7 Creative E-book Design Examples (B2B + B2C)

In marketing, good e-book design isn’t just about making something pretty; it’s about enhancing your viewer’s experience with your content. When you turn a boring cover into a stunning calling card, or a cluttered layout into a visual treat, or a confusing data set into an elegant visualization, you make it that much easier to grab—and, most importantly, keep—your audience’s attention.

We love it when we see brands from all industries up their e-book game by applying A+ design, and we think seeing others’ good work can inspire you too. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the most standout examples of e-book design we’ve seen lately.  

7 Excellent Examples of E-Book Design

If you’re facing an e-book design project and need a little inspiration, we have just what you need. Here are seven great takes on e-book design from both B2B and B2C brands. 

1) The Secret Sauce by LinkedIn

Why we love it: A great cover

Linkedin ebook example

We’re suckers for a bold visual, and this e-book cover hits the mark for several reasons. 

  1. It’s a clever theme, demonstrating that LinkedIn has the literal secret sauce (bonus points for making it the only bottle with a label).
  2. Its clean photography really pops, especially compared to most of the boring covers in the B2B space. 
  3. It reflects LinkedIn’s brand identity via their signature bright blue (a visual differentiator). 

When you’re looking to make an impact, a visually arresting cover is the way to do it in an instant.

Note: While a cover is incredibly important, maintaining a design aesthetic throughout all of your content is equally as important. LinkedIn decided to promote the e-book by creating an infographic, which also carries the same visual theme. A+ all around.

Linkedin ebook example 2

Tip: Make sure your e-book design reflects your brand identity. To make it easier for content creators to replicate, find out how to craft a strong brand’s style guide.

2) Your Field Guide to Foraging Intent Data by Terminus

Why we love it: A clever theme

Gathering data is a crucial part of a marketer’s job, but you can feel like you’re lost in the weeds. Terminus does an excellent job of translating this metaphor into an exciting adventure guide. From the people and animals to the maps and trails, this interactive e-book is a perfect example of how a little creativity can drastically enhance a viewer’s experience. By giving it this unique twist, learning how to gather data feels like an exciting adventure—not a dull chore.

B2b e-book examples 3

Tip: It’s easy to come up with obvious visual metaphors (e.g., lightbulb = idea), but challenge yourself to come up with a visual theme that is both relevant and interesting.

3) Break Free of Boring B2B by Ceros

Why we love it: Unusual imagery

This is a perfect example of super creative e-book design for a subject that can be notoriously, well, boring. This interactive e-book is an explosion of color, pattern, and surprising imagery that is totally unexpected. From a screaming bear to a soda-drinking cat, it takes Internet meme aesthetic to a whole new level while delving into the ins and outs of B2B content marketing. We love an eye-catching interactive, and this brings the best of animation and information together in one easy-to-navigate package.

E-book examples page with bear

Tip: Since you don’t have to be literal in your metaphors, think about the real message you’re trying to deliver. Ceros wanted to prove that B2B doesn’t have to be boring, so they created a totally surprising and whimsical e-book design to prove just that.

4) STFU Already by Unbabel

Why we love it: Bold palette and typography

Not all e-books have to be interactive adventures. Unbabel’s thoroughly entertaining PDF e-book proves you can make a big impression without a ton of bells and whistles. Its bright and bold color palette, playful illustrations, and beautiful typography make the subject matter that much more interesting. Whereas they could have taken the technical route, espousing their software benefits in a boring brochure, this technicolor approach generates excitement and curiosity about their offering. F yeah, Unbabel.

Unbable e-book design example Unbable e-book example 2 Unbable e-book example 2

Tip: Bold colors can help you stand out from your competition, especially when you use them for your cover. If you’re not sure what fits your message, find out how to curate the right color palette for your brand. 

5) How EU Banks Can Ensure EPI’s Success by Feedzai

Why we love it: Pops of personality

Any time a brand can transcend their product offering and show us who they are, it’s a win for brand storytelling. Feedzai is a perfect example of this. For an e-book about financial safety, which may seem rather droll, they do a good job of adding personality via people-centric illustrations (which feature a balance of genders and more than one skin tone—thank you).

Feedzai ebook example 3

Tip: Depicting diversity is crucial. Be mindful of who you’re representing through imagery (be it illustration or photography).

6) How to Successfully Negotiate a Higher Salary in 4 Easy Steps by Her First 100K

Why we love it: Simplicity with style

Good e-book design doesn’t mean you have to design a custom font, create hand-drawn illustrations, or conduct a 5-day photoshoot to get the best images. This guide makes great use of photography, typography, layout, and negative space to deliver the information in a straightforward, cohesive package. If you wanted proof that strong design can elevate even the simplest e-book, this is it.

Her first 100K ebook 2 Her first 100K ebook

Tip: If you don’t have a ton of design resources, simple typography treatments and callouts can do a lot to make content easily digestible.

7) Einstein’s Guide to AI Use Cases by Salesforce

Alright, so this one isn’t technically an e-book, but it is a clever piece of lead generation. You answer a few questions about what type of work you do, and this interactive guides you to the most relevant case study for you. This is a very clever way to create a personalized, guided experience through strong design. The Einstein character animation, the simple and clean navigation, and the brand colors make this a clearly branded experience.

Salesforce einstein e-book design example

Tip: Simple interactivity can make all of your content more engaging, whether it’s an e-book, guide, or questionnaire. If you’re curious to learn more, find out how to brainstorm great interactive content ideas. 

How to Nail Your Own E-book Design

We want to see better e-book design in the world, so we’re always happy to share the tips we’ve learned from our own projects. If you’re looking for more tips to improve your e-books…

And if you need a partner to help bring your next e-book to life, here are 12 tips to find a good content agency. You can always hit us up too.

Blend Consumer Banking E-Book

Blend’s digital platform streamlines the journey from application to close—for every banking product. For this project, Blend was specifically interested in a report that would explore the state of the industry as it relates to the application process for deposit accounts, the keys to a good process, and how institutions can best serve their customers.

However, this wasn’t a standard data design project. Before we could bring the data to life, we needed to get it. So we crafted custom criteria to outline the key factors you need to create a successful application experience and audited a list of 100 financial institutions (including banks and credit unions) to score each. Of course, the challenge with all data storytelling is identifying the most relevant information (aka the real story). Because the primary goal of the report was to help readers improve their own application practices, we focused on identifying industry trends and the most interesting insights to turn into relevant takeaways for the reader.

The result was a high-value piece of content that establishes Blend’s authority and expertise in the industry, and positions the brand as a trusted resource to their customers—a content marketing win-win.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Write, Design, and Promote a Successful E-Book

According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 B2B Content Marketing Trends report, 71% of marketers create e-books, and 50% consider them to be the most effective type of content.

E-books are certainly one of the best high-quality, high-value tools for lead generation, which is why they should be included in your content marketing mix. A well-crafted e-book can generate leads for years. (We know this firsthand, as some of our early e-books are still the most trafficked on our website.) But note that we said “well-crafted.”

If your e-book is full of fluff, off topic, or poorly designed, you won’t hold the attention of the people you’re trying to reach. And you certainly won’t entice them to explore your other content, so it’s crucial to create the most content-rich, eye-catching, attention-grabbing e-book you can—every time.

How to Create a Truly Great Marketing E-Book

From ideation to distribution, there are a lot of things you can do to make your e-book successful and a few things that will sabotage it, which we’ve learned the hard way. We don’t want you to fall victim to some of our mistakes, so we’re sharing our best tips and tricks to create an awesome e-book, from writing, to design, to distribution.

Whether you’re just starting out or you have a few e-books under your belt, these simple tips can help you save time, work more efficiently, and create a piece of content that helps you achieve your goals.

E-BOOK WRITING

Before you start writing, remember that a successful e-book starts with a good idea. Here’s how to host a successful brainstorm to kick things off.

1) Find a Topic People Care About

The number one mistake in all content marketing is producing content that isn’t relevant to the people you’re trying to reach. Whether it’s too broad, too niche, too self-serving, or too boring, you need to choose a topic that provides actual value in some way.

For e-books, which tend to be educational (as opposed to entertaining or inspirational), focus on providing insight into an area that helps people solve a problem, expand their knowledge, or learn how to do something.

Tip: To make sure your idea will work, use marketing personas to vet them. Marketing personas detail exactly who your customers are, the problems they face, what they care about, etc. You may already know what topic you want to write about, but personas can help you refine your angle. If you don’t already have personas, follow our step-by-step guide to create them in less than an hour.

Example: For our most recent e-book, The Content Marketer’s Guide to Brand Video, we created a comprehensive guide about working with brand video, tailored for a specific group of people.

2) Identify Your Narrative

An e-book is a story, after all, so it should follow a narrative. Once you know your angle, take time to outline what that story is, what will anchor it, and how to best communicate it. Also think about how you might incorporate sidebars, callouts, tips, quotes, or examples to support your narrative.

A useful way to craft an outline is to consider the types of questions your reader will have (think who, what, when, where, why, how, etc.). Remember, too, that you want your narrative to guide them to a specific conclusion, takeaway, or next step.

For example, for The Content Marketer’s Guide to Brand Video, we created an A-Z guide that helped answered every question a content marketer might have, from why video works for brands, to what makes a good brand video, to how to work with a crew on set.  

(Note: Using data to inform your story can be especially powerful. Try this 5-step process to uncover the interesting stories in your data.)

Tip: Break your outline into chapters and subchapters. This will help you ensure you have a logical flow.

3) Support Your Story with Credible Sources

E-books are a great opportunity to demonstrate your brand’s thought-leadership and experience. Of course, including strong data, expert insights, and research also helps bolster credibility. Just follow these tips to make sure you cite your sources appropriately.

Note, too, that you can reduce your researching time by combing through your existing content. If you tend to cover the same themes in your content, you probably already have valuable information or insights to incorporate. (Not sure where to look? Here are 8 types of content you already have that you can incorporate into an e-book.)

Tip: Adding expert quotes is a simple way to enhance your content—and expand your reach. If you let the expert know when you launch your e-book, they may blog about it or retweet it for their own exposure.

Example: We used an expert quote from Psychology Today to explain the science behind why video stimulates humans. 

How to create a great e-book

4) Follow Copywriting Best Practices

Again, you are creating your e-book for a specific group of people, so it should be tailored for them. That means speaking to them at their level, crafting a clear story, and avoiding unnecessary jargon and buzzwords. Pay special attention to your:

  • Brand voice
  • Tone
  • Language

For more ways to improve your copywriting, try these 7 writing exercises and use these 100+ copywriting tips, tools, and resources.

Tip: Always make sure your copy is proofed by an editor before it goes to design.

5) Use a Keyword-Specific Title

An e-book title is not the place for a fun pun. It was novel in the early days of content marketing, but now people are suffering from content shock. People go to e-books to get the information they need, quickly. Don’t waste their time making them guess the subject.

More importantly, you want any and all content you make to be optimized for SEO. E-books can do wonders for your search rankings, so it’s important to consider what specific keyword you use in your title, blog posts, and landing pages.

Tip: Write 15 variations of your title and circulate to your team to choose the strongest.

6) Get Copy Approval

We cannot stress this enough. With the exception of tiny tweaks or grammatical mistakes, your copy shouldn’t change much once it goes to design. Get sign-off from all relevant stakeholders before it goes to design. Otherwise, you’ll waste time, money, and energy in design edits down the road.

Tip: Distribute copy to everyone who needs approval, and assign a point person to consolidate all feedback so that you can work through edit rounds more efficiently.

E-BOOK DESIGN

A good designer uses design principles to enhance the content, maximize comprehension, and keep the reader engaged throughout. Here’s how to do that—and avoid a few pitfalls along the way.

7) Know Your Specs

It seems obvious, but confirm your specs up front. Whether it’s static or interactive, meant for web or print, make sure you know your e-book dimensions, resolution, etc. before you do anything. (Have we designed something for digital that we later found out needed to be hi-res for print? Yes. We don’t want to talk about it.)

8) Choose a Theme Carefully

A theme is a great way to craft a cohesive design and support your e-book story. But don’t get carried away. Your design should 1) always adhere to your brand style guide and 2) match the subject. That means making sure it’s appropriate—no goofy illustrations for an e-book about life-saving medical devices and no baseball diamond theme for a guide to choosing the right lipstick color (not that we’re calling anyone out specifically).

9) Draft Wireframes

It’s tempting to dive into design to save time, but wireframing will always save you time in the long run—especially if you need approval from a group of people. It can be hell to make late-stage design changes—and absolutely maddening if you’re creating an interactive.

(Interactive design is a whole other beast. Learn more about the keys to a great interactive.)

10) Design for Story

When applied properly, design principles help increase comprehension and enhance your story. If you can’t justify how an element does these things, you don’t need it. Follow best practices, and be economical with:

  • Colors
  • Logo use
  • Fonts and typography
  • Hierarchy
  • Photography
  • Illustration
  • Iconography
  • Data visualization
  • Interactive elements

Tip: Avoid these 30 design mistakes that will sabotage any e-book. And for a little visual inspiration, take a look at these 75 examples of great e-book design.

11) Nail Your Data Visualization

Data design requires a bit more attention than simply throwing data into a chart. You are designing not just for aesthetics but for comprehension. (Good data visualization actually makes content easier to synthesize and recall.)

Tip: Learn how to correctly design the most common charts and graphs, and follow these 25 tips to improve the efficacy of your data visualizations.

Example: In The Content Marketer’s Guide to Brand Video, we used a variety of data visualizations, properly sourced and linked to the original data. 

12) Create Design Templates

One of the smartest ways to save production time and increase your turnaround is to semi-automate your design process. Creating templates is a great way to do this. Simply craft a set of mix-and-match elements, including imagery, headers, body copy, data visualizations, callouts, etc. This will make it easier to design any e-book in the future (even for non-designers).  

Tip: Follow this 4-step guide to make customizable e-book design templates.

DISTRIBUTION

Distribution should never be an afterthought—your owned, earned, and paid strategies should be outlined from the get-go. For a basic overview of distribution, download The Ultimate Guide to Content Distribution. But follow these tips to make your e-books as popular as possible.

13) Know Your Metrics

Before you start distributing your e-book, you need a way to measure your success. What stage of the buyer’s journey are you focusing on? Awareness? Consideration? What will help you achieve that? Impressions? Downloads? Traffic? Publication pickup? These should be documented.

Tip: Find out how to use metrics to make your content strategy more effective.

14) Prep Assets

Before you launch the e-book, ask designers to provide any assets you might need for social media, landing pages, blog headers, media teasers, etc. Make sure everything is sized appropriately, high-res, and easily accessible. (There’s nothing worse than making a journalist wait a few hours for your team to resize a simple graphic.)

Tip: Don’t know your social image dimensions? Here’s a handy cheat cheet:

  • Facebook:
    • Profile, Page, and Group: 820px x 462px
    • Page Video: 820px x 465px
    • Event: 1920px x 1080px
  • LinkedIn:
    • Profile: 1584px x 396px
    • Company Page: 1536px x 768px
  • Google+:
    • Profile and Page: 1600px x 900px
    • Collection and Community: 368px x 207px
  • YouTube: 2560px x 1440px
  • Twitter: 1500px x 500px
  • Tumblr: 1600px x 900px

15) Optimize Your Blog

As we previously mentioned, e-books are awesome for SEO, yet we see too many brands that aren’t prepared to capitalize on it. In addition to your e-book title, make sure your owned properties are SEO optimized, that everything is working (e.g., social buttons!), and that content is properly uploaded.

Tip: Use this handy infographic to optimize your blog for SEO.

16) Partner with Publications

Earned media is one of the best ways to increase your reach, whether it’s through publications or social influencers. There are many ways to get placement, but one of the most effective ways is through publication-tailored content. That means your content, whether it’s a blog post, infographic, or entire e-book, is tailored for a particular publication’s audience.

Publications appreciate the free content, and it gets you pretty much guaranteed placement. It’s a win-win.

Tip: Here’s how you can use a publication-tailored strategy to get more eyes on your e-book.

17) Use a Divisible Content Strategy

Different platforms require different types of promotion, and you can create content specifically tailored for each—just by repurposing the content in your e-book. (We call this a divisible content strategy.) Spin your e-book into microcontent for social promo, an infographic for publication placement, or a guest blog post.

How to create a great marketing e-book

Divisible content is an efficient and economical approach to promote your e-book, expand its lifespan, and reach different groups of people.

Tip: Try this step-by-step guide to break your e-book up into divisibles. And check out these 9 easy ways to turn your old e-book design into fresh content to make the most of your archive.

More Ways to Make Your Life Easier

We’re always on the lookout for the best tips and strategies to create more successful e-books (ideally with less work). For a few more hacks, bookmark this roundup of 101 tools and resources for creating great e-books, and let us know if you’ve found anything particularly helpful.

Of course, if you’re too busy to make your next e-book, give us a holler and we can help you out.

5 Easy Ways to Turn Your Old E-Books Into Fresh Infographics

Content takes time, money, and resources to produce, which is why we believe you should get as much mileage as possible from anything you create—especially with cornerstone content like e-books. Unfortunately, marketers are usually sitting on an archive of great content that’s just gathering dust, either because it never had much traffic to begin with or because it’s been forgotten. This is a huge waste.

You can get a lot more from your existing assets by using them to create fresh content. This approach is called a divisible content strategy, and not only is it economical but it expands your reach, takes less work, and helps you promote other content, helping strengthen your entire content ecosystem. 

One of the best ways to breathe new life into old content is to create infographics. Things like e-books, reports, guides, research, and surveys are filled with valuable information and interesting data insights that can be used to tell many different types of stories—and infographics can help bring those stories to life in unique ways.

5 Ways to Create Infographics

If you’re not sure what types of infographics to make from your e-books, here are some of our favorite ways to extract stories and come up with new ideas.

1) Expand on a Topic

E-books and reports are full of valuable information, but they can only cover so much on a given topic. By exploring a related subject or doing a deeper dive into a single topic, you can create an interesting infographic that educates your reader—and encourages them to learn more by checking out the original e-book. Pro tip: Comb through the sidebars or callouts in your e-books or reports—those are often great subjects to explore.

Example: To promote their What DDoS Attacks Really Cost Businesses survey, we helped Incapsula create an infographic on the anatomy of a DDOS attack. While the survey covered how the issue affects businesses, it didn’t precisely explain how these attacks happen. Creating this infographic allowed Incapsula to further educate people while promoting the survey.  

repurpose infographics 1

2) Create a How-To

People are always eager to learn something, and if you can provide them with practical information that makes their lives easier, they will love you for it. Turning your best tips and tutorials from e-books or other cornerstone content into compelling infographics is a great way to provide value—in a highly shareable format.  

Example: We partnered with LinkedIn to create a fun infographic that offered tips on how to create a great marketing machine. The infographic was used to promote the brand’s e-book, The Marketing Skills Handbook, which included many more great tips.

repurpose infographics 2

3) Summarize a Chapter or Topic

Infographics are an effective form of storytelling because they help people process information visually, making them a great way to communicate concepts that may be complex or challenging to explain. Also, not everyone has the time to dive into an e-book or research report. Creating a condensed infographic version that includes the most important, interesting, or relevant information provides a great service.

Example: Education company Course Hero is dedicated to helping people learn online, so we partnered with them to create a series of infographics that summarize famous works of literature. These infographics are useful study materials for busy students, helping them learn in less time.  

repurpose infographics 3

4) Find a News Angle

Newsjacking can be a great tactic to give older content new relevance, as long as it’s done appropriately. (Follow these tips to make sure you do it the right way.) Think about the trending topics in your industry or in the larger media landscape. Do you have data that might shed light on an industry trend? Is there a social tie-in that might make your content more interesting?

Example: To promote their Definitive Guide to Digital Advertising, we helped Marketo create an infographic on the “Mad Men” of the millenium, showing the major trends that define today’s marketing landscape—contrasted with those of the Mad Men era. Thanks to the popularity of the show, it was an interesting, unique, and relevant angle that helped Marketo join the conversation in an organic way. It was also picked up by Ad Week, helping Marketo expand their reach.

repurpose infographics 4

5) Tell a Surprising Story

Data and research often contain interesting, unique, or surprising insights and discoveries that tell a very interesting story. Turning that type of information into a compelling infographic is an easy way to repurpose content and get more attention.

Example: We helped High Five craft an infographic based on their 2015 Workplace Culture and Communication Report. The story revealed the negative effect that tech has on the workplace—a surprising take that is relevant to people in all industries.

repurpose infographics 5

How to Make a Truly Great Infographic

Coming up with a strong infographic idea is just the first step. Once you’re ready to start creating that infographic, you must follow best practices at every stage of the process. To ensure your infographic is as successful as possible, follow these tips to nail everything from copywriting to promotion.

If you need a little help getting everything done, find out what to look for in an infographic design company. Or let us know what you’re struggling with. We’d love to chat.

How to Make E-Book Templates to Create E-books Faster

Providing people with high-quality, comprehensive content is a great way to build relationships, increase leads, improve SEO, and more. That’s why e-books are such a valuable tool for marketers. The problem is they are also one of the more difficult pieces of content to produce. From copywriting to e-book design, it can take a lot of time and energy to create something of quality. But there are always ways to work smarter, not harder. And we’re always on the hunt for the best tools, tips, and tricks to make your life easier. So let’s talk about one of the easiest ways to create quality e-books in less time: e-book templates. If you are a brand that produces a lot of e-books (or wants to), templates will change your life.

The Benefits of Custom E-Book Templates

When some people hear the word “template,” they think of a ‘90s PowerPoint slide. But well-designed templates don’t turn your content into a boring brochure. They are an efficient way to create content that is:

  • On-brand: An e-book design template is designed around your visual language, including fonts, colors, logos, etc. You don’t have to get approval from an art director, and you can be confident that you’re producing something that always reflects your brand.
  • Consistent: If you look through your archive, you will probably notice your e-book design reflects a range of styles and design aesthetics. This is problematic if you’re trying to build an instantly identifiable brand (and who isn’t?). Whether you’re working with a freelancer, an agency, or an in-house designer, templates ensure that everything you do will have a cohesive feel.
  • Easy to replicate: Building an e-book design from scratch takes a ton of time. But you can reduce that time tremendously with a comprehensive template. You just pick and choose the elements you need, then plug your content in. This makes it easy for novice designers (or even marketers) to create something of quality with a quick turnaround.
  • Economical: If you don’t have to create a brand-new design every time, you can reduce costs while increasing your output. That gives you a higher ROI for every e-book you create.

So, how do you create these magical templates?

How to Build E-Book Templates 

We know marketing teams are usually overloaded, especially designers. But remember that a little bit of work up front can save you a ton of time down the road—and make designers’ lives a lot easier. If your team doesn’t have the time, you might consider using a content agency (or baking templates into an engagement you already have). But if you’re going to DIY it, here’s the simple 3-step process to create an intuitive visual design system that anyone can use.

1) Go Through Your Existing E-Books

You might only have a handful of e-books, or you might have a huge archive (in which case you can choose, say, 10). Go through each to identify the common elements that you will need to build into your e-book design template. The goal is to build something that works for any e-book subject, so it should be comprehensive and scalable.

This might include things like:

  • Cover design
  • Data visualization (charts and graphs)
  • Illustrations
  • Diagrams
  • Sidebars
  • Callouts and pullquotes
  • Images/captions
  • Chapter breaks
  • Headers/subheads
  • Iconography
E-book design template

Identify the most common design elements in your e-books. 

Make sure to poll your team about what they might also need. You can also look at brands whose content you admire. (Here are 5 great e-book design examples you can learn from.)

2) Build Your Design System

Once you know what your design should include, start building those elements. At this stage, you’re building your visual system, such as:

  • Grid system
  • Typography (heirarchy, headers, bodycopy, bullets, hyperlink style)
  • Color palettes
  • Graphic elements
  • Data visualization styles
  • Photography style
  • Illustration style
  • Layouts

Everything should adhere to your visual language. Don’t have one? Here’s how to make one, as well as everything it should include.

3) Create Your Template

To turn your visual system into a practical guide, build out your design files, providing mockups of actual pages that reflect best practices. (If you already have an e-book design that works well, you might adapt it to the guidelines.) Examples:

E-book design template

The important thing is to offer clear explanations and visual examples of everything. Whoever picks it up, whether a freelancer or in-house designer, should be able to understand it and replicate it without asking questions.  

You might also include any relevant design tips. (And make sure you avoid these 30 common e-book design mistakes.)

Once you put your e-book design templates to work, you’ll see how much easier they are to produce, and you’ll be grateful you put the work in. 

Remember, too, that you can also make the most of your work by repurposing your e-books after their first run. (Try these 9 tips to do that, and check out this roundup of 101+ resources and tools to make better e-books.)

Look for More Ways Template Can Improve Content Creation

There are always ways to improve how you do things, so think about how templates might help in other areas of content marketing, including:

  • Infographic templates
  • Interactive templates
  • Social templates
  • Reporting templates
  • Ad templates

We know that not everyone has the resources to tackle design templates, though. If you need a little help or someone to help lighten your content load, holler at us.  

Interactive E-book: The Content Marketer’s Guide to Brand Video

If you don’t have video in your content mix, you’re missing out. It’s simpler to make than ever, and people really want to see it. (A 2014 Levels Beyond survey found that 51% of millennials would rather watch a video than read.) Now is definitely the time to dive in.

But we know you might be a little intimidated (or overwhelmed) to start, and you probably have a lot of questions. We’re here to help.

Our new interactive e-book, The Content Marketer’s Guide to Brand Video, covers everything (seriously, everything) you’ve ever wanted to know about brand video but were too shy to ask, including:

  • Why are humans biologically wired for video?
  • How can brands use video to deliver a strong message?
  • What makes a truly great brand video?
  • How do you measure the ROI of video?
  • What does it take to produce video?
  • How should you act on set?

It’s all there, plus great data, pro tips, and great examples of brand video. We also made it interactive so you can skip to the stuff you want to know—and bookmark it when you want to come back. Click below to check it out now. 

brand video

And if there’s anything we didn’t answer, we’d be happy to chat.

6 Easy Fixes to Makeover Your E-book Design

How’s your latest e-book doing? How’s your oldest e-book doing? Have downloads dipped? It’s frustrating, we know, but sometimes a few quick tweaks to your e-book design can really improve your readers’ experience, making them more eager to consume your content and connect with your brand. If the content in your e-book is gold, but people are tapping out before they get to page 2, consider how a makeover might help.

Does Your E-book Design Need a Makeover?

Design integrity has a lot to do with how content quality is perceived. First, print out your latest e-book. Take a critical look at what’s in front of you:

  • What catches your eye?
  • How does it flow?
  • What do you feel when you look at it?

These gut reactions and first impressions are what your reader probably experiences, too. We hate to see you give off the wrong impression, so we’re here to help. All it takes is a little creativity to turn a blah design into something beautiful. Here are 6 ways to do it.

1) Choose a Theme

The problem: Your design is totally generic or all over the place, mixing clashing styles, imagery, and visual metaphors right and left.

The fix: E-books are awesome because they give you a nice creative canvas to tell your story. The best, most effective e-books deliver a single story, and use every element of design to support it. Choose a single theme or concept to ground the design, then use your creativity to bring it to life.

6 ways to makeover e-book design

2) Rehab Your Cover

The problem: The cover is the first thing people see, but too often marketers miss the mark. The most common mistakes: too cluttered, no imagery, irrelevant imagery, boring typography, generic design.

The fix: Let your content be the guide. Use high-quality imagery to catch the reader’s eye and draw them in. The cover should match the content theme and infuse a little brand personality into it. There should also be an intuitive grid-based layout and logical header hierarchy so that everything is clear at a glance.

6 ways to makeover your e-book design3) Add Personality with Imagery

The problem: Your e-book looks like a PowerPoint: generic templates, boring iconography, etc.

The fix: Consider both the tone of the content and your brand personality. The images you use should help cultivate a feeling that supports your message. Is your e-book about employee collaboration? Let’s see people working together. Is it about increasing revenue? Let’s see some tasteful data visualization.

6 ways to makeover e-book design

4) Condense and Trim Down Copy

The problem: Someone got a little carried away in trying to build suspense, so you have to flip through 5 pages of “teaser” content before you get to the meat of a section. Conversely, they packed so much in that you’re facing a cluttered mess on each page.

The fix: Know two things: Negative space is your friend, and pages should be used economically. While chapter breaks may deserve their own page, condense content to deliver the message efficiently. Oftentimes this means trimming down content on a page. Removing an extraneous pullquote or sidebar can make a huge difference. Also look for opportunities to let design do the heavy lifting. A paragraph explaining a process can be visualized in a single diagram. A stat in a callout can be turned into a chart. These are great ways to break up the text. 6 ways to makeover e-book design5) Kill the Visual Junk

The problem: Some designers hear the word “visualize” and go nuts, packing every page with illustrations, photos, charts, or iconography.

The fix: Look critically at every visual element. Ask yourself:

  • Does this enhance the story? Things like illustrations are often added arbitrarily without much thought.
  • Can it be condensed? Data visualization can sometimes make things even more confusing if, say, you’re trying to compare three bar charts when a single grouped bar chart would do it better.
  • Does it make sense? This is especially true for icons, which can be far too abstract to represent anything meaningful.

If the answer isn’t yes, say bye. 6 ways to makeover your e-book

In addition visual elements, colors can sometimes overwhelm. A helpful tip: Use 1-2 main colors and 2-3 accent colors.

6) Tame Your Typography

The problem: There are so many fonts and sizes it looks like a teenager’s notebook.

The fix: Limit the number of type styles (the combination of kerning, leading, point size, etc.) to create consistency and harmony. Also, don’t use more than 2 typefaces, and do follow a grid. 6 ways to makeover e-book designFor more of our tips on great e-book design, here are a few posts you might like:

If you need an expert to help you out, let’s chat.

10 E-book Design Tips to Increase Conversions

E-books are a marketer’s secret weapon. Great e-books contain valuable information that readers are happy to give up their email for—and they generate leads for a long time. (We know this first-hand. Some of our oldest e-books are the most popular content we’ve ever put out.) But not all e-books are equal. No matter how good your content, shoddy e-book design can send your reader running. It’s a bummer to see how many marketers ignore this fact.

Since we’re design freaks (and a little content marketing crazy), we want to give you a solid understanding of what will make or break an e-book design. To get you started, here are our top 10 tips to turn an eye-sore into a high-converting piece of awesomeness.

1) Start With an Eye-Catching Cover

First impressions are everything. An eye-catching cover that communicates the e-book theme at a glance goes a long way. (You’d be surprised how a simple tweak in imagery or font size can change the feel.) Consider how your imagery, colors, and typographic choices may be altered for stronger impact.

Example: We partnered with LinkedIn Marketing Solutions to create an e-book about native advertising. The cover conveys the subject directly and simply, presented in a clean, slick, and on-brand visual.

10 tips for e-book design 

2) Apply Strong Design Principles

When we talk about “design,” we mean a creative execution that employs all the fundamentals of design, including:

  • Unity/harmony
  • Balance
  • Hierarchy
  • Scale/proportion
  • Emphasis/focal point
  • Contrast
  • White space

When a reader’s eye lands on a page, they should be stimulated, not overwhelmed. No elements should compete, there should be a logical flow, and the content should visually “breathe.” Remember, always, that design is meant to enhance—never distract. As such, you should question every element; on the flipside, you should also be able to defend any design choice.

3) Use On-Brand Colors

The colors you choose influence the tone and feel of the content. They should reflect your brand’s visual language, and be used intelligently and intuitively. Tip: Choose one or two primary colors and two to three accent colors.

Example: We worked with Google to bring their Trust/SMB Whitepaper to life. Using the brand’s colors, we used blue as the base and the red and yellow to accent data visualizations and illustrations. 

10 tips for e-book design

4) Add Eye-Catching Imagery

The exciting thing about e-book design is that each page gives you creative freedom. Imagery is a great tool to help enhance the content, add personality, provide context, and further the story. Depending on your brand guidelines, you may opt for photography, illustration, iconography, line art, spot illustration, etc. Regardless, look for opportunities to elevate design through imagery.

Example: LinkedIn is all about connecting people’s careers. In the Data-Driven Recruiting e-book we created for them, we used bright, people-focused imagery that depicted collaboration. This helped add both a human element and emphasize the sense of connectedness the brand promotes. 

10 tips for e-book design

5) Follow Best Practices for Visualizations

E-books are often used to break down concepts, offer insight into subjects, or support a certain claim. As such, data visualization and information design are great tools to help make these concepts clearer. But make sure you’re presenting visualizations in their most effective form. Depict concepts as simply as possible (e.g., don’t try to show too much in one diagram.) Double check your data design. You can also give content a pass to see if anything could benefit from visualization.

Example: We used plenty of data visualization to bring the numbers in HP’s 20/20 e-book to life and help readers “see” the insights. 

10 tips for e-book design

6) Tame Your Typography

Your e-book is based around the words you write. But the story in those words can be interrupted or convoluted by poor typography. If fonts are hard to read, intrusive, distracting, or placed inconveniently, it will break up the flow in and interrupt your reader’s experience.

Make sure your typography choices and layouts emphasize legibility and hierarchy. Tip: Break up blocks of text with imagery or white space, and don’t use more than two typefaces in your e-book design. (If you want to learn more about working with type, the Typography Checklist course from Typewolf is incredibly helpful.)

Example: The typography design in LinkedIn’s native advertising e-book follows a solid grid, using callouts intuitively and presenting a clear typographical hierarchy. 

10 tips for e-book design

7) Use E-Book Design for Storytelling

You can get as creative as you want, and you should, as long as it serves the story.

8) Think in Chapters

Following traditional e-book design will help segment content, making it easier for your reader to navigate to what they want.

9) Make Negative Space Your Friend

This rule applies to pretty much everything. You only need enough to design to enhance, not overwhelm.

10) Remember Your Specs

Are you desigining for web or print? The format may affect your design. (We can’t say it enough: Confirm this up front!)

To create better e-book designs, you need to stay up to date on the latest visual communication tips, trends, and research. If you want to learn more, here’s some stuff that might be of interest:

If you need an expert to help you out, let’s chat.

Free E-Book – How to Maximize Publishing with Microcontent

Content marketing is all about diversity: high-value evergreen content that informs, mixed with high-impact, real-time content to bring awareness to your brand. But content marketers are often pulled in every direction, tasked with creating a high volume of content to fill each bucket while ensuring that every piece feeds long-term brand goals.

With limited resources and ever-increasing demands, how do you create content that is economical and impactful? Enter microcontent—an effective approach to content creation that requires little effort and provides maximum value.

Ebook-Cover

Our sister company, Visage, has teamed up with Kapost to create this wonderful free e-book that aims to provide brands with an actionable strategy for microcontent. In this e-book you’ll learn:

  1. What microcontent is: Learn about the different formats to get an idea of what you might want to experiment with.
  2. Why microcontent supports your content strategy: From long-term goals to day-to-day publishing, learn how microcontent helps support your efforts
  3. How to create effective microcontent: Whether you’re just starting to create content or have an enormous archive, find out how to produce a high volume of content with minimal effort.

DOWNLOAD THE E-BOOK

Free E-Book: How to Build a Long-Term Content Strategy in a Real-Time World

How do you get the most results from your content marketing? With a killer content marketing strategy. Of course, in a real-time world, it can be hard to plan ahead. When news stories break or a product launch gets postponed, you have to adapt your content while keeping your long-term goals in mind. And no matter what you publish, you also have to keep everyone from your sales team to your social following happy. It often feels like you’re serving two masters—or five or six. But with the right planning, you can create a long-term strategy that saves your energy and your sanity.

A well-crafted, long-term strategy has built-in flexibility and a solid foundation, letting you fill in your content needs as you go—even if (and when) your larger goals change. It means you can stay agile enough to react to the latest trending hashtag while scheduling production for your next evergreen infographic. (Trust us, we did it last week.)

Want to know how? Check out our new e-book, How to Build a Long-Term Content Strategy in a Real-Time World. We cover everything you need to know to create a strategy that works for you, including: 

  • Why a long-term strategy saves you time, energy, and money
  • How to identify your objectives
  • What type of content will serve your objectives
  • How to map content to your objectives
  • How to effectively schedule content

Check out the e-book, and let us know your tips for creating a content strategy.

How to Build a Long-Term Content Strategy in a Real-Time World

NEED HELP WITH YOUR CONTENT STRATEGY OR CONTENT CREATION? LET’S CHAT.

Free E-Book Download: The Ultimate Guide to Content Distribution

Though content marketing is the new frontier, marketers are still facing the age-old question: How do you get your brand’s content in front of an audience? Thanks to the proliferation of new media, with the right distribution strategy, you can reach more consumers than ever before.

Still, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Sure, you can create content, but how do you know if it’s serving your marketing goals? Once it’s created, where do you publish? And how do you optimize content for maximum results? Over the last few years, we’ve heard these concerns from all corners of the content marketing globe. And, in many ways, things have only become more confusing as more platforms pop up.

Because we’re in the business of making confusing things easy to understand, we thought it was time to help make sense of it all. At Column Five, we’ve assembled a pro Communications team to help some of the world’s biggest brands reach the right audience. We’ve also made friends over at Onboardly, a PR agency that specializes in content marketing for startups. Our brands have learned plenty over the years (both the easy way and the hard way), so we joined forces to create the new e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Content Distribution.

Whether you’re a PR pro or DIY content marketer, this e-book covers everything you need to know about content distribution, including all our insider tips and tricks. Want to make the most of your content? Download the e-book to learn about:

Crafting a killer content strategy: Get tips for strategic ideation to make sure your content serves your objectives.

Content formats and types: Curate your content marketing mix to include a variety of formats primed for different platforms.

Tips for making media contacts: Learn how to cultivate relationships with journalists and social influencers to expand your content’s reach.

Choosing the right distribution channels: Learn about how each channel can serve your goals and identify which channels to target.

Measuring your ROI: Find out which metrics help track your content’s success at every stage of the sales funnel.

Good content deserves to be shared. With a little bit of structure, planning and foresight, your content can make a major impact.

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Want more on creating great content marketing?
Of course, if you need a little help with your content, we’d love to chat

HP 20/20 E-Book

Outlook for the future.