So if I’m guessing correctly, you’re here because you’ve decided to learn how to make an eBook. Am I right? Thought so.
Pretty smart move on your part – for deciding to publish an eBook that is. You see, eBooks are becoming increasingly popular as part of marketing strategies, and for good reason.
Content is the backbone of a solid marketing strategy. Therefore, the quality of a business’s content can make or break its marketing strategy. So understanding how to create content that works is important.
And eBooks, they work.
That being said, let’s get you moving on your first eBook!
Creating an eBook doesn’t have to be difficult, especially with a little help from those who do it best.
With that, here are 15 tips from marketing professionals who have mastered the eBook game:
My top recommendation when making an ebook is first testing that your target audience is interested in the subject that you plan to write about. To ascertain interest, check which blog subjects most appeal to readers as measured by regular traffic to specific articles through Google Analytics or your CMS.
Once you have a few subjects that you could confidently expand on, survey your audience through a Facebook and Twitter poll on what ebook topic they would be most likely to read. This will get your audience engaged and interested and will allow you to test ideas with your target demographic.
- Nicolas Straut, SEO Associate, Fundera
When creating an eBook, it is important to understand that this type of content functions best as a way to establish your brand as a Thought Leader in your industry. Considering that, it is imperative to research the subject matter your audience is truly interested in. Use tools like Keyword.io to assess what sort of information people are looking for. Once that is determined, find a way to present the information in a unique way to differentiate your content from your competitors.
A good example of this is to create your eBook in an interactive format rather than the traditional approach of a static .PDF. This works for a myriad of reasons.
Content with interactivity has been proven to be more engaging and leads to a higher rate of conversions. In addition, the SEO value of an interactive piece is much greater. eBooks presented in .PDF format are severely limited from a SEO perspective.. With an interactive eBook being web-based, search engines will be able to index the entire page and this will help drive organic traffic from search.
- Jonathan Rosenfeld, Director of Demand Generation, Bython Media
- T.L. Curtis, Volo Press
My recommended best practices are to plan the subject matter of your book in advance. Start by identifying the core issue you want to focus on in-depth. Plan out the related issues that have a bearing on your core issue so you can explore in greater detail as your manuscript develops. This will help to ensure you get started writing rather than procrastinating.
So, for example, in my recent book, I wanted to explain to small business owners why a Google My Business listing is so important for local search. I then developed that into how they should go about optimizing the listing fully. From there, I was able to explore all the related, and vitally important factors, that need to be tackled in order to give the optimized the listing the best chance of attracting local search users. By planning those steps from the start, I was able to stay on track despite the distractions that come from running a digital marketing agency.
As an aside, I also think its good to know the way you're going to publish up front. So for me, knowing the process of uploading to smashwords.com, knowing the editor I would use to format the script and having planned the steps to publish to Kindle, helped to ensure I had an end publishing goal and outcome.
- Alistair Dodds, Marketing Director and Co-Founder, Smoking Chili Media
Whatever your budget is for writing the content, you’ll need to plan on spending that on visual design too.
These days people judge the value of content based on how it looks visually and it’s crazy but design almost matters more than the content itself.
I have also learned that 50% of your overall budget for the e-book creation needs to be allocated to promotion.
It’s sad but even the best e-book in the world won’t do anything unless you’ve got a promotion campaign behind it.
Promotion is another strategy altogether, but if you’re going to invest in creating an asset such as an e-book you need to plan on a few months of promotion and outreach to get it off the ground otherwise all of your hard work will definitely fall on deaf ears.
- Zach Hendrix, Co-Founder, GreenPal
For your first eBook, I recommend that it look like a marketing document. Use images and make it look desktop published, as opposed to a word-processed document. This includes a well-designed cover page and clickable Table of Contents (TOC).
Also, have links out to web pages where content can be updated as required. This will keep your document fresh with a longer shelf life. Distribute it as a PDF document so it's not editable and can be opened on both computers and mobile devices.
- Vito Michael Santoro, Co-Founder, Vaetas, LLC
eBooks have changed dramatically over the years and today, there are many more places where businesses can share them. The obvious way to leverage them is to drive leads to your website, using the content as a gateway in which you offer potential customers some useful information in exchange for their contacts. But with the rise of SlideShare (now owned by LinkedIn) and the popularity of eBooks on Amazon, there are exciting new ways to share your content.
Knowing that your eBook could be shared across many platforms, here are my tips on how to make the most of them:
- Michelle Barry, CEO, Mesmerize Media Consulting
Include clickable links in your e-book.
Unlike traditional printed guides, e-books offer the ability to add clickable element—and yet this is a feature that is woefully underutilized. You can improve the experience a reader has with your material by including internal linkages, such as from the table of contents to various sections of the guide.
This can be especially effective and valuable if your e-book is long and/or text heavy because it allows them to bypass excessive scrolling. In addition, external links can provide quick access to relevant resources and references that may further interest the reader.
- Greg Bullock, Marketing Manager, TheraSpecs
Don't try to make a 50-page eBook right off the bat. Ebooks can be short! Even a small 3-5 page study with data images and infographics counts.
Make sure you are providing valuable information that a reader can put into action rather than a blown out piece or promotional information on you or your business.
Make your eBook subject-specific and have a unique perspective that is your own. Remember, you can revise and re-release the eBook again at a later time as new information becomes available - especially if you are getting several follow up questions surrounding your material.
Be sure to brand the cover to your business and have your contact information in your page footers and on the final page.
- Bernard May, CEO, National Positions
Writing an eBook can gain help you traction in making your name or company standing out of the crowd. But, it's not an easy task, Why? because most of the people on the web don't care what you write. To make sure your content stands out, you have to do complete research and show your prospects in a more creative way. Below are the few tips and tricks to make sure your eBook makes an impact towards readers:
- Adeel Shabir, Content Marketing Executive, SIA Enterprises
For someone coming up with their first ebook, understanding the right audience can be the deal breaker. Unlike a blog that can cater to different audiences with a varied understanding of topics, an ebook must be tailored for only one type of audience. Essentially, that means you must know beforehand where your target audience stands in terms of understanding or sophistication and where they plan to reach post finishing the ebook.
If you are making an ebook for beginners, you can’t stuff information that is only known to the intermediate or the advanced level. Or, explaining beginner terms to an advanced audience is also a counterproductive approach. Also, keep the topic uptight and don’t deviate from the end goal the ebook is trying to achieve.
Next, you must assess the type of conversations your audience have in their regular life or else; you might fail to connect even after pulling together the best information available on the planet in the ebook. Use words they are familiar with, use tooltips where you think they might face difficulty in comprehending a concept or term; if you want to engage them right from the start.
Also, spice up the ebook with the right design elements. Understand the pictures that your audience frames in their mind post reading certain words and use imagery and colors according to that only.
- Ketan Kapoor, CEO and Co-Founder, Mettl
- Peter Selmeczy, CEO, SEO Tech
- Cassandra Jowett, Director of Content Marketing, PathFactory
- Krista Brubaker, Content Marketing Strategist, BizLibrary
Make sure it's worth their contact info.
Yes, you may be giving away your eBook for free, but you're still asking for something that is of great value to you and personal to them - their contact information.
If you're planning on gating your eBook content, make sure the contents of it are clear, concise and actionable. It's not about the number of pages. It's about getting the point across. I recommend including a few different elements outside of the main body of copy, such as checklists and quizzes. This will not only keep your readers engaged but help relay your message in a variety of ways.
- Rory Schåff, Digital Media Manager, McGrath/Power PR
Looking for software to help you create your eBook? Check out the best document creation software here!
Have some advice on creating eBooks? We’d love to hear from you! Tweet it to me @jordwahl and we’ll at it to the list!
In the meantime, be sure to check our guide what is an eBook to learn about all things eBooks!
Jordan Wahl is a Content Marketing Manager who joined G2 after graduating with her BBA in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She loves anything that puts her in her creative space – including writing, art, and music (her absolute favorite).
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