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Inbound Web Design

HubSpot How to: Write an Awesome, 8,000 Word eBook in Less Than 1 Day

Posted by Mike Cerio on Sep 14, 2012 7:45:00 AM


Rapid-Fire TOFU Creation

If there is any single factor that unites small business owners worldwide, it’s that they want scaleable growth, profit and more leads from their website. While fabulous web design and easy navigation can keep your future clients from hitting the dreaded “back” button and heading to a competitor’s website, you’ve got to capture their interest while it’s still fresh. Your website needs TOFU, which is a silly acronym used by marketers to refer to “Top of the Funnel Offers.” We’re talking free eBooks, eCourses, checklists and templates. You need to trade something of value for your website visitors’ phone number and email address.

But really, who has the time?

Not every small business has a dedicated content marketer, and writing an extra 2,000 words can be a serious time commitment. Here’s the thing: your TOFU can’t suck. If it’s riddled with spelling errors, poorly designed or worst of all, pure fluff, it’s not going to resonate well with your new leads. In 2012, five extrabytes of data are generated and published every two days- that’s the equivalent of the information generated between the dawn of humanity and 2003. We’re living in an era of serious information overload. Pinterest rules among social media networks because people need to sort and store information. Have I convinced you that your TOFU just won’t make an impression unless it’s solid enough to stand out?

I’m about to share a little secret. One of the most recent pieces of TOFU I cooked up, an eBook about effective websites, really didn’t take me that long. From opening the blank document to finishing up the citations and edits for our designer, I averaged about 1,000 words an hour because I used top-performing, relevant blog content as the bones of the document. You’re probably shaking your head, but it’s actually a really smart thing to do. It’s not plagiarism because you own the content and here’s the real kicker - we all do it, if we’re smart. Sorry, but even your most enthusiastic leads probably haven’t read all of your blog content, especially stuff that was posted more than a few months back.

Let’s imagine for a minute a small business, Christoph’s Catering, who specialize in cooking for weddings. In the last year, they’ve covered at least 5 different evergreen aspects of their business in depth on their blog, which include pricing, how to interview caterers, designing a menu, wedding food trends and negotiating contracts. When this information is combined with an introduction, conclusion and snappy design, it makes for a really comprehensive guide for brides on choosing, hiring and working with food vendors. Here’s my personal process for repurposing blog content into fresh and delicious TOFU:

1. Pick a Topic. It can’t be too big or too small - can you cover it sufficiently in around 3,000-5,000 words? Remember your future leads are likely in the research stage, so the eBook should be pretty basic.
2. Draft an Outline. I can’t recommend this step enough for staying organized if you’re setting out to work on a big document.
3. Pull relevant blog content, searching by tag on our business blog. Copy and paste relevant sections into the document.
4. Edit the document for flow, a comprehensive tone and clarity. Add a fresh take and brand new statistics. If your product or service is boring, consider using sports, pop culture analogies or humor to add a little extra sparkle.
5. Write an introduction and conclusion. Add citations and a description of your company at the end of the eBook.
6. Close Your Computer. Return, edit and edit again.

I’m a firm believer that there really are no shortcuts to quality content. Writing blog content and TOFU that isn’t just good enough to be read, but is high-quality enough to be shared on social media channels and discussed off the web takes a lot of time, hard work and insight. That being said, TOFU doesn’t need to mean reinventing the wheel. Give yourself a break and recycle away.


About the Author: Jasmine is Content Rockstar at Inbound Marketing Agents, a Gold Hubspot partner agency offering full services in Nashville, TN. She specializes in making really boring B2B content sparkle. Connect with her on Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook.

Topics: HubSpot Tips, inbound marketing, blogging tips, marketing tips, content marketing, hubspot, blogging, marketing techniques