7 Deadly Sins | Kill the PDF | Turtl
7 reasons to ditch the PDF once and for all. If you're still using that dinosaur of a file format, this one's for you.
You drank a bathtub of coffee, crippled yourself with repetitive strain injury, and have permanently fused with your office chair.
The best research report you’ve ever made. It was hard work, long hours, but now you can’t wait to see how everyone reacts to it, huh?
It’s a PDF.
The PDF is a black hole for data.
There’s no way to track if someone’s read it or not, how they interacted with it, or who they shared it with. Ask any content marketer worth their salt how important data and analytics are and they’ll all agree:
If you don’t have any data on what readers are doing with your content, there’s no way to improve on it. You’ll be doomed to make the same mistakes over and over again.
*2.* Terrible mobile
Do you remember the last time you opened a PDF on your mobile? Or do you just avoid that horrific experience altogether?
Pinch, scroll, pinch, scroll.
All just to make the text a readable font size.
It’s 2019 and one of the most popular file formats for sharing information can’t be read on a mobile without doing finger gymnastics and holding the screen an inch from your face?
Not on our watch.
The PDF is a static, outdated format that is lacking all the goodies that come with a digital-first approach – fun interactivity, accessibility to the visually impaired, use of video, and much more!
*3.* Static and text-heavy
Steve from statistics has just sent you a 25-page report in PDF.
It has no images or videos and has so much text it makes the bible look like a tweet.
Can’t wait to open it?
No one enjoys reading static text-heavy documents. Whether it’s for internal communications or external content pieces, don’t subject your readers to a boring reading experience.
It’s much easier to get people on board with what you’re saying if their eyes haven’t glazed over by the third line.
Despite being used by virtually everyone, we know that the human brain doesn’t absorb and retain information in the way that most people use the PDF.
There is so much psychological evidence demonstrating that we consume information better if it’s displayed in short bursts with lots of visuals to break it up, but very few PDFs come near to offering this kind of experience.
*4.* Once it's gone,
Why is that a problem?
Even with spellcheck being built into basically everything these days, typos happen all the time.
We may all just be human, but people are pretty unforgiving of businesses that have typos in their contant.
You’re judging me so hard right now.
You made a typo in a PDF? Enjoy looking at it forever! Your shameful mistake will always exist in the files of every device of every person you sent that PDF to.
Sure, you can make a new version of the PDF, but that original version is still out in the world, silently mocking you from afar.
If you outsource the design of your PDF files and use more than one agency, or maybe you create some of them in-house and outsource the rest, how can you be 100% certain that your brand is consistent across your content?
The PDF is not a content creation tool, it’s just a file format. This means you have a multitude of programs available to create them, like Photoshop, Illustrator, or even Word (you animal), each with a different range of design capabilities.
How are you going to keep your visual brand coherent when there are multiple people working independently on your content, probably using different programs, pushing the boundaries of your style guidelines in different ways and possibly not even in communication with each other?
Consistent branding is essential for content marketing.
How can you expect to grow a recognisable brand if your own marketing materials are having a worse identity crisis than Gollum from Lord of the Rings?
Designing is no walk in the park.
That’s why a lot of businesses hire design agencies or freelancers to do the creative stuff for them (RIP the marketing budget).
And what if you’ve received the final copy and then decide you want to make additional changes?
Do you rack up even more of a bill with the designers, or do you spend hours scrolling through Wikihows and online forums to learn how to do it yourself?
When you’re outsourcing the design of your research reports or thought leadership collateral, you’re setting your budget on fire, adding more links to a production line that really shouldn’t be necessary, and potentially delaying your marketing strategies.
The PDF is just not media friendly.
If you want your content to contain lots of images and video (and you should), doing so on the PDF will dramatically increase the file size. And contrary to popular belief, size DOES matter.
Every extra moment between your customers and your content is another chance for them to lose interest and click onto something else.
With the PDF, everything in the document has to be downloaded at once, whereas with web browsers, content can be downloaded progressively, making it a quicker experience for the reader.
The only real way to speed up PDF download time is to reduce the quality of your media, but then you’re just trading off one negative point for another.
If only there was an alternative to the PDF where you could have your cake and eat it too….