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Why Free Ebooks Work: Interview with the Publicity Hound

As promised, here is my interview with Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound. First let me give her a brief introduction. Joan worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for 22 years. She left to start her own business consulting in public relations in southeast Wisconsin. This being the mid-nineties, she quickly realized she could reach a much wider audience if she brought her business online. As she said, that “opened up my market to the entire world.”

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Joan started by offering a free PR newsletter, and quickly began to add products for sale, beginning what she calls the “work-get paid-get paid-get paid” model that we now all strive for. She is now an expert in public relations. She shares her knowledge with anyone who wants it, and shows you how to use free publicity to establish your credibility, enhance your reputation, position yourself as an expert, sell more products and services, promote a favorite cause or issue, and position your company as an employer of choice.

I kept coming across her name in different places. And, although I know a bit about PR, I was amazed at the ebooks and seminars she has covering the very topics I needed to learn more about! Needless to say, I shop on her site a lot. She helps me be better at what I do: promote my clients.

Get Your Red Hot Free Ebooks

So in her interview, we discussed using free ebooks as marketing tools. Certainly, she sells a lot of ebooks on her site. But she also gives one away each Christmas as a promotion. Joan says this is a key revenue generator for her business. I know, you’re asking “how could she make money off a free ebook?” She loaded it with links to all her other products as well as to affiliate products that paid her a percentage of sales she generated through her ebooks. Not to mention, it positioned her as a professional who knew her stuff.

What did she put in the ebook? Her 24 best items from the newsletter she puts out every week. Easy. She didn’t even have to write new content. She simply compiled it all into an ebook and gave it away as a Christmas present (and encouraged regifting).

As For You…

When I asked Joan how a free ebook could work as a marketing tool for the average company, she said it establishes you as an expert in your field. No matter what you do, there is an ebook waiting to happen. And someone dying to read it. She said there is no industry where an ebook doesn’t work, because small business owners love free content. And it’s true, isn’t it? After all, you’re reading this blog!

Here are a few tips on creating ebooks from The Publicity Hound:

  • Before you begin, search for products (software, ebooks, teleseminars) that relate to your industry that you can sell as an affiliate. You’ll want to include lots of links to these within your ebook.
  • Take content you’ve already created, from a blog, newsletter or articles, to compile into your ebook.
  • Link to other products you might have for sale, or to your website where people can learn about your company.
  • To promote it, blog about it and put out a press release.
  • Give your ebook to bloggers to promote and give to their readers.

She makes it easy, doesn’t she? Thanks to Joan for allowing me to interview you and glean great advice. If you want to get Joan’s 3 free ebooks, free articles and other amazing resources on getting publicity for your business, visit her site today. Also check out her blog, which covers hot topics in PR.

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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