eBooks. Maybe you’ve heard of them? If not, put simply, an eBook is an electronic version of a book, brochure, or other publication. But a “book” you say? Like you’re really going to write an ebook?! Actually, it’s not as hard as you might think. While an eBook could be many, many pages, it doesn’t have to be. Don’t think “Moby Dick”. In fact, it can be like an extended essay.
So now you’re thinking, “What the heck would I write an eBook about?”
Again, it’s not as hard as you might think. Certainly there’s at least one topic you know a lot about. That’s where you start. But, ‘why bother?’ you might ask.
Let me explain the benefits of eBooks.
You see, it’s getting harder and harder and more and more expensive to get your business found amidst the loads of other people and brands competing for your customer’s attention. But one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to stand out from the crowd is through content marketing — convey thought leadership in your industry niche, and help your target audiences get the information they’re looking for. Now you might be wondering, “Why would I give this information up for free?” The answer is that giving away a little bit for free will convey trust out of the gate. And don’t worry about giving away the farm. There’s no way one of your readers is going to obtain all of the information they need to solve their problem based on a few chapters, when it took you YEARS to develop the skill sets you have — enough to write the eBook their reading!
By adding an eBook to your website and sharing it through your other marketing channels (social media, email, etc.), you will attract more customers and, by making it free to download simply by providing their name and email address, you’ll have their permission for you to begin to continuing nurturing that relationship. More on that in a future blog, but in short, you’re well on your way to making that prospect more sales-ready.
OK, great. So now what?
1. Choose a topic. This might sound crazy but this is probably the hardest step of all. You may scratch your head for a while and wonder what on earth to write about. But don’t overthink it. Just recall some of the conversations you’ve had with your customers over the months or years. What questions do they ask? What are their concerns? If you come across some patterns, jot it down as one of your topic considerations. Once you have a good list, review them and determine which topic has “legs”, as I like to call it — opportunities to expand upon it. And choose something that you’re not only passionate about, but also one in which you have a depth of knowledge. That way you’ll spend less time researching it and more time writing it. And it’ll be easier for you in the process.
2. Create a content outline. Next up, create a content outline. Remember those from high school writing classes? Think of it in terms of chapters and put your ideas into chronological order. This might sound simple enough but keep in mind, people downloading your eBook are doing it because they want to learn something about your topic. If you make it complicated, they won’t finish reading it and will think, “Man, that was confusing” and won’t be too quick to read anything else you send their way. You kinda have one shot to make a great first impression so, do it right!
3. Write your draft. Using your content outline as your guide, start writing. At first, don’t try to be perfect. Get your thoughts down. You might even start with bullet points, then elaborate on them by creating full sentences, the paragraphs. Before too long you’ll have yourself a nice chapter. Now don’t try to write it all in one night. In fact, if you’ve written some blogs in the past, feel free to leverage those and incorporate aspects of them into your eBook. As long as the topics fit within your content outline, they’re fair game.
4. Add photos. Visuals are very important. In the sequence of cognition, shape and color come before text so even though this is a “book”, everyone comprehends better with visuals. You can add your own photos or illustrations, or use stock images. While there are subscription sites where you can purchase stock images (such as Getty Images, Shutterstock, etc.), there are also some free options. Here are a few to check out:
5. Add links. One of the main goals with your eBook is to drive traffic to your website, or if the eBook is already on your site, you want the reader to STAY on your site so include “internal” links within your eBook. If you do have external links, consider sending them to something else you own, such as your YouTube channel or other social site. If you do send them elsewhere, be sure to set the option for the link to open in a new window. The last thing you want is for the person you just worked really hard to engage wanders off into the Internet black hole looking at cats bop cowering dogs on the head.
6. Create a PDF. Once you’ve proofread your draft, gotten some great photos included, added your links and patted yourself on the back, make your PDF. Be sure to open it up and triple check that it’s exactly the way you want it and get ready to spread the word!
7. Share it. You worked hard to create this little gem so don’t keep it all to yourself. Share your wisdom everywhere you can — on your website, social media pages, and in your email newsletter. You can even write a press release about it. And when possible, get something in return for it. No, this won’t be a huge money maker, at least not in and of itself. But when people willingly give you their name and email address, they are entering your lead funnel. And if you properly nurture that relationship, over time, your hard work could certainly pay dividends.
To sum up, if you have a lot to say about a topic, don’t just tell your friends and family (they may not want to hear it). There are probably lots of people out there who WOULD love to hear it. If you’re not sure, search some key words and see what the search results say. If there’s enough interest and you have the determination and the time, an eBook can be a great way to build your brand, liven up your lead funnel, and over time, rev up your revenue.
Incite Creative is a marketing strategy and creative implementation firm that works in an outsourced capacity. In short, we become your company’s chief marketing officer (CMO) and do so virtually and efficiently — saving you time and money. Since 1999 we’ve had the pleasure of building and boosting brands for a core set of industries. Our thoughtful process, experienced team, and vested interest in our client’s success has positioned us as one of the Mid-Atlantic’s most sought-after marketing partners for those looking to grow their brand awareness and their bottom line. Stop paying for digital and/or traditional services you may not really need. Our retainer, no mark-up model means our recommendations don’t come with any catch or commission. The recommendations we make align with what you need and what fits within your budget. For more information, contact Dina Wasmer at 410-366-9479 or [email protected].