Eve Dmochowska of relevance

Why .pdfs are a GREAT solution to complexity

You might be surprised that the preferred medium for RelevantGuides is a .pdf document. After all, can’t this information be presented on a responsive web page? Wouldn’t that be more convenient, and easier?

There are definite advantages to presenting content on a web page, and we are not blind to that. That’s why all the content in the .pdfs is available on our site as web text too. But the focus is on .pdfs. Here is why:

.pdfs help to focus

A web page is often besieged by ads, pop-ups and SEO-stuffed copy. Even if our web pages are none of those things, the expectation and wariness of our reader is on default. People aren’t eagerly going to be clicking on links to web pages and expecting a clutter-free experience.

.pdfs are event-driven

When a reader downloads a .pdf they are more likely to read it than an open tab that’s just one of dozens on their browser. And reading a .pdf is an “event”, that the reader might very well set aside time to do (maybe over a coffee).

They can be read online or printed

A .pdf can be read online, even on a phone. But it can also be printed and annotated (digitally, or with a physical pen). They can easily be shared, or distributed around a meeting table as teams discuss which web tool to use to solve a specific problem.

It’s easier to scroll

It’s easier to turn a .pdf page than to click next on a web page. That means quicker reading and scanning, and more value in shorter time.

They have more credibility

Anyone can throw a web page together, and very often the content is very low quality. There’s no guarantee that a .pdf will be better, but the chances and gut feel says that a .pdf has higher quality bar than a blog post.

They just work. I know from experience.

I’ve produced free .pdf guides before and they have always been insanely successful, even when presenting data that should have been presented online. I think the reason for that is that my .pdfs are always very useful, and provide clarity and focus away from the chaos of ads and screen constraints.

The other key thing about the .pdfs that I produce are that they are always aggregators. If I produced a .pdf about my product, or just one product, then the value is far less. But because we are collating information that would otherwise take hours (maybe even hundreds of hours) to gather, the value exchange is clear.

Lastly, the .pdfs are not a gimmick. This isn’t a magnet to convince someone to sign up for a specific product, or to tease the “real” solution that is available only in exchange for money. The RelevantGuides are full products, that I could easily charge the user for, if that was my business model. But they have no hidden agenda, and no preference from us as to which web tool the user ultimately decides to use. This neutrality brings with it a sense of relaxation: users don’t have to be on the alert of being “sold to”, because that’s just not what we do.

What to do next…

Download “Twitter Growth” RelevantGuide

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