Kick-Ass Content: eBook Tips for Content Marketers
eBook tips that will help you create better content! This is the sixth post in my series on creating kick-ass content.
An eBook is a short, digital book that is intended to be read on a computer screen or handheld device. Typically formatted for a landscape display, eBooks are a great content marketing tool for positioning you or your company as an expert on a specific topic. At OpenView, for example, our eBooks span an array of subject areas, from corporate blogging and quarterly operating reviews to competitive messaging and sales forecasting. The eBook tips below reflect some of the experience I’ve gathered while working on them.
1) Always start with an outline
One of the most important eBook tips — which applies to writing any long piece of content — is to begin by gathering your ideas and organizing them into an outline. Doing this work up front will force you to be disciplined about thinking through the eBook, including its main and supporting messages, structure, and flow. Once you’ve done so, you’ll have a concise and tangible document that you can share with others to get their buy in on the eBook you’re creating before investing too much time in the project. Plus, you’ll have a pretty clear road map for creating it.
When crafting your outline, keep in mind that just like a traditional printed book, your eBook should generally include the following components:
- Table of Contents
- Callouts or Sidebars
- Graphs / Charts / Visuals
Remember, the purpose of your eBook isn’t to entertain. It’s to provide useful, actionable information that your audience can apply to a problem or challenge they’re facing. It’s important to keep that fact in mind and to remember that the more detail you put into your outline, the easier it will be to write.
2) Consult a variety of sources
Even though you may be trying to demonstrate your expertise by writing an eBook, that doesn’t mean that you should only be relying on the information in your head to write it. Great eBooks are the ones that reference not just your own ideas, but the thoughts and research of others. It should go without saying that any time you use someone else’s stuff, you need to cite it appropriately.
3) Repurpose content you’ve already written
One of the best eBook tips is to remember to reuse related content if you’ve got it. After all, if you’re considering writing an eBook, chances are that you’ve already written a considerable amount on the subject before. Why not use those old blog posts, articles, and other content as fodder for your new eBook. Remember, one of the most important rules of content marketing is to reuse, repackage, and recycle content, and that’s exactly what you should look to do when creating an eBook.
4) Make it visual
When you’re writing, remember that an eBook — just like most pieces of content — should be visually engaging. That doesn’t just mean including a few charts or graphs, but rather thinking about how you can present the content in a visually compelling way. For example, rather than page after page of block text, try breaking your content up into bulleted lists, tables, sidebars, callouts, and flow charts, etc. Getting the help of a professional graphic designer, will also go a long way to making your eBook look polished and professional.
5) Iteration is key
The best way to write a long piece of content like an eBook is just to buckle down and push yourself to crank out a draft. Sure, that first draft may not be very good, but it’s much easier to edit something — making each iteration stronger than the last — than to try and get it perfect on the first pass.
6) Collaborate with influencers
One way to help add to the credibility of your eBook is to get a third-party to endorse it. Having an influencer (quite simply, someone who is influential on the topic) review the draft and provide a quote, or even contribute content to it, will mean that you can include that person’s name in your eBook, validating its worth. When the eBook is complete, you can also tap them to help you share and distribute it.
Writing an eBook is no small undertaking. However, you’ll be surprised to find out that it really is a realistic goal. If you found these eBook tips useful, or have others of your own, please let me know by sharing a comment! If you’re looking for tips on writing other pieces of content, check out the links below.