time_to_planThis post is an excerpt from the video series The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Ebook for Lead GenerationIf you want to learn more about the ebook creation process, watch the full video series here.

You've made up your mind: you're going to create an ebook (and, of course, it's going to be awesome). There’s only one problem: You don’t know what the heck you’re going to write about.

While some marketers might start the ebook creation process by opening up a blank document and waiting for inspiration to strike, we recommend that you take a more methodical approach.

In the video below, we walk you through the ebook planning process and help you map out exactly what you'll need to do before you start writing.

If you want to follow along with the video, download our ebook planning worksheet and fill out each of the four sections -- goal, audience, topic, and ebook scope -- with your own ideas.

Not a fan of video? Read the transcription below.

Before you open up Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or Evernote and start typing away at your ebook, it’s important to take a step back and remember this handy pneumonic device: G.A.T.E.

G.A.T.E. stands for Goal, Audience, Topic, and Ebook scope. Let’s quickly break down these components, as they lay the foundation for a successful ebook. (And feel free to download the G.A.T.E worksheet that we provided so you can follow along.)

First, there’s Goal. In this case, our primary goal is to generate leads. But you should also think about what you want those leads to do after they’ve downloaded your ebook. Do you want them to consume more of your content? Do you want them to contact your sales team? Make sure to keep these goals in mind throughout the ebook creation process.

Next, there’s Audience. Many folks fail to consider who the target audience is for an ebook. This is a crucial misstep, because if your ebook doesn’t click with your audience, it’s likely that you’ll fall flat on your goal.

Here’s a pro tip: If you haven’t already, take the time to create buyer personas -- fictional representations of your company’s ideal customers. In most cases, your target audience for an ebook should be one of those personas. 

Next, we have Topic. Use your defined goal and audience to figure out what you should be writing about. Once you’ve identified a topic that will resonate with your audience, jot down a few working titles and get to work on an outline. To make it easier, we recommend using a numbered list in your title (e.g. 17 SEO Myths You Should Leave Behind), as it will help give your ebook a defined structure.

Finally, we have Ebook scope. We can think about scope in two parts ...

First, what resources do you have to help with the production of your ebook? These can be both human resources (e.g. a graphic designer) and content assets (e.g. a library of stock images).

Second, based on the resources available, what’s your timeline for the production of your ebook?

Now that you’ve nailed down your ebook’s goal, audience, topic, and scope, you’re ready to start writing. So go find a quiet space and get to it! And when you’re finished, move on to the next video in the series, where we’ll show you how to create a basic structure for your ebook.  

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Originally published May 20, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017

Topics:

Writing Skills