Turn your blog into an ebook

When you turn your blog into an ebook, you can reach new readers using the content you’ve already invested in. Most people who follow you likely haven’t been reading your work since day one, and you may have some hidden gems back in your older posts from years ago that are out of reach from your most recent followers. Creating an anthology of your most popular blog posts on a particular topic is a way to bring older, lesser-viewed writing back to the forefront.

Why Create an Ebook?

Businesses are understandably wary about duplicating content. But when you turn your blog into an ebook, you could be creating plenty of additional value for your audience — even if they have already read some of your posts:

  • An ebook establishes credibility: – Even if your ebook is simply a 20-page pdf file that you’ve created yourself, it will demonstrate to site visitors that you have been around long enough to create such a work. If your ebook is in a particular niche, it can help establish yourself as a subject matter expert, especially if your ebook contains first-hand experience and new information that isn’t available anywhere else. That’s why ebooks are a very popular tool in many B2B social media marketing campaigns.
  • Ebooks get referrals: If your ebook is free, you might as well encourage your readers to share it with anyone they feel might be interested. By including a link to your blog or website within the ebook, you receive free advertisement to new viewers as current readers pass your work along to their colleagues. You can also share your ebook online, providing you don’t spam. All of this represents more traffic being directed toward your site.
  • Ebooks provide offline resource: Some of your readers may want to enjoy your content at times they may not have internet access. You can make your content more accessible when you turn your blog into an ebook, and you won’t have to compete for their attention.
  • Ebooks drive marketing campaigns: Use your ebook as a free giveaway in exchange for having people sign up for your email list. Your free ebook acts as a “lead magnet“, or a reason for viewers of your site to give up their email address to access some exclusive material. “The money is in the list” is a common phrase among email marketing experts, and it’s for a good reason. Once you have an established email list, it’s one of the best ways you can monetize by offering your own products or affiliate products.

How to Select Blog Posts to Include in Your Ebook

ebook writers

There are a lot of different angles that you could take when figuring out the type of ebook you will provide.

  • If you are an established thought leader, you might want to simply create a “best of” ebook of your most popular posts. Most thought leaders use this in combination with an email capture form, which we’ll discuss later in this post.
  • If your blog revolves around a single niche or topic such as dog training or yoga, you probably want to create an ebook that targets specific related keywords related to your business. A great place to start is by looking at the categories of your blog posts. Each category could be the inspiration for its own book.
  • The best type of ebook to attract downloads is one that solves a problem for a reader. For example, people would be more likely to download an ebook that teaches them how to change the oil in their car, than a general ebook on the history of automobiles.

There are endless ways to approach creating an ebook for your blog, but you probably know your readers best and can determine what they would like to see. If you aren’t sure, it doesn’t hurt to ask them! A quick poll can give valuable insight into what your most active followers would want to see in an ebook.

Creating Your Ebook

There are a few different approaches you could take when turning your blog into an ebook, but here we will look at three basic options.

Manually

This is the most time-consuming way to turn your blog into an ebook, but it also doesn’t require any particular expertise. Simply choose the posts to include in your ebook and paste them into a Microsoft Word or Openoffice document. After formatting the ebook yourself, as well as creating a table of contents and any necessary graphics, you can export the finished product as a PDF file for distribution.

Using Online Tools

If you use WordPress, there are many WordPress plugins that turn your blog into an ebook without the need for external services or tecnical help. Look at Anthologize, Bloxp and Pressbooks for starters. Some of these allow you to create ebook formats like ePUB, in addition to PDF.

Bloxp

If your blog doesn’t use WordPress, other options like Zinepal and Blog2Print are also available. All of these tools operate similarly, using the RSS feed of your blog to pull posts into a single document for you.

Hiring Someone

Hiring an ebook writer lets you outsource the task of turning your blog into an ebook. Your ebook writer can select the posts for you and gather them all into a single document, as well as copy editing and updating the content so that it reads well as a book in its own right. For an extra fee, they can add content, or even re-write your posts, so that you combine your existing blog with new, original content.

Hiring an ebook writer is a great option if you’re short on time, or you need that final polish when you turn your blog into an ebook.

Making It Live

Once your ebook is complete, placing it on your site is as simple as adding it as an attachment which is downloadable through a link. If you don’t want to host the ebook on your own site, you can use a Google Drive, Dropbox, or similar cloud-based file sharing option. This is a good way to prevent your web hosting costs from soaring if the ebook proves popular.

If you are using a free ebook to collect emails, you will also need to create an opt-in form that either redirects the user to a download page after signup, or emails the ebook directly to them. You can also have your ebook hosted permanently free on other platforms such as Smashwords and simply link to it there.

Charging Money For Your Ebook

In this post, we have really focused on providing your ebook to readers for free, or in exchange for an email opt-in. Although it can be difficult to give away something that you’ve worked so hard to create for free, this strategy usually pays for itself in the long run.

There are a few cases where your ebook might warrant charging money for, particularly if your blog involves fictional short stories, poetry, or other creative work. Your reader base will be more likely to pay for a compilation of your material to support you in this case, as opposed to just a collection of opinion or educational pieces.

No matter what type of ebook you create, you should add additional exclusive content and value or perform a complete rewrite if you intend to charge money for it. Otherwise, you are opening yourself up to complaints from buyers once they realise that all of the material in your ebook was freely available all along.

For paid ebooks, you have the option of providing them through services like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or the Kobo bookstore. You can also host your paid ebooks on your own website and charge directly using Paypal, Stripe or other payment methods.

Other Ways to Repurpose Your Blog Posts

When you turn your blog into an ebook, use it as an opportunity to think about other ways to repurpose content. Once you post a blog on your business website, you should continue to leverage it in as many ways as possible.

Snippets of your blog can be used to create social media posts on Twitter or Facebook. Specific quotes can be added to your Instagram or Snapchat story. Making a Youtube video related to each blog post is another way to increase the value for your readers, as well as providing a face and voice to your writing to establish a deeper connection. You could also turn your research into an infographic.

By using social media automation tools, it’s completely possible to sit down and set up social media posts for the week in a short time, sharing your blog posts as part of that strategy, and have them automatically be published on a specific schedule. Providing you focus on creating high-quality content, you can re-use your blog posts in many different ways to get the maximum return on investment.

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Dustin Yarc is a freelance writer working with Red Robot Media. He specialises in business, finance, and technical content.
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