Quality content is a powerful marketing tool. That's why so many businesses today are writing e-books as part of their content marketing strategies. Not only does it provide readers with valuable information, it paints you, the author, as an expert in the industry. This can make an e-book a great lead-capture tool for your business.
But an e-book should not be a full-blown ad for your business. The key is to promote your business subtly without selling your products and services outright. You want the reader to consider the information that you provide on its own and view you as a leader in the niche market. Then, when they do have a need for your products and services, yours is the business that comes to mind.
If you're planning on writing an e-book to either sell or give away online, follow these best practice tips during the research, writing and editing stages to help the process go as smoothly as possible.
Before you begin writing, put together an outline of everything you want to cover. This keeps you focused and prevents you from wandering off-topic as you write.Next you'll need to gather information and research your topic. The research stage is where you collect general information to use in your e-book, check the facts of the information you want to include, and make sure the information is current and not obsolete. The following tips will help you keep your research organized and on point.
Organize your research. Create a separate folder on your computer or a thumb drive that is just for your research information.
Organize your Internet searches. Create a bookmark folder to save websites and blogs that you find useful.
Take your research offline. Visit the library. Don't base your entire research on sites like Wikipedia, where users can alter the information every day.
Prove it. Verify the information you find before you include it in your e-book.
Organize your paper files, too. Keep your photocopies and documents relating to your e-book in a separate file.
Once you have all your information, organize it in the order you want to present it. This is where that outline will come in handy, and helpful in keeping your thoughts streamlined. Remember that you're writing a new, fresh piece of content. Don't copy other people’s writing word for word. Take the content you'll be using for information and create something unique while still maintaining the ideas.
The actual writing of your book can be intimidating, especially if you don’t write on a regular basis. But that doesn’t mean you can’t crank out a great piece of work. It just takes patience and time.
Once you have your research complete and have an outline put together, all that’s left is to set aside a block of time where you can focus all your attention on the writing. These tips will help you keep writing, until there's a finished first draft.
Write, and write some more. Write as much of your book as you can in a short period of time. This is your first draft, so let yourself just write!
Don't edit—just yet. Don’t focus on the grammar, wording, etc., while you're writing the first draft. You'll have time after you’re done to go back and make changes.
Overcome writer's block. If you hit a wall and don’t know what to write, just type “I don’t know what to write” over and over. This can jumpstart your brain and get it to focus on what you want to say.
Be comfortable with your technology. Write in whatever program you're most comfortable with—Word, Notepad—it doesn’t matter. The format and layout can be changed later.
Celebrate. Once you complete your first draft, celebrate your mini-victory! There's still a lot of work to be done in cleaning it all up, but for now just relish in the fact that you have written something.
Break the writing up into sections. This will make it easier to edit. Save changes you make to each section in separate folders.
Use your spell checker—but don't rely on it. Proofread to catch anything that it might miss (there, their, they’re) and to make sure you're using correct grammar. If you aren’t 100 percent certain you’re using the right word, use the dictionary to check. If you've been repeating the same word in the last few sentences, open up the thesaurus.
Keep your sentences short. Don’t drag a point on and on through a single sentence. Break them up.
Use simple terminology. This is especially important when discussing a complex idea. Don’t lose your audience because you like to say “loquacious” instead of “talkative.”
Add art elements. Include pictures, graphs, charts, etc., to help break up blocks of content.
Take a break. After you finish all your edits, walk away for a couple days, then read through the entire e-book as a single piece. You can quickly pick up on mistakes and spots that you want to word differently.
Get a second opinion. Have another person read through the book as well. Ask him or her to note where things are unclear, and to highlight any editing errors.
Save often, and back up. Most important: Remember to save your work frequently! You don’t want all your hard work to be lost because of a power outage or accident. For extra insurance, back up to one of the inexpensive—or free—cloud services available.
Read more informative articles on eBooks and content marketing.
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