We talk a lot about the importance of creating lead generation content, and we often cite ebooks as one of those awesome lead generators. In fact, we invest a lot of manpower into our own ebooks -- we've hired someone whose entire job is to write ebook content, and lay them out beautifully in InDesign. Thing is ... we didn't always have the resources to do that, and most of the marketers we talk to don't have those resources, either. So we decided to figure out a way to do it in PowerPoint, and then created a plug-and-play PowerPoint ebook template so you can easily create a beautiful and effective ebook, too!
You shouldn't just dive right into your ebook content. Ebooks are long-form content, and as such, it makes sense to treat it kind of like, well, a book. The first few pages should briefly explain what the ebook is about, who wrote it, and the content the reader will find contained therein. This will help them not only get oriented, but also allow them to scroll through to only the sections that interest them -- if that's their preference. Let's walk through those first three pages now.
The first page of your ebook is your cover. Keep it simple, including a descriptive title, your company logo, and a relevant cover image that reflects the content contained in the ebook. It's important to keep your ebook branded so that when it's shared, those new readers know who the original author is.
The second page of your ebook is the author page, where you'll include the author name, a little bio that explains who they are (and why they're qualified to write this ebook), and a head shot. You can even include their social media information to help them gain a little personal clout for their contribution!
Finally, fill in your table of contents with the chapter titles and page numbers on which those chapters begin so readers can skip ahead of they'd like. Which brings us to our next step in creating a fantastic ebook ...
Step 2: Create Chapter Title Pages
We just created your table of contents; those page numbers need chapter title pages to align with! Creating a title page for each chapter helps to separate your topics and help your readers more easily navigate your ebook. Take a look:
Your chapter number and title should be big and bold, and the page itself should remain uncluttered so it's easy for readers to identify the beginning of a new chapter when quickly scrolling through the ebook. You can place a visual on that page, though, that illustrates the concepts in that chapter to kick things off. The first chapter title page will occur immediately after the table of contents, and is also the first page in your ebook that you'll include page numbers on. We've put ours in the bottom, left corner of each page.
Step 3: Make Your Content Look Beautiful
From here on out, it's easy to just input your content into PowerPoint, but that doesn't make for a very nice reader experience. You want your content to be reader-friendly, which means putting on your designer hat. Luckily, you don't have to actually be a designer (I'm certainly not one, and I can use this bad boy) to make your PowerPoint ebook look amazing with this template. Let's walk through some of the formatting devices and design elements you should implement to turn a boring chunk of copy into words that dance across the page.
First, make sure you're using the same 3-5 colors throughout the ebook. Take a look below, for example ... there's just blue, gray, and black on a white background. And that color scheme is maintained throughout the entire ebook.
You should also take care not to use too many fonts in your ebook. Let the reader's eye get used to two -- maybe three -- fonts that you use throughout the ebook for a pleasant experience.
Consistency also comes with maintaining the same general format from page to page. That doesn't mean you can't include interesting design elements (more on that next) and move around your page elements; it just means the basic framework of each page should remain the same like you see in the image below.
Now that you have a consistent framework around which to work, you can start to input your content. But don't just plop words on a page! Think of ways to draw the reader's eye with visual call-outs, like we did on this sample page:
Notice how we used a bright set of quotation marks that are exaggerated in size to indicate that we're quoting someone? If you have a notable quotation in your ebook, use this to grab the reader's attention on that page. You can do the same thing with fascinating data points, too -- bite size chunks of information like the one you see above can grip your reader, and encourage them to read the rest of the content on the page that's typed out in a simple text box. If you don't have data points or quotations to pull out of the text on a page, you can also include a relevant image to make the page more visually interesting. Whatever you do, just ensure you don't have too much text on one page, or you risk overwhelming readers and losing their attention.
To make that text even easier to read, we recommend you use formatting devices found in any WYSIWYG editor, like bold text, italics, bullets, and check marks. You can also call out important keywords in a bright color if it helps convey the meaning of the page, like you see in our sample below.
First, go back through your copy and see if there are any opportunities to link text to a landing page. You know, your basic hyperlink. Then take it up a notch and incorporate visual CTAs on relevant pages. You shouldn't do this on every page, but finding a few opportunities throughout the ebook will help you capture conversions for those who don't read all the way to the end -- because at the end, you'll have a dedicated CTA page like the one outlined in blue above! That page should include a bold, actionable headline, visual CTA, and a short description of the offer. That's right, you're including an offer in your offer. How meta -- and smart!
When including these links, be sure you're including tracking tokens so you know how many leads you're getting from your ebook offer. If you need help creating tracking tokens, visit this blog post on the subject.
Step 5: Convert Your Ebook Into a PDF
You could keep your ebook in a PowerPoint format, but that's not really putting your best foot forward since it requires the reader to essentially launch a slide show on their computer. Instead, you could easily convert it into a PDF by simply clicking 'Save As' and selecting 'PDF' in the 'Save as Type' dropdown menu. Before you upload your new ebook offer to your thank-you page, be sure the file name is something logical, like "10 Ways to Braid Your Unicorn's Tail," as opposed to "unicorn_ebook_groomin_v4." Once that's done, well, congratulations! You just created a spectacular ebook!
How do you create your ebooks so they're reader-friendly and visually appealing? Share your ebook tips in the comments!
Originally published Jul 26, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017