8 Steps to a Professional Ebook (Free Ebook Template Included)

Your business is hot stuff. I know it. You know it. But do your customers?

Show them how brilliant your business is with a dazzling ebook free to download. Done right, ebooks can help drive meaningful engagement, convert customers and position you as an industry thought leader. 

Feeling a bit rusty on your ebook basics? Start here.

When you’re ready to learn how to make an ebook for your content marketing strategy, keep reading. In this simple guide, we cover:

1. Identifying your ebook’s purpose
2. Establishing your writing style
3. Choosing an engaging topic
4. Outlining your ebook
5. Conducting research and interviews
6. Writing your first ugly draft
7. Editing your first draft
8. Nailing your ebook design

Also up for grabs is a free ebook template! You’ll find it at the end of this guide. 

Let’s get stuck in. 

1. Identifying your ebook’s purpose

What does your business need right now? More customers? A stronger online presence? An infinite supply of poolside mojitos?

Okay, an ebook won’t grant you endless cocktails but it can drum up enough interest to help you pay for them! Specifically, ebooks help you:

  1. Generate leads: offer your ebook in exchange for emails to communicate directly with prospects, nurturing them into customers
  2. Improve lead quality: solve your customers’ biggest challenges with your ebook to encourage more meaningful engagement
  3. Boost credibility: deep-dive into a subject your readers are interested in to position your brand as a trusted expert
  4. Increase brand awareness: advertise your ebook on the platforms your customers use the most to get more eyes on your brand 
  5. Sharpen your competitive edge: get ahead of the competition with an ebook that makes your business stand out for all the right reasons 

Identifying your ebook’s purpose before you start writing gives you direction. 

This refines your content, helping you create a clearer and more attractive offering for better results.

It also makes it easier to measure success. For example, if you know you need to generate leads, results can be measured by tracking emails captured when offering your ebook free to download as gated content

2. Establishing your writing style

Before you tippity-tap on that keyboard, you’ve got to consider your writing style. By that we mean:

1. Tone of voice 

Is your brand straight-talking, confident and a little bit corporate? Or is a chatty-type that likes to use words that make readers feel warm and fuzzy inside? 

2. Word choice

Does jargon fit with your brand? Are there any words you should blacklist? Is swearing a no-no or a must? 

3. Sentence choice

Short and snappy. Long and oozing with value. It’s not about right or wrong. It’s about what’s right for your brand.

Get super clear on your writing style so you (or your copywriter) can nail that first draft of your ebook. Consider your audience too. What kind of writing would they connect with the most? 

3. Choosing an engaging topic

What do your readers want to learn? How will they help them? Choosing an engaging topic for your ebook starts with asking these questions. You can find the answers in a few ways:

  • Check your audience personas
  • Listen to customer conversations 
  • Conduct SEO research
  • Run polls on social media
  • Send questionnaires to your subscribers

Of course, you’ll also want to pick a topic you’re an expert in. Because the whole point of ebooks is having the legroom to do this in more detail.

When you’ve picked a topic, start thinking about ebook titles. Here are a few examples for inspiration:

  • Everything You Need to Know About [Insert Topic]
  • 2021 Trends in [Insert Topic] 
  • 10 Ways to Improve [Insert Topic]
  • [Insert Topic]: The Definitive Guide 
  • Master [Insert Topic] in 10 Steps
  • An introduction to [Insert Topic]
  • [Insert Topic]: 6 Experts Share Their Insight 

With a working title, you can start outlining your ebook. 

4. Outlining Your Ebook

It can be as tempting as a slice of triple-layer chocolate cake to write without an outline. But disorganisation at this stage could result in extra work: it's easier to ramble or go off-topic without a plan.

Start by outlining each chapter of your ebook. 

Chapters can be broken up into main points, tips, statistics or interviews - whatever works best for your topic. Take this guide, for example. You could easily turn it into an ebook using each point as a chapter.

When you have your chapters, consider filling them with bullet points for what you want to write about. This’ll make writing your first draft a lot more straightforward.

Your outline should also include an introduction and conclusion to begin and end the narrative. Our free ebook template covers what you need to include in these sections.

5. Conducting research and interviews 

With your outline complete, you should be able to spot any knowledge gaps. Now it’s time to fill them through research. Here are some tips to keep your research relevant:

  • pick statistics that are no more than three years old 
  • always cite the original source
  • explore other forms of content like videos and podcasts
  • get multiple points of view 

You might also want to include interviews in your ebook. Now is the time to get those calls booked in. Ideally, you’ll want to conduct them before you write your first draft, as they will inform a lot of your content. 

6. Write your ugly first draft 

First drafts aren’t supposed to be pretty. They’re about letting your creativity flow. Making those sentences beautiful? Perfecting your formatting? Deleting that waffle? That all comes in the editing and proofing stage.

If you’re easily distracted, consider going offline to write your ebook. Freedom, a concentration app, can also block certain sites for a specific time period. And if you come across something you need to research, mark it then come back to it when it's time to edit. 

7. Editing your first draft

Before you do ANYTHING, give your brain a rest (a day at the least). You’ll do a much cleaner edit with a fresh mind.

Here’s an editing checklist for sparkly final drafts:

  • Remove points that deviate from the main topic
  • Replace the passive voice with the active voice
  • Keep bullets short and snappy
  • Check all text is the same font and size
  • Omit unnecessary words
  • Replace cliches with original phrases
  • Change weak verbs and adjectives
  • Check for inconsistent punctuation
  • Check for broken links
  • Use heading tags 

When it comes to spelling and grammar, a proofreading app like Grammarly is super helpful. But no app can replace a professional proofreading service. Especially if you’re on a tight schedule for a content marketing campaign, investing in an expert eagle eye will give you peace of mind when it comes to publishing.

8. Nailing your ebook design 

Okay, let me take a deep breath for a moment, *long inhale and exhale*. Because when it comes to ebooks, design might be … more important … than written content? 

Ugh, as a professional writer, that was hard to say. But necessary. Because roughly 80% of readers skim written content. If you want to ensure your readers take in your most important points, you need to present them in a visually impactful way. Eye-catching infographics, quote pullouts, graphs, statistics and the like will draw your readers in, help the information stick and encourage content sharing. While an eye-catching cover will boost those ‘ebook free download’ clicks. 

Also, on-brand visuals (sticking to the same colours and fonts you use across your content marketing) will drive brand awareness through association and consistency. 

Discover these inspiring ebook designs!

Download your free ebook template 

Hurrah! You’ve made it to the end of this guide, which means you’re ready to start creating your ebook. Exciting times.

We’ve created a free ebook template to get you started. Download it now

Need a quick refresher on how to make an ebook? Use the links below.

1. Identifying your ebook’s purpose

2. Establishing your writing style

3. Choosing an engaging topic

4. Outlining your ebook

5. Conducting research and interviews

6. Writing your first ugly draft

7. Editing your first draft

8. Nailing your ebook design

Maybe this guide left you hungry for more content marketing insight. Sign up to our exclusive emails today, penned by the one and only Helen Dibble, founder of Incredibble.

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