The hero’s journey and the fairy tale framework are known strategies for writing compelling books; but for IT companies trying to develop thought leadership assets that might attract the attention of a C-Level or line-of-business leader, how can you use this framework to help you?

Last week, my colleague, Nancy Watt, and I presented a workshop at Microsoft’s Inspire conference in Washington, DC.

It was entitled “Buzz on a Budget – Building an e-Book Your Prospects Want to Read”.

The workshop was only an hour long and in that hour we promised attendees they would learn a framework and a template for building an e-Book–one that would engage their audience and help establish the author as a thought leader in their particular domain.

The Outcome of a Well Written e-Book

Have you ever bought a book that grabbed your attention right from the beginning? Who Moved My Cheese, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, are a few business books that come to mind for me.

What makes these books powerful is that they are able to convey new concepts in a way that makes the content relatable to the reader.

In some cases, the language is very simple; simple language can make difficult concepts easy to grasp.

The same outcome needs to occur when you write an e-Book for your company. Readers will download your e-Book for the education but, ultimately, they will stay (read until the end) for the inspiration. They want to feel inspired that what you are telling them they can do, they can really do. And if you can inspire your reader, you can begin to build a connection with them.

“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire teammates and customers.”

Robin S. Sharma

Why an e-Book?

At the start of the workshop, we asked attendees to let us know why they were there. These were the most common responses:

  • To learn how to write an e-Book and what to include
  • To do a better job with the e-Books they are writing today
  • To get an “A-Z” template they could follow
  • Felt pressured to write an e-Book but doubted whether it could really drive leads

All attendees told us they wanted an easy, fast way to remove writing an e-Book off their “to do” list.

We have learned from the technology companies we build e-Books for that when the e-Books are created with education and inspiration in mind and then made available as part of a nurture marketing campaign, they will help accomplish the following:

  • Drive suspects into a nurture pipeline
  • Establish domain thought leadership
  • Increase website traffic and return traffic
  • Build a relationship with the audience
  • Ultimately drive pipeline and sales

During our workshop, we used three exercises to help participants learn how using the Fairy Tale Framework could help them craft a thoughtful and compelling e-Book.

Exercise One – What, So What, Now What?

At the very beginning of creating your e-Book, you need to have something to say. You need to ensure that the topic you are introducing is one that is top of mind with your audience and one where you can add value. We use an exercise we like to call “What, So What and Now What?” This is based on an improv exercise that Nancy uses when she teaches communications workshops. Here is the example using Ransomware as the topic:

  • What? – Ransomware is pervasive
  • So What? – It is creating a volatile situation and all businesses are vulnerable
  • Now What? – We have the answer and the steps you need to take to protect yourself.

This exercise has established that you can educate and potentially inspire your reader to feel empowered to take action.

Exercise Two – Once Upon a Time

Now that you have established that you have something to say about a particular topic, you can use the fairy tale (or hero’s journey) framework to elaborate. The fairy tale framework follows a “once upon a time” sequence in which there is:

  • a villain (Ransomware);
  • a victim (companies with computers); and
  • a hero (you).

In this framework, we introduce the villain; we explain how the villain is threatening the victim, and how and why the victim needs to be wary of the danger; we educate the reader that there are heroes who can help and we also demonstrate how the heroes can help (10 things you need to do); and finally we finish with a call to action. Join us and learn more.

Once upon a time, there were people putting Ransomware onto computers.

Every day companies were vulnerable, at risk and financially impacted, taking many to the brink of bankruptcy.

Even if you think it won’t happen to you, that your IT is safe and that your company will never let anything sneak by, the leading authorities predict that it is inevitable – that 9 out of 10 companies will experience an attack in the next 18 months.

It’s time to care because Ransomware is an inevitability: there are heroes in the world who are working in the background on your behalf to create Ransomware annihilators. These people have studied for years and are experts in the dark forces of Ransomware, and here are the 10 things that these people have authorized me to share with you.

Join the force by working with us and we will multiply your 10 things into 100 things so that Ransomware will never defeat you.

Exercise Three – Turn this into an e-Book

Obviously, your C-Level readers are not likely to want to read a fairy tale; however, using Ransomware as an example, the subject matter of Ransomware is something that is currently relevant and top of mind for many C-Level business leaders, and many are looking for answers.

The next step for you is to move this content into a readable format that would appeal to a business leader.

The following e-Book template will demonstrate how you use content from the fairy tale framework and map it to create a thoughtful, compelling and educative e-Book.

Summary

All attendees at our workshop told us that the template helped – in fact, we ranked as the number one session overall – so we would love to know if our template in a blog form is useful for you.

If you would like us to deliver the workshop in an online format, reach out and let us know at info@mercermackay.com. In the meantime, download your free copy of “A Beginner’s Guide to Writing an e-Book.

Get started with your own thought leadership e-Book, and have a little bit of fun along the way.

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Learn the Mercer-MacKay eBook formula to help you write a 2000-3000 word eBook designed to jumpstant your lead generation efforts and build your platform.

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