These days, providing consistent, valuable content for your target audience is key to marketing success. Along with articles, blog posts and content sharing, informational ebooks are an extremely popular option for distributing content and building a contact list. (For the purpose of this article, we will be discussing the creation of an abbreviated, informative ebook as opposed to a full length digital book or novel.) Whether you offer your ebook as a free resource or a paid product, there are a few key steps to ensuring that the end result is functional as a resource, appealing to your audience and effective as a business marketing tool.
CREATE RELEVANT CONTENT
Content creation for an ebook is not much different than writing an extended article. Choose a topic and a concise title containing strong keywords. Next, research your topic and create an outline of subtopics to be included. A few hyperlinks should also be inserted when possible to serve as an extension of your content. Be careful not to use too many however, as this can lead to reader fatigue and may be portrayed as a lack of focus.
There is no recommended length for an e-book. Take into consideration, the number of pages in relation to the purpose. If the ebook is to be used as a resource and contains over 25 pages, it is wise to include a table of contacts. If it is to be significantly longer, consider dividing it into sections or chapters, possibly with a cover or graphical divider for each section. This will give the reader pause and provide an entry into each new segment of your overall topic.
The last page of your document should contain a call to action, links to other relevant articles and a resource box. The resource box is where the reader will find more information about you and your business, a link to your website, additional contact information and possibly a photo or logo.
Finally, once your content is complete, proofread and edit thoroughly to check for spelling and grammatical errors and to assure that your content flows in a logical progression. For some excellent tips on content creation, download the free ebook, The Crazy Busy Marketer’s Guide to Content Creation in the Real World by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing.
The main differences between a standard article or digital book and an informational ebook are the design and formatting. Ebooks tend to rely heavily on graphics, wide line spacing and the use of color to draw their readers in and focus on the topic at hand. Danny Iny describes the design process well in his article, How To Design an E-Book That Gets Downloaded Read, and Shared.
When designing your ebook, focus attention on the cover, the fonts and colors, shading, highlights and call-outs, as well as graphics and photos. If you are not skilled in graphic design, research other ebook designs, find some that appeal to you and mimic the basic features and attributes. Some of my favorites are those produced by Hubspot, MailChimp and Duct Tape Marketing. Luckily, there are several sources of royalty free photos and graphics available on the web, such as Free Digital Photos. So search, download and be sure to give the appropriate credits when required. To download free creative fonts to add to your design, visit www.1001freefonts.com.
DETERMINE THE DOCUMENT’S FORMAT
There are several considerations when choosing a final format for your ebook. However, the informational style ebook with a graphical nature as discussed in this article is usually best published as a .pdf. It can be produced using most any word processing, desktop publishing or graphic design software and converted to a .pdf with ease. According to Smashwords,.pdf is the preferred format for over 35% of ebook downloads and this type of document holds its original formatting precisely. There are several free .pdf converters on the web, however Cutepdf and primopdf are two of the most popular and reliable choices.
Other formats used mostly for digital books to be published on Amazon or Barnes and Noble include ePub (Most popular ebook readers recognize this format, with the exception of Kindle) and MOBI (Amazon Kindle’s publishing format). Several open source online ebook conversion tools such as Calibre are available to help format and reformat your ebook as needed. Here are the pages containing information on how to submit an ebook to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
LAUNCH YOUR NEW EBOOK
After all the research, writing, editing and formatting, it’s almost time to launch your new ebook! In preparation for the launch and subsequent distribution, it’s highly recommended that you create a landing page on your website where your readers can sign-up and download a copy. This will most-likely require an autoresponder email containing a link to the ebook that you have uploaded to your site as a page not visible to the general public. If you plan to sell it as a product, then this page can be connected to your shopping cart. The subscription form and autoresponder can be accomplished through a standard mail distribution system such as MailChimp or Constant Contact.
As with any new product launch, it’s wise to have a marketing plan that outlines the promotional steps you will take before, during and after the actual date of launch. Brainstorm about where, how, when and what your promotion will consist of, then create a chronological series of steps that you will take to create the maximum exposure.
Leading up to the launch, begin a buzz by mentioning it on social media channels. Provide ‘sneak peeks’ into the content and consider having it reviewed by colleagues and then post positive feedback prior to release. Write a preview blog post announcing the upcoming release, and provide a date so your readers will know when to look for it.
On launch day, send a targeted email to each of your subscribers announcing the arrival of your new ebook and providing a link for download. Be sure to stay connected on social media by posting positive announcements, providing links to your landing page and replying to comments. Take advantage of every outlet in your network to spread the word.
Resource: How to Add Retweet Buttons in Your PDF Documents by Social Media Examiner, provides all the info you’ll need to make your ebook easily retweetable.
Following the launch, find a qualified person in your network to write a review and use it to create an article that can be submitted to publications and websites. Find a prominent spot on your website or blog to promote your new ebook and continue to provide a link to each of your future contacts as well as including one in your signature line.
Regardless of whether you offer your ebook for sale or as a free resource, a professionally written, aesthetically designed and widely marketed ebook can serve as an excellent source of promotion for your business for years to come.
What additional tips can you suggest for creating and launching a successful ebook?
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net