around the eBook, drive leads, and make your content go further.

Social media content

If you’ve asked industry experts to contribute, then why not go that extra mile and actually take some of their quotes and create social media graphics to help promote the support blogs and eBook. Not only is it good to acknowledge their contribution, but leveraging their social channels for support will only boost the number of views.

Videos

If contributors have responded in video format, you can edit those responses and create a strong supporting video to drive engagement with your eBook. Or you could even take some of the responses and build out your own video to support your promotional efforts.

Webinar

Now that you’ve put together this fantastic eBook, why not repurpose some of the content and ideas to form a webinar panel? Maybe ask internal and external experts to take part. This is another fantastic way to drive more leads, and further promote your eBook.

Newsletter

Once you’ve started to build out your promotional strategy for your eBook, make sure you promote it in your newsletter too. You can actually promote this eBook, the supporting blogs, webinar, and more. Another idea is to actually use the eBook to help grow your list. Offer it as a free resource using a tool like OptinMonster.

Style and formats of an eBook

When you’re creating an eBook, there a few things to consider when it comes to stye and format.

Format

Do you want to create a PDF? HTML5? Or even something like an AZW3 file (formerly known as Mobi.) You need to consider what is easy to produce, user friendly, whether they can include interactive elements, if it needs to be downloaded and stored, etc. Understanding the purpose for your eBook will go a long way to determining the appropriate format.

Design

eBooks can really vary in content, format, and length – so, design is really important. You could focus on a more traditional layout with black text on a white background with a few graphics, or you could try and make it more visually engaging by adding various colors, fonts, graphics. It really depends on the purpose of the eBook and who your audience is.

Style

An eBook is supposed to be a sharper, less formal piece of content than a whitepaper. It’s not supposed to be as promotional and it should be engaging to the readers. This is partially led by design, but it’s also driven by the content that is included too. One of my favorite ways to create an eBook is by creating a crowdsourced eBook.

Reasons why I love a Crowdsourced eBook

  1. Talk to your customers. This is an amazing time to reach out to your customers and actually ask them for insights into their work lives. If the topic is around security awareness training, you can actually ask them for tips, advice, and insights into how they are successful. Not only is this extremely valuable to the person reading the eBook, but what a great way of making a customer feel valued, whilst nurturing that relationship.
  2. Include partners. Nearly all cybersecurity companies work with channel partners. They are partners of the business in terms of sales and growth, but they are also allies. What a great way to strengthen your relationship and include them in marketing activities, but you can also gather unique insights from c-level executives that work for and with so many different global brands.
  3. Prospects. Maybe you have a couple of prospects that you’re struggling to engage with. Perhaps their CISO speaks at industry events or even takes part in webinars. This is a great opportunity to reach out to them directly, or even to their PR team, and see if they would like to contribute. As you’re not asking for a lot from this individual, they might be receptive to the request, and it gives you a reason to build a unique relationship and not just one where they are feeling sold to all the time.
  4. Your team! You have a team of experts, so now is the time to showcase them. Find a diverse group in your company and include them in this project. You might have a media-trained CTO that you want to include in this project, but it also might be a great opportunity to give up-and-coming team members the chance to be part of an exciting project where they can showcase their talents and engage with marketing and the wider industry.
  5. And this is my favorite. The cybersecurity industry. Over my 10 years or so in the industry, I’ve met SO many kind, insightful and amazing people that love contributing to eBooks. It’s fairly easy from their perspective because you aren’t asking them for something that is hugely time-consuming, but for them to be part of a project where they are alongside other industry experts. The process of sharing their insights and knowledge can be really fun too. As with all these things, you ask, and if people don’t have the time or aren’t willing to contribute, you don’t keep asking. It’s really important to respect people’s time when it comes to projects like this.

At Bora, we’ve worked on quite a few different eBooks for clients. You can take a look at a few examples of campaigns we’ve done, and the supporting materials here:

Cisco: Creating Safe Spaces in Cybersecurity: https://ebooks.cisco.com/story/creating-safe-spaces/page/1

Tripwire: https://www.tripwire.com/solutions/compliance-solutions/mind-the-cybersecurity-compliance-gap

CISO Survival Guide: https://ebooks.cisco.com/story/building-security-resilience/page/1 

(ISC)²: https://cloud.connect.isc2.org/cloud-migration-tips

If you want more insights or to learn more about how Bora can help your marketing team create engaging content for your customers and prospects, contact us today.

What is an eBook and why your cybersecurity marketing team needs one
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