By Carly Ries


As you’ve probably seen, ebooks are everywhere these days, and for good reason. Writing an ebook for your inbound marketing efforts is a great way to establish yourself as an industry expert and bring in more leads…but where do you begin? The idea of putting together an eBook may seem like a daunting task, but don’t let that prevent you from writing one.

Here are 8 easy steps on how to get started writing an ebook: 

1. Decide The Persona Your eBook Will Target

Before you can even begin writing a book, you need to choose a persona, or in other words, a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on research and real data about your current customers.  A few questions to consider during development include:

  • Who is visiting my site most often?
  • What kinds of leads do I want to get for sales?
  • What are the personas most common pain points? 

Whether you research on Google or interview current customers, do whatever you can to learn as much as possible about this persona and write your ebook based off their wants and needs. Remember, just because you like your topic, doesn’t mean they will. Forget about your personal interests and write for them.

 2. Develop a Compelling Topic That Solves a Problem or Educates Your Persona

Obviously choosing a topic is important, but choosing the right topic is what you really need to focus on. Based off your persona research, you should decide if the topic is scientific, a quick read, broad, niche-focused, etc. For example, if you know your persona has a very busy schedule, you want to choose a topic you can cover relatively quickly. If your persona is in the healthcare field, focus on their specific pain points based on their position, not healthcare in general even if they fall under that category. Address a problem that they need solved. Keep in mind, once you choose your topic, you don’t need to include every little detail around the subject. Figure out the main points you want to convey and plan from there.

Remember, the subject of your ebook needs to be clear to the reader immediately. If they don’t know what they are reading within a matter of seconds, they’ll stop. Let them know what they are about to dive into.

3. Organize Your Thoughts First, Write Second

When writing your ebook, chances are a million thoughts are going to be racing through your mind that will pull you in different directions. So how do you overcome this? Create an outline. Your outline should include:

  • A table of contents
  • An introduction
  • A list of each main topic you want to cover
  • A list of subtopics below each main topic
  • Brief description or main points of each of the sub-topics
  • Conclusion/final thoughts

Doing this will allow you to plot out a natural flow of the ebook and will help you focus. From here, you can also see what areas need a bit more content and which areas are good to go. It may seem like an extra step, but using an outline will save you time in the long run. Once your outline is in a good place, it’s time to begin writing.

4. Decide on a Title That Captures the Reader's Attention and is Optimized

The title is the first impression people will have of your ebook. Make sure it’s engaging enough to stop your reader in their tracks and take notice. Note however, it’s not enough to just have a compelling title. This day in age, it must be optimized for search as well if anybody is ever going to see it. Be sure to do extensive keyword research and choose words to place in your title that either have a difficulty score lower than 60, meaning it won’t be too difficult for you to rank (the lower the better). Also be sure that people actually search for those keywords each month. There’s no point in writing something people don’t look for. It will never get found that way. Platforms such as HubSpot can help determine a keyword’s search and difficulty. 

5. Write the Manuscript

When writing your ebook, don’t just throw all of your thoughts into giant paragraphs for pages on end. Who wants to read that? Be sure to mix it up by including bullet points, bolded or italic words, callouts, etc.

You’ll also want to include a table of contents and section headers so that the reader knows what they are getting into.

Referring to the outline you put together ( or should have) will help as you get started as well. If you have an outline by the time you start writing, the strategy and format is already done for you. Now you just need to let the words flow.

6. Proofread

Once you’re done writing, it’s time to proofread. You may be the smartest person in the room, but if you have typos throughout your published work, you can lose credibility fast. Be sure to read and reread your eBook, and once that’s done, give it to somebody else for a second pair of eyes. You want it to be as professional as possible. Don’t lose credibility because you forgot to put a period at the end of a sentence.

7. Design and Layout

You know the phrase “never judge a book by its cover?” Well, the fact is most people do, and you don’t want it to literally happen to you.   If you’re not good with design, find someone who is and have them create a cover and layout of the eBook for you that shine. Your audience is constantly getting content thrown at them. The only way your eBook will get read is to figure out a way for it to stand out from the crowd. 

Assuming you get the reader to the first page of your ebook, you must also lay out your content in a way that is easy for the reader to digest. Include images and a design that that keeps the readers attention and that falls within your topic.

8. Promote, Promote, Promote 

You have just written the greatest ebook the world has ever seen, congratulations! Here’s the thing though, nobody will ever know it exists unless you promote it. Dedicate time to getting your eBook in front of your audience.  A few ways to get it out there can include:

Without this step, developing an eBook is a waste of time. If you want your ebook to get read, make sure it gets in front of the right people.

There you have it! These steps will help you start on the right path to writing your first eBook. Take your time, plan, and start writing. Good luck!


Refine your inbound marketing efforts with:

The Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing Personas

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Carly Ries

About the author

Carly Ries Carly was formerly a Senior Inbound Marketing Consultant for SmartBug Media. With over 7 years of marketing and account management experience, Carly helps clients develop and implement inbound marketing strategies to grow leads, conversion, and revenue. Read more articles by Carly Ries.

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