How and Why to Write Booklets: Sticky Content for Your Site Made Easy

No matter what type of business site you operate, you can benefit from one single, very powerful word: Free. Everyone likes to feel like they’re getting something for nothing, and when that “something” turns out to be highly useful they’re going to remember your website with trust. Providing freebies – sometimes cheap, lame, and unwanted – is a marketing tactic that the marketing departments over at the competitor’s knows and thrives on.

Booklets are a perfect tool for websites. By giving them away as a promotional freebie, you can boost your sales, get more subscriptions to newsletters, and generally boost the reputation of your online business. One of the coolest things about booklets is that they can be created on your computer at no cost, and delivered electronically (either via email or direct download) which means no shipping fees. It’s free advertising on a product that visitors love because … well, because it’s free.

Ways to Use Free Promotional Booklets

There is no more versatile medium than the promotional booklet. Containing your site and contact information, it is a tool that can brand your site in the minds of your visitors – which, as we’ll come to, is one reason you really want to make sure your booklets are informative and useful.

How do these booklets help your business, though? The ways you can use them in your marketing efforts are endless, but here are several ideas to get your brainstorming kick-started:

Link Popularity– There are hundreds of sites online dedicated to finding and linking to sources of quality free “stuff”. From coupons to ebooks to shorter, informative booklets, “free sites” will find out the stuff you’re giving away and link to it from their own website. Not only is this free advertising – the number of views on these sites is outrageous – but it helps your link popularity. By achieving good link popularity, you can also achieve stronger search engine rankings. Once your first booklet is completed, search for directories that list information on your topic and begin submitting your booklet link to them – the free sites will pick you up fairly quickly from there.

Bundle for Value – Take a long look at the number of visitors you’re receiving on product pages each day. What percentage of them leave without making a purchase? One way that you can convert those views into more sales is by offering something “extra” – enhance the perceived value of the products you’re selling with a highly targeted booklet that will be delivered free as part of the purchasing deal. This greatens your chances of having a visitor turn into a customer right then and there rather than take a chance of them finding your competitor’s site before they return to yours.

Newsletter Building – Newsletters and ezines take a lot of time and work. I only operate one from a single one of my websites, because it takes a lot of work to create something of value. When you’re performing all this work and don’t see your mailing list growing, though, it can become frustrating. Try offering a free booklet to each new sign up that you receive, or offer it to all newsletter readers. You can quickly find out how many people are actually reading your newsletter this way, too – check out how many times your freebie is downloaded in the days following your newsletter’s publishing for a very good indication.

How to Write Your Booklet

A free booklet giveaway can be an excellent freebie because it can be used in so many ways. Are you liking the idea but scared of the writing involved? Don’t worry – here are two different methods for creating a full, highly informative booklet that your visitors will love you for providing.

First, The Basics: There are a few key elements that you should combine into every booklet that you create. Following these quick beginning steps will keep everything looking professional and every time a visitor opens one of your booklets, they’ll know it’s yours by the quality –

1. Logos and Colors – Before you begin writing, you will want to decide what logos and colors your booklets should feature. To keep the booklets looking professional, they should all be based on the same color scheme. You can make life easy on yourself by using the same logo and colors that you use on your website, but make sure that you come up with a plan before you begin.

2. Template Layout – Check out some of the “Inside the Book” previews offered on bookstore websites like Amazon.com. What you’re looking for is a basic format – how things are listed in the book, the way that headers appear, etc. – that you would like to emulate in your booklets. When you’ve found something you like, create a template of that layout using Microsoft Word or a similar word processor. This way, you can go back to the same template time after time and just add your own text.

3. Informative Content – We’ll talk more about content and what type of content to use here in a moment, but this is important – make sure that everything you include in your booklets actually offers something useful, unique, informative and/or entertaining. Remember always that your visitors will judge your business and website based in part on the quality of the content you provide, so make it worth their time and hard drive space.

Method One – The Easy Way: I said that there are two different methods; after you’ve followed the first two steps above, you’re ready to decide which method works best for you. You might decide, in the end, to use a combination of the two. This method is by far the easiest because it requires little writing on your own.

1. Content – Start with the “Table of Contents” page of your booklet. You don’t want this to end up being a 200- page piece of work, but you do want to be informative and ensure that you stay on topic. To do this most easily, fill out the Table of Contents page with about 5 basic headers. If I were writing a booklet on using Photoshop to create web banners, for example, my 5 basic headers might be: Colors in Advertising, Custom Shapes vs. Stock Photography, Sizes and File Types, Designing the Banner, Animating the Banner. These five headers will keep you on topic and let you just fill in the pieces.

2. Fill it In – Now that you know what you want your booklet to cover, it’s time to fill in the headers you’ve created. We’re doing this one the easy way, so you won’t be doing any writing of your own. Instead, hit the Internet and search for articles with free reprint rights. There are full directories dedicated to hosting these kind of articles, which authors happily provide for exposure. Usually, the “price” you pay for using their work is to keep a link to their website and/or email in the byline. You can snatch up several of these to fill in the pieces that you’ve decided to include, format it by placing it in the template you’ve created, and save the piece as a .pdf – done and ready for use.

Method Two – The Quality Way:This method is not nearly as easy, and it will require a few hours of your time – but the rewards can be worth it in ways you wouldn’t expect. This method will require that you create writings of your own that are unique and can’t be found anywhere else except inside the pages of your little booklet.

1. Content – Start with the “Table of Contents” page of your booklet. You don’t want this to end up being a 200- page piece of work, but you do want to be informative and ensure that you stay on topic. To do this most easily, fill out the Table of Contents page with about 5 basic headers. If I were writing a booklet on using Photoshop to create web banners, for example, my 5 basic headers might be: Colors in Advertising, Custom Shapes vs. Stock Photography, Sizes and File Types, Designing the Banner, Animating the Banner. These five headers will keep you on topic and let you just fill in the pieces.

2. Fill it In – You’ve got all your headers created, so it’s time to start filling those headers in with real writing. The best method I’ve found for doing this is to take each header and look at it as one separate article. Then, I write one “article” a day. In this way, you can create a totally unique booklet in one working week without spending hours and hours per day stressing on it. Make sure to visit forums dedicated to the subject your booklet works with so that you can be sure you’re answering questions that your visitors might have and aren’t finding the answer to, and do a bit of online research to find topics that aren’t already done to death. As soon as you’ve finished your fifth “article”, do a spelling and grammar check and print it out as a .pdf which can be viewed and downloaded with ease.

Always use creativity when writing your booklets. Look for sources of royalty-free photography that is geared toward the subjects you’re covering to offer your booklets an even more professional polish. Before you decide to distribute the booklet, you might ask a couple close friends or colleagues to review your work – often a new pair of eyes will see points that are too vague, as well as the all-important spelling and grammatical errors that we can miss just because we’ve been staring at our own work for too long.

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