You don’t need to be a professional writer to publish an e-book. Businesses of all kinds use e-books as a form of lead generation or gated content to provide valuable information that can turn prospects into paying customers.
At People First Content, we’ve helped authors from various industries turn their ideas into tangible e-books they can give away or sell to their audience.
Benefits of Writing an E-Book
Still not sure if writing an e-book is worth your time or money? Consider these benefits.
- Brand (and name) recognition
- Add to your marketing funnel
- Earn extra revenue
Publishing an e-book under your name gives you an instant boost of credibility in your industry. It shows that you’re committed to putting in the time to provide valuable content. If you’re trying to land speaking engagements, having a book (or two) under your belt can separate you from the competition.
A lot of businesses use e-books as a form of lead generation by giving them away to people who subscribe to their email lists. These freebies can bring in new customers and help your existing ones trust you even more.
I’m putting this one last for good reason. While you might be able to make some money off your business e-book, that shouldn’t be your main objective. Considering the costs of writing, publishing, and marketing your business e-book, you’ll be lucky to break even just on the revenue from your book alone. The real profit will come from the new clients you attract because of your e-book.
That being said, once you get several e-books under your belt and have a following on Amazon and other platforms, you can start seeing cash roll in from book sales. You’ll need to be prepared to put in the work, though.
7 Steps to Writing an E-Book
OK, now that you’re convinced writing an e-book is a good idea for your business, let’s talk about how to go about doing it. Follow these seven steps, and you’ll be able to add “author” to your list of accomplishments!
- Step 1: Figure out your audience
- Step 2: Figure out your topic
- Top X Things You Didn’t Know about ____
- X Ways to Improve Your _____
- An Introduction to Learning _____
- Step 3: Get organized
- Step 4: Start writing
- Step 5: Edit and publish
- Step 6: Design
- Step 7: Publish and distribute
As with other types of content writing, determining your audience before you start writing is critical. For example, do you want to target new customers? Existing ones? Clients in a specific niche?
There’s no limit to the number of e-books you can write and publish, so don’t be afraid to speak to a niche audience here.
Remember that the goal is for your readers to walk away feeling like they’ve gained something of value, which usually doesn’t happen with generic content.
Once you’ve decided who you’re writing for, it’s time to solidify what topic will be helpful to them. For lead generation e-books, think of a topic that will lead a reader to reach out to your sales team. Here are a few generic ideas that you can customize based on your industry and audience:
You want the topic to be relevant and interesting for your reader. If you have an active social media following, you can ask what your audience wants to learn more about. You can also ask your customers or do some research to see what type of content your competitors are putting out there.
At People First Content, we like working from outlines. Putting together an outline before you start writing can ensure you stay organized and that your thoughts are put together in a way that makes sense. Of course, this can always change as you go, but it’s a good place to start.
Once you have an outline in place, it’s time to start writing! Everyone has their own writing process. Mine is to put words down on paper and go back to edit them later. If you’re feeling stuck, try just doing a brain dump. Put everything down that is in your head about the topic, knowing that you can go back and organize it later.
Think of each chapter as a blog post, and write as if you’re simply writing a more extended version of what you’re already used to putting on your website. Add research where necessary, and make sure to cite your sources.
Another option here is to hire a ghostwriter, like People First Content. We’ll work with you to make sure your ideas come across in an interesting and insightful way to your audience. Learn more about our e-book writing process here.
It’s always a good idea to have at least one other person read your work before publishing it. We do that here, even though we’re a team of professional writers!
Your e-book design can be as simple or elaborate as you want. Our design team can work with you to figure out the best design for your e-book! Make sure you incorporate a call to action (CTA) that directs your readers to your website or landing page once they’re done reading your e-book.
EPUB files are best for self-publishing on Amazon. If you’re publishing your e-book on your website or using it as lead generation, though, you might be OK to use a PDF reader.
Once your e-book is published, it’s time to let the world know about it! Spread the word through email and social media to get as many people as possible to read your e-book.
E-books are powerful tools for lead generation. Here are a few ways you can use them to promote your brand.
- Add new research
- Case studies
- Go in-depth on a blog post topic
If you have access to first-party research and insights, you can use that to create brand-new research. This method is excellent for link-building because your source will be the one that everyone else cites when they write about the topic.
Give your clients a branded boost by showcasing them in an e-book length case study. This is an excellent way for prospects to get an inside look at what it’s like to work with your business.
Take a look at the blogs you already have on your website. You likely have at least one that could use a closer look. Use your data to determine which blog posts got the most traction to help you decide what topic(s) your readers want to read more about.
How Long Should an E-Book Be?
There’s no limit to how long or short your e-book can be. In general, though, I advise clients that e-books for lead generation should be at least 1,000 words. That comes to around four pages, based on the industry standard of 250 words per page. It’s long enough for people to feel like it was worth their effort to download, but not so long that they get bored.
However, longer e-books can also be beneficial, especially if you’re dealing with technical topics or speaking to an audience that’s happy to read 10 or more pages. I recommend going as long as 5,000 words (or 20 pages) for freebies if you have something valuable to say to your audience.
E-books can be longer than 20 pages, of course. If you’re planning to sell your e-book, though, then it should be at least 50 pages or 12,500 words. Again, it’s all about value. How would you feel if you paid $9.99 for an e-book only to find out it was only 25 pages? You’d probably feel a little short-changed and would be hesitant to trust the author.
Ready to Get Started? Let’s Talk
At People First Content, we love taking authors through the process of writing their books. We can help your business with every aspect of e-book writing, including ghostwriting unique content that incorporates your expertise.
Contact us today to get started!