How Visualization Help You To Create E-book
Generally speaking, e-books tend to be longer documents than most due to the broad nature of the topics they’re discussing. While it’s certainly possible to use the e-book format to tackle shorter subjects, they’re usually a perfect opportunity to really give your larger ideas the necessary room to breathe. It’s not uncommon to find e-books that are dozens of pages or even a hundred or more – which of course, means that it’s very difficult to make sure people actually get to the end of them.
It’s not that people don’t want to read and consume longer content – it’s just that their attention is more fractured than ever. Not only are folks constantly being bombarded by marketing materials from every direction, but you also have to compete with all of the things that people engage in for pleasure. You’re not just worried about other marketers – you have to battle for someone’s attention against Netflix, video games, and a night out on the town with friends and loved ones. Rest assured, these things add up quickly.
But all hope is not lost – if you really want to create the perfect e-book in the modern era, all you have to do is rely on the tried-but-true principles of visualization to help guide you.
Visualization and E-Books: A Match Made in Heaven
When it comes to creating your e-book, the first thing you’ll want to do is use a service like Respona to research hot button topics in your industry to make sure you’re finding something that can sustain the format in the first place. Not every idea needs to be an e-book – some ideas can be expressed just as well via a shorter piece of content like a blog.
If the topic you’ve landed on is too thin for an e-book, all of the visualization best practices in the world aren’t going to be able to help you. Your audience will quickly feel like you’re overstaying your welcome, which is because you will be. So make sure that the topic you’ve selected is actually “meaty enough” to justify turning into an e-book to begin with.
Once you’ve settled on that, there are two major visualization techniques that you can leverage to your advantage. The first of those involves using visual collateral to help supplement the story your words are trying to tell.
The classic example of this would be a page in your e-book devoted to stats that show something like the results of a survey, which are typically measured out of 100%. In addition to going into detail about what those responses mean in the actual text, you could also use a graph maker like Visme (which I founded) to visualize those same ideas right alongside those larger paragraphs.
So not only do people get a technical deep dive into what the responses mean, but they can also visually compare and contrast the results themselves to one another. They can see which percentage of the audience felt one way compared to another, smaller portion. It’s a great way to illustrate not only that “60% of people preferred X versus 20% of people preferred Y,” but to also show just how overwhelming the former opinion was to the latter.
The second technique involves using visual imagery to actually tell portions of the story contained inside your e-book, replacing the words altogether. Instead of taking up a huge amount of space detailing a series of events in chronological order, you could just use a timeline maker instead. If the timeline itself doesn’t require any additional context (meaning that the order of events sort of speaks for itself), there’s no reason why that idea can’t be expressed in a visual way first and foremost.
This, of course, unlocks a number of important benefits all at the same time. For starters, you’re capitalizing on yet another opportunity to include compelling visuals in your e-book – thus making it more likely that people will actually finish it. Secondly, you’re presenting that series of events in a way that people’s brains are naturally more receptive to – human beings are visual learners, after all. Finally, you’re saving a tremendous amount of space. Why take five paragraphs to explain that series of events when one visual timeline can get the same job done in a fraction of the time, in a more effective way as well?
Additional Considerations About Visualizing Your E-Books
Of course, even going beyond these techniques you should always pair your text up with relevant visual images whenever you can. If you can find a compelling photograph of whatever it is you’re talking about, don’t be afraid to include it on the page. It will help make your document easier to digest and easier to engage with, too.
This isn’t because “we’ve reached the point where our attention spans are so short that we only read e-books with pictures.” That point of view is limiting considering what is really going on, here. It’s that human beings have ALWAYS responded more positively to visuals and text compared to just text alone, and this is your way of taking full advantage of that fact.
In truth, it will be a combination of all of these ideas that will help make sure your finished e-book is one that people read, enjoy and remember. Overall, you should let the text – and the narrative that you’re trying to tell – be your guide. Sometimes you’ll be writing something and you’ll realize “actually, I can get this idea across with a single picture” and you should absolutely do that. In that case, deleting everything you just wrote would probably be a good idea – as painful as that may be.
Other times, you’ll think to yourself “these words are important, but they’re just not landing with the gravity I want.” In that situation, you would probably want to find some kind of relevant image to contextualize the text, or another visual element to act as a companion to it.
In the end, remember that an e-book fueled by the best practices of visualization will always be more engaging (and far more likely to be shared) than one that is just page after page of text alone. This is not a bad thing in any way, shape or form. For marketers everywhere, it’s actually a terrific thing because it allows you to meaningfully connect to your audience in a way that creates a better emotional response in your audience. That’s not just how you get people to read your e-book – it’s also how you get them to favor your brand over your competitors, which is ultimately the most important goal of all.
About the Author
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.