You’re an expert in your industry, and you want to share that knowledge with your customers, colleagues, and anyone else who might be listening. You’re active on social media, but you haven’t yet found the best way to share detailed thought leadership insights with those audiences in an engaging way. You may have written a few ebooks with little return — or perhaps you’ve hesitated to go that route at all, worrying that, since readers are more likely to skim text than fully absorb it, a text-heavy ebook may be too lengthy to hold their attention.
But an ebook doesn’t have to be verbose. Incorporating visual elements can empower you to produce a more engaging — but just-as-informative — end product. Plus, with less text overall, the ebook will be more engaging for your audience. So what visual communication strategies can you adopt to make your next ebook a success?
1. Add Imagery
No one said your ebook had to be a novel or a full-blown report. No one said it couldn’t use visual communication, either. Use visuals to your advantage to tell your story in a new way that not only can set you apart from competitors, but will be far more engaging to your audience — and may even help them retain the information they learn. After all, short-form text paired with visuals can increase comprehension by 89% compared to text alone.
What kinds of visuals would enhance your ebook?
- Illustration: Illustration lets you highlight a scene or a key concept from your content.
- Icons: When discussing a group of concepts, a single illustration may not show the full breadth of the group. An individual icon for each concept will let each of them shine.
- Photography: Show your own team, your facilities, your product, and more with selective use of photography.
- Data Visualization: Your insights deserve the spotlight. Data visualization enhances the visual impact of your findings — just make sure you’re staying true to the data.
2. … Better Yet, Add Custom Imagery
Today’s audiences can identify stock imagery with ease. With the right license, stock icons, illustrations, and photos can be used by anyone and everyone — meaning you risk blending in with the crowd at a time when you need to stand out. And for many of the uses mentioned above, a stock photo wouldn’t do your content justice. Imagine trying to showcase your offerings by using a stock image of a brandless product — or worse, a competitor’s.
Custom imagery can improve your conversion rates, allows you far more flexibility with how you display your message, and gives you the opportunity to let your own brand shine through.
3. Say Less, Communicate More
Now that adding helpful images is on the table, you should be able to pare down your text quite a bit without losing meaning. Suddenly, that paragraph can be shortened to a sentence, or even a brief list. Now one chapter could become your whole ebook — and the next chapter creates an opportunity for a sequel.
When your ebook is concise, those viewers who are just skimming will be able to absorb more of the core messaging than they could by skimming your original 2,000-word masterpiece.
4. Spread Out Your Message
In the quest to reduce your word count, you might be tempted to condense the text you have left into a brochure of just 1–2 pages. But ebooks and brochures don’t seek to accomplish the same goals as a brochure, and you could stifle your narrative by trying to fit it into that narrow space.
When it comes to ebooks, reducing text density lets your information breathe. It helps the key data you share on each page stand out — much more so than if each point was jumbled up with all the others. Even with great visual communication, ebooks generally have more text than brochures or infographics. When each page only communicates 1 main idea, you improve usability, and your viewers will be left eager to jump to the next page.
5. Maximize Your Output with Social Media Thumbnails
Your ebook can only be read if it can be found. Promoting your ebook on your social channels is easy when you pull snippets of your design into thumbnails, sharing sneak peeks at the insights you reveal. This makes your post stand out compared to social media posts without images.
In fact, when examining their own Twitter page, Buffer found that their tweets with images had 150% more retweets than those without. Social media images tempt your reader to stop scrolling, read the post, click through associated links like the one to your ebook — and hopefully get in touch with you.
Whether you’ve produced some ebooks and need a fresh outlook, or haven’t yet explored what one can do for you, we hope these tips shed some light on how best to design a successful ebook for your brand.