Once you have decided to produce an e-book for B2B inbound marketing, the next step is to assign the writing of the content. Ideally, you want a copywriter who has a lot of copywriting experience, is focused on B2B marketing communications, and specializes in long-form content writing (e.g., e-books, case studies, white papers, executive blog posts). If you do not have this type of writer in-house, search for a freelance copywriter who is qualified to take on the project.
Then complete the following ten steps to get closer to creating an e-book:
1. Pick a topic.
Do you want your e-book to explain a complex concept? Establish your company as a thought-leader? Provide tips for selecting a certain product or service? Answer the key questions your prospects ask?
Make sure your topic is narrow enough to be explained in a few pages, yet also interesting enough to pique the attention of your target audience. The idea is to offer useful information that causes your prospects to interact with your company.
2. Choose the type of e-book you want.
Your content can be structured in one of several ways. Here are a few examples:
- a numbered list
- a question-and-answer format
- a detailed explanation of a process
- a presentation of best practices
- a compilation of book-style chapters
- a journey with a beginning and an end (e.g., “a roadmap to success”)
3. Schedule a kickoff call with your copywriter.
Be prepared to give important details that your writer will need to get started. For example: Describe your company. Explain the purpose of your new e-book. Define your target audience and describe a typical prospect (title, role, experience, etc.). Describe your selected topic, why you chose it, and how it relates to your industry as a whole.
State how many phone interviews will be required for the writer to gather information. Define your desired response from the target audience (CTA). Also, provide names and website URLS for your main competitors.
4. Review and approve your copywriter’s fee agreement.
Provide a purchase order, as well, for validation, and pay an upfront deposit if your writer requires one. (This is common practice among experienced B2B copywriters.)
5. Provide keywords to your copywriter.
If you already have invested in keyword research, then you already have identified targeted keywords for your website’s content. Share those keywords with your copywriter to make sure those are woven into your e-book’s wording.
6. Email resources to help your copywriter.
Be sure to share anything that will provide background information or more in-depth details to help your copywriter get up to speed. The items you share may be articles, whitepapers, brochures, case studies, press releases, PowerPoint presentations or other resources.
7. Schedule all necessary phone interviews.
You will want your copywriter to speak with at least two SMEs within your company, in order to gather insight, information and statements for the e-book’s content. You may also choose to arrange an interview with a client and/or an external (third-party) SME who can add an objective viewpoint.
8. Review your copywriter’s outline and provide feedback.
Allow your writer enough time to assimilate gathered input, complete necessary online research and draft a content outline. Once that outline is submitted to you, be sure to read it thoroughly and then provide constructive feedback in a written format. This will force you to articulate your thoughts better than if you were to just provide feedback over the phone.
9. Review your copywriter’s first draft and return it with comments.
When your copywriter has completed the initial draft for your e-book, carve out enough time to read it, study it and insert constructive comments. Once again, this should be done in writing (for example, by using the Track Changes feature within Microsoft Word).
10. Review and approve your copywriter’s revised draft, or request additional revisions.
If your copywriter’s fee agreement allows for two rounds of revisions, this is when you are allowed to request a few more tweaks to get the wording just right.
If you follow these steps for creating an e-book with the help of a copywriter, you will be well on your way to getting a high-quality finished product!