Two thoughts about graphics and marketing content:
I wrote my own treatise on the topic of using ebooks to market your products and services, outlining my thoughts on what’s good, what’s bad, what’s hot, and what’s not.
In that treatise, I beg ebook marketers to 1) be abnormally generous with white space, 2) use large, relevant images throughout, and 3) use less text on more pages because it’s easier for readers to digest a 40-page ebook with 100 words per page than it is to digest a five-page ebook with 800 words per page.
It’s the difference between “oh my God look at this wall of text I have no time and I can’t read this crap!” and “Hmm; this looks interesting….”
Now, let me add a third thought:
Combine the three thoughts, and that brings me to the point of this email:
Now, before I get started here, I want you to understand my heart. Please know that I’m not sharing this example to gloat. I’m not trying to embarrass anyone, which is why I blurred out the company name.
In fact, seeing content like what I’m about to share makes me sad, especially when it comes from a former client! Didn’t they learn anything working with me? Then again, they’ve had a lot of turnover; I’d be surprised if more than two or three people there would recognize my name.
The content in question (or the questionable content) is a new ebook from a former client. It knocked my socks off — and not in a good way. It’s almost as if they read my ebook treatise, and then asked a fifth grader to create an ebook based on it.
Seriously. Take a look at this page, one of many just like it.
Unfortunately, the ebook goes on like that for 45 long pages, most of which feature very little text and one huge graphic.
Chunky style. Or … more like Fisher Price style?
Lest you think I’m kidding when I say that most of the ebook is laid out this way, here are images from a few more pages for your perusal.
And here’s a serious question you might be asking yourself right now: Was the text any good?
Based on what I see here, I’d say no, the text is not good either. But honestly, I’m not sure because I was so … disturbed … appalled … by the graphics and layout that I barely read more than a few words.
Perhaps I’m a snob, but I don’t think so. I genuinely feel the graphics here make this ebook appropriate ONLY for children in elementary school.
They are certainly not appropriate for a SaaS company selling a high-value service to businesses.
Oh how I want to reach out to this company to offer my assistance! This is what I live for — to help companies create content experiences people enjoy and respect, experiences that make them want to do business with you!
But I don’t think that’s a great approach: “Hey there, I just downloaded your new ebook…. I think it sucks and would love to help you improve it….”
Although I can’t do that, I can, however, share the sad tale here as a warning for you.
I can’t believe I even have to say this, but the rule is to use “audience-appropriate” graphics in your ebooks, and all other marketing materials.
Note: Fisher Price image courtesy of m01229 on Flickr. Thanks!
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Renae Gregoire is a content mentor and clarity expert changing the world one outstanding leader at a time. The coaches, consultants, and experts she works with have big visions for creating transformational change--if only they could create that content! Her work typically involves a blend of strategy and wordsmithing, with a heavy focus on the reader's perspective. Renae is also the creator of the Blog Post Inspiration Deck, the Blog Your Brilliance online program, and the Content Coaching Club.