If you’re looking for an easy, but sure way, to define yourself as an expert in your field, here’s my advice: write an ebook.
An ebook? you may wonder. That doesn’t seem like a guaranteed path to brand authority.
But it is.
In addition to the reasons I’ll expand on below, an ebook offers you the incredible opportunity to add your voice to a conversation that’s currently happening in your industry. And perceptually, it has more weight than a regular blog post.
Let’s talk about why an ebook is an essential element for your content marketing strategy, and how to create and promote one for maximum effect.
5 Reasons Why You Should Create an eBook
Reason #1: eBooks are effective lead magnets that allow you to build your email list.
One of my favorite ways to grow an email list is with a free ebook. Think about it, if you give away something of premium value (in this case, an ebook), you’ll get something extremely valuable in return, like an email address and the new subscriber’s expressed permission to market to them.
Reason #2: You can finally say you wrote the book on the subject.
Aside from bragging rights, writing an ebook can help increase your authority because people will begin to see you as an expert on the topic.
Reason #3: eBooks can positively influence your income.
If you decide to sell your eBook, you can build a decent stream of passive income, which is the holy grail for so many.
Reason #4: You can share your expertise in the pages of an ebook.
Educate your audience and help them solve a problem. By helping them win at life, they’ll come to regard you as an expert.
Reason #5: eBooks allow you to create a community around your brand.
The audience who reads and reacts positively to your content is much more likely to join your community of followers. They’ll sign up for your email list, they’ll follow you on social media, and they’ll be avid supporters and referrers of your brand.
I like those reasons, don’t you?
If any of those reasons sound like a path you’d like to take, let’s now talk about how to create and then market your ebook.
Decide What Your Audience Needs
What problem can you solve? How can you help your audience win, even if it’s a small win?
Don’t allow the prospect of writing an book to overwhelm you. Your ebook doesn’t need to solve all of life’s pressing questions– it just needs to effectively remedy a problem your reader can’t solve on his or her own.
Also, make it easy on yourself. Choose a topic for your ebook that you know inside and out. This will motivate you to complete your ebook quickly because you won’t have to spend tons of time in research mode (where you’re apt to get overwhelmed, discouraged, and eventually quit).
Outline Your eBook
Don’t make the mistake of writing whatever comes to your mind. You’ll leave some valuable details out.
By not planning your ebook, your ebook will come across as sloppy and disorganized (because thoughts jump around when not contained). It can be hard to follow a book that’s written as a train of thought.
Sure, you can attack some of that in editing, but that’s making more work for you (or your poor editor). So, why not plan ahead and create a list of topics (and subtopics) you want to include in your ebook?
Get the Title Right
The title (and subtitle) of your ebook can, in large part, determine its success or failure. You want to give it a title that clearly defines what the reader will learn, get, accomplish as a result of reading it.
Two examples might be, “Learn How to Speak in Front of a Crowd in 7 Days” or “10 Steps to Networking for Introverts”.
Your title doesn’t need to be eloquent, mysterious, or cunning. It just needs to quickly convey the chief benefit.
Hire a Writer
You’re probably not a writer and that’s okay. If the thought of writing a 50-page ebook keeps you up at night, consider hiring someone else to do it. You’ll be able to find a capable and professional writer to ghostwrite your ebook for you, especially if you’re willing to pay a decent rate.
Be sure to explain what you’re after in your ebook. This is another reason why outlines are helpful.
Hire an Editor
Whether write your ebook on your own or hire someone else to write it, one thing’s clear: you need an editor.
There’s something called “writer’s blindness”. It’s a real phenomenon where you go blind to the errors (grammatical, typos, or otherwise) in your own writing. Plus, especially if you’re not a writer by trade, you may not be able see problems with pacing, flow, and cohesion in your content.
This is why you need an editor to make substantive and structural editing. While one typo won’t blow the authority you’re hoping to build, it can seriously put a dent in it.
A professional editor will sweep the content of your ebook to make sure it looks clean and ready for its closeup.
Charge or Give Away for Free?
Should you charge for your ebook or give it away for free?
There are arguments to be made on both sides, and I won’t recommend one over the other. It ultimately boils down to your marketing objective. Do you want to grow brand recognition and authority or would you prefer to build your community?
If brand recognition and authority are what you’re after, selling an eBook may be the best strategy. You can use a marketplace like Amazon or even promote your eBook through affiliate relationships (where you’ll pay a commission to people who sell your ebook on their website).
On the other hand, if you’re hoping to build community, free may be the way to go. Remember that even though you’re giving it away for free, you can still make a profit off of it– in the form of email addresses. It’s more of a long term strategy for success.
How to Promote Your eBook
Create a Landing Page to Host Your eBook
First, before promoting, have a designated spot for ebook on your website. I recommending setting up a landing page devoted exclusively to your ebook.
On your landing page, include the following elements:
A hero shot
You need a mockup of your book cover so that you can start getting people excited about the prospect of reading your ebook. This hero shot can simply be the cover of your ebook. Either hire someone to create this book cover for you or create one yourself using a tool like Canva or PicMonkey.
An optional video where you introduce the ebook
A video trailer is especially useful when you’re selling an ebook.
A free chapter
Here’s another useful strategy for selling an ebook. People may be hesitant to fork over money without knowing for sure what’s in it.
After you start receiving reviews on your ebook, add them to your landing page. This is a great way to persuade your audience to buy your eBook.
A short email opt-in when used as a lead magnet
Keep the opt-in form short and sweet. Don’t ask for phone numbers, job titles, date of birth, blood type, etc. Your opt-in form should be as short as humanly possible. The email address is the only necessary part of the equation, and a first name is nice but not required..
Social share buttons
Gently nudge your audience to promote your eBook to their social circles.
Promote Your Ebook On Social Media
- Promote your ebook often on Twitter and Pinterest.
- Pay for promotion on Facebook and Instagram.
- Make a video promoting your ebook and share it on Facebook and Youtube.
Promote Your Ebook On Your Blog
- Write up a post about it.
- Promote it in your sidebar.
Promote Your Ebook On Someone Else’s Blog
- Guest post and then use the obligatory bio to push your ebook, or even allude to it in the body of your post if permissible.
- This same advice applies to being interviewed on videos and podcasts.
Promote Your Ebook On Your Email Signature
- You send plenty of emails. Optimize your email signature to promote your latest ebook with a link to the dedicated landing page
Consider Selling Your eBook on Amazon
Amazon is a powerful marketplace that should not be overlooked. You can sell your book, sans publisher, directly through the largest bookseller in the world.
The benefit of using Amazon is that within hours, your ebook will be listed next to the top names in your industry. You’ll have the marketing genius of Amazon at your disposal and, as long as you’ve given your ebook a benefit-driven title (as we discussed above), your ebook will be easy to find.
Although you can make money off of Amazon sales, I wouldn’t recommend it as a dependable stream of passive income. It’s possible, but Amazon does take a big chunk of your earnings. Therefore, Amazon is better thought of as a marketing tool.
Over to You
Have you read an ebook recently that you loved? Share it with us in the comments below.