I wrote two articles over the weekend (why do I do keep doing this stuff on the weekends?), so I hadn't planned to write another one for a few days. But ...
I ran across a really good piece by one of my favorite bloggers and writers, David Meerman Scott, that just compelled me to bring to your attention. The article, So you want to write an ebook? 30 tips for success, just offers some great tips and ideas to show you why and how to market yourself with ebooks.
First, let me explain that David's approach is a little different from the way other people market with ebooks. Although he does have some products on his site that he sells, he is a strong advocate of offering free ebooks as a way to "build your brand" and create buzz about yourself (or as he refers to buzz, a "world wide rave").
Second, he also advocates a no-strings approach to these free ebooks. In other words, no opt-in screen, no requirement to leave personal information before being allowed to read the book.
I admit that this last point caught me off guard when I first learned of it. It admittedly seems counter-intuitive. Why wouldn't you use a free ebook as "bait" to build a list of opt-in email subscribers?
But as David explained to me in a very patient email last year, "letting go" of your ebook is the surest way to get wider distribution. People are more apt to forward links to it when it is both free and comes without strings.
The results I've seen on my own free ebooks have borne him out.
I lost track of how many downloads my email marketing ebook has received, although I know it had received over 17,000 hits as of last December.
And just two weeks ago, I found out that a lady here in Fort Worth was passing around a copy of my 7 Rules of Viral Marketing With Twitter at a women's networking meeting, telling everyone there to visit this blog to get a copy. (By the way, thank you Mindy Billings).
I know that I have gained more visitors and subscribers to this blog as a result of writing and giving my two ebooks away for free and without strings. I also have gained a lot of my Twitter followers the same way.
More importantly to my bottom-line brain, I can count at least four clients and one speaking engagement I've gotten as a result of these free ebooks.
Of course it is frustrating that these results are so difficult to track. I have trouble "letting go" and would prefer to have some hard numbers as a way to "keep score."
But the fact is, that if your goal is simply to get the word out about who you are and what you do, letting go is one of the best ways to get it done. And that is one of the lessons of the new media.
Be sure to check out David Meerman Scott's great article. Here it is again: So you want to write an ebook? 30 tips for success.
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