Imagine having the power to entice potential customers on your doorstep to not only linger for awhile, but actually to come inside. As a tried-and-true lead generation tool, eBooks are one of the most trusted content assets for not only raising awareness, but also for building and sustaining engagement. Few types of content carry as much weight as eBooks, and for good reason.
While it takes a lot of work to create an eBook from cover to cover, the payoff can be well worth the effort. Survey data from Demand Gen Report indicates that 63 percent of buyers are willing to provide information about themselves in exchange for an eBook. In other words, it’s great bait to lure prospects into your lead gen funnel, while also educating and engaging current customers. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. According to the Boston-based content agency, Brafton, the average deal size grows by an impressive 16 percent when an eBook is used as part of the corresponding marketing campaign.
So, now that we know why eBooks matter, let’s look at how to create ones that work.
It All Starts with Authority
Would you bother to read an entire eBook if you questioned the author’s credibility? Of course not. That’s an important point to keep in mind whenever you start an eBook. To write an eBook that’s both authoritative and credible, you have to do some legwork before you ever begin writing. That includes:
Avoiding unfamiliar topics.
The old adage “write what you know” definitely applies to eBooks. It’s hard to write about any topic authoritatively if you don’t fully understand it. If, however, you find yourself with no choice but to write about a topic that you don’t really know well, make sure to find strong subject matter experts you can loop into the project. If they’re external to your company, you may have to give them some credit for their contributions. But, that’s a small price to pay for having solid content you know is accurate.
Try to create something original.
Research whatever topic you’re considering to make sure that it hasn’t been covered extensively elsewhere. While there’s always something to be said for sharing information in your own words, ask yourself if the world really needs its 100th eBook about topic X? Unless you’ve got a unique point of view to offer, your efforts might be better allocated to another project.
Have defined goals and a clear plan of action.
Outline your goals for your eBook and map out exactly how you plan to meet them. What do you want your eBook to achieve? If you see extensive gaps, then you might want to dial them back or even consider revising your topic. After you’ve done that, develop a basic outline for the eBook and action plan for creating it. Be sure you have all the resources you need to pull off the project in a reasonable amount of time.
Write with Clarity, Thoroughness, and Your Audience in Mind
One of the key requirements for creating any successful eBook is being able to clearly explain the core ideas you’re trying to convey. For example, if you were in charge of creating an eBook about maximizing efficiency in food chain logistics, your goal would be to detail every step involved. You’d also want to offer supporting data to enforce your points, firsthand suggestions and tips, and clear takeaways for the reader. This kind of thoroughness is ultimately what readers will find valuable.
At the same time, you need to think about your audience and how to write in a way that’s compelling and will resonate with them. To get readers engaged, it’s not just about clearly communicating practical information. You also need to write in a way that’s interesting and engaging. Adopting the right tone of voice is key.
When it comes to eBooks, good layouts are essential. Paragraph after paragraph of dense content can bore and even intimidate readers. And while being thorough is never a bad thing, you need to keep readability in mind. Ensure that your design showcases your content so that key ideas stand out, readers feel engaged, and your content is easy to scan. In particular:
Use images to your advantage.
When you include pictures, charts, and other visuals, it gives readers a reprieve from the monotony of text. And, let’s not forget that some people are visual learners. You can often better serve their interests by presenting information not just in text, but also in graphic form.
Leave plenty of white space.
You don’t want to overcrowd your pages, so make sure you leave ample white space. It’s often not only more aesthetically pleasing, white space also serves a variety of other important functions (which you can read about here). Remember, you’re creating an eBook, not a whitepaper. Even if it’s technical and dense in nature, you need to present the information in a way that allows readers to get through it fairly quickly while remaining engaged.
Develop Your Distribution Plan
Even the most compelling eBooks require a distribution plan to reach their potential (and your potential customers). Make sure to take the following steps:
- Create a landing page that will help drive conversions. You can take a look at how some of the most iconic brands are using landing pages to promote their eBooks here.
- Consider all of the information you want to collect from people, or the actions you want them to take (subscribe to a newsletter, register for a webinar, etc.) in exchange for your eBook. Make sure that what you’re giving them is more than worth what you’re asking of them.
- Next, identify the most efficient avenues for connecting to your target audience. Are paid ads the best option? Do you get sufficient organic traffic to simply send visitors to your eBook from your corporate site? Do you have an extensive email subscriber list that would be receptive to your new eBook? Are your social followers champing at the bit? Look at all of your available channels and consider which of them will ultimately let you achieve your distribution goals.
A good distribution plan isn’t one that you slap together the day that you’re ready to publish your eBook. If you want to get real results, you need to invest some time into thinking about how to get your content in front of as many relevant eyes as possible.
Repurpose to Maximize Your eBook’s Mileage
Think you’re all done? Not quite. Your next blog post, newsletter, how-to article, webinar teaser, email blast, or other piece of valuable content is only a creative-rewrite away. Repurposed content is the lifeblood of many marketing campaigns. Because of their ample size, eBooks offer a seemingly endless opportunity for repurposing and upcycling. Start at your table of contents and work backwards. Which sections would potential customers take interest in? Start with those parts and tailor them as necessary for the new medium you’re deploying. Make sure to include a link back to the full eBook to help drive more downloads.
eBooks Aren’t Easy, But They’re Worth It
eBooks are often time- and resource-consuming undertakings. That’s why many of them go unfinished. But the fact is that they are worth the effort. If you take the time to create a compelling eBook, you’ll find it keeps paying dividends long after you’ve published it.
Put the odds in your favor with Acrolinx, your personal eBook editor. Ensure that brand guidelines, copy inaccuracies, and writing quality are never overlooked. Take a tour of the platform today to find out how Acrolinx can help ensure that your eBook copy is of the highest quality.
And if you’re looking for help finding the right tone of voice for your eBook content, download our guide: “Watch Your Tone! Why Your Company’s Tone of Voice Matters, and How to Get It Right.”