Smart paper or ebook? The 5 key benefits for making a ‘smart’ choice
You’ve got a story to tell. Maybe you want to promote a new product, bolster your thought-leadership position, or present a series of success stories. You have more to say than a blog post but a little less than a white paper.
Whatever type of asset you create, the content and design have to be engaging. Your customers are busy people who often feel bombarded with information. You need to capture their attention and then drive them to keep reading.
The problem is, you’re not sure what kind of asset to produce. Should you create an ebook—a PDF organized into chapters and imbued with colorful design? Or a smart paper—an interactive asset that weaves together content and design in a microsite?
Both ebooks and smart papers can be highly effective tools for content marketing. But in many cases, smart papers have an edge. Here are five key benefits that smart papers can deliver.
What’s the best way to engage your audience? Get them to interact with your content. Let them find what they need quickly and drill down on what’s most relevant to their business.
An ebook offers a certain degree of interactivity. For example, you can give readers a way to quickly navigate from one chapter to the next and embed hyperlinks that let them access additional information.
But a smart paper takes interactivity to the next level. You can embed multimedia content, allow readers to mouse-over phrases for detailed pop-up content, provide tools for adding comments (as you might with a blog post), have readers answer quiz-like multiple-choice questions, enable them to choose their own path through the content, and more.
You can read a PDF ebook on a smartphone, but it’s not the best experience. Ebooks tend to be oriented horizontally, but most people read content on their phones vertically. Even if they reorient their phones, people still need to continuously zoom in to read the text and then zoom out to navigate to the next page.
By contrast, a smart paper is mobile-friendly. In fact, it can dynamically adjust to whatever platform readers are using, just like a well-designed, mobile-friendly web page. Navigation elements remain in place as readers scroll so it’s simple to skip directly to a desired section.
Sharing an ebook is relatively simple: You can attach the PDF to an email or send a link to a site where the document can be downloaded. Still, to view the ebook, the recipient has to open the attachment or download the linked asset to read it.
Sharing a smart paper is easier. You provide the link to the paper, and the recipient clicks on it to start reading. No saving attachments or downloading required. You can email the link or embed it in a social media post.
Within the smart paper, you can incorporate social media links to make it simple for readers to share the paper—or specific chunks of content—across their own network.
A PDF ebook can include tags that help increase the odds that customers and prospects will find your content when using a standard search engine. And the ebook text itself will also be searchable.
But a smart paper can be better search-optimized. You can use the same SEO tools you use for blogs and websites, which will help your audience find the smart paper more easily than an ebook in the crowded environment of online content.
Need to revise or update an ebook? That’s fine, but you’ll have to work with your design team to implement the changes.
A smart paper can be updated much faster and more easily. If you have text changes, you probably won’t need to go back to your design team to complete the revision. You gain the agility to make changes as often as necessary.
Is smarter always better?
For some projects, an ebook will still be the right choice. With an ebook, you can present your content in a graphically rich format that has a degree of interactivity and is relatively easy to share. Producing an ebook might also be faster and less expensive than building a smart paper.
Still, a smart paper is a highly interactive, mobile-friendly, easily sharable, search-optimized, and quickly updatable format that offers an engaging way to tell your story.