White Papers vs. eBooks: What Are They, And Why Do You Need Them?

As a business owner, you’ve likely heard more digital marketing jargon than you care to remember. With all of the terminology for search engine optimization, social media, and content marketing, it can be tough to keep it all straight—and it can be especially tough to determine if you need all of the latest and greatest features for marketing your website.

White papers and eBooks are nothing new in the world of content marketing. However, they are two entirely separate types of content. Determining which version that you need for your business is quite easy once you understand the way that they function, as well as understanding what goes into creating these documents.

Before you make a decision in terms of if a white paper or eBook is right for you, let’s take a look at their purpose and definitions.

White Papers vs. eBooks: What is an eBook?

An eBook is a digital copy of a book that can be downloaded to a computer or mobile device. You might be most familiar with versions that are downloaded from Amazon’s bookstore for Kindle. This is very close to the same concept, although Kindle Books require different formatting than eBooks used for purposes such as lead generation.

In terms of marketing, eBooks are used as a tool to collect information such as names and email addresses. This information can be used to help grow your email subscription list, or serve as a pool of contacts for potential leads—just be sure to let your readers know that they may be contacted in regards to your services.

Ebooks are downloaded as a PDF document straight onto a computer, and they are usually free. 

eBook Content: Think Depth And Quality

When it comes to composing an eBook, the content should be considered as high value to your customer. It needs to contain content that can’t be found just anywhere on the Internet, and it’ll typically be much longer in length than a typical blog post. Many eBooks contain at least 3,000 words, sometimes much more. If you’re stuck on word count, make a goal of 3,000 words and see where you’re at by the time you hit your goal.

Although 3,000 words might sound lofty, it’s easy to achieve when you’re doing significant research. Researching the topic for your eBook is essential to ensuring that the content is factually accurate and credible. Otherwise, your eBook won’t contain much value at all to your customers.

Your eBook should also be properly formatted in a program such as Adobe InDesign. Your eBook should include:

  • A cover with a nice design—most eBook covers for marketing purposes are very simple
  • A table of contents
  • Supplemental graphics
  • Roughly 3,000 words
  • A call-to-action

Once your customers are finished reading your eBook, ask them to give you a call to learn more or hire you for your services or products.

White Papers vs. eBooks: What is a White Paper?

To continue on with the description of white papers vs. eBooks, we’ll cover the topic on the definition of a white paper. White papers are an in-depth research report on a specific topic or industry. Their tone is much more professional and/or academic than what you would find in an eBook.

An example of a White Paper would be an analysis or theory behind a new piece of technology in the tech field. The idea is to educate customers on a particular issue and offers solutions on how your service or product can solve it.

White Paper Content: Think Informative

White papers should ultimately be based on facts and supply evidence for the point you’re trying to make. Including graphics such as charts and graphs will help supplement your White Paper and make the content a little less dry.

According to HubSpot, a White Paper should have no fewer than 6 pages. When you’re comparing White Papers vs. eBooks, the length can certainly be about the same, but White Papers are denser. Ebooks are easy to skim and White Papers are typically absorbed line-by-line. 

White Papers vs. eBooks: From Concept to Publishing

One of the major differences with white papers vs. eBooks is the time that it takes from concept to publishing. An eBook can be put together in a few short weeks, depending on how fast you write and if you have a template made for its design. You can also collaborate previously written blog post and package them together as an eBook, as long as they are under the same theme.

On the other hand, White Papers can take months to finish. You’ll be doing extensive research, and possibly researching an entirely new field that has yet to be published. If you plan to dig in and get started on a White Paper, be sure that your calendar is clear.

Stand Apart in Your Industry With Bigfoot Media

A lot of companies decide to publish an eBook or White Paper in order to become an authority in their industry. While publishing is one effective technique, Bigfoot Media can also help build your credibility with social media services, reputation management, and more.

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