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Ebook Formats 101: Finding the Best Format For You

An ebook can be an incredibly valuable part of your marketing mix.

You can use them:

  • As a lead magnet to entice people to join your email subscriber list.
  • In the Consideration phase to help leads define their buying criteria.
  • In the Decision phase to dive deep into particular business problems.

Many brands will publish a whole assortment of ebooks catering to different buyer personas, solutions, and stages of the buyer journey. No matter whether you have one ebook or a whole library, however, you have to start with the best ebook formats for the job.

When we talk about ebook formats, we’re not discussing file types like PDF or EPUB. In fact, most marketers will use PDF or good ol’ HTML in their ebook publishing efforts.

Instead, we want to zoom in and make well-reasoned, strategic decisions about how content is laid out and arranged. When your layout clicks with your readers, it will help them read and retain more information. That’s important, since ebooks are deep and detailed. Plus, knowing the format from the get-go will make the entire ebook creation process, including designing your ebook, a lot simpler.

Here’s how you can select ebook formats that will wow your readers.

Three Techniques to Pick Knock-Out Ebook Formats for Your Project

types of ebook formats

1. Look at What Your Buyers Like to Read.

First and foremost, check out the kind of sources your buyers like and trust. Each publisher and platform has their own style for content. If there are print sources that are highly relevant in your field, their methods of presenting information can be valuable, too.

2. Experiment with Web Content Formats.

In general, whatever your readers respond to in your blogs, they’ll respond to in your ebooks. Keep an eye on your web analytics and experiment with different approaches to text, visuals, videos, and data. This will clue you in to customers’ reading habits before you take the plunge.

3. Check Out Some Competing Ebooks.

Odds are good there are already high-traffic ebooks in your niche. A competitor research tool like Spyfu can help you pinpoint sites that attract plenty of ebook downloads. Ebooks are usually accessible with a simple signup, so you can analyze successful ebook formats in detail.

Four Stellar Ebook Formats for High-Impact B2B Publishing

1. “Traditional” Book Style

“Traditional” ebooks may run anywhere from 30 pages to 200 and up. They leverage the prestige of print-style formatting, conveying a lot of nuanced information. While they may have limited applications in marketing, a traditional feel is effective for those who wish to monetize ebooks.

Best Practices

  • Frame your ebook as authored by a thought leader in your enterprise, such as the CEO.
  • Use callout boxes and summaries to highlight reader takeaways from each chapter.
  • Emphasize clear typography and lots of subheaders to make your text scannable.

2. Magazine Style Ebooks

These ebooks can showcase long case studies that vigorously examine a solution’s capabilities without losing the reader’s attention. They employ a sparse page layout with photos and illustrations. These both break up the text and guide the reader from point to point.

Best Practices

  • Use powerful action photography and hero shots to create the right emotional mood.
  • Explore authenticity through candid shots of your team and customers in action.
  • Consider double-spaced text to enhance readability and reduce words per page.

3. Self-Assessment Style

A self-assessment style ebook focuses on worksheets and interactive content. Readers take an active role, working through a defined process as they go from chapter to chapter. This is a compelling way to get leads excited about prequalifying for your solutions.

Best Practices

  • Start by defining the value you’ll provide, then design helpful assessments to deliver it.
  • Connect readers with insightful content in your blog and video library in each chapter.
  • Have a strong call to action that incentivizes readers building on what they learned.

4. Bundled Ebook Style

Blurring the line between a traditional ebook and an online course can be a great opportunity to prepare your readers for more intensive educational content. “Bundled ebook formats” combine concise text chapters with videos that reinforce and expand on the text.

Best Practices

  • Design text and videos to complement each other – not everyone will read (or watch!)
  • Remember: Login-based video access helps you see which readers watched them in full.
  • Move your ebook readers to a special mailing list segment to capitalize on their interest.

This is only a handful of the top ebook formats. Know your audience and be bold in how you meet their needs: You could pioneer an ebook strategy that drives engagement and conversion in your field. The more ebooks you publish, the more lessons you’ll be able to uncover!

Ebook pillar page

Rob Steffens

Rob Steffens

I am the Director of Marketing here at Bluleadz. I'm a huge baseball fan (Go Yankees!). I love spending time with friends and getting some exercise on the Racquetball court.