What is an eBook?
An eBook is, very obviously, a version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device. But what does this have to do with Marketing and Business? Many businesses have been releasing eBooks meant to engage their market, educate the readers and drive them through a specific call-to-action (CTA).
This is, after all, the age of easily accessible information. There is no such thing as a secret recipe thanks to the power of Google. Most businesses have decided to be very transparent with their processes and knowledge. The goal is to build up clout or certain status of thought leadership, and either better inform a specific market who may not understand a service or product or show how many moving parts are involved (which drives them to have you do it for them!).
eBooks are also very accessible to almost everyone in this digital age. You can read them on multiple devices, which means they can easily read your content while on the bus or in-between meetings. It’s simpler, easily viewed on the reader’s schedule and is even environmentally friendly.
Two of the most important factors you will need to think about before making an eBook are: its ultimate goal or purpose, and how your target market can gain access to it.
Let’s first look at purpose and build our way up.
Purpose and distribution of your eBook
Since there are many purposes for an eBook, it is important that you know which aspect of your company needs the use of this tool. That way, you are not expending time/energy you may not otherwise have (especially if you are a start-up or are part of a small department).
Here are a few options for purpose (many of these can occur at the same time):
- Sell to generate revenue
- Build thought-leadership
- Introduce your current clients to the core concepts of a new product or service you provide
- A driver to get your target market onto your website
- Have people sign-up for it in order to gain their email so you can start a conversation with them in the future, whether through a personal email or a newsletter
- Assist in turning prospects into leads
- Driver to a specific portion of your website
- Introduce your audience to something brand new to your industry with which you can assist them
Once you have the purpose, that will inform the actual topic and focus of your eBook. Even though the purpose greatly helps, it is also important to think about the following for your target market:
- What are their wants?
- What questions do they have about the services or products you provide?
- What obstacles or pain points do they face?
- What words do they use to describe their obstacles or pain points?
- What specific information impacts them in a way that they are not aware of, and how does it?
- What are the current trending industry topics?
If you are unsure about a few of the above questions, take some time to ask your clients, review popular industry articles and conduct some research within different social media platforms.
Titles that engage your audience
When it comes to an article, think of something that is written simply, yet engaging. What you write as the topic of the eBook while invoking a specific emotional response will drive your audience to invest some time into engaging with your content.
Darren Rowse, of Problogger, talks about this topic on his website and mentions the following:
“‘Living Landscapes’ communicates something about what we’re trying to do with the eBook – i.e. help readers to bring the landscapes that they photography to life.
Also in the sub-title we use ‘Stunning Landscape Photography’ rather than just ‘Landscape Photography’. The addition of an adjective not only communicates our objective with the eBook to readers, but also gets them dreaming a little about the things that our eBook will help them to unlock.
You’ll also see if you dig into the sales copy on dPS eBooks, that many of our sales pages also use this more aspirational language in how we sell our products.
Another example of this is Transcending Travel: A Guide to Captivating Travel Photography which at the time we published it was our fastest selling eBook.
You can see in the title alone the same kind of formula. You can tell what it is about (Travel Photography), there’s a clear tangible benefit and words like ‘Transcending’ and ‘Captivating’ are aspirational.”
Outline the framework of your eBook
Now you need to figure out the structure. Just like we need to a map to figure out how we get from point A to point B, we need to create a proper map that will help guide us in both how we create and where we place our content. This map, or outline, also needs to involve a flow that makes sense to the ideal reader. Unlike some movies, you don’t want to start on a specific aspect of your topic that should really be an ending point.
Start with logically ordering the major aspects that create your selected topic.Think about how one point leads into the next. What information, within that selected aspect, should be touched on and what is considered “too much information” for the goal of the eBook?
Overall, a strong outline makes your eBook easier to read, it helps you discover points you may have otherwise overlooked and it helps make it easier for you to write it.
When it comes to your design, it is important that you think of your branding mixed with the subject matter. This includes the following elements being used:
- Images (original or stock)
- Negative space (empty space)
Design is a major part of your eBook, so don’t just throw words into a Word doc and save it as a PDF. Sure, it works, but you want your eBook to stand out in a crowd and grab your audience’s attention from the very beginning.
Your content can be incorporated into your design in multiple ways. One useful method is by quoting specific important sections. This can make your content engaging for someone who is skimming and can highlight important information that is insightfully engaging. We see this often in blog articles and the same thought process carries over into eBooks.
Here are a few tools that help create the design of your eBook:
CTAs within your eBook
Just like blogs, vlogs, and other content, you are looking to drive your audience to something specific. So what is the Call To Action that ties into your main topic and the reason for creating this eBook in the first place?
Are you looking to:
- Get them to engage in other content?
- Drive them to contact you?
- Have them sign-up or subscribe to something?
- Have them try something new?
Here are 30 Call-To-Action examples collected by Hubspot to give you an idea of how simple or complex your CTA can be.
Want to know what these points add up to? Fill in the fields below for your free copy of our eBook: “Digital Media: What’s in it for me?”
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For more than a decade, Evin Charles Anderson has explored the intersection of performance, production and promotion. As the CEO and Creative Partner of Waverley Knobs, featured in Lifehack and CEO Blog Nation, he helps clients shape, shoot and share unique and engaging brand stories that inspire action, innovation and change. Evin’s independent, Hollywood and commercial film experience and marketing expertise means he not only knows how to visually tell a story for his clients, he knows how to position that story for real-world impact and business results.
In addition to running Waverley Knobs, Evin is a professional actor and director, as well as co-creator of the podcast Branch Out: THE Marketing and Digital Media Podcast. He also teaches acting, directing and marketing classes for the City of Cambridge in Massachusetts. Evin’s film Paperthin has been featured at The Magwill Film Festival in California, and Waverley Knobs’ short film, The Heist, has been featured in Examiner and MobileMovieMaker.