A while back, I “wrote a book while you watched” over the course of 11 daily emails. It was about how to build a sales or lead generation funnel around a “free book” offer.
It’s been sitting on my hard drive for a while, waiting for me to edit it and put the final polish on it, before publishing it.
I was taking a look at it, and realized I’d created the notes for an appendix I wanted to add to the book, but hadn’t written the appendix yet.
So that’s what this is. While it’s written about what to include in a free book used for lead generation and education-based selling purposes, the lesson applies for free reports, consumer awareness guides, and other information-based introductory offers.
12 Content Templates for Making Your Book More Valuable
While the brunt of your book should be based around your core selling story, there are a number of ways you can make it more interesting to your target audience.
The following is a list of 12 content templates you may find helpful in developing content for the book you’re creating for use as a selling tool.
Use these as you’re planning your book, to make content creation come easier. And use them while developing the marketing message around your book, because these are the kinds of things that buyers will find motivating enough to request the book and read it.
- Consumer/Buyer’s Guide to (understanding/solving the problem)…
Joe Polish and Dean Jackson of I Love Marketing fame have been some of the biggest proponents of the “Consumer’s Guide” strategy in recent years. When you position your book as a Consumer’s Guide, it automatically feels more valuable to the reader.
The idea is that it will help them make a good purchasing decision in your category. And if you’re following all my other recommendations for how to build your book, it will!
The added benefit if you’ve built your business in such a way that you’re the #1 choice in your market, the end result of them reading the guide is that they now have a set of buying criteria that favors going with you over all other options.
- ## Success Strategies for…
Whatever market or field you’re in, people want to know what the most successful people in that field do to achieve success. By including a list of success strategies, principles, or habits, you will automatically gain some level of interest from a large segment of your market.
Plus, the human interest in lists seems to spring eternal. Simply by formatting items in a list, readership goes up. Even better if your list contains an odd number of items.
Make sure you’re not totally biased in this list. Include a few strategies that are more general, and don’t require the reader to do business with you to implement. But then don’t hesitate to include at least one or two that obviously point to your offering.
- ## Mistakes to Avoid When…
Just like we want to know the right way to do things, we’re just as interested in knowing the wrong way — the mistakes.
A list of common mistakes is a great way to gain readership for your book.
Plus, by pointing out mistakes others have made, you may save your reader from some of them — doing them an incredible service.
Like the success strategies, make sure some of these are general, but don’t hesitate to show how your offering will help the reader avoid the common mistakes and pitfalls.
- ## Ways You’re Getting Ripped Off…
Have you ever driven by a car accident, and not been able to help yourself from looking? Readers have a constant fascination with the bad — even if they want good results.
Having a list of ways that competitors in the industry rip off buyers can be tricky to pull off — but when you do it well, it’s incredibly effective.
If you’re in an industry where consumers have trouble trusting service providers, this is doubly-powerful. By being the voice of truth in a land of lies, you’ll automatically attract buyers who want to be well cared for.
Here, you do want to make sure you explain how your business has been built, from the ground up, as an alternative to the rip offs, scams, and questionable practices you’re calling out.
And I shouldn’t have to say it, but be sure you’re actually taking the moral high ground here — not just claiming it to make the sale!
- ## Costly Misconceptions…
In every industry, there are mistaken beliefs and misconceptions held by a number of buyers. And some of them are very costly! They can cause the buyer to make the wrong purchase decision, spend more than they otherwise would need to, or get a suboptimal result.
By righting these wrongs, you have the opportunity to help your buyer achieve a better financial outcome. Money saved. Additional profits earned. Making the right decision the first time, when they otherwise might have made the wrong decision then had to buy twice.
- ## Common Questions, Answered…
Depending on where and how you use it, a list of frequently asked questions can play a couple roles.
First, it can be generic, about your market, product, or service category. This allows you to convey market expertise, as well as deliver value by answering the most common questions your prospect might have.
Second, it can be specific to your offering. If you use it near the end of your book, after you’ve introduced your value proposition, your frequently asked questions can be more focused on your product, and overcoming objections.
- Reason Why…
John E. Kennedy, one of the founders of modern direct response advertising, created the school of “reason why advertising.” His fundamental assumption was that a prospect will not respond until they have a compelling reason why they should do so.
Further, the prospect will be more likely to respond if they understand the reason why for everything. The reason why you’re involved in your market. The reason why you created the offering you did. The reason why you’re reaching out to them now, in this context. The reason why you believe your offering is superior to every other option. And so on.
This is presented as a separate content template, and can be used as such. However it should also be used as a guiding principle that permeates all your messaging.
If we humans love lists, we love checklists even more. They help us walk through a process or a set of criteria, and make sure we have all the points taken care of.
Presumably, with a checklist, you’re going to get a better result than without. Because the checklist represents a tested, proven process.
This makes them great to include in your book.
Also worth noting: the right checklist can have a very high perceived value. Someone may read your book once, appreciate it, and then put it on their shelf, never to touch it again. But a checklist may be ripped out or copied, kept at hand, and used over and over again.
Design a checklist to be used, and in a way that makes it obvious that it’s connected to you, and you may find that your name, brand, or offering remain close at hand for your prospects for a very long time.
A form holds all the value of a checklist, but is in a different format.
If something about what you cover in your book is best represented or used via a form, make it available in your book.
Even better, make an interactive form available as a downloadable tool, through your website.
- Find Yourself Here…
This is a copy trick I picked up from Dan Kennedy. Most offerings have a limited number of ideal customers who are the most common buyers for that product or service.
Here’s how you use that information. Create a “profile” of each of these different kinds of buyers. Explain who they are, how they use the product, and how they uniquely benefit.
As your reader looks through these profiles, they will find the one that most closely represents them. Then, as they read, they’ll get a good idea of how your offering will benefit them.
- Customer Interviews, Success Stories, Case Studies…
The customer story is an always-valuable selling tool. In fact, anything your customer says about you is infinitely more valuable than anything you can say about yourself. And so it’s even better if at least some of this is in your customer’s words.
This can be combined with “find yourself here” or presented on its own. It is good though to think about the different kinds of clients for your offering, as well as the different use cases. Include a variety, to show the different ways your offering can be used to derive benefit.
- Parables and Selling Stories…
Don’t underestimate the power of a good story. In fact, in selling a story made to convey a point is far more valuable than any direct claim.
This topic calls for an entire book on its own, but here are some common selling story templates that will lead you in the right direction…
Origin story, product creation story, back story and reason why, the amazing discovery, a secret mentor, the incredible transformation, “I saw the light,” first-person testimonial, news story, teaching parables, personal stories of product use, and more.
The key is to find a good story that can be tied to your product or service, and make sure it helps move the prospect down the path to purchase.
How to use these content templates…
You don’t have to include ALL of these in your book. Rather, use this list as an idea generator, as you plan the content of your book. Can you come up with a list of common misconceptions? Are there a number of success strategies you can recommend? Do you have a really good origin story that draws prospects to you?
As you think of them, integrate them into your outline for the book, and work them into the book’s content. You can make them part of the book’s main narrative, or do what I’ve done here and add them as an appendix!
So… Whaddya think? That useful?
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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