Enough already with the banal, dull as dishwater ebooks that leave readers looking as bored as Pharrell at the Grammy’s.
You have a lot of great information to convey, so why not present it with substance, in a beautiful and functional way?
Rather than creating a lacklustre ebook that doesn’t get your reader past page three, create a stunning piece that sustains your audience and keeps them wanting for more by injecting every page with a good old dose of your brand’s personality.
See below how to write a good eBook that calls your audience to action by leading them in the right direction.
1. Make it interesting!
Be authentic. Make true connections and be human. Lure your reader with engaging layouts. Think about what your unique viewpoint is and what makes this ebook different to the others.
Decide on the your theme and personality from the get go. Building a theme around the ebook can really help tie all your pages together creating a sense of unity. Use the established branding you already have and build upon it.
Knowing who your audience and what they will respond to is essential when thinking about the style, colours and imagery you should use.
Hand your readers something that will delight them and they will love to read.
Even an incredibly well-designed ebook can’t save a boring topic, so ensure your content is engaging from the get-go. The design is there to support your content and not vice versa.
This is about the shape and size of your ebook. Think about where and how it might be read by your viewer.
How do your readers interact with your content? Think about the various ways and times of day they may be reading and what might be practical for them so they can last the distance.
Have a look at a range of ebooks for yourself on multiple devices and notice how you interact with the design. What do you find difficult that you would improve?
Make sure text is readable and links are obvious. Avoid making your body text too wide for ease of reading. If reading on a tablet or phone your main body copy width should be able to be read by scrolling and not by swiping from left to right.
Benefits of using landscape vs portrait
Think about how many columns of text is practical for your design.
There is room to create more interesting layouts in landscape orientation – but portrait is more practical for mobile (which may very well be how the majority of your readers will experience your work.
Consider the use of white space. A study in psychology has proven that white space ‘improves the perception of information by 20%’. Adding the right balance of white space will ensure your reader can effectively scan through your content with ease.
3. Colour scheme
Use colour to connect with emotion, to create feelings and project your brand vibe.
Explore colours that psychologically reflect the topic of discussion and your brand. Use Pinterest, Google images or colour schemes you notice in nature, posters, magazines or websites to colour drop tones that work well together.
You can also experiment with great colour options by using http://paletton.com. You can limit your palette to sharpen the composition and draw the attention of the viewer to the details.
A lighter colour background will work better if your ebook needs to be printed at some stage.
Carefully consider body text colours for contrast in web viewing. (A great tool for this is colorsafe.co) This includes thinking about contrasting hyperlink colours, as well as using call-out colours for easy recognition.
4. Font combinations
Great font combos will convey your professionalism as well as commanding trust for your brand.
Clear and solid type choices display that you know what you're doing and therefore what your talking about!
Use interesting, simple and bold fonts in chapter pages to break up the copy and allow your reader to ingest the information in bite size portions.
Make it an enticing journey, like when you’re watching an episode of The Walking Dead; how do you get excited about what’s happening in the next episode? They hint at clues and show us what to expect next.
Design chapter headings that get people interested in continuing on and help them get prepared for the next topic at hand. Each chapter should be a new experience to delve deeper into the story!
Using descriptive words in your copy headings and subheadings can also help to convey your brand theme and personality. Readability and cohesion are the most important elements here, so try not to use more than three fonts on a page.
Increasing your line height will also make it easier to read chunks of body copy. Using text hierarchy to clearly display what is a heading, subheading and body text will keep your content in a rhythm of portion sized subjects. Try a useful a tool like http://fontpair.co that helps designers pair google fonts together.
5. Plan your CTAs (call to actions)
Kind of like Tom Sach’s personal motto “always be knolling”, we like to say “Always, include a CTA”.
At the end of every message and throughout your ebook, when you see an opportunity, you can prompt your reader to find out more about the topic by including a CTA. You may want them to enquire about a particular service or lead them to more information or resources you have within your website that can encourage them to eventually seek more help for their business from you.
Design tips for CTAs
- Make it eye catching - display the proposition clearly and use enticing emotive copy
- Plan the sequence your CTAs will appear through the ebook
- Decide when you want the reader to:
- a. Hire you
- b. Subscribe
- c. Buy your product
- d. Lead them to the next step
- Use tweetable links. This is an optimised url link created to share your content via social media
- Add key takeaways to the end of each page. For example: the page topic may be about A/B testing in email campaigns so you could include a small pull-out section that says “Learn more about the benefits of A/B testing by speaking to one of our consultants today. Email email@example.com or call 1800 555 000”
- Consider mixing it up between designing full page CTA’s or small feature or both for variety
6. Full page quotes - ‘pull-outs’ and graphs
People freaking love quotes, use them!
They will increase the shareability of your ebook. By inserting a tweetable section within a quote or CTA your viewer can share a selection of your content with their network. Be specific and label these areas ‘click-to-tweet’ or ‘share’ so it is clear that they are easy to use for social media.
Use full page or pull-out quotes that connect to what your audience likes and what matters to them. Quotes also break up the flow of body text. They keep the reader engaged by including areas that are fun and intriguing.
Pull-outs are sections where you can tell the viewer what you're going to tell them, or have told them or key takeaways. Ending sections with full-page quotes or imagery assists to wrap up a chapter.
Graphs and infographics that include real research as well as your own thoughts can also create a relieving break to the eye within large chunks of text. Some ideas are also just better communicated and understood via imagery.
7. Stand out
Stand apart from your competition by adding a point of difference. If your competitors sway left, swing right.
For example, decide on your layout and how you will break up each section into bite size pieces. You can include statement pages to make your piece unique. You can do this by calling out important terms from your content or by making a provocative statement or question relating to the main topic. Form an experience that builds a useful reference and makes your reader feel compelled to read more or share.
We can’t stress enough the importance of the cover page. The cover page will be the first point of contact for your viewer. Many people will decide whether they will even open your ebook based on the front page. The cover should reflect how you want to encourage people to identify with your brand. It’s the focus point of your whole book as well as the main imagery used to lead your reader to downloading your ebook in the first place.
Think of your company as a person and what human traits they might display. Be clear and consistent in your branding for easy recognition.
9. Style -Visuals - photography vs illustration
Whether you decide to use photography or illustration in your imagery ensure you find or create interesting graphics that give the right amount of contrast to work alongside your copy. It’s important to use a consistent style throughout the ebook so the entire piece works together in harmony.
10. Design tips
Here’s a wrap up of helpful design tips when creating your very own ebook:
- Start the book by telling your reader will learn by the end of the book
- Design for humans. Look over somebody’s shoulder while they read your ebook and see how they interact with it
- Keep it tasteful and interesting. Create something that you would want to see
- Keep your logos small so they don’t overwhelm your cover page design
- Go large with quotes
- Use great high quality images
- Use sections and icons to break up large areas of text
- Highlight what’s on the next page at the end of a section to keep the viewer hanging on - anticipate boredom!
- Create an email link on the last page to encourage interaction from the viewer
- On the final page of your ebook think about what
- you want your viewer to follow on to next and nudge them in that direction
If you follow the above, you will be fast on your way to delighting your readers and allowing them to interact with your brand in a creative, informative and beautiful way, leaving your readers intrigued and wanting more.
The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. An inbound marketing agency can help you get the process started and have your inbound pipeline pumping in no time. Download our 7-step checklist to ensure you choose the right inbound marketing agency for your business.