Who doesn't love freebies? Bloggers often use various techniques to increase the subscriber count and to get more eyeballs for their content. Giving a free eBook along with subscription is by far one of the most popular methods to attract more readers to your blog. However, nothing can beat quality content to retain those subscriptions. Let's see how to create a free eBook for your readers to inflate your subscriber count.
Creating an eBook solely for the purpose of selling is a different thing and we will not touch that topic. Instead, we will learn how to create an eBook to be given for free to potential subscribers.
Identify Your Audience
Once you have decided to create an eBook for your subscribers, its time to do some research about your audience. This way, you will be in a better position to identify their demands and expectations. Create a table on paper and ask the following questions to yourself.
1. Who are my readers?
2. Where do they come from?
3. What are their common traits?
4. What do they look for on my blog (Use Web Analytics)?
5. In general, what are the demands of my readers?
Take your time and answer each question on paper. Once your have answered your questionnaire, you will have the building blocks for your eBook in your hand. This whole exercise will help you in identifying the right kind of material that is needed to lure your subscribers.
eBook Creation Life Cycle
Take a problem solving approach - eBooks that provide solutions to common questions of readers are the most popular ones and have the potential to go viral. Keeping this in mind, tabulate are the major points and make a list of problem solver topics.
Rough draft - Prepare a rough draft dividing it into major sections and sub-sections. While doing that, scan your blog archive and take the most relevant articles to further expand them in your eBook with new perspective. There are many free eBook Templates that can help you get started in no time. Here are some free eBook templates which can be changed according to your needs and can be converted into an eBook.
Size & pages - An ideal length for a free eBook for subscribers can be anywhere between 30 pages to 100 pages. The more pages it will have the better it will be. Try to keep your eBook less than a MB, so that even dial-up users can download it easily. Do not use too many large high-resolution images to keep the size under control. Packaging your eBook in an attractive eBook cover helps in getting more subscribers. Here are some free eBook covers that you can modify using any image-editing program to suit your needs.
Writing schedule - Professional bloggers have very busy schedules, especially if their blog has picked up speed and traffic is increasing at consistent rate. Create a strict timetable and allocate at least 1/2 an hour daily for your eBook. This way, in less then a month you will be able to write an entire eBook. The best time to write is in the morning with fresh mind. In the footer of each page, write a copyright statement with your name and a permalink to your blog. In the end, do not forget to give credit to all the trademarks you have used. End with a brief biography of yourself and about your blog. And last but not the least is the licensing information in the very last page.
Software to be used - Now comes the technical part of creating an eBook. Conventionally, eBook are distributed in PDF format. Start your eBook in a Word Processor, preferably Microsoft Word. Later on, you can change the Word file into PDF format through conversion software. The most popular is PrimoPDF, which has very large user base and provides excellent Word-To-PDF conversion options. While creating the PDF make it non-editable (read-only).
Licensing issues - Always keep the habit of licensing just about anything you create for your readers. Use the Creative Commons license for your PDF and let your readers share and distribute it further, provided they do not alter it's content. If this distribution goes viral, your blog will get good exposure very quickly.
Distribution mechanism - At this stage, your eBook is ready to be distributed. For that, you need a reliable hosting service. If you have a self-hosted blog, then there is no problem in hosting your eBook. In case you are using any free service like Blogger, you must choose a reliable host for eBook distribution. There are many free services that give you basic PDF hosting services like FreePDFHosting and KeepAndShare. Once your PDF is successfully hosted, spice up your subscription box on your blog and aggressively pitch about your eBook. Never provide a direct link on your blog. The best way is to provide a link in your blog feed. Use a feed footer plugin to embed your eBook link at the bottom of every post in your feed. Blogger users can add the link through their Dashboard by going to 'Settings -> Site Feed -> Post Feed Footer' and pasting the HTML code for the link.
Spread The Word
Now is the time to aggressively spread the word about your Giveaway. Use the following methods to achieve it.
Send Copies to friends and fellow bloggers - Give some copies to well known bloggers in your niche who are your good friends. They may distribute it further or may tweet about it.
Announce in major discussion forums - Go to all major discussion forums and announce about your giveaway. Make sure you post it in the right sub-forum and do not spam with links.
Use social media - Use the power of social media to spread the word about it. Tweet about it and send DM's to some of your trusted partners to retweet it. Aggressively talk about it on Facebook and create a separate section in your Facebook profile displaying your Giveaway
Embed in your email signature - And last but not the least is your good old email signature. Add it in your signature in more compact form and let your business contacts, friends and people know about your giveaway.
Over To You
Have you ever given an eBook for free to your readers to increase your subscriptions? If yes, how was your experience and how much you succeeded in pulling more subscriptions through this method?
First Image Credit: LuMaxArt