Last time we started exploring the idea of creating an e-book to promote an online course. An e-book is supposed to offer valuable content to potential course buyers, enough to solve some of their problems and get them hooked, but also to increase their appetite for more — and that’s where the course steps in. Content is king, no matter its shape or form.
Creating the content for an e-book is not as complicated as you might think, especially after you have gone through the first steps of the process – researching your topic, finding out what else is on the market, and coming up with a cover and the design for the different sections.
In terms of length, keep in mind you are not setting out to produce the next Forsyte Saga. You want it to be easy to download and read so you should aim somewhere between 25 and 35 pages long. Accessibility and readability are key since most users will prefer to get the content on their mobile devices.
How to create an e-book to promote your online course
To recap, these are the first three steps you need to take in your journey of e-book creation:
- Find the right topic
- Make a plan
- Pay attention to design
Now let’s mote on to the HOW TO part, from writing it to making the most of it:
Writing the book
The language you use should be simple and straightforward. Stay away from highly academic turns of phrase and complicated theories. People who like exhaustive treaties on various subjects (such as, I admit, myself) have library cards. E-books need to be brief, to the point, and for a very large audience.
Here are some best practices to abide by when writing:
- Write at a middle-school level (no, it will not be insulting to the audience); if you are not sure about how to assess that level, have a quick look at the trending e-books of the moment).
- Quote established, reliable sources so that you gain authority on the matter.
- Keep it brief.
- Use real-life examples and include case studies where possible.
- Humor is highly encouraged.
- Make sure your content is consistent with your brand.
- Use writing assistants and grammar checkers (like Grammarly or the Hemingway app).
- Be sure to include CTAs to engage the readers.
Optimizing the webpage for your e-book
Your e-book will obviously need an online ‘home’ – that can be either a webpage or a blog post. In order for people to download your e-book, they’ll have to find it first so you’ll want to drive as much traffic to this page as possible by:
- Optimizing the visuals – you want them to be eye-catching since in the online environment people click on what they find interesting or attractive. You should use high-quality photography and maybe play a little in Photoshop to make it more appealing. Relevant text is also important as it enhances your SEO efforts.
- Adding external links – interlinking from other pages can give will make the new page more dynamic. You can also self-publish your e-book on sites like Amazon and SlideShare to get more potential readers that way.
- Setting up the opt-in – with your objective being to get as many subscribers and leads as possible you need to set up a fully functioning opt-in form where users can either give their e-mail to receive a copy of the e-book or click on the link that will lead to the download page.
Branding you e-book
E-books are very popular right now so yours has the potential of reaching very far corners of the internet via shares and recommendations. It is, therefore, essential that it acts as a very efficient ambassador for your business.
In order to thoroughly brand your e-book you should:
- Incorporate your logo on the cover.
- Use your brand’s fonts and colors.
- Make a short presentation for yourself – a picture and short bio.
- Put in your brand name, contact information, and all social media links.
- Include CTAs that direct readers to your website and other online profiles.
- Upload a podcast to promote the publication of your e-book.
- Make a short promotional video for your social media profiles.
Even if you are giving it away for free in order to promote your other products, you need to treat your e-book in the same way. It may be at no charge but you are still selling it so branding is important as is the next, final step.
Promoting your e-book
At this point, you have all else figured out – an awesome, branded design, relevant and engaging content, and an optimized opt-in page. It’s time for promotion.
Your already established social media profiles are a good start but if you want to reach a wider audience (and, trust me, you do) you should also harness the potential of:
- Influencer marketing – identify the right influencers who will appreciate and recommend your e-book. You can find them by simple Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn searches and reaching them is not difficult either as they usually make a living from interacting with audiences. You’ll find more useful tips and tricks here.
- Email marketing – if you already have a list of emails you can go through that and decide who would be interested in your e-book so you send it to the right public. It’s a very good way to engage subscribers who already showed interest in your products.
These are the free versions of marketing your e-book. If you have a budget for paid adds use it to promote your course rather than pushing something that is meant to get visibility and leads.
Creating a highly engaging e-book is not such a difficult task if you follow these steps. It’s important to keep in mind that your objective is to ultimately get leads from the readers so design everything with them in mind. You need to prove you are an engaging instructor as well as an authority on the topic so they will be inclined to purchase your online course.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.