You should really write an eBook. “Yeah, right,” you might be thinking. “I’ll add that to my ever-growing list of stuff I need to do.” I definitely understand where you’re coming from. The idea of writing a book is both daunting and rather vague. Well, what if I showed you an easy step-by-step way to do it? Here’s a hint – an eBook is simply a collection of related articles. Continue reading to learn how you can develop your first eBook.
Estimated reading time – 8 minutes
Before reading this article, for more details on what an eBook is, and why your business needs one, please read this article.
You already know everything you’ll need for your eBook
If you’ve read any of the other articles I’ve written about Teaching-Based Marketing, you know you should be sharing your knowledge online. Potential customers can learn from you on their own time without taking any of yours. Plus, it establishes your expertise in a crowded marketplace. If you’re not teaching your customers, then someone else is.
Since most of us face a great deal of apprehension when first attempting something we’ve never done (like writing an eBook) let me first put your mind at ease. Since you’re spending 40+ hours per week doing your job, you are an expert by default in your industry. This means the vast majority of people – who don’t do what you do – can definitely benefit from your knowledge. So, here’s the condensed version of the steps along with a video describing them. Read on for more detail on each step –
- Start writing articles answer customers’ questions
- After a few articles, see what kind of theme is developing
- Concentrate on writing more articles about this theme
- When you have 8-12 articles, print them all and put them in a logical order
- Have your graphic designer design the layout and cover
Start writing eBook articles answering customers’ questions
This is where I typically see the biggest impediment. “What should I write?” you might be wondering. The questions you’re hearing all the time from your customers and potential customers. This isn’t a work of fiction. We don’t need a compelling plot, characters, twist, and the like. We’re writing with one goal – to educate your customers.
You’ve undoubtedly noticed there’s a very important letter in the word “eBook” too…the letter “e.” Why is this “e” a critical distinction? The “e” stands for electronic, and something that’s electronic can always be altered or changed. We’re not mailing our manuscript to a publisher, only to later realize there’s a typo. This eBook is a living, breathing document, and can be edited at any time. Your eBook does not need to be perfect, and you should consider your first edition to be version 1.0. Simply update it as needed. Now do you feel better about trying this out? You may be asking yourself, “Is there a template I can use to write articles?” Glad you asked! Here’s the format and a downloadable PDF –
Bonus: Download & save or print the PDF version of this template to use in your business
- Opening paragraph
- Three major points
- Conclusion & Call-to-action
Create the title for your eBook articles by answering a question
The title of the article should be an answer to a question. As an example, the question someone might ask (or type into Google) before finding this article you’re reading now could be, “What steps are involved with writing an eBook?” or “Is there a step-by-step process to follow while writing my eBook?” Let your reader know your exact intention and your objectives with the title. This will help the reader understand what he or she will learn from you, and this will also be a huge boost to the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) quality of your article.
You didn’t think we were simply going to write articles and wait to publish your eBook, right? No, no, no. As you finish each respective article, it gets posted on your website. Why? This is the core concept of implementing Teaching-Based Marketing. As you write and post educational articles on your website, your site will become much less about you, and much more about your potential customer. Oh, and the SEO boost I mentioned will also drive organic (free) traffic to you.
The opening paragraph of your eBook articles need to be compelling
The opening paragraph is your one chance to capture the reader’s attention. Since the title of your article will be the answer to a question, this paragraph is your opportunity to expand on the problem within the question. Tell the reader you know they’re facing a problem, and your article will help him or her find a solution. After finishing the article, what will the reader have learned from you? Let the reader know what you plan to teach, and conclude the paragraph with the title of the article stated in a slightly different way.
Use three major points to teach in each eBook article
Why use three major points in your articles? It’s an easily digestible number of ideas and it’s easy to recall at a later point. Too little information in an article will make the reader wishing there was more. Remember, when someone is reading something you’ve written, there’s no back-and-forth. You have to anticipate both sides of the conversation. When you’re meeting with someone in person, talking on the phone, writing an email, etc., it’s easy to provide additional information. Someone can ask a follow-up question to get more detail on a particular point.
With written articles, we need to leave as little as possible to interpretation or implication. I see this in working with clients a lot. Clients writing articles for the first time tend to be too short with their answers. We don’t want to add words unnessarily, but it’s critical to lead your reader down a path of education. Omitting details for fear of getting too wordy will leave the reader unfulfilled. The goal of the article is to take someone who knows nothing about what you’re writing and make him or her feel smarter. Three well-chosen major points will achieve this objective.
Conclude your eBook articles with a call-to-action
Think about this call-to-action in two ways – 1.) It will tell the reader what he or she has learned as a result of the article and 2.) It will instruct the reader what to do next as a follow-up item. Instead of leaving the reader wondering what to do next, you could let him or her know how to apply the knowledge immediately. You could also send the reader to an outside resource like a website or video. The objective of our eBook is to educate the reader and encourage him or her to do something, and each article should stand alone in this capacity.
As I mentioned at the outset of this post, an eBook is simply a collection of related articles. It’s unlikely a reader will sit down and get sucked into your book like a John Grisham novel. Usually, a reader of your eBook will read the things he or she wants to know and skip over the things he or she doesn’t. A distinct and clear call-to-action within each article, then, will ensure the reader will know what to do next.
See what eBook theme is developing after a few articles
This is the other big hangup with most first-time eBook writers. “What should I title the book?” When writing your first eBook, don’t worry about it. Why? Writing educational articles is a very new concept for most people. If you start with the title to your eBook, it puts unnecessary constraints on your writing. As you write articles answering customers’ questions, a theme will start to develop. The title (and overall goal of the book) will then simply appear.
Typically, especially with your first eBook, you’ll see you’ve been answering very basic questions about your business and your industry. The first eBook – for most businesses – will be a primer. How things work, how things are priced, and what a typical customer will experience. Said another way, what will a prospect learn as he or she becomes a customer?
Write more eBook articles about this theme
This is where the writing gets easier. You already have a few articles under your belt, you’ve been using the easy template I’ve provided, and you’ve published your articles on your website. You’ll also have new organic (free) traffic coming to your website, and you can measure how each article is performing through analytics. Now, your job is to write enough articles to form the book.
Where do you get ideas for more articles? Look to your existing customers and prospective customers to provide these questions too. Keep a record of all the questions you and your staff are answering frequently, and concentrate on writing articles about the theme.
8-12 articles will make a great eBook
Great news! You don’t need as many articles as you might think to form a great eBook. Why? eBooks are intended to do one thing – earn the trust of your prospective customer through Teaching-Based Marketing. If you’re focusing on one theme or topic, 8-12 articles will be plenty of information in one place. Now 8-12 is not a magic number. It could be less, it could be many more. Think about the length of the book this way – “Will my customer learn enough information about the topic to walk away feeling more educated?” Simply put your articles in a logical sequence in your eBook to move the reader from very basic to more advanced topics.
Design the layout and cover of your eBook
Congratulations! You’ve started using Teaching-Based Marketing to educate your customers. This is the point where everything gets really fun. In my opinion, it’s worth the time – and money, if you can’t do it yourself – to design the eBook layout and cover. Your eBook could simply be a text file or articles pasted into a Word document if you don’t have the time or budget.
If you look at the covers of my eBooks, though, you’ll see a mocked-up cover that looks like a real book. This both legitimizes your publication and increases the likelihood someone will actually want it.
Step-by-step to your first eBook – our offer to help
Bonus: Download & save or print the PDF version of this template to use in your business