How To Write an Ebook: 8 Elements of an Effective Ebook
If you haven’t made an ebook a part of your overall content marketing strategy, it’s about time you did.
Learning how to write an ebook takes time. Though they take time to create, ebooks are well worth the investment as they can establish you as an industry expert, drive new leads, build deeper connections with your audience and, in some instances, serve as a new source of revenue.
That said, for your ebook to do all this and more, it needs to provide real value and appeal. An experienced ebook writing service can help with the value part, but what about the appeal? How do you create an ebook that catches the attention of readers?
How To Write An Effective, Value-Driven Ebook
To truly capture the essence of your ebook, you have to go back to the reason why you’re writing an ebook. For most businesses and companies, they want to provide useful information to readers and potential buyers. So how do you create an ebook that’s effective and value-driven? Include a lot of effective and value-driven advice.
A part of quality content is its usefulness to readers. Informative content should be the drive of your ebook, and you should spend the time (or hire people to spend the time) to create such content.
Once you’ve got the information, you need to focus on the writing itself. Is it professional and engaging? Creating content that piques the attention of readers is challenging, but it isn’t impossible. Luckily, we have a few tips that can help you organize your thoughts and get the most out of each part of the ebook.
8 Important Elements of an Ebook
Content is obviously the heart of your ebook, but as with any physical publication, design and formatting is everything. From an engaging and descriptive title to a stunning cover to a reader-friendly format, there are certain elements that every great ebook should contain. Knowing how to write an ebook starts with these elements. Here are eight parts of an ebook that you should include, as well as expert tips to make your content the best quality it can be.
1. A Descriptive and Actionable Ebook Title
Whether you write your ebook yourself or hire an ebook writing service to do it for you, your publication requires a considerable investment. To ensure your efforts aren’t for naught, you need an engaging title that immediately conveys your ebook’s value.
A strong title is important regardless of the type of material you’re creating. However, an ebook’s title is even more important because ebooks are lengthy, high-commitment pieces. Your title should clearly convey to your audience what they will gain by taking the time to read your content. Is it cost savings? Time savings? A better understanding of how to use content marketing to drive sales? People are much more inclined to download materials that they believe will yield some kind of reward.
In addition to conveying your ebook’s value, the title should also be actionable. Consider the following ebook title examples:
Weak Title: Flowers That Attract Butterflies
Strong Title: How To Attract Butterflies To Your Yard With Flowers
Stronger Title: Top 5 Indigenous Flowers To Plant To Attract Butterflies to Your SW California Home
Readers can’t do anything with the first title. The second title is active (“how to”) and conveys value (“attract butterflies”), but the third title is active (“to plant”), descriptive (“indigenous flowers”) and hyper-targeted (“SW California”). The second and third titles tell readers exactly what they’ll get out of reading the ebook, while the third title tells readers who would get the most value out of the material. And, once a person is done reading, he or she may be inclined to contact the brand to invest in the flowers mentioned in the book. Using actionable words in titles and headings is an important part of how to write an ebook.
2. Appealing Ebook Cover Design
Despite what every grade school teacher has told us not to do, we definitely judge books by their covers. If you want to stand out from the competition and convince people to download your ebook, you need to house it in a pretty package. Ideally, you’ll hire a graphic designer to create your ebook cover, but if you’re confident in your design capabilities, keep the following formula in mind:
- Appeal: Use contrasting colors for the background and title so that the title pops.
- Imagery: Humans are visual creatures. Use a high-quality image to make your cover more visually attractive and to let readers know what to expect in the coming pages.
- Branding: Ensure your cover aligns with your branding. If your audience associates your brand with the colors green and white, try to use green and white in all your marketing materials, including your ebooks.
- Subtitle: A subtitle can provide your audience with just a bit more information about what they can expect to gain from reading your publication.
Below are examples of strong ebook cover designs that make use of the above formula:
3. Table of Contents
Again, ebooks are long. It’s not uncommon for readers to scan the contents for information that will help them solve an immediate problem or provide clarity on a pressing topic. Even if your ebook is relatively short, make things easy on your readers by including a table of contents. If you create an ebook without one, you may be losing one of the biggest benefits to ebook readers.
You may wonder why you would hire an ebook writing service to create this large piece of content only to have readers skim the bulk of it. It’s important to remember that the point of an ebook is to provide value first and foremost. If a single section in your 100-page magnum opus establishes you as an industry authority or, better yet, generates a new lead, then it’s done its job. Include the table of contents and add page numbers to go with it. You could even add a link within the book that directs readers directly to the chapter they want to look at.
4. Strong Content
There’s a reason so many brands invest in ebook writing services as opposed to having a member of their teams write the content: Ebooks that fail to provide value through strong, informative, engaging and grammatically correct content can do much more harm than good.
A poorly written ebook with little substance will annoy your readers and make them less inclined to do business with you. To ensure your ebook delivers on its promise to serve as a helpful resource, let a veteran ebook writer take on your topic. Below are a few reasons to outsource your ebook to a ghostwriter rather than write it yourself:
- Ebook writing services have experience helping clients laser in on broad topics and condense the available information to produce a single piece that provides substantial benefit to the reader.
- Web and ebook writers understand the importance of writing to your audience and can seamlessly imitate your brand’s voice to ensure cohesive messaging throughout.
- Ebook writing services utilize detail-obsessed editors who will make sure you put your best foot forward, so to speak.
That said, great writing isn’t enough when learning how to write an ebook. Every aspect of your ebook, from the title to the conclusion, should be laser-focused on providing useful and thoughtful information. Your reader should never close out of your ebook feeling shortchanged or that you enticed them with the download simply to gain another lead.
5. Numbers, Data and Case Studies
If you want readers to view you as a trusted industry expert, your ebook needs to be credible. And what better way is there to convey credibility than through cold-hard facts? Consider this great ebook example of using data:
When you make an assertion, back it with data and statistics from reliable sources. If you make claims about your own company’s success, use case studies as a way to provide social proof. Be as detailed as possible. Outline a prior customer’s (or current client’s) predicament and explain the challenges the company faced. Detailing how you helped said company overcome those challenges will help readers feel confident in your ability to adapt and overcome.
6. Charts, Graphs and Other Visuals
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Humans are visual creatures. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text, so when you’re writing your ebook, complement your writing with high-quality images and other design elements. Here are a few reasons to do so:
- Visuals Can Break Up Large Chunks of Text: People do not hold the same standards for ebooks as they do paper books. Whereas most people are happy to turn page after page of a picture-free book, most will likely set aside their computer or tablet after reading just a page or two of text-filled digital copy. Use visuals to break up large chunks of text.
- Images Can Reduce Reader Fatigue: Images serve as a rest for the eyes and can lighten readers’ mental loads, enabling them to keep trucking through the content.
- Visuals Can Emphasize Certain Points: From lighthearted, easy-to-digest content to more complex topics, visuals serve as a great way to reinforce your points. Charts and graphs are especially handy when sharing large datasets.
Visuals don’t just include pictures, graphs and charts, though. Headers, numbered lists, bullet points and bolded text all accomplish the same goals as standard imagery: They break up the text, they provide a resting point for the eyes and they help to emphasize your points.Humans are visual creatures 👀🧠. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text, so complement your writing with high-quality images 🏞🌅🌁 and other design elements. #ContentMarketing #Marketing #Imagery Click To Tweet
7. Social Sharing Buttons
According to a HubSpot study, websites that make use of social share buttons generate seven times more mentions on social media than those that don’t. Social share buttons encourage visitors to share your content with their networks — and they make it easy for visitors to do so. In addition to including buttons on your ebook’s landing page, put them at the tops and bottoms of each page. Learning how to write an ebook includes the marketing side.
Is including social share buttons in the headers and footers of every page of your ebook excessive, you might wonder? Absolutely not. Social share buttons can be as loud or as discreet as you want them to be.
Incorporating visible yet unobtrusive buttons in the headers and footers, right next to your publication information, can allow your readers to easily share information they find interesting as they read it, thereby increasing the odds that your content will eventually reach new audiences.According to a @HubSpot study, websites that make use of social share buttons 👍💙 generate seven times more mentions on social media than those that don’t. #ContentMarketing #Marketing #SocialSharing Click To Tweet
8. Links and a CTA
You and your ebook writing service produced this awesome resource that readers really love — now what happens? If you don’t include links or a strong call to action, nothing. Readers will close your ebook and move on with their lives. Don’t let your relationship with readers end when the ebook ends.
Provide internal links in relevant passages that encourage readers to learn more. Links can be to blog posts, white papers, other ebooks and even your products or services pages. These links provide your readers with an opportunity to engage with you across other areas of your website and to get to know your brand better.
As for the CTA, make it strong. Wrapping up your 10,000-word publication with a “Contact us today” can seem weak and out of place. Especially when writing an ebook, make your CTA meaningful and value-driven, and make sure it clearly conveys why your readers need to click through to the next offer. Don’t forget to provide a link or to include your phone number so readers can easily follow through with the action you want them to take. Look at this next ebook example to see how LinkedIn makes good use of this advice:
Now That You’ve Learned How To Write an Ebook, Get Started!
Ebooks can serve as powerful marketing tools when done right. While BKA Content can’t help with the design elements of your next (or first?) ebook, we can assist you with the actual writing of it. From crafting an engaging and clickable title to writing the content and a strong call-to-action, our ebook writers have the talent and know-how to deliver the best parts of an ebook that will position you as an industry leader and drive real results. Get in touch with our team today to learn how we can help you with your next big marketing project.