Get Your Brand Noticed: Crafting Shareable PDFs for Maximum Reach

Despite triggering an enormous PDFs vs. web pages controversy, the Portable Document Format is still here and is used extensively for everything from white papers and case studies to spec sheets and product comparisons. Well, PDFs are versatile and easy to create with a program or an online PDF maker; they look professional and can be viewed on any device. Yet, some marketers fail to unlock the format’s potential for user engagement, and we are going to fix it.

Design Tips for Engaging PDF Documents

No matter how clever, useful, or aesthetically pleasing your content might be, readers won’t be engaged if you miss out on user experience. The main idea behind engaging PDF documents is to combine proper visuals, interactive elements, and formatting to ensure a smooth user journey depending on channels intended for publications.

  • Use relevant and high-quality images that contribute to the logical flow of your content to create PDF files with added value. Yet, steer clear of overwhelming your document with visuals duplicating text pieces.
  • Create visually appealing PDFs with legible fonts and nice background contrast, but give preference to standard fonts over embedded options and avoid stuffing your documents with a plethora of font styles. Usually, one or two font styles are enough for customization and spotlighting different text sections.
  • Write short paragraphs of up to four sentences to make it easier for readers to digest the content and stay engaged, the more so as concise text pieces are better readable on small screens.
  • Organize your thoughts into bulleted and numbered lists whenever possible for enhanced readability and more convenient scrolling. Apart from delivering a visually engaging piece of content, lists encourage clear and concise writing.
  • Find a balance between the file size and your burning desire to use as many interactive PDF elements as possible. Complex elements, such as videos and animations, may not be fully supported by all browsers, so stick to links, buttons, and simple form fields to ensure compatibility.
  • Left align your text to maintain a consistent user experience across different screen sizes. Although PDFs are not generally mobile-friendly, left-aligned content adapts nicely to the limited screen space available on tablets and smartphones and has a positive impact on readability.

brand strategy whiteboard

Making Your PDFs Share-Worthy

However, all the efforts put into creating interactive PDF files won’t pay off if they jar user experience in some way or don’t provide value for users. Here are the best practices for making your PDF assets user-friendly and share-worthy.

  • Define your target audience and explore its needs, preferences, and pain points to craft content that truly resonates with your customers.
  • Make sure your PDF delivers high-quality content with actionable takeaways, valuable insights, and helpful tips that provide value for your users.
  • Ensure the document is well-organized, conveys professionalism, and shows your expertise in the chosen niche to build trust and establish credibility.
  • Create PDF files with clear and compelling CTAs, such as following a link to your website or subscribing to a newsletter, to engage the readers and increase conversions.
  • Insert social sharing buttons or ask for feedback to encourage the audience to share your PDFs and arrive at better reach and engagement.
  • Reduce the size of your file with a compression tool to boost loading speed, facilitate sharing, and achieve higher search engine rankings.
  • When you create a link to a PDF on your website or in an email, always indicate the type of content your users are about to open to make transitions between different design styles less confusing.

Maximizing Search Engine Optimization with PDFs

Actually, you have several approaches to PDF integration into your marketing efforts. The first one implies leaving the format intact but making it more suitable for sharing online and SEO-friendly. Yes, PDFs are very much searchable and can be handsomely ranked by Google, yet you need to help its crawlers cope with the task.

  • Convert text pieces that render as images into text files since otherwise, it will be tricky for Google to read them. You will just need a PDF maker with an optical character recognition tool to do the job.
  • Provide alt text for all images used in your documents. Not only do alt tags allow Google bots to better index your PDFs, but they also describe images to visually impaired people and users having problems with loading your files, thus enhancing user experience.
  • Structure PDFs with subheadings for both people and bots and include a linkable table of contents for your readers to easily jump to a part they are interested in. The latter task can be performed by converting a PDF into a Word file, inserting a clickable table of contents, and resaving the document in the PDF format.
  • Use an online PDF maker to edit the documents’ properties and include relevant metadata, such as titles, keywords, and subjects. Do thorough keyword research and optimize PDF file names by eliminating stop words, using hyphens, and choosing competitive keywords for discoverability and readability.

Now that your PDFs are perfectly optimized for search engines, you can use their increased online visibility to attract more users wishing to get hold of your valuable downloadable materials. In turn, you establish yourself as an industry expert, create a positive brand image, build trust, and foster customer loyalty. Besides, you can collect signups, boost lead generation, and expand your reach with the help of clickable links, share buttons, and fillable forms implanted in your interactive PDF.

PDFs in Email Marketing

Incorporating PDFs into your email marketing strategy is also the way to go. Depending on the size of your document, you can send it as an attachment or create a link to a PDF stored on Google Drive or another file storage platform and insert it into a welcome letter, newsletter, or even an order confirmation. Generally, PDFs are used as lead magnets to swipe the valuable content for the contact details of prospective customers, but it’s a good idea to give those freebies to your existing audience to maintain their loyalty and increase the click-to-open rate of your newsletters. If you manage to craft an interesting and useful PDF, the customers are likely to download and share it on their social pages together with your links embedded into the document.

email automation

PDFs in Social Media Strategy

Social media marketing is an alternative area where your PDFs can shine out. Namely, LinkedIn PDF carousels have the power to deliver CTR numbers 5X higher than the average 2.66% across all content types. All you need to do is create PDF files of less than 300 pages and 100MB in size and upload them when starting a post.

Creating HTML5 Flipbooks from PDFs

Quite another approach to creating shareable PDFs is their transformation into HTML5. This is how you can turn static files into interactive flipbooks and share documents online while getting a better understanding of user habits or engagement levels. Since flipbooks are web-based, you can collect data on clicks and times just like with any web page. Flipbooks are also responsive and ensure a flawless experience for users of mobile devices. Again, you will need a corresponding converter tool to make an HTML5 document from your PDF file, after which you will be able to add links, videos, forms, photo galleries, and other customization and engagement elements.

Bottom Line

Although PDFs are definitely not considered primary marketing tools, they still work fine for lead generation, delivering value, building a brand’s authority, and promoting customer loyalty. Beyond that, you can convert your eBooks, research papers, media kits, and other lengthy documents created in PDF into web files to maximize your reach.