A few weeks ago a company called Beacon reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in trying out their new plugin of the same name that allows you to create a fully designed e-book from your WordPress blog post archives. For free.
Um, YES. Give it to me.
So I gave it a shot, and it’s incredibly cool! There are a few hiccups and bugs that I’ll talk about later on, but I’ve embedded a sample e-book below so you can see how it turned out:
Pretty cool, right?
So beyond the coolness factor, how would you use this plugin?
You would use Beacon to re-purpose your old blog posts and create a stylish e-book that would be used as a sign up incentive to get more email subscribers.
Say you’ve got all of this great content in your blog archives and it’s just sitting there unused. This plugin is a fabulous way to collect and re-purpose it in a stylish and sleek e-book.
This e-book can then be the incentive you use to get people to sign up for your email list, which gets you in their inbox on a regular basis, which makes them more likely to buy from you. So:
Re-purposed content > free e-book > sign up incentive > new subscriber > potential new client
This tool is pretty damn cool, guys. But it’s also super new, so I did encounter things I would consider bugs, and I do have a Wishlist as they work on updates.
“Bugs” I encountered:
- The sidebar widget is used as a way to collect email addresses in exchange for access to the PDF. But I have no idea where the email address goes. Beacon is not integrated with my Mailchimp account, and as far as I can see, the email address is not collected in the WP Dashboard or the Beacon Dashboard.
- The PDF that’s generated is a little wonky. The main content is one long page, rather than broken into several pages, which makes viewing a little cumbersome. Also, embedded videos are not embedded in the PDF – it’s just a white space.
- There are two different places I could get an embed code for an e-book. And both embed codes look/function differently. It’d be ideal if they were combined (one was missing the title, but had a “Read More” link that opened the e-book in a new window, and the other one had the title but not the “Read More” link).
My Wishlist for the Beacon plugin:
- There isn’t a way to give a direct download of the e-book to readers. I’d like for them to have the option to download the PDF on their own, rather than just view in a browser.
- It’d be nice to have a way to promote the e-book within the blog post, for those who don’t use a sidebar, like myself.
- I’d like to be able to add and save custom brand colors + fonts for maximum branding.
- I’d like to be able to choose a default layout/font for each e-book, so I’m not changing the default one each time I create one.
Aside from these bugs/missing items, this is a tool that WordPress bloggers would absolutely benefit from. I used the Beacon plugin to create an e-book about how to use the Beacon plugin – SO META. Unlock it below to learn how to use it for your blog.
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