Do it to establish and/or nurture relationships with customer decision makers. Yes, it will require a good bit of effort. No, you don’t have to write the whole thing. In fact, it’s better if you don’t write it!
Position and think of the project as prospecting. That’s right, publishing an e-Book can be all about grabbing the attention of decision makers. Start by identifying an issue or topic that is top-of-mind for key executives in your territory. For example, if you sell to manufacturing executives it might be something about quality, cost control or throughput. If you sell to IT executives, it might be something about data base management, programmer productivity or network design. If you sell to sales executives, it might be about value propositions, sales process design or training. (…or prospecting!)
Next, recruit 40 or so decision-making/influencing individuals who have expertise regarding that issue. Reach out and ask each of them to be part of an educational project. You’ll be surprised at their willingness to participate. Do the heavy lifting and produce it. Then publicize the daylights out of it.
My colleague Todd Schnick has seen a huge spike in web traffic due to his e-book project. Get his new e-book and read about lessons learned. Then go do it yourself. (Yes, I’ve started on my own e-book too.)