When I first heard the phrase “give your best stuff away for free” somewhere online, I thought that was crazy. Why would you want to work your butt off creating stellar content and then give it away? If you give away your best stuff, what is there left to sell and actually make money with? The second phrase, which is my own, sums it all up: “Give away your best stuff, but save your bestest stuff for last.” OK, I know that “bestest” is not really a word, but we have all said it and we know what it means. If you are looking to create an e-book to give away to help grow your newsletter subscriber list of RSS subscribers, you have to make it awesome and make that person who just subscribed and downloaded your e-book say…. “WOW, that was FREE!” Make them want to keep reading your blog, and listen to what you have to say. You want your readers to trust you, and it all starts with killer, spot-on content. Giving it away for free is a great way to make a connection.
There is a science behind creating a killer e-book and here is my formula!
Strong Topic + Proper Branding + Good Promotion = A Killer E-book
An electronic book (also e-book, ebook, digital book) is a text- and image-based publication in digital form produced on, published by, and readable on computers or other digital devices.”  Sometimes the equivalent of a conventional printed book, e-books can also be born digital. Wiki
For us in the creative business niche, an e-book can be for a number of things. First, an e-book can help you grow your authority in the subject or niche you are blogging about. Do your readers see you as an authority in your niche? When you start to write about what you are the best at, your readers will start to see you as an authority. Are you awesome at designing jewelry, crocheting, making soap, marketing, or anything? Take what you are best at and become the authority.
Secondly, e-books give us the ability to grow our readership in two ways. First, you can use an e-book to grow your newsletter subscriber list by giving it away in return for readers signing up. You should be creating good enough content on your blog for your readers to want to subscribe. Giving away a killer e-book will help give your readers that little push to sign up. Newsletters are a powerful tool when it comes to your creative business.
The next way an e-book can help grow your readership is through your RSS feed.
RSS (most commonly expanded as Really Simple Syndication) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a “feed”, “web feed”, or “channel”) includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship. Web feeds benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. RSS feeds can be read using software called an “RSS reader”, “feed reader”, or “aggregator“, which can be web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based. Wiki
Your RSS feed plays a powerful part in your daily traffic. Your subscribers should be getting content in their inbox everyday or at least every other day. This can be set up through FeedBurner.com. Once again, if you give away a killer e-book just for a reader subscribing to your RSS feed, your subscriber numbers will increase drastically from the norm.
My topic of choice for my e-books was a no-brainer. I have written e-books for the handmade selling niche about Facebook , Twitter, Time Management, blogging, and my most recent one, my Handmade Blogging Blueprint. This technology/marketing stuff comes easy to me and I love to teach, so that is why I went those directions. For others like yourself possibly, you want to read those kinds of e-books instead of writing them. So what can artists, designers, and crafters write an e-book about?
My niche in the handmade scene is metal design. If I did not write how-to e-books on marketing, I would focus on the metal design aspect of my business. How-tos in the craft/art niche are huge.
When you are picking the topic of your e-book, you want to make sure it will be something that people are looking for.
There are two quick steps you can take to research your topic to make sure it will be hot!
Take a quick peek at Amazon for a little market research. Amazon is a great place to look for books that are already selling in your niche.
There are over 1,700 books on Amazon that come up in the search for metal jewelry . When you are browsing Amazon for a good topic, look to see if people are actually buying these books by looking for reviews. When you see books with 30 to 40 reviews, you know that book is being purchased by a good amount of people.
The second way you can research your e-book topic is to see if people are actually searching it on Google. There is no better way to start your e-book than with killer keywords. I have talked before about keyword research for Etsy sellers, but this keyword research method can be applied to your e-book and blog as well.
The best tool currently available for doing keyword research is the Google Keyword Tool. It is a powerful tool that provides in-depth and insightful information about keywords and phrases. The key phrase in question in this situation is “metal jewelry”. Let’s jump right in and use the Google Keyword Tool.
Below you will see the results that the Google Keyword Tool provided when I searched “metal jewelry how-to”.
(click the pic for a larger view)
There are two important things to notice here: Competition and Global Monthly Searches.
In this case, the competition is referring to ad space on the side of the Google search. This really only tells you that other people are placing ads on Google for this key phrase. This is a good thing because this means this phrase is being searched. If there are very low searches then there will most -likely be no ad space competition.
Global Monthly Searches:
This number is real, hard evidence that you will want to remember about your key phrase. This will tell you how many people are searching this exact key phrase every month.
Picking the right key phrase to start with:
A high number of monthly searches is awesome, but there are a few more important bits of info to consider. With that said, scan down the list and pick a key phrase that has monthly searches ranging from 1,000 – 10,000. The reason you want to pick in that range is because there tends to be fewer competing pages.
How to find the “real” competition for your keyword or phrase:
I did a little research and found that the key phrase “nameplate necklace” is very strong.
The key phrase ” nameplate necklace” gets 8,100 searches per month, which is awesome, but we have to find out what the competition is. If there is too much competition, this key phrase may not be worth trying to rank on Google for.
Currently the easiest way to find out what the competition for a specific keyword or phrase is on Google is to actually search it on Google. In the example below you will see that there are 45,000 competing pages for the key phrase “nameplate necklace”. You will also notice the text ads on the side of the Google search. 45k may seem like a ton, but it is not. Just do a quick search for just “necklace”—- 94,300,000 competing pages!
Imagine ranking on Google in the top ten for this key phrase. That means that a good majority of the 8,100 searches are going to come your way. Knowing that there are under 50,000 competing pages on Google is great. Just by looking at the top ten competing pages, we can clearly see that with proper SEO and the placing of this key phrase, it will be possible to rank high in the Google Search for “nameplate necklace”.
Unfortunately, there is no set-in-stone formula for knowing if a keyword or phrase is strong or not. You will have to do the research, put all the facts and hard evidence together, and make a decision for yourself.
Once you have your topic and key phrase for your e-book, you can start to create. The easiest way I have found to create an e-book is with Microsoft Word, then convert it into a PDF.
Portable Document Format (PDF) is an open standard for document exchange. The file format created by Adobe Systems in 1993 is used for representing two-dimensional documents in a manner independent of the application software, hardware, and operating system. Wiki
The main reason you want you convert your e-book into a PDF is so everyone can read it. PDFs are also secure and your readers can’t copy them.
There are a few ways you can convert your Word docs into PDFs. First is PrimoPDF, a simple-to-use and free software. This is a super fast and easy-to-use software that converts.
All you have to do is drag your printable file over to the icon and it automatically converts it to a PDF.
View and save your PDF to your desktop!
When you are creating your e-book, you want to make sure you are leaving your brand all over! Don’t be obnoxious about it, but leaving your logo at the bottom of each page is acceptable. In fact, make that logo that’s clickable so your readers can easily click through to your blog or shop. It is your e-book, so let your brand shine. I also have links to important posts and info on my blog. This will help bring more traffic back to your blog and even remind your readers of what your blog has to offer.
Here are some examples:
The cover of your e-book is very important. Creating a graphic for your e-book can be simple for graphic designers, but for non-designers like myself there are programs out that can help. I personally love Extreme 3D Covers. There are tons of options and it is very easy to use.
I know I said to give your e-book away for free, but you can also sell it if you want! I have had great success selling my e-books in my Etsy shop. You can also sell your e-book right on your blog.
The great thing about selling your e-book on Etsy is…all you have to do when someone buys it is to email them the file, and you are done!
How to gain more followers, readers, and traffic.
Giving your e-book away to your subscribers is an easy process. I am going to teach you the basic way for now!
If you are looking to grow your RSS subscribers, you will want use FeedBurner.com to manage your feed and subscribers.
Set up an account, which is free. Then find your RSS feed link for your blog. Copy and paste your RSS feed link in the box below.
Once you have your feed set up, you want to change some things and set some important settings.
First, your subscribers will get an email from you and you want to let them know that you will be sending them their copy of your e-book. You can find this setting under Publicize, Email Subscriptions, then Communications Pref. Under the Email Subscription tab you will also be able to change what time and how frequent your subscribers will be updated. You will also find your subscriber list with emails, and this is how you will get the e-book copy to them. Now keep in mind, this is a manual process, and emailing every subscriber if you are getting hundreds, is not recommended. I can write a follow-up article on how to automated this process if there is enough interest. Please leave a comment below if you are interested in learning more about the automation process.
Awesome… now you’re ready to get a sign-up box on your blog and promote your e-book! Grab the code and paste it on your blog in the side bar.
Along with the box on the side of your blog, you will also want to make separate page for your sign-up so you can show off your e-book and even add testimonials. Check out my subscribe page HERE. Creating a subscriber page will allow you to promote your e-book and get you more subscribers.
You can also create a tab for your Facebook Fan page specifically for your e-book.
This is done with some simple html and the FBML application for FaceBook.
In the month of October I gained over 700 new subscribers to my newsletter with one simple tool. Pop Up Domination is the tool I use to gain hundreds of subscribers each month. This is a plugin for WordPress blogs only. It is very customizable and looks professional. This plugin is best used in conjunction with a newsletter list. I can also post an article all about newsletters if there is enough interest. If you are interested in knowing more about newsletters, please leave a comment!
So what is the formula for a killer e-book?
Strong Topic + Proper Branding + Good Promotion = A Killer E-book
A killer e-book will:
- Begin to set you apart as an authority in your niche
- Grow your brand
- Gain you more readers
- Increase your traffic
- Make you money
Do you have an e-book that the creative community would love? Let me know, and I will take a look and maybe help you promote it! Send me an email HERE.
Put “E-Book” as the subject!