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I admit it. I’m a card-carrying enthusiast when it comes to special reports. In fact, I offer several free reports to those who subscribe to this e-newsletter at SteveSlaunwhite.com or CopywritingTrainingCenter.com.

I also write and produce special reports for my clients.

Yet, just the other day, I received an email from a business owner who asked –rather grumpily — “Come on, do special reports really work anymore? I never read the darned things. I’m sure my clients don’t either.”

I hate to admit it. But he makes a good point. I sign up for special reports all the time. Yet many of them are still sitting somewhere on my computer, unread.

Does that mean creating a special report for your business is a waste of time?

Not necessarily. Take a closer look at what a special report is designed to do.

First, it’s designed to position you (or your company) as an expert.

For example, a few years ago I worked with a freelance copywriter, S.J., who wanted to offer case study writing services. To attract clients she created a special report called, “9 Powerful Strategies to Get Customers To Say Yes To Case Studies.” She got a designer to create a nice cover for it. Then she put a thumbnail of the report on her website, along with a sign-up form.

Prospects who visited her website and noticed the report got the immediate impression that S.J. knew a heck of a lot about case studies. That’s no surprise.

But here’s the interesting thing. Prospects who didn’t even sign up for the special report, let alone read it, still positioned her in their minds as a case study writing expert.

That’s the cool think about a special report. It’s like having a framed certificate on your wall that says, credibly, “This is what I’m good at.”

The second thing a special report is designed to do is capture leads.

About 75% of prospects who visit your website won’t contact you right away — even if they have a need for, and are interested in, your services. That’s a problem because if those prospects leave your website, they may never come back.

But if there’s something enticing for them to sign-up for — a high-interest special report, perhaps? — then you’ll at least capture their name and email address so you can follow up and stay in touch.

And, again, if any of those prospects never read your special report, you’ve at least captured the lead.

Finally, a special report is designed to motivate prospects to contact you when they have a need for your services.

This is where it is important for your special report to get read. Those who read it are significantly more likely to contact you and become new clients. I’ve had many clients say they read one of my special reports and it motivated them to call me.

So you see, the fact that “few people read special reports” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a good idea for your business. If you need to be seen as an expert by your target audience, and you need to generate leads then, chances are, a compelling, high-interest special report will help you accomplish both.