Need a lead magnet? Write an e-book in 1 day

Photo Written by Sanne Jorna

Cold selling is out; you want to slowly "warm up" your target audience before you make an offer. But how do you get visitors to your website into that funnel or sales funnel? As specialists in websites that convert, we almost always work with a lead magnet, such as an e-book.

Now we can already see you shuddering, because an e-book is not something you just shake out of your sleeve. And that while you would prefer to start collecting leads yesterday. With this article we want to open your eyes and encourage you, because it is possible to write your lead magnet in one day.

Why an e-book is ideal as a lead magnet

Leads are just one step away from a desired action: requesting a quote, sending in a job application, requesting a consultation, and so on. Leads are people who have voluntarily given you their contact information - often their e-mail address. This enables you to make them an attractive offer, for example, during cucumber time.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. How do we start building such a list? How do you get people, in the age of spam, to share their email address with you? The answer is as simple as it is complicated: by adding value. By showing that you have your potential customer's best interests at heart. We think an e-book is perfect for that, because:

  • An e-book is considered a valuable gift
  • You reinforce your status as a specialist
  • Leads spend a lot of time with you when reading (know-like-trust)

How long does an e-book take to write?

Traditional books easily have 50,000 words, which comes down to about 150 pages. If you start from scratch, you normally spend months writing such a book. But you don't have that much time. After all, you're busy enough with your daily marketing and communications activities. That's why we're going to radically hack that traditional writing process. Because in this blog post you will learn how to write an e-book in one day that will bring in non-stop leads.

But note: extraordinary results require an extraordinary approach. An e-book is not a checklist you can finish in an hour. That's why we take the definition of a day as broad as possible - 24 hours. In addition, we show you all kinds of hacks to make the most of that limited time, to finally have an e-book ready that is irresistible.

How to write an e-book in 1 day

First, take a look at step 8; maybe that's something you don't want to do yourself but would rather outsource. In that case, you can make that the first step from the list below. While you wait for the book cover design, you then get to work on the content.

1. Determine how many words you will write

Your e-book really doesn't have to be 50,000 words or more. The fact is that few readers of nonfiction books get past the first chapter. Why? Because they get overwhelmed by so many pages and don't feel like putting hours of their precious time into a book. They would rather have a book that is to-the-point.

We recommend that you create an e-book of 4,000-10,000 words for your lead magnet. On the virtual A4 paper of a PDF, that's about 10-25 pages, which gives you the right balance of depth and brevity. Not only is this more easily achievable for yourself, but it also prevents your readers from becoming overwhelmed and thus encourages them to read the book all the way through. Choose a minimum word count, because we're going to hit that number within 24 hours.

2. Gather the content you already have

We're now going to take stock of what source material you already have. As you read in our blog post on lead magnets, it's advisable to create an e-book on a topic you've written about before. So on what topic do you already have a cluster of blog posts? And what is the subtopic of each blog post? If you haven't written anything yet, you can even pull information from emails or quotes you've previously sent to clients.

3. Define your target audience

Who are you going to write the e-book for? You will know your target group well, but is your e-book really suitable for that entire target group, or are you addressing a subset of it? It can help to create a persona for whom you are writing the e-book. That way, the tone and style hit your intended reader.

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4. Create a table of contents.

You know what you're going to write about and you've already found some source material. Time to put these puzzle pieces together. Organize the subtopics in a logical order and see if the list is complete. Chances are there are still some gaps that you will need to create new content for, but don't worry; you are perfectly on track. What you want at the end of this step is a table of contents that you can use as a framework for your e-book.

5. Rewrite existing content

Now that the structure of your lead magnet is clear, you can create the content. The easiest way is of course to use existing content from blog posts in its original form, but think carefully about whether you want to do this. If you do, what do you do with those blog posts? Do you take them offline or do you just leave them with the risk that visitors read the same thing twice? Rewriting is faster than writing and can quickly give that existing content a new look.

6. Write the missing content

You will undoubtedly need some new content. Find the necessary source material for that; online or at the library. That way you won't be distracted during the writing process because you have to look for certain quotes, definitions, figures or other facts. Speaking of distractions, make sure you can't be disturbed by anything or anyone for a day. Writing an e-book in a day requires tremendous concentration. How many words do you achieve per hour, writing? The average writing pace is between 500 and 1,000 words, highly dependent on the subject and the writer's knowledge. One way to fit more words into an hour is to use the dictation feature of your word processor. In Google Docs, for example, you'll find it under Tools -> Speech-to-text typing.

7. Check and edit your e-book

If you have all your content in one document, then you need to check it carefully. Do all the sentences run smoothly and does your message come across well? Polish away language and spelling mistakes, check whether the 'storyline' is correct, write an introduction and possibly an epilogue and add page numbers to the table of contents. This is a task you might want to outsource to a (freelance) content specialist or editor.

8. Design the cover

An e-book also needs a book cover. In fact, it can't be done without one. It is this eye-catcher that initially seduces your visitors. You can outsource such a cover to a graphic designer (plus points if you have one in-house ), but you can also create one yourself in Canva. There you will find numerous templates for book covers, which you can customize to approximate your corporate identity. In Canva you will also find templates for the inside of your e-book.

Why your e-book doesn't have to be perfect

In marketing land, the term just ship it is popular. Whoever uses that phrase means that a product doesn't have to be perfect in order to ship or sell it. We can also apply that term to your lead magnet, that e-book you wrote in one day.

We understand that you want to be careful in your communication to the outside world; your e-book must impress in terms of form and content. But it is not for nothing that you are reading a blog post about writing a book in one day. The core of the message ship it is that you should not use your perfectionism as an excuse for procrastination.

If your e-book is finished, don't wait but offer it as a lead magnet right away. At the same time, you can present it to a select number of existing leads and ask them to comment on it. You can then gradually incorporate that constructive criticism into the e-book, without losing any leads during that editing period.

Want to know even more about lead generation? Then download our free lead generation white paper.

Sanne Jorna Content marketing
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