This morning, I read a funny article by Gordan Graham on white papers that aren’t really what they’re held up to be. Which got me thinking: there are so many ways white papers and ebooks can go wrong. Perhaps it’s worth talking about them — so here we go:
Talk about yourself
Why talk about the issues, concerns, dreams, fears and ambitions of your intended prospects? Forget that — tell them all about the product release that’s so important to you. It’s all about you, you, you.
Bring on the mob
It’s no fun bringing a project under logical control. Instead, make sure everyone from the night janitor to the CFO has a say about editorial issues. The time invested in tracking irrelevant comments from dozens of people (who have no clue about the purpose of the ebook or the nature of your intended audience) will be time well spent. At the very least, you’ll be spending a lot of it…
Be dry, stiff and pedantic
Hey, it worked so well for Michael Dukakis and Al Gore! Follow their lead and be sure to talk down to your audience at every opportunity — your readers will love you for it. Really.
Use lofty jargon and abstractions
Facts, figures and examples from real-life are for mere mortals. But not for the likes of (tah-dah!) THOUGHT LEADERS! Lard up your ebook with proactive, best-in-breed cliches…tiresome neologisms….abstruse theories…and turgid rhetoric that causes eyes to droop — and heads to drop to desks.
Invite them to a sales call
Joy! After reading your tome, nothing sets reader hearts aflutter like an opportunity to call a sales person. In the conclusion, don’t distract them with demos or webinars or anything that might actually be useful. No, no — give ’em the phone number for that sales call they’re dying to make. And be sure to sit by the phone to wait for the calls to come flying in…
I’m sure you can think of other things ebook creators should NOT do. What tops your list?
For content writing lessons that put your ebooks on the RIGHT path, check out my ebooks workshop.