Old-school marketing techniques just don’t cut it anymore.
Pop-up ads had their day, but now, 42.7% of worldwide internet users stop them in their tracks with an ad-blocker.
On average, people see anywhere between 6,500 and 11,000 ads per day. It’s no surprise that most of us have gone “ad blind” and rarely pay attention to them anymore.
Cold calls are also outdated. Only 27% of sales reps believe cold calling is still effective, and the practice has a low 2% success rate.
What about PPC and social media?
They still work, but studies have shown that content marketing consistently outperforms them by a wide margin. SEO drives a whopping 1,000% more traffic than organic social media, and even Google admits that SEO traffic is 5x greater than PPC.
It’s clear that content marketing is the strategy of the present and future.
Content marketing comes in many forms, including SEO web articles, blog posts, social media content, videos, online courses, webinars, whitepapers, ebooks, and more.
Today, we’re going to focus on ebooks and what they can offer your business in terms of marketing growth.
Ready to bring your idea for an ebook to life? Our custom content services from expert-level writers include ebooks starting around $105/page.
How to Write an Ebook for Your Business in 6 Steps
Ebooks can be a highly profitable part of your content marketing strategy… if they’re done correctly.
If you’re wondering whether people still read ebooks, the answer is YES!
Harper Collins reported a 38% increase in ebook downloads for the first quarter of 2021.
Ebooks can be immensely profitable because they don’t cost you any printing materials or shipping costs to get the product to the customer. Once someone downloads your ebook, it’s immediately accessible.
When it comes to business, an ebook is usually written for one of two goals:
- Revenue: Charging a fee to download your ebook can create a side stream of extra income
- Conversions & Leads: Offering your ebook for free allows you to share information about your products and services, seasonal offers, and educational information about your industry.
There’s a lot that goes into an ebook. Let’s look at the creation steps, starting with…
1. Select a Topic People WANT to Read
You might be a brilliant writer, but if you write your ebook on a subject your audience couldn’t care less about, nobody is ever going to read it.
Be cognizant of your market niche. You can take a more methodical approach to coming up with your ebook topic by:
- Using analytical data: Look at the insights from past content you’ve published on your website and social media. Do you notice any themes? Does your audience seem to respond to certain topics better than others?
- Checking out your competition: What subjects are your competitors writing about? Are people engaging with their content, or not?
- Sending out surveys: Not sure what your audience is most interested in? Ask them! Run a poll on social media or set up a quick survey that goes out to your email subscribers. SurveyMonkey is a great free tool for this, or you can use Google Forms.
- Testing the market: Before committing to a full ebook, release the first chapter to your audience and see how they respond. Keep track of the number of downloads and be open to any feedback from beta readers.
It’s important to find a balance between what people want to read and what you know how to write.
By that, I mean don’t follow the fads and write an ebook about losing weight or making money just because that’s what you think is trending. Chances are, those markets are oversaturated, and your book will be a tiny, unnoticed drop in an ocean dominated by established big names.
Stick to your market and expertise. Write what you know.
Pro tip: Make sure you choose a topic that has a limited focus but plenty of flexibility for you to address different (but relevant) points. You want to make sure every section ties together, but you don’t want to trap yourself in box and repeat the same information over and over again.
2. Research Before You Write
It’s tempting to dive right in and start writing, but the research process is an important phase that needs to happen first.
Even if you’re an expert on your chosen topic, you’ll still want to include outside sources such as case studies, statistics, and research. Plus, it’s a good idea to double-check your facts.
Read other ebooks within your industry niche and topic to see how you can put a personal spin on information that’s already available for consumers. Making it personal is the best way to help your ebook stand out from the crowd.
3. Create a Clear Outline
A word to the wise – without an outline to follow, many writers get stuck within the first few chapters of their ebook.
First, decide how you want to format your ebook. Is it going to be a step-by-step solution to a problem? Or will you present your information like a case study, or a research paper?
It’s also a good idea to determine the page orientation so you can plan your chapters accordingly for a vertical versus horizontal layout.
From there, create the structural base of your ebook with headings and subheadings. Doing this step before you start writing is the easiest way to ensure each section flows smoothly into the next one and your content stays on topic.
4. Find a Quiet, Distraction-Free Place to Write
Even seasoned authors can be easily distracted. The best way to make sure you see your ebook through from start to finish without losing your concentration and motivation is to eliminate as many interruptions as possible.
Mute your phone and close your open Facebook tab. Over time, you’ll learn your own preferences. Maybe you like to write with music playing, or perhaps you prefer silence.
Every writer’s ideal setting for maximum productivity is going to be different.
5. Write Your First Draft, Then Come Back for Editing
A first draft isn’t meant to be perfect.
Don’t let yourself get bogged down trying to edit and chase perfection while you’re writing. That’s only going to lead to frustration and a case of writer’s block when you lose track of your thoughts.
Get your words down on the page first. Then, go back and edit your work.
6. Enlist the Help of an Editor
Ideally, if you want the highest quality ebook, you’ll hire a freelance editor who has the experience, knowledge, and expertise to give your work the same editing attention a traditional publishing house would.
But be advised – that is an additional cost that you may not have factored into the project.
At the very least, if you don’t invest in a professional editor, ask multiple friends, colleagues, and/or family members to proofread your work. The more eyes, the better.
You absolutely do NOT want to publish an ebook full of typos, grammar mistakes, poor research, no citations, and punctuation errors. That’s a quick way to destroy your credibility.
Self-Publishing Your Ebook
A wide variety of publishing resources are available to authors these days. Before you start looking at your publication options, think about how you want readers to find and download your ebook.
If you have your own website, the quickest way to distribute your ebook is to make it a downloadable PDF that people can access through your site.
If you want your ebook to be available on Amazon, you can upload your .mobi file to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and publish it for free.
Amazon is definitely a big player worth looking at for distribution. Analysts estimate that Amazon’s share of the ebook market is between 68% and 83%, although it’s hard to pinpoint an exact number since Amazon doesn’t openly share this information.
KDP authors have the option of making their books exclusive to Amazon for higher royalties and extra perks, or opting for expanded distribution to reach more retailers but pocket lower royalties.
Other self-publishing platforms such as IngramSpark and Draft2Digital can distribute to Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and other retailers and may be viable options depending on your publication and distribution goals.
Your publishing method will determine what kind of file type you will need:
- Portable Document Format (PDF): The most basic and widely known type of file, PDFs are meant to be read on the screen for which they were created. Your ebook formatting will be fixed in place, meaning the text and layout won’t be adjusted for desktop vs. tablet vs. smartphone use.
- Electronic Publication (EPUB): This format is more flexible and widely accepted by different devices and e-readers. An epub file will adapt based on the size of the screen for best readability.
- MOBI: These types of files are similar to epubs but have a few extra limitations such as the inability to support audio or video. KDP uses mobi files, and most other e-readers can read them with the exception of Nook.
- AZW: Another ebook file type that was originally designed for Kindle but can also be read on most smartphones, tablets, and computers.
- OpenDocument Format (ODF): This type of file is optimized for OpenOffice.
- IBA: An Apple-only ebook format that supports text, video, audio, images, and interactive elements within an ebook but is compatible only with books that were written in iBooks.
Struggling to Make Your Ebook a Reality? Hire an Expert to Help!
We covered a lot, and it can be overwhelming for business owners who might have assumed writing an ebook was as simple as uploading a Word document.
If you have a topic in mind but don’t have the time to write an ebook, you should seriously consider outsourcing the project to an expert who knows exactly how to create a highly effective ebook that flows well, feels professional, and inspires your readers to action.
We do more than just ebooks! Visit our Content Shop to see what other types of custom content our expert writers can create for your personal marketing strategy.