by Nina Amir
Despite much talk about building author platform on social networks, the number of fans and followers you attract on Twitter, Google Plus or Facebook can’t match the power of a large mailing list when it comes to marketing your ebook.
A mailing list allows you to contact people interested in you and your services or products—your subscriber—directly at any time without relying on the rules or environment of a social network. This gives you great freedom and ability to reach and to market to your potential readers, clients and customers.
However, mailing lists are built most quickly with a free product, like a short ebook, white paper, report, or audio recording. These days most people don’t just want to sign up for a newsletter—they are too busy and have email boxes that are too full already, but they will sign up for a list if they receive a valuable product in the process.
When I work with my blogging, blog-to-book or author coaching clients, I advise them to set up an account with an email service provider, such as Mailchimp, Aweber or Constant Contact, and to then create a short ebook to help them attract subscribers to the list they want to build. Many of them balk at this idea because they already feel overwhelmed by writing an ebook or print book. I assure them they can produce an ebook in no time flat in a variety of ways.
You, too, can create an ebook or product quickly and almost effortlessly to give away to build an email list. Here are four ways to do so:
Blog a short ebook:
Create a blogging plan for a series of posts on a topic you know your potential clients or customers will find of value. For instance, you could write 5-10 posts that answer the top questions they typically ask. Or you could write 5-10 posts on the benefits of your product or service.
You also could write a series of posts that discuss solutions to common problems experienced by your clients or customers. Once done composing and publishing this series, add an introduction and a conclusion, your bio and other contact information or an “About” page on your company. You might also plan out one extra chapter (of blog-post length) with additional information.
Then have this manuscript professionally edited, a cover designed and converted into PDF format. (You can choose to convert it to mobi or epub also and upload it to Amazon or elsewhere if you like.)
Record a teleseminar and transcribe it:
If you often offer teleseminars or webinars, you can easily record them using whatever service you use to provide them, such as Gotowebinar, Freeconferencecall or gotomeeting. When done, download your recording and have it transcribed. (You can find inexpensive transcriptionists on Odesk or Elance)
You then have two choices; you can edit the transcript so it reads more like an ebook and use just that as your free offer (or couple it with the audio as well) or you can provide the audio and the raw transcript together as a product.
The former option requires more work, but with just a bit of effort you can produce a nice ebook from an hour-long webinar, especially if you plan out that webinar knowing in advance that the information you speak will later be printed.
If you decide to produce an ebook, you will want to add an introduction and a conclusion, your bio and other contact information or an “About” page on your company. Then have this manuscript professionally edited, a cover designed and converted to a PDF. If necessary, converted it also into mobi or epub format to load to Amazon or elsewhere.
Speak a short ebook:
For those of you who really aren’t writers, this is one of the easiest ways to produce a short ebook (or any book). I often work with entrepreneurs who want to produce a book but don’t feel they can write a book themselves.
I counsel them away from hiring a ghostwriter, which can be quite costly, and have them “speak” their books. In this case, you plan out a short ebook. Then you speak this book using a digital recorder or a transcription service provided on your computer or with your word processing system. You can also purchase program like iDictate or Dragon Naturally Speaking.
Of course, you then must go through the same process as above once you have a transcript, adding in additional marketing material, editing the transcript yourself, then getting it edited professionally, etc. Then convert it to a PDF.
Repurpose existing material:
You can find material you have already written and published on your blog, for other blogs, as articles for magazines, or even for your upcoming ebook and repurpose it into a short ebook.
Many authors simply choose to give away sample chapters to their upcoming books, for instance, or they choose to “book their blogs” rather than “blog their books.”
You might even find you have enough old newsletter articles for a report. Edit this material and convert it into a PDF.
Of course, you could write something from scratch, but these four options will provide you with a free ebook or product in no time flat—and won’t take too much time (if any) away from the writing of your “real” ebook. While you continue writing your ebook, you’ll be gaining subscribers to whom you can later market that ebook when you are ready to release it.
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.