“I barely have time to write blog posts. Now you’re telling me I need to create e-books?”

If this is your reaction to the blog title, your frustration is valid. Writing an ebook takes time. Writing a valuable e-book takes time and effort. That said, nothing good ever came easy, and ebooks can do a great deal of good for your business. Authoring an ebook sets you up as an authority within your industry, strengthens your brand and can sometimes evolve into a new revenue stream.

Even if you don’t sell your ebooks, they can indirectly bring you new business. Building an email list or phone list is easier when you can offer something as valuable as a free ebook. Prospects are willing to fill out an online form that asks for their job title and email address if they’re getting something useful in return. As a result, you can use the data from these forms to strengthen your buyer persona, segment your email campaigns or reach out to potential customers.

Feeling a little more excited about writing that ebook? We thought you might be. But before you rush off to get started, here are a few things to keep in mind while writing your business’s magnum opus.

Lead With a Powerful, Active Title

Any ebook, especially one produced by a business, has to offer value or there’s no purpose for reading it. The difficulty is conveying that value as quickly as possible to someone who may close the tab. What you need is a powerful title.

What’s in a powerful title? Easy. Your title should be descriptive and specific so that it is clear and stands out among internet noise.

Let’s use a fictional business owner named Mona as our case study. Mona opens a flower shop called Blossom, and she is particularly interested in becoming the go-to source for flowers at special events in the city, so she decides to publish an ebook that she’ll offer for free in exchange for a reader’s name, email address and phone number.

  • Bad Ebook Title: Flowers for Special Occasions
  • Good Ebook Title: How To Find Beautiful Wedding Floral Arrangements on a Budget

The second title is active (“find”), specific (“wedding floral arrangements”), and adds value (helps readers who want to be cost-effective). A prospect knows exactly what they’ll get out of reading this ebook, and once they’ve read it, they’ll be inclined to visit Mona’s flower shop in person or online to apply the advice she’s outlined.

Create a Table of Contents

Even if your ebook is relatively short, include a table of contents. Organizing your ebook makes it easy for readers to skip to the sections that are relevant to them and read those chapters in detail.

Why is this important? Well remember that the point isn’t to get prospects just to download the ebook. The hope is that they will read it, find it valuable, and either visit your store or share it with others who will visit your store instead. If they download the ebook only to find dense, disorganized text, they are less likely to spend time with it. Don’t let all that hard work go to waste – include a table of contents, and of course, page numbers.

Incorporate Visuals Throughout The Ebook

Pictures are your best friend for two key reasons:

  1. They reduce reader fatigue. We don’t read things off a screen the same way we read things off paper. A page full of text is a tempting invitation to put the ebook aside and return to it later. Breaking up pages with a bright image lightens the mental load.
  2. They reinforce concepts. If you’re writing an ebook on HVAC maintenance for homeowners, you’ll be dealing with technical topics. Photos and diagrams help readers follow along with your tips and reinforce lessons.

One thing you should be mindful of is the licenses of the images you choose. Fortunately for business owners who don’t wish to spend money on stock images, websites like Pexels and Pixabay offer free, high-quality images for any use.

Case Studies (Use Examples If You Don’t Have Case Studies)

Customers are always looking for social proof. They want to know that someone has taken a risk on your business and survived before they take the plunge themselves. Case studies are an easy way to provide this social proof. Outline a situation with a previous client and don’t be shy about talking about the challenges (so long as your company addressed them well). Depending on your industry, customers expect complications and are curious about how well their chosen company will handle them. Demonstrate your competence, adaptability and professionalism through your case study.

If you don’t have case studies, don’t lie. Instead, use hypothetical scenarios and examples to outline what customers can expect from a given situation. Through storytelling, you can help people insert themselves into the role of “your customer” and imagine how seamless the process of working with you can be.

Provide Specific Takeaways

Don’t let your reader miss out on a shred of value in your ebook. At the end of each section or chapter, reiterate the key lessons and takeaways, so that readers are regularly reminded of what they learned.

If you’re going to write an ebook, do it right. A sloppy ebook wastes your time, offers a poor return on investment, and runs the risk of damaging your brand. A well-written, nicely organized ebook can raise your company profile and bring in more customers, especially if you follow these best practices.