Writing an ebook for content marketing: Flex the format

Posted on April 21, 2018 by admin tagged with , , , under Strategy

In step 2, I covered the key components to consider in an approach to an ebook project. In step 3 I will outline what to consider regarding the format of the publication itself.

As you can imagine longer form content pieces can take many shapes and sizes. As part of your project scope you will need to decide how much time and energy you are prepared to set aside to produce a quality ebook without it becoming a never ending story…

Here are some guidelines for what’s involved in creating the ebook once you have decided on an approach to the content.

  • Like most forms of content, ebooks do not need to be overly lengthy to be appealing.
  • A project like this can aim for a 50-page length with the goal of being something more than a whitepaper that people can continuously refer to.
  • The word count will vary depending on the type of content and accompanying creative, including images. As a minimum there would be around 300 words per “copy page”, so if a 50-page ebook has 40 “copy pages” the word count would be around 12,000 words. Non-copy pages include title, section, graphic and contact pages, etc.
  • If desired due to timing and budget reasons, an experienced editor will employ a range of techniques to minimise the amount of raw copy required to fill a page. These include:

    1. Images including photos and screenshots
    2. Artwork and conceptual “smart art”.
    3. Tables
    4. Lists
    5. Pull quotes
    6. Any research charts
    7. Infographics

  • The format of the ebook should be a standard ebook format (like ePub), but also produced as a PDF and, if desired, made available on the Web as regular HTML.
  • The option of a well-formatted print publication should never be overlooked. You have the ebook; you can print it as well.
  • One you have the ebook you can look at mobile apps as a delivery channel too.
  • There are numerous options for the design, including letting the content marketing agency handle the design to give it an independent look.
  • Engage with a third-party design firm just for the design and formatting (advantageous for larger projects).
  • Keep the design in-house and adhere to corporate branding guidelines (the “style guide” if there is one).
  • A project like this represents a good opportunity to “break free” from a tired style and try something fresh.
  • Good editors and agencies will write but also consult on the design – particularly if there is a need to get the most out of the word count!
Grid and editorial plan for all stakeholders
  • Even for small projects like these is it useful to create a “grid” which outlines what will go on every page.
  • This is a key component of the overall editorial plan and is something non-media savvy stakeholders will understand.

Decide on the most suitable approach and variables like length and type of content to be included and work towards developing a scope of the ebook project. Once you have a scope and budget in mind, meet with your editor to discuss timing and start working on the content.

When you have decided on the format of the ebook, you’re almost ready to begin. But before you do, it’s good practice to budget for your ebook project. In the next step I’ll go over the costs involved in creating an ebook for content marketing.