Writing any kind of book or lengthy writing project can be stressful, especially if you don’t have experience. In addition to writing the content you have to design and format it, make sure it is edited, and make sure it looks professional. While your head may be spinning trying to take this project on, remember that eBooks are one of the top strategies for lead generation and you will be benefiting from your efforts in no time! Writing an eBook will not only benefit your E-Commerce client, but also you as a freelance writer. You just have to learn a few basics and you’ll find that creating an eBook is easier than it seems.
Know Your Audience
Before you even begin developing an eBook, you need to strategize and figure out who exactly your audience is in the same way you would when writing blog content or creating your website. Take your time to research your client and don’t be afraid to ask specifically what they are looking to cover. Making sure to thoroughly understand the audience that the client has is an important part of the book being successful.
Your goal is to get a sense of who your current audience is and why they would benefit from an eBook in the first place. You want to use this eBook to convert leads for yourself, as a freelance writer to even more e-commerce clients and prospects to customers, so it is essential to know who will be downloading or even just opening your eBook in order to continue developing your strategy. I would also recommend talking to other small businesses about how their eBook worked or didn’t work and seeing if you can gather any tips that way.
Content development is the first task of developing an eBook. Whether you are solely doing the writing or you have divided it up by chapter or specialty, developing the content in a cohesive way is really important. There are three major steps to writing and developing eBook content that have proven to be successful strategies.
STEP 1: Choosing a Topic
You have already decided that your eBook is going to relate to your e-commerce client’s audience, but you need to make your topic unique and make sure it will contribute something new to the existing literature online. Also remember that your goal is lead generation! You absolutely want to pick a topic that is going to transition a prospect from downloading and reading to having a conversation with you as a freelancer.
Of course being able to come up with the right topic may take a lot of research and a lot of collaboration between you and your existing client. The best topic will cover something that can benefit you as well as the e-commerce client of course.
STEP 2: Write an Outline
Every good writer knows that the next step in the writing process is developing an outline. This essentially becomes your Table of Contents once the eBook has developed, for now it should be a way to conceptualize the layout and progression of your text. In developing your outline, you can think of each chapter as an individual blog post (length and generally focusing on one topic, specially) but you want to make sure they flow together and ultimately construct a cohesive book.
A word on length. Your project does not need to be a research dissertation! In other words, it does not need to be a 300-page book on the topic. Write and develop as much content as you need to speak to the topic. The topic you pose might be able to be answered in 13 pages or 30 pages, it is your call—but you want to make sure that your prospects get enough out of it to spark interest in your product.
STEP 3: The WRITING of an eBook Copy
The last step of the writing process is of course actually focusing and writing it. This can seem daunting and sitting down at a blank screen is always a little intimidating. There are a few things you can keep in mind to make sure you get it done:
Keep it simple. My advice is to try to keep your language simple and straightforward. Think of having a conversation with your reader where you are explaining information of value to them so that they can become even more interested in your client’s brand. Avoid using dense language or industry jargon that your reader would not understand.
Format and Formatting. You are going to want to keep your format consistent across your text. Also make sure that you use appropriate formatting to break up and emphasize points. Examples include bullet points or subtitles.
Further Aesthetic Development
Once you have your content written you are going to need to design and format your eBook. Here are some design features to keep in mind (in addition to the cover page and the title page):
- Don’t forget to design your chapter pages.
- Utilize brand colors in your design
- Incorporate visual elements, like company owned photography or stock photos —visuals always enhance an eBook presentation!
- Find a way to highlight or emphasize quotes or statistics in-text. Pull quotes is a great way to do this and make sure they stick out.
Optimization, Promotion, and Launch!
Here are some things to keep in mind at this final stage of your strategy. Remember to check back with your initial goals for lead conversation as well—is this fitting the niche of your audience? Once your eBook is launched, do you expect positive results?
- CTAs: Within the text of your eBook, remember to add links to any CTAs for your website or blog if your e-commerce client allows this. These are extremely important in successful conversion.
- EBook Landing Page: You should have a landing page dedicated to your eBook download so that prospects can be referred to it easily and you can promote the book on your social channels or even through paid search.
- Promote Your Book: Remember to take your URL and utilize it in both social and email marketing, that way you reach both existing and future clients.
- Track Success: Keep on top of your analytics to see how the book is doing and any improvements that you might want to make.
- Finish Strong: Make sure at the end of your eBook that you reiterate the focus of your e-commerce client. It is important to keep your client happy so they may refer to you for future freelance work. Also, if allowed, reintroduce yourself as a freelance writer to attract future clients within your own business. You can do this with a CTA (preferably) such as a “for more information” button, and also provide them contact info once again in case they want to call or email you or your client directly.
Amanda DiSilvestro is the Editor in chief for Plan, Write, GO. She has been writing about all-things digital marketing, both as a ghost writer, guest writer, and blog manager, for over 10 years. Check out her blogging services to learn more!