Writing a book is not something that you can shoehorn into a few hours, but if you plan on publishing an ebook, the time invested will be well spent. Actually knowing where to start can be tough though, particularly for those who have not had the opportunity to flex their writing muscles in a while. The thought of actually writing such a lengthy document can also bring on a case of writer’s block, but writing an ebook can be approached in a very segmented and logical manner.
Creation of the book itself can easily be broken down into manageable segments, putting this very useful online marketing tool within your reach. Here’s how:
1. Decide What You Want to Achieve
As with any online marketing activity, the first step on the road to success is setting out very clear objectives of expectations and purpose. Defining what you want to achieve with your new ebook will help shape its content and structure, and having a clear goal in mind will help you adopt a strategic distribution method when the job of writing the book is done.
There are many potential reasons you may want to write an ebook, with the most common being to stimulate sales, act as a lead generation tool, or work as linkbait. Defining the focus of your project in this way will not only act as motivation to see what can be a lengthier-than-usual marketing activity through to fruition, it will also assist with more practical considerations such as the tone of the piece and how and when to include links and case studies.
2. Pick Your Topic
Now that you know why you’re embarking on writing an ebook, you need to decide how you’re going to do it. Picking a subject can be difficult, as it needs to be broad enough for expansion yet specific enough to play to your strengths. It must also closely relate to your company’s areas of expertise and align itself with your website and if relevant, social media profiles. The more you know about a subject, the easier it is to write about. The purpose of the book will also determine the subject to some extent. If you run a hotel for example and want to increase bookings, an ebook on the attractions of your area or unique history of your building would be suitable.
3. The Blurb
Starting at the back of the book can actually help progress towards its conclusion. Set yourself the task of writing the backplate of the ‘book.’ Consider jacket descriptions of books you’ve read recently and include points such as your unique viewpoint or opinion on the subject at hand and its significance. You are not only trying to sell the book to the casual reader but focusing your mind on how the book will unfold and what its central premise will be.
4. The Chapters
The mechanics of compiling the text of your book can be approached in a very logical manner and the individual chapters slotted together like a jigsaw puzzle. Before you start to put pen to paper and flesh out the chapters themselves, jot down a list of the chapters you want to include, noting a central theme for each section. This may be a question, a case study or a particular aspect of the topic at hand. When you have decided on the theme of each chapter, you can go back and include a few key bullet points of important points, facts or sources to include. The framework of your book is now in place.
5. The Body
Now that you have a framework to work to, you can begin to write each chapter. Be sure to refer back to the blurb and the purpose of the book as you proceed, checking at regular intervals that you’re staying on course. Work on a chapter at a time and, as the book is designed to be read online from a screen, consider adding points of interest just as you would on a web page – items like photos, graphs and text in different sizes, colors and fonts will make the information easier to digest.
As a piece of online marketing, you’ll also want to include links to relevant pages on your website within the text, but try not to overdo it with hyperlinks at every possible opportunity and keywords stuffed into titles, sentences and image descriptions on every page. If your book is detailed and interesting, it will do the link building work or sales patter for you, so while it’s important to include links for branding and further information purposes, be vigilant about lapsing into black hat SEO techniques.
6. Create your Ebook Format
The easiest way to present your ebook is in a PDF format – this file type is familiar and universally accepted, can be opened just as easily on a Mac as on a PC and is generally not susceptible to viruses the way an EXE or other file type may be.
7. The Marketing
Just as you hopefully promote your Twitter account or Facebook page on your website with visible icons, marketing your ebook should also start on your own website. There are many ways you can do this, some of which will be determined by the purpose of the document. If it is as a lead generation tool, you may need to have a new form added to the website so users are able to submit your required information before they can download the text. For sales purposes, a splash icon on the home page or relevant product page may suffice.
There are lots of other ways to promote your ebook which can integrate with existing online marketing activities – pay per click ads, social media mentions or email marketing shots will all get the ball rolling. You can also take a more personal approach and send copies to influential bloggers, create an ebook author account on Amazon or invite members of the local press or trade magazine to review your offering.
Follow the seven steps above and you’ll be well on your way to writing and beginning to market your ebook!