You want to create an ebook. But not just any ebook. You want it to be a stellar guide of kick-ass proportions. Don’t know where to start? Why not look at the content that you already have and find a way to combine it? It’s like you’re searching for what to cook for dinner. Rather than going out to eat, why not save your time and money and make a dish from the things you already have in your kitchen? Think of your ebook in this way. You can cook up a delectable plate of content from ingredients you already have. Sounds tasty, right?
In this blog post I’m going to show you how to turn your existing content into a great ebook. I will flesh out these steps:
- Identify your topic
- Merge the existing content
- Transition into each section
- Create a style
- Make it easy to follow
- Use the right images
- Leave them wanting more
So let’s get started.
Step 1 - What the heck is your ebook about?
First you want to come up with the general theme or topic for your ebook that you can pull from pre-existing content. Look for a current trend within your writing that’s relevant to your audience. Maybe there’s a whiz-bang product out that you have previously written on, and you can string those pieces together to create the ultimate guide. There may be a holiday or event that you’ve written about and happens to be coming up or is of particular importance to your business. The easiest way to collect these pieces of content is to use the tag feature from your blog. Say for instance that you want to build an ebook on exercise for a pet turtle, you would search in your tags for articles related to “turtle exercise” or whatever tags you previously selected for this topic. After you collect all of the copy from these articles, you’re ready to add them together to create one piece of content.
Step 2 - Don’t just slap it all together
Once you have all of your collected content, start combining them based on sections that complement each other. This may require some cutting and pasting and some reordering of the content. Try to break it up in a way that would make sense to your reader and be easy to follow. You could make it into sequential steps if it’s a “how-to,” you could divide it up chronologically if you’re explaining a process or history, or you could divide it into subtopics that build upon each other. This is where you want to think about your audience again - what would work and make sense to them?
Step 3 - Build bridges
Along the way you’ll need to bridge the gaps between the existing content. It’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to cut, paste, reorder and arrange and call it a day. So look for ways to transition into the following section and create a more cohesive tone for the writing. Some ideas for these transitions are:
Quotes from either the existing content, a thought leader in your industry, or expert within your organization
Statistics that are a part of the topic or help further explain what you’re describing
Examples that portray what you’re discussing
Images or graphics - visual content is a powerful way to extend a message
Before you know it, you will have successfully merged existing content (with a little bit of extra polishing) to create one comprehensive, kick-ass ebook.
But that’s just the copy. Now onto the formatting.
Step 4 - What does your ebook say about your brand?
Pick a general theme that you want to keep throughout the ebook. Think about your colors and fonts. Think about your company logo and website. Do the aesthetics of the ebook align with the company’s personality? Ideally you want all of your content to reflect the vision and identity of your brand.
Here are some cool resources for fonts and color schemes to use in your ebook:
Here you’ll find tons of free fonts for download. You can even use it for inspiration on what fonts to use together in the ebook. Don’t go too font crazy, though. Stick to 2-3. Any more than that can be distracting and take away from your awesome content.
See a color that you want to use, but not sure how to get that exact color? Maybe you’re not sure what shade of blue was used when designing your logo?
This website is a great resource for getting the RGB color code to a particular shade. Just upload your picture and select the color that you want the information on. From there you can use that color code in whatever program you are creating your ebook.
Now that you have the exact color you want to use primarily, you should find complementing and contrasting colors. This website will give you colors that work well together in your design.
Step 5 - Don’t make it hard on the reader
Make sure to divide sections clearly throughout the ebook. Harkening back to Step 4, use colors, fonts, sizes and spacing to break up the content. Make it easy to follow for the reader. Label headers clearly. Take advantage of bullet points to space things out. Shoot for clean and consistent. This is where you can really take advantage of whitespace to ensure that a page isn’t cluttered with words.
Step 6 - Break it up with graphics
Use relevant images and/or graphics to break large chunks of text up. Like we mentioned with the whitespace, you don’t want too much text on one page. Too much copy on one page can be overwhelming and dissuade readers from reading or continuing on. If you don’t want to go the stock image route, there are other options for creating cool graphics that you can use to spice up your ebook.
Pixlr - For those familiar with Photoshop, Pixlr has a lot of similarities. Create templates for graphics using the same color and font scheme, so that you can easily reproduce them each time a new piece of content requires images.
Canva - There’s tons of options for designing little graphics that can really pump up the look of your content. A lot of it is free too!
Step 7 - Leave them asking for more
Make sure that there is an appropriate call-to-action at the end. You’ve served up your delicious piece of content. Now what? You want them to ask for more, of course! You want them to take action and engage! What better way than to direct them to another piece of content or relevant step in your sales process, bringing them further into the consideration stage. Remember, the goal is to attract and convert!
Check out our example of an appropriate call-to-action below (feel free to click on it too...for another serving of scrumptious content marketing fare).
You now know how to create a kick-ass ebook from existing content. Why not make sure that the rest of the future content you create is totally killer? Receive your copy of our ebook How to Create Killer Content That Attracts Web Visitors.