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5 Components of a Successful eBook

By Cedric Jackson, January 24, 2018
5 Components of a Successful eBook

I am a firm believer in diversifying your content marketing strategy with as much original content as possible. That means I’m a big fan of eBooks. They help brands generate leads, and they also increase brand recognition.

Well, at least they do when the eBook writer does a good job. Sadly, that’s usually not the case. I recently spent some time online looking at various eBooks, and I was surprised to see that most people don’t get it right. They either don’t give a reason to download the eBook, or the information they provide is so poor that people regret it if they do.

That caused me to think about the components that make up a good eBook. I came up with a list of five that every eBook writer should include when creating this type of content. If you want to get the most out of your content marketing strategy, incorporate these components.

1. A Descriptive Title

I have a confession to make. I only download eBooks that have descriptive titles, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. Most of us look at the title and make a snap decision about the book. If the title doesn’t explain the value we’re going to get from the book, we move on.

That’s why I’m so surprised by the number of eBooks that have plain, non-descriptive titles. If I had a dime for every eBook with the bare minimum title, I could leave my company and spend the rest of my time lounging on the beach. OK, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

So, what makes a good title? It needs to be interesting and descriptive. I favor titles that identify a problem and promise a solution. For instance, “Content Marketing Mistakes and How to Fix Them,” gets to the point and lets readers know there’s a solution.

I recommend writing the tittle last. That way, you will know exactly what the eBook contains. Then, you can create the best title for the book.

2. A Professional Cover

Remember that lesson that you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover? It’s buried somewhere in the back of your mind, next to “eat your vegetables” and “exercise every day.” Yes, you know you should look past the cover, but you can’t help it.

If you can’t help it, your customer base can’t help it, either. You need to go all out when designing your cover to ensure it engages your customers and makes them want to download the book.

What goes into a professional cover? You need branding elements to make your cover look more professional. The title should be printed clearly on the cover, and you need a cover image. It needs to be visually appealing, or people won’t download it.

When your cover is professional, people will assume the book is professional, too. That means they’ll want to download and read it.

3. Valuable Content

This should go without saying, but after reading countless eBooks online, I know that it doesn’t. I’m always surprised when I take the time to download an eBook, only to end up with information I could easily find in a blog post online. When I download an eBook, I’m putting trust in the company that it has something to offer. My expectations are a lot higher with eBooks than they are with blog posts, and your customers are the same way. We download these books for expert information we can’t find online. You need to tap into your knowledge and experience and craft something the average person couldn’t find with a quick Google search. Otherwise, you’ll get a reputation for recycling information to put in your books.

4. Visuals

We live in the digital age, and that’s changed the way we look at things. We no longer want a big wall of text. I actually find myself zoning out when I open up an eBook that is just one page of text after the next. If I want to read straight text, I’ll download something from the New York Times’ Best Seller list.

My favorite eBooks use a variety of strategies to break up the text. Headers and subheaders are the easy way to accomplish this, and they should be included on each page. I also like bullet points.

Then, you need to add in some graphics. This is a little more difficult for the standard eBook writer, so you might need to add a graphic designer into the mix. You don’t need graphics created from scratch, though. Screenshots, tables, and other types of graphics help explain the information in a relatively simple way.

5. A Call to Action

Your eBook should be a cog in the overall marketing machine. You want people to do something after they read your eBook. They should follow you on social media or buy a product. Maybe they should share the book with their friends. It doesn’t really matter what the call to action is, but it needs to be there.

I recently read an eBook by a smallish company, and I loved it. The eBook writer had done everything right. When I got to the end of it, the book invited me to follow the company on social media. Guess what I did? I hit the follow button just like that. I loved the eBook, so it made sense for me to follow the company and find out what else it had to say.

Here’s the thing, though. Without that CTA, I wouldn’t have done anything. I’m just like everyone else. I need to be told what to do to next to complete the action. It’s human nature, so if you fail to put a CTA in place, you’re missing an important opportunity. You want more out of each reader, right?

Bringing It All Together

When you bring all of these components together, you end up with a great eBook. People will want to download it, and once they do, they’ll be happy with the content. Write your eBook and make sure it checks each item off the list. Then, you’ll be ready to publish it. 

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