E-books give you the opportunity to generate leads, give away free content, and tackle hefty topics with the breadth and depth they deserve. They should be a tool in every inbound marketing arsenal, but they can be intimidating to even the most veteran content creators. What do you write about? How do you lay it all out? How do you get people reading your e-book?

Captain Plan It

The topic will make or break your e-book. It determines whether you have a solid, informational piece of content that gets people to your sales team or several pages of fluff. Spend time doing some research and finding a topic that either offers enough depth for you to explore in several sections or branches out into other closely related topics.

Start with an outline. Break the topic into chapters, headings, and sub-headings. If you’re having trouble coming up with sections, consider tweaking your topic or delving into new avenues of related knowledge.

DeathtoStock_Wired4Get Write On It

Some content creators believe that an e-book is nothing more than a series of blog posts pasted together. While you should feel free to approach each chapter with the same attention to detail as a blog post, remember that this is a book. One chapter should flow to the next, and the work as a whole should have a definitive beginning, middle, and end.

Some other things to keep in mind as you write.

  • Although you’re writing an e-book, you don’t necessarily have to write a massive tome. Write enough to get your point across and engage your audience. Depending on the topic, that may mean writing 5 pages or 35 pages.
  • Don’t waste words. Focus on simple, clear text.
  • Use spacing, lists, and formatting effectively to keep people’s eyes moving.
  • Don’t force keywords. By strategizing the topic of your e-book to be relevant to your audience and business, important keywords and phrases will naturally appear in the text as you write. Don’t go out of your way to force them in.
  • Include photos, graphics, or other visual aids throughout your e-book. There’s no standard or set rule for this as it really depends on your text. Imagery should support the text, which should get most of the real estate.

Make sure you also include:

  • A table of contents
  • A page of resources/references
  • A call to action that directs readers to take an action: sign up for a free trial, test out a demo, or simply visit your site for more information.

I Saw Design and It Opened Up My Eyesphoto-1416339442236-8ceb164046f8

Hiring a designer to structure the e-book, format the text, and provide icons, illustrations, and other design elements where necessary results in a super slick, clean end product. Unfortunately, this also tends to be the most costly option. If you don’t have a dedicated designer in-house, you’ll have to search within the freelance pool.

No designer? No worries! You can make a solid, sleek e-book with the tools you have on hand. Powerpoint is surprisingly robust, giving you all the tools you need to format text, add color, insert images, and create headings in a simple, intuitive way. Not sure where to start? Hubspot offers five free e-book templates. Simply paste in your text and customize as necessary. Export as a PDF or save it as a slideshow and promote on Slideshare.

And don’t forget Word. It may not offer as vibrant or dynamic of an end product, but Word still has the tools to compile a clean, professional e-book–it’s all about how you use them. It’s not perfect and requires some adjusting, which can get tedious, but the simple formatting goes a long way. Some tips:

  • Resize the page and rework the margins. Try 5.5” by 8.5” with 1” margins for a neat, compact look.
  • Add page numbers and use the formatting options (Normal, Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) built into Word. This comes in handy when setting up the table of contents.
  • Use simple colors.
  • Add icons in headings.

Some additional resources you can try out for e-book creation include:

Experiment with these different methods to see what works best for you. Remember, e-books take different shapes and forms, so choose a method that makes the most sense for your current resources.

Set the Wheels in Promotion

You’ve written an amazing piece and put it together into a visually appealing, easy-to-read work. You have your final e-book proofread and perfected. Now it’s time to get that e-book into the hands and hard drives of the masses.

  • Create a dedicated landing page for the e-book that describes what the e-book is about and provides a contact form that must be filled out to download the e-book. This is a great way to generate leads for your business. Landing page development is super simple in common website platforms like WordPress.
  • Promote your e-book throughout your usual social media channels as well as sites tailored to this type of content, including Slideshare and Scribd.
  • Publish an excerpt as a blog, providing a link to download and read the rest of the e-book.
  • Send an email to users who have expressed interest in receiving special offers.

Now you have everything you need to create and promote e-books for your business. Good luck! If you have any tips for creating e-books or getting them out there, let us know in the comments.

Comments

Your email will not be published. Required fields are marked *

There are no comments yet.

Other posts you will enjoy...

RelationEdge Announces the Acquisition of Main Path Marketing and Launch of a Full-Service Marketing Cloud Practice
Twitter Moments – Should They Be a Part of Your Social Media Strategy?
Developing a Plan for Social Live Video
4 Common Email Problems and How to Solve Them