How do you make sure your ebook has good content for marketing purposes? How do you write web-savvy content that works for the Web, that markets your business, gets you found, and is link-friendly?
I mean, it's all good to say you're going to get on the Content Marketing bandwagon… but how exactly do you do that? Here are 12 steps you need to think about:
Before you write that ebook, or blog post, or other content on your website, think about your audience. Once you've defined who you're writing for, then define the problem you're going to solve. Then figure out how people would be using keyword phrases to find their solutions if they were doing a web search.
Write a list of 3-5 keyword phrases and keep those in mind as you write your content.
Once you've defined your audience, the problem, the solution, and the keyword phrases. you should be able to make a list of subtopics or steps you need to cover. With a list, you can expand on each point to create a logical progression to solving the problem.
Next, give a great example that illustrates what you mean. A great way to use content for marketing purposes is to use a case study, a real or a composite client you've work with. This has the additional advantage of implanting in the minds of the audience how you work with clients. If they are like the client you write about, they'll identify with them. They'll see how you might be able to help them solve their problems.
Tie it all together with great transition phrases. Be sure to use a conversational tone, and emotional words. (It helps to read it out loud to see what tone you're actually using. If you've been too "salesy" or preachy, or used too much hype, you'll hear it in your voice.)
Conclude with a call to action. What do you want readers to do next? If you don't tell them, they'll miss it. Spell it out. If you want people to think, tell them to think about this. If you want people to respond, ask questions, give feedback, tell them how. If you want them to buy something, show them how.
Next, before you publish, reread and edit your content. Add an image or some sort of 'eye-candy' to make it more interesting and grab their attention.
Write the headline last. If you don't know how to write a good headline, learn it.
As you reread what you've written, keep your keyword list next to you and make sure you've got the important keywords in your title, first paragraph and repeated several times throughout.
Be sure to link keywords to either reference pages on your own site, or to outside resources that are pertinent and useful.
Then, you should be ready to publish. How you format, how you use illustrations and paragraph spacing isn't something we're covering in this article today, but design is always important for reader usability and for building trust. (I always recommend outsourcing to experts unless you've got good software and those skills and can do-it-yourself.)
Folks, what did I just do here? I gave you a quick overview of how to write an ebook. These steps are useful to follow for any kind of content marketing task: newsletter article, webpage, blog post, white paper, etc.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Define audience
- Define the problem and the pain
- List 3-5 keyword phrases those people would use to find solutions to their problems
- List 5 or so steps to the solution
- Use a case study or client example, or a personal story that illustrates
- Ask readers to do something, include a call to action
- Review your content for mistakes and readability; review for conversational tone
- Review your content for keyword phrase usage
- Review your content for linking opportunities
- Write a great headline (last)
- Take care of formatting and design
I'm writing a new ebook myself this week, and I always find it useful to write down the steps I need to take before I start. Helps me to focus. You might try doing something similar.
Oh, and if I've missed something important that should be on this list, please leave me a comment and tell me.