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Agile Computing: Book Review

Jonathan Kranz's The eBook eBook

eBook is the centerpiece for a viral, buzz-building campaign within the social media world

Jonathan Kranz's has published his latest eBook on, well eBooks! The eBook eBook: How to turn your expertise into magnetic marketing material.

Jonathan Kranz's The eBook eBook covers these topics

  • Real-life examples of marketing successes you can emulate
  • Guidelines for identifying compelling content
  • The secrets to telling unforgettable stories
  • Hints, tips and secrets for organizing your ebook
  • How to supplement your ideas with stats, graphs, quotes, anecdotes and more
  • The right way introduce your ebook
  • An even better way to conclude your ebook to encourage reader action
  • Practical pointers on tone, theme and style
  • Suggestions for promoting your ebook

We have invited Jonathan Kranz to discuss his eBook.Today, Jonathan Kranz enjoys the confidence of numerous clients and agencies. After completing his MFA in Creative Writing in 1995 (and publishing a number of short stories in literary journals such as the Missouri Review and the Green Mountains Review), he leap-frogged agency life and jumped into freelancing with both feet. Since then, he has written a huge stack of content, advertising, direct marketing, and public relations materials for consumer and B2B clients in financial services, banking, insurance, high-tech, healthcare, education, and other industries. Jonathan is also the author of Writing Copy for Dummies.

Jonathan Kranz

Blog Kranzcom Twitter jonkranz

Ambal Balakrishnan: Jonathan, it is a great pleasure to discuss your latest eBook. Thanx for finding time out of your very busy schedule to provide your valuable insights to our readers. Tell us about what Kranz Communication does?
Jonathan Kranz: Sure. Just two years ago, I would have said, “direct marketing copywriting.” But now, I’m seeing a growing, almost insatiable demand for content: web pages, ebooks, white papers, case studies, articles and more. I’m bringing a direct marketing mindset – targeted audiences, compelling offers, a drive toward action – to the emerging world of what’s called “inbound” or “content” marketing. Although many people are justly turned-off by the hype, my clients are embracing this new marketing world for one simple reason: it works.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What prompted you to embark on writing ‘The eBook eBook’?
Jonathan Kranz: A need for detailed, specific guidance. Many marketing gurus are selling the virtues of content marketing in general, but can be awfully vague in the particulars: How do you actually CREATE a successful ebook? The eBook eBook fills the gap with actionable, practical how-to’s.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Please walk us through the eBook writing life-cycle. How did it evolve on its journey from concept to launch?
Jonathan Kranz: Slowly and painfully! It began with a eureka shower moment, then became a draft I hammered out between client projects. Connecting with the award-winning designer, Patrick Ciano, really pulled all the pieces together.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Who is ‘The eBook eBook’ addressed towards?
Jonathan Kranz: Mostly toward those businesses or organizations that have intellectually complex products or services – the kinds of offers that require research on the customer’s side. The ebook is the company’s opportunity to establish thought-leadership in its industry, and to build prospect trust by sharing expertise those prospects’ value.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What makes the eBook such an essential component of a business’s content marketing plan?
Jonathan Kranz: Without trust, there is no initial contact – no grounds for further conversation between business and customer. The ebook establishes a credibility that can initiate subsequent contact. And as a marketing tool, it’s almost unbelievably versatile, serving as a:

  • Centerpiece for a viral, buzz-building campaign within the social media world
  • Magnet that draws Web traffic
  • Potential offer for a lead-gen, direct response campaign
  • Compelling leave-behind on sales calls
  • Means to attract favorable mainstream media attention
  • Great conference/convention booth hand-out
  • Push-over piece that helps convert fence-sitters into closed sales

Ambal Balakrishnan: How can one measure the ROI for creating and marketing a eBook?
Jonathan Kranz: Depends on your objectives AND on how you distribute/promote your ebook. But here are a few key metrics:

  • If you gate your content or use a tool like Docmetrics, you can track leads…
  • …leads, in turn, can be tracked to sales
  • If you make an offer at the end of the ebook for an enewsletter subscription…webinar invitation…demo observation…you can track the sign-up numbers
  • Count the downloads
  • Monitor web and social media analytics tools for increased activity
  • Monitor Twitter, blogosphere for discussions of your ebook
  • Watch for media mentions, references

Ambal Balakrishnan: What are the 3 key lessons you want readers to take away from your eBook?
Jonathan Kranz:

  1. Connect your experience/expertise to the issues/concerns that matter most to your target audience
  2. Break your content in digestible pieces that are easily consumed by readers, scanners and skimmers
  3. Use your conclusion as a transition to a next step – be it an event, a subscription, a call – that draws the reader closer to your business and further along the sales pipeline

Ambal Balakrishnan: What one “get started on right way” change do you recommend to the reader of your eBook?
Jonathan Kranz: Plan your promotions immediately, as soon as you start writing your ebook. By the time the ebook is physically complete, you want to have all the necessary pieces in place for distributing your content baby.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Give us 3-5 examples of great eBooks with good content and appealing layout.
Jonathan Kranz: There are so many great ones, but here are a few that cover a range of key issues:

  • The New Rules of PR by David Meerman Scott: The granddaddy of ebooks -- it wasn’t the first, but it was the shot heard around the world that launched the ebook revolution.
  • The Taxonomy Folksonomy Cookbook by Daniela Barbosa: A great example of how to turn an esoteric subject (taxonomies, for goodness sake!) into an urgent business issue that’s also fun to read about.
  • Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Michael Stelzner: Here’s how you turn fresh research into must-read content.
  • 8 Ways to Save on Freight and Fuel by ExpressPoint: In a superb act of communications judo, ExpressPoint uses a topical issue to position its business as a collaborative partner in the pursuit of efficiency.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Please recommend 3-5 resources (books, blogs) for creators and marketers of eBooks.
Jonathan Kranz: At the risk of leaving many worthy resources out, I’m going to suggest a few starting points that shouldn’t stop anyone from seeking other great resources out on the web:

  • WebInkNow puts content marketing within the context of the latest Web and social media developments.
  • Writing White Papers gives you the latest on writing long-form content.
  • Savvy B2B Marketing is written by the “Savvy Sisters” but is appropriate for any marketer, male or female, with a brain in his or her head. Great blog posts on content.
  • ClickIdeas is a new content-focused blog that presents the freshest thinking from its stable of experts.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What kind of projects are you involved in when you are not writing, blogging, speaking, or consulting with marketers?
Jonathan Kranz: I can often be found prowling the dusty bins of used-record stores for jazz, garage rock and psychedelia. On the more constructive (and less self-indulgent) side, I sit on the board of directors of Notre Dame High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts, a college-prep institution that exclusively serves the economically disadvantaged through an innovative academic and work-study program. We enter our sixth year with encouraging results: 100% of the students who have graduated thus far have been accepted into four-year colleges!

Ambal Balakrishnan: Jonathan Kranz, thanks for taking the time to discuss your eBook and sharing your insights with us.
Jonathan Kranz: Thanks Ambal.

The eBook eBook 11 Point Checklist

1. Find an exciting subject that really means something to your customers
2. Identify subject matter experts and other sources of precious information
3. Frame the subject on terms favorable to your business
4. Use conflict to create dramatic interest
5. Organize your content for easier writing and reading
6. Pick the best approach for packaging your expertise
7. Create callouts and sidebars that stimulate interest
8. Craft an inviting introduction that lures readers inside
9. Lead readers to the next step of engagement with your business
10. Design your ebook to complement your ideas
11. Plan to promote your ebook for maximum market impact

Read Savvy B2B Marketing Wendy Thomas's review Review - The eBook eBook – How to Turn Your Expertise Into Magnetic Marketing Material by Jonathan Kranz and Joe Pulizzi's review The Ultimate Guide to Creating an eBook - The eBook eBook.

Over to you...

What is the one lesson from Jonathan Kranz's The eBook eBook you will put to use in your Content Marketing?

More Stories By Ambal Balakrishnan

Ambal has robust 17+ years experience working at and partnering with high-profile technology companies in both B2B and B2C marketplaces building scalable, reliable, high performance products (both hardware and software) for business with multi-billion dollar in annual revenue. She has done various roles that includes engineering, program management, business development, strategy and marketing for premium and fast growing product divisions at Cisco, Telecordia (prior name Bell Labs) and strategic marketing consulting firm ClickDocuments. At Cisco, she focused on world wide marketing and positioning of Cisco's Cloud & Data Center switching business. She brings both strong engineering & marketing skills with verticals experience from many different industries. Ambal received her Masters in Computer Science from Purdue University and an MBA in Marketing, Strategy and Entrepreneurship from Wharton University of Pennsylvania. Ambal is an avid reader and hiker. Her hiking pursuits have taken her to several mountains including Mt. Whitney at 14,500 feet (which she managed to climb in 1 day). Ambal lives in Austin, TX with her family of 3 boys (that includes her husband!) and a border-collie+lab mix dog named Rainbow.

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