Updated November 2020: As a savvy SaaS marketer, you know you need an ebook in your toolkit to deliver value to your prospects and convert them into leads. eBooks are popular among B2B audiences and receive 3 times as many downloads as white papers, which is why writing an ebook should be on your priority list.
Once you’ve reviewed B2B ebook examples, brainstormed your own ebook ideas and narrowed down a specific topic, you’re ready to begin writing an ebook. But before you do, make sure you have a fully fleshed out content brief so everyone is on the same page.
In this article, we’ll cover 7 steps to help you nail the process and create a strong ebook that lands sales.
7 steps for writing an ebook
Step 1: Gather your source material
Most projects require some prep work, and writing an ebook is no different. Now that you’ve decided on a topic, it’s time to comb through your SaaS company’s existing content to see what would make sense to incorporate into your ebook. Options include content from blog posts, webinars and podcasts. You should also find external sources as part of your research process to add a broader industry perspective to your ebook.
Drawing on your existing content as well as credible sources will help speed up the process of writing an ebook significantly. For now, just focus on gathering the content. You’ll organize it later during the outline phase, coming up next.
Step 2: Draft your outline
A crucial beginning step to writing an ebook is creating an outline. This will help ensure that you include all of the topics you planned to cover, as well as help you develop a clear, compelling flow for the content. An outline breaks down the writing process into individual steps that you can tackle easily. And, it identifies your team members’ tasks to keep them on track.
While ebook formats vary, most have specific chapters broken down by headers and subheaders. The best ebooks use design elements like images, illustrations, infographics, charts and lists to make the content more engaging. These items should be noted in your outline. You should also include sources for any statistics you use. Your editor will thank you!
Step 3: Write the entire ebook before you edit it
Writing an ebook takes a significant amount of time and energy. Don’t make the process more complex than necessary by getting caught up in editing before you’re finished writing. This will only slow you down. Write a complete draft first, then go back and edit it. Also make sure you get a second set of eyes on your ebook draft.
Step 4: Write an engaging introduction
Your ebook introduction should be compelling and deliver value to your reader right away. It should also give your reader a preview of the ebook’s contents and explain what they’ll gain from reading it.
Consider these tips for writing a killer introduction:
- include a statistic to drive home the importance of your ebook topic
- write the introduction after you’ve finished writing the rest of the ebook
Step 5: Write clear chapters (in clear language)
When writing an ebook, each chapter should address a specific topic and conclude with a review of the most important points covered. Offering actionable takeaways at the end of every chapter is a great way to provide continuous value to your reader.
Your chapters should not only flow clearly from one defined topic to the next, but they should also be written clearly. Avoid using jargon that your readers will have to muddle through. Stop run-on sentences in their tracks. Explain technical concepts. Your ebook should read conversationally to keep your audience engaged until the CTA (call to action).
Step 6: Write a strong conclusion
If your reader has stuck with you until the end of your ebook, you’ve got a solid lead on your hands. Finish strong with a conclusion that briefly revisits all the valuable, actionable information you’ve shared, then guides your reader where you want them to go next with a powerful CTA.
Some CTA examples you could try include:
- booking a call to discuss your products
- booking a product demo
- registering for an on-demand webinar
- signing up for a free trial of your service
Step 7: Edit your first draft
As we mentioned in Step 1, now that you’ve finished writing an ebook draft, you’re ready to complete an initial round of edits. Even if you’re working with an editor, you should run through your draft to clean it up before you pass it off to them.
Here are a few things to look for when editing:
- Style: This can include anything from using numerals instead of spelling out numbers (5 vs. five) to using Oxford commas in your writing. Find out if your company has a style guide and follow it.
- Capitalization: Does your SaaS company use title case or sentence case for headers and subheaders? Check your style guide to find out. If your organization doesn’t have a style guide, a good rule of thumb is to simply be consistent in your capitalization.
- Typos and mistakes: Review your draft for any misspelled words or names, incorrectly cited sources and anything else that could detract from the quality of your ebook.
While editing isn’t the most thrilling part of writing an ebook, it’s essential to a final product that looks professional and makes an impact free from distracting copy errors.
Now that you’re well versed in the steps of writing an ebook, it’s time to learn how to develop a visually striking ebook design that will keep readers engaged. This is the fifth post in a 6-part series on how to write a SaaS ebook that gets downloads.
Get help from ebook experts
Uplift Content’s ebook writing service can help take the work of producing this crucial SaaS marketing tool off your plate. The best part? You’ll still get to enjoy the results.