Structure an ebook

1. Set a goal for your ebook project and promotion strategy. Identify the segment of your target audience that the ebook addresses.

For example, an in-depth look at a topic that prospects in the consideration stage of their buyer’s journey would find useful to help move them further along the conversion funnel.

2. Identify your target audience's pain points and use them to narrow down the topics of your existing content.

Your ebook can help your audience to gain a more comprehensive perspective on topics you’ve covered more generally in other forms of content. For example, blog posts, white papers, email campaigns, or social media content might provide inspiration for your ebook’s content. Using these criteria to narrow down your topic ensures that it stays relevant to your target audience.

3. Write a title for your ebook that attracts attention, identifies what the reader will gain, and includes relevant keywords.

Conduct keyword research using a tool like Google Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer. Use benefit-oriented, and to-the-point language. For example, Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.

4. Outline a table of contents that includes chapter titles and a list of major topics that each chapter covers.

You can repurpose some of your existing content that relates to the specific topics you’re writing about. If one of your chapters closely follows a subject you’ve already written a blog post about, use the research from that post to rewrite and expand it into a more detailed chapter for your ebook. Use concise, benefit-oriented language that includes topic-specific keywords when writing your chapter titles. Establish a natural flow from chapter to chapter.

5. Identify who will write your ebook, whether a member of your team or an outside writer.

If your business has its own content writers, someone on your team may be ideal for handling the writing, especially if they wrote the original content you’re using as inspiration for the ebook. If you need to hire an ebook writer, outsource the work and search online for qualified freelance writers within your industry.

6. Choose an ebook creation tool to write and design your layout.

While you can write your ebook with a simple word processor like Microsoft Word, the file will have to be properly formatted prior to distribution. Popular tools that can help you create your ebook are Scrivener, Pressbooks, or InDesign.

7. Conduct further research to fill gaps in your content with statistics, relevant quotes from industry leaders, and visual data.

You will need additional research to support the more comprehensive scope that your ebook will provide for your readers. Compile extra research from thought leaders in your industry and refer to resources such as case studies or white papers. Consider conducting your own studies and experiments to source your data. Create visual representations of the data you collect to help break up text and provide contextual examples to support your claims.

8. Design a branded cover for your ebook and establish consistent formatting practices for chapter elements such as titles, subheadings, highlighted quotes, and distinguished text.

Consider hiring a graphic designer to create a professional ebook cover that aligns with your brand colors, fonts, and visuals. Creating consistency across all your chapters provides your readers with a more cohesive and organized experience. For example, you might create a text container at the end of each chapter with a bullet list of major concepts that were covered.

9. Select at least one distribution channel to publish your ebook.

You might use your ebook as a lead magnet directly from a landing page on your website. This can be an incredibly effective way to generate leads in exchange for a free download of your ebook. You could also publish your ebook for sale through a platform like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), which would make your ebook available to purchase through Amazon.

10. Determine a file type for your ebook based on the distribution channels you plan to use.