As you build up your blog, and your audience grows, you will have to come up with bonus content to send your readers. This additional content will help you establish a closer relationship with the ones who follow your work, and will also help you build your email list.
There are many ways to create PDF downloads or mini-eBooks in order to send them to your readers, however, most people don’t really know how to design them in order to maximize their potential.
Unfortunately, even if you flood your readers with bonus content, it won’t make much of a difference if the items that you send are poorly designed. Moreover, they may feel more like you’re pestering them, rather than feel appreciated.
This having been said, running a successful blog is dependent on how you present your work. This includes any freebies that you may send. Below, you will find everything that you need to know in order to design great PDF bonus material for your audience.
Some consider that free content is not necessary or that it doesn’t have to be on par with the products that you may sell, however, it is not enough to deliver helpful information to your readers. The content won’t be of any use to them if they can’t understand it.
On the other hand, if you put some time and effort into designing this content properly, most of those who receive it will tell their friends, and your popularity will grow.
Look at it as a way to have fun and experiment. Even if you’re not particularly creative, you will be able to use the advice in this article in order to create premium bonus content.
Freebies are great because they give your audience a chance to put whatever they’ve learned into practice, and there is also the fact that literally, everyone loves free stuff. If they are getting well-made free stuff, then they will be even happier.
Now, let’s look at what your creative process should be in order to create bonus content that has a lot of value.
Ask yourself the following questions before starting to work on the freebies:
- What do you want to achieve through this project?
- What are some of the most important aspects that you need to take care of?
- How will you deliver value through this content?
- What would your audience want or need?
- What research should you do prior to starting the project?
You should also keep in mind that bonus content should always be an extension of a blog post. So, avoid creating freebies that are unrelated to your posts, and also ensure that they can be used by your readers in order to get results.
As an example, let’s say that you are writing a post on how people can better organize their lives. In this case, creating a checklist of various things that they should do or consider would be a great choice due to the fact that you would essentially give them a tool that they can use. In other words, the freebie will be something of value that they will appreciate.
Creating a prototype or a draft of your freebie
You have to look at the bonus content like at any other product. This means that before you start sending it, you will have to manufacture it, and the first step of this process is creating a prototype.
The first thing that you will want to do is to type the text that you want to include in the freebie, in a Word or Google document file. If you’re not sure about the text, then create several versions and save each of them do a different file. Experiment for a while, and once you’re happy with it, you will be able to move to the next step.
Basically, if you have written the text, then you’ve finished the most tedious part of the project.
Choosing the best program to create a great layout
Now you will have to decide which program you want to use in order to actually create the freebie. Depending on your computer, you will have various options:
- Microsoft Office – Microsoft Word/Publisher;
- Google Doc;
- Apple Pages;
- Adobe InDesign;
These are only a few of the software tools that you can use, and you should use the one that you are most comfortable with. All of them are equally useful, so you won’t be disadvantaged for choosing one over another (or for choosing a free piece of software instead of going for a paid one).
Creating the freebie
This step will be explained for Microsoft Publisher, but the process will be similar for any of the other tools that have been listed above.
Once you have your text and have a general idea of how you want the freebie to look, you can start the actual design process.
The first thing that you will have to do after you start up Microsoft Publisher will be to choose the orientation of the document (vertical or horizontal). The best way to go about this is to choose the standard paper size (8.5×11 inches). This will give the document a natural look that the readers will already be used to.
Branding is extremely important
Again, a freebie is a product, and as with any product, you will need to brand it, in order to let your readers know that it is linked to you. In other words, you should use your logo, if you have one, as well the same color scheme like the one on your website, and the same fonts.
Keep in mind that Microsoft Publisher adds text through text boxes, and does not simply consider that the whole page is for text, like in the case of Microsoft Word. Creating a text box is simple. You just have to click on the “Draw Text Box” icon, and then click and drag your cursor on the page in order to create the box.
Shapes and images
If you want to create a more complex design, then you also have the option to insert shapes and images into your design. You can choose to add pictures that you have also used for your website’s design in order to personalize the bonus content.
Furthermore, when you add shapes, you will be able to write text inside them, and this will enable you to create some impressive designs.
In order to insert a shape or a picture, you will have to go to the “Insert” tab and choose the one that you’re interested in. Also, if you want to place text inside a shape, then you just have to place a place a text box inside it and resize it so that it is within its borders.
If you’re not happy with how a shape looks, then you can click on the “Drawing Tools” tab, above “Format”, and customize the color of your layout.
Keep in mind: When creating a freebie that will require your readers to write on the document, make sure that you give them a lot of space.
If you choose to create a workbook or a worksheet as a bonus, you will be able to insert more pages by clicking on “Insert”, and then selecting “page”. You can add as many pages as you want.
Wrapping things up
Once you finish designing the document, and you are happy with the results, save it as a Publisher file so that you will be able to modify it afterward. Don’t close the program, as there is one more thing that you will need to do; also save your work as a PDF (that you will send to your readers).
Uploading the content to your website
Next, you will have to upload the PDF to your website, so that you can create an URL that your readers will be able to use in order to download their freebie.
- WordPress users will have to click on “Add Media” in their blog post, and then choose “Upload file”. This will open a menu that will let you choose the file on your computer. Also remember to go to “Attachment Details”, and change the title of the document in order to reflect what you want users to do with it. For example, name it “Download this free bonus content!”. After that, change “Link to” to media file, and select “Insert into post”, to finish the process.
- Squarespace users will have to follow a different set of instructions. First, insert the Button Block, and change the text inside the edit box that will pop up. You can change it to something similar to the name in the instructions for WordPress. Next, select “Click through URL”, and then go to “Files”. And choose “Add File”. After that, choose the PDF that you want to upload, and check “Open in New Window”. The last step is to choose the size of the button, and its alignment, and to save your work.
Connecting your freebie to your newsletter
Another thing that you can to in order to share your freebies is to attach them to your newsletter so that people will have to sign up in order to receive the free content. This will allow you to grow your list, and will also reward new subscribers for taking an interest in your website.
Other than this, you’re pretty much done.
Freebies are can be strong incentives if designed and used properly. It is usually better to take a little more time when designing them, even if this means that you will have fewer to offer. Quality is a lot more important than quantity.