A detailed, informative ebook is a great way to prove your brand is an authority in its space.
Companies typically publish ebooks as lead magnets to draw site visitors from their blog posts to their email subscription list. An ebook highlights a single burning question or problem that the “average” user is likely to deal with.
Once you’ve mastered your publishing workflow, you could have many ebooks. To start with, though, it’s a good idea to focus your time and effort on something with broad audience appeal.
Selecting the right ebook topics is key to success. If you don’t start with excellent ebook topics, all your hard work could easily go to waste. And since an ebook takes more time and effort than the average blog post, it’s essential to get it done right.
Here’s how to choose ebook topics that will make a splash with your site visitors:
1. Ask Them
Never be afraid to ask your leads and customers what they want. They just might surprise you!
Sure, it’s not always easy to get leads to sit down and provide feedback. With persistence and the right methods, however, you can do it. Any email subscriber could take time to fill out a (very) short questionnaire if you furnish the right incentive.
What about your satisfied customers? People who have made a buy often like to feel their voice is heard in what your brand does. Contact them by email or LinkedIn and ask what challenges they’d be interested in reading about in your book.
A trick many smaller web entrepreneurs have used can help you test the waters on your topic. Simply outline what topics you think you should cover and write a quick promotional email. Send out the email with an invitation to “pre-register” for a free copy of the ebook.
If there’s a spike of interest, it shows you’re onto something.
2. Look at Your High-Performing Pages
Your high-performing content can provide you with all kinds of ebook topics.
For this exercise, you want to look to your blog pages, not to specialized landing pages that tout a specific offer. Look at your blog posts both in terms of the amount of traffic they attract and, vitally, their d. That is, the average amount of time users spend on that page.
As we all know, people skim on the internet much more than they read.
When people are sitting down and diving deep into your content, it demonstrates that you’ve given them something they’re really interested in. That suggests that a longer treatment could help you tap the unmet needs of your audience.
Of course, take total traffic into account. If just one person spent three hours reading one of your blog posts, odds are good he or she fell asleep at the desk. Don’t let outliers skew your thinking.
3. Do Competitor Research
Your competitors are out there writing ebooks, too, and some of them are very successful.
If a well-established competitor is doing something that works, they’ve probably invested careful research into it – just like you. While you don’t want to repeat what others have said, you can use existing work as a jumping-off point to make your ebook even better.
Start by looking at your top 10 competitors and seeing which ones are using ebooks in their content strategy. When you find one, sign up for it and take a look. Keep an eye on depth, tone, and formatting to fuel your own creative thinking.
Naturally, you won’t be able to tell how many ebook subscribers a rival company has. So, how can you discover which ebooks are winners versus which ones are lying on the proverbial shelf?
An SEO suite that focuses on competitor research, like SpyFu, will get you on the right track. Look for tools that generate granular traffic statistics on internal pages so you can spot high-traffic sign-up pages, such as ebook sign-up landing pages.
4. Meet Your Audience Where They Are
Not every potential customer will want to talk to you – but they do talk to each other.
Forums like Reddit, Quora, and LinkedIn are ideal for finding ebook topics in the B2B world. LinkedIn Groups offer special insights here: Choose a group focused on your target audience and they’ll often be glad to volunteer info on business worries that make them sweat.
To glean good answers from a forum, add value and avoid being sales-y. People won’t interact with you if they think they’re going to get the hard sell. Use a soft touch and online communities can be a terrific research resource.
An ebook promises the deep, sophisticated look into a topic that many B2B decision-makers crave. With the perfect topic as your foundation, you can create a book that will skyrocket conversions.