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Content Marketing 13 min read March 25, 2020

How To Write And Promote An eBook To Maximize Lead Generation

how to write an ebook
Stacy Mine
Adela Belin
Content Marketer at Writers Per Hour
The value of unique, authentic and relevant content to engage your audience and drive leads is unparalleled. One of the most effective ways to create such content is by writing an eBook.

The good news is that eBooks make for effective lead magnets. They're in-depth, offer immense value and position you (or your company) as an expert in the field.
What's more, 63% of B2B buyers say that they would be willing to share their information in exchange for an eBook.

Now, coming to the not-so-good news - eBook creation is a time-consuming process. It's not something that can be produced in a day or two. From the planning and topic selection to structuring, writing and promoting the eBook - every step needs to be well-thought of.

After all, with all the effort you'll be putting into it, you want it to be noticed, downloaded and read. Wondering where to begin? Here's everything you need to know about writing and promoting an eBook to generate leads.
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How to write an eBook

Let's get one thing straight - writing an eBook is not the same as writing blog posts. Ebooks are expected to be in-depth and meatier. You have to dive deep into the topic, explore multiple angles, and keep the reader engaged from the start till the end.

Here are the key steps involved in writing an eBook that people actually want to read.

#1 Understand your audience

You might have impeccable writing skills but none of it matters if your eBook topic does not manage to pique your target audience's interests. So, start by understanding your audience - what are their needs, pain points, goals and challenges?

Chalk out buyer personas by gaining insights from Google Analytics and social media analytics (eg. Facebook Audience Insights).

You can also send your existing customers a survey to get to know them better - this will add value to your research, helping you come up with potential eBook topics that they would find useful.

#2 Brainstorm and conduct research

Now that you've got a clearer picture of your audience, it's time to brainstorm topic ideas based on your findings. List out broad topics and kickstart your research process.

Keyword research

You're writing an eBook with an objective to generate leads. To achieve that, you need to rank for the right keywords and assess the demand for the topic you plan to write on.

Use Serpstat to understand the kind of keywords and search queries related to the topic. This will help you understand the commonly asked questions while identifying gaps.

You should also pay close attention to the 'People also ask' and 'Searches related to..' sections on the Google search results page and take cues from there.
Check forums

Another useful place to look at is forums such as Quora.

Type the specific keywords related to your topic/niche to understand the kind of queries people have.

Quora is a powerful research tool because people specifically take to it to find answers - this just shows you the potential your topic has while giving you ideas on how you can make your content valuable and informative.
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Monitor competitors

It's always a good idea to keep an eye on your competitors while creating any type of content. The same holds true for eBooks.

Do a quick competitor analysis to check if they've written eBooks and use a tool such as BuzzSumo to see some of their top-performing blog posts. The idea is to analyze the kind of content that's working and take learnings from what's not.
Scan eBook stores

You might not necessarily be selling your eBook in an online store but this is a useful step to evaluate the demand and potential of the topic. Another idea is to check the negative reviews to assess what you can do differently in your eBook.

For instance, here are a few of the negative reviews for one of the books related to 'side hustle business'. This clearly tells you what not to do.

#3 Create an outline

Writing an eBook is certainly an intimidating process but it gets better when you begin by working on an outline. The outline gives your book structure and direction, ensuring you've covered all the points in a logical manner.

It involves laying out the various chapters, along with the points you want to cover in each of those chapters.

This is also the stage where you organize your research findings by placing the facts, quotes, claims, graphs and other details under the respective sections.

#4 Craft an attention-grabbing title

It's interesting to note that on average, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This just goes to prove how powerful a strong headline can be.

So, how do you craft a title that arrests people's attention and compels them to know more?

Your eBook title needs to resonate with the audience while communicating the value they'll derive out of it. If you feel you cannot condense that in a title, consider adding a sub-text to elaborate on the title.

Here's an example of an eBook by Clearbit. The title is rather straightforward but the sub-text perfectly complements it and communicates the idea behind this book.

#5 Start writing, in parts

The most demanding and unnerving part of the eBook creation process is here - writing.

Let's face it - it's not easy to write a 20,000-word eBook in one go. There will be distractions and moments when you'll feel you cannot think clearly.

To avoid burn out, start with creating a writing schedule wherein you can plan the number of days you will devote to each of the chapters. Stick to that schedule and write the book in parts so you know you're doing full justice to it.

Write in a conversational tone that speaks to the reader. Keep the jargon aside. Break down large chunks of text into shorter paragraphs and use bullet points to make it easy to read.

After you're done writing, give yourself a break before you step into the editing phase wherein you need to polish and fine-tune your writing.

Read it objectively to check for grammatical errors and content gaps. It's also a good idea to get a fresh set of eyes on the eBook and get feedback before you decide to go live.

#6 Make it visually appealing

40% of people respond better to visual information than text, making it imperative to make your content visually appealing.

There's no way a sea of text can manage to keep people invested. Adding visuals brings your writing to life, communicates better and tends to draw attention.

So, if there's any piece of content that can be said better in the form of visuals, make it a point to replace it with images, illustrations, graphs, charts or infographics.

You can use tools such as Canva and Piktochart to create visuals.

Take a look at this eBook, The Freelancer's Bible. Notice the use of colors, illustrations, and infographics and how they make it a more engaging read.

#7 Convert it into the desired format

PDF and EPUB are the two most common eBook formats. However, as a marketer whose sole aim is to generate leads from the eBook, it's advisable to go with the PDF format.

Not only is it easier to convert word documents into a PDF but they can be viewed on a range of devices from computers and tablets to smartphones.

Don't make the mistake of uploading your eBook as a word document or presentation because they are editable as opposed to PDFs.

How to drive traffic to your eBook

Congratulations - you're done writing! That's half the battle won but don't drop the ball just yet.

The next stage is an equally crucial one. It's time to reach the right people and get them to download your eBook.

Here are some surefire ways to promote your eBook, drive traffic and maximize lead generation.

Design an optimized landing page

Is that even necessary?

Yes, very much!

Building a dedicated landing page increases the chances of converting website visitors into leads. Landing pages are devoid of distractions and enable you to use that space to clearly communicate what the eBook is about and how prospects will benefit out of it.

Let's take a look at the elements of an optimized and high-converting landing page.
1
Strong and compelling headline to hook the visitor.
2
Simple copy that's focussed on communicating value.
3
Use of relevant keywords across the headline and copy to optimize for SEO.
4
Prominent call-to-action button (preferably placed above-the-fold)
5
Short and easy-to-fill form, asking for minimal information.
6
Use of relevant, appealing visuals to break the monotony.
Apart from these, it's also a good idea to include reviews of people who've read the eBook. They act as social proof and encourage other users to download the eBook as well.

Here's an example of a well-designed eBook landing page.

Promote it on your website

In addition to having a dedicated landing page, you should also consider promoting the eBook across other prominent spots on your website.

You can place the 'download eBook' banner within the content of a relevant blog post, on the sidebar, in your top-performing blog posts or even have it appear as a pop-up.

This is a great way to direct website traffic to the landing page and encourage conversions.

Guest post on relevant websites

Guest posting on high-ranking websites that speak to a similar target audience as yours is a great way to drive traffic to your eBook's landing page.

Make a list of relevant websites you want to guest post for, send them a compelling pitch as per their guidelines and write an insightful article that they cannot refuse (with a link to the landing page, of course).

Guest blogging, when done right, lets you reach out to a wider audience and attract traffic to your website.

Leverage paid social media advertising

While you can create a buzz about the eBook through organic posts, leveraging paid advertising channels will certainly help you boost reach and target the right people resulting in better quality leads.

You can create lead generation ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter but you must take a moment to understand where your target audience lies and focus your advertising efforts on only those channels.

Regardless of the channel, remember to use enticing copy and visual assets, linking users to the landing page.

Conclusion

The process of writing and promoting eBooks might be rigorous but it is also a hugely rewarding one when you see the leads coming through.

Remember - the best eBooks are those that solve a customer problem. So, make sure you write an insightful, value-packed eBook and put it out in front of the right audience to maximize conversions. That's when your efforts will have paid off.

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