7 Simple Steps to Selecting the Right Topic for Your eBook or Digital Product

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You’ve decided to write your first eBook or create your first digital product. Or maybe you’ve decided now is the time to write the next one to continue growing your business.

But, first, you have to decide, “What’s my topic?”

You most likely fall into one of two camps. Camp 1 is where you need more ideas and clarity about your project. Camp 2 is when you have a ton of ideas but aren’t sure which one to pursue…

If you fall into camp 1 – then you need more ideas about what to write. You may like the idea of writing an eBook but wonder if you have enough expertise. You might be asking questions like…

“What could I write about?”
“What is the right topic?”
“How do I really know it’s the right one?”
“Will my clients like it?”
“Will it be good enough?”
“How do I make it stand out from everyone else’s eBooks on the same subject?”

You need to start at Step #1. (See the 7 Steps below)

Or, you fall into the second camp, which is about having too many ideas. You may be like many entrepreneurs who are highly creative and see possibilities everywhere they go. This can be as much of a frustration because you never know which idea to commit to you end up doing a little bit on each project and nothing ever really gets finished.

You ask yourself questions like..

Which one do I make real?
Which one is the right project?
How do I choose?

For those of you in the second camp – You can skip Step #1; you don’t need any more ideas! Don’t even get side-tracked with reading the first step. Just move on to Step #2!

Here is a quick overview of the 7-Step Method for Selecting the Right Topic for Your eBook or Digital Product:

1. Dig Into Your Treasure Chest of Gifts
2. What Are Your Clients Asking For?
3. Brainstorm Project Ideas
4. Where is YOUR Energy?
5. Identify Your Business Goals
6. Your Project Sweet Spot
7. Make Way for the Action

#1: Dig Into Your Treasure Chest of Unique Gifts

If you aren’t feeling confident about what to put into your digital project, then you want to start with some personal discovery. Excavating your own treasure chest of experiences, talents, strengths, passions and gifts will give you the confidence and the creativity you need.

I can guarantee that there is no one in the world who has your unique blend of knowledge, skills, real experiences, perspectives and resources. And there are people out there waiting… to hear it from someone like you! Get out a blank piece of paper and brainstorm your Treasure Chest of Gifts.

Set aside some time to write down all that you have accumulated in your own treasure chest of gifts including:

Your Experiences – These are the things you have handled, dealt with, gone through, been a part of, or created. They can be in your business or in your personal life. For example, I used to be a VP of Marketing for 50 shopping centers across the country. I helped lead $1,000,000 grand openings, coordinated advertising campaigns and multi-center launches, even the simple in-mall Santa parade.

You may have experienced rough patches of financial stress, bankruptcy, illness, or know a lot about how to manage projects or help people to get along. Capture these – they make you absolutely unique!

Your Style/Personality – What are adjectives to describe you? Are you quirky, quiet, calm, loud, funny, stylish, hip? These are all part of your unique personal brand and message for your project. It will make it stand out and be different from everyone else’s eBook about the same subject.

Your Natural Strengths – What are you good at doing? When are you in top form? What is easy for you? Where do you jump in and help? These are areas to bring into your project.

Your Learned Strengths – What are the things you are good at but don’t really get you excited? I have a client who is a former Certified Public Account and she is now a coach. She knows financial data well but isn’t interested in that career path. However, she can easily bring that perspective in with her clients when she is coaching. She can certainly add this unique experience to her eBook to help her stand apart from others.

Your Passions – What do you love to do? Where do you spend your down time? What fascinates you? What makes you upset or angry? These are all clues to areas you naturally probably know a lot about or want to help change or fix? You can collect and share the resources, stories, experiences, and checklists you’ve gathered in this area.

It’s good to keep your Treasure Chest of Gifts out on your desk or on the counter for a while and keep adding to it as you remember more things to add. Keep asking yourself: “How can I blend these together to help others who have a need in this area?” This will give you lots of possibilities for content and topics for your eBook project!

#2: What Do Your Clients Ask You For?

Now it’s time for a little external research – it’s easier than it sounds. What do your clients ask you for, over and over again? When you are on a teleclass, webinar, coaching or consulting call, what types of information, resources or wisdom do they want from you?

Keep a running list of what your clients and potential clients ask you for. This is the perfect fodder for a potential eBook or product.

#3: Brainstorm Project Ideas

Now is the time to capture all your potential project ideas. Start ideation flowing by creating a mind map. Write down all the potential projects swirling around in your mind… Ideas that popped into your imagination while discovering your treasure chest of gifts… Ideas that came to you as you made your lists of client questions…

Don’t edit out ideas that you think won’t work.
Crazy ideas. Little glimmer ideas. Half-baked ideas. What if… ideas.
Just let them fall out of your head and onto your paper.

Tip: Just because you have the idea doesn’t mean you HAVE to do it!

#4: Where Is YOUR Energy?

The next step is to check in with each one of your project ideas and rate on a scale of 1-5 how excited are you about each project (with 1 being Not Very Excited and 5 being Very Excited). Now circle which projects are 4’s and 5’s. If they are less than a 4, then leave them alone for now.

You want to stick with ones you are most excited about. There is natural momentum in your energy and enthusiasm. These are the ones that are more likely you’ll stay committed to and get completed.

#5: Identify Your Business Goals

Now move onto a separate piece of paper. I like to refer to the Top Ten Most Common Business Goals.

Answer this question: “For the next 90 days what are my top 3 business goals?” Notice I didn’t say “What are your top business goals?” Everyone has all these goals as their goals. You have to narrow down to three priorities for right now.

#6: Your Project Sweet Spot

Now it’s time to discover where all this comes together in that Project Sweet Spot! Refer to the top 3 possible project ideas that you are most excited about. Which ones also meet your 3 business goals over the next 90 days?

Your best project topic will be the one that has a lot of energy and enthusiasm behind it and meets your current business priorities. If it’s a tie, pick the one you are most excited and passionate about. It will be the one that is most likely to get completed and you won’t lose interest part way through.

#7: Make Way for the Action

Now that you have your topic for your eBook or digital product, you don’t want to stop there! Ask yourself: What do I need for this to be successful?  Do you need time? Money? Help? Research? Referrals?

Identify what you need to get you going and make an action plan to get started. If it’s time, get out the calendar. If it’s money, identify how much and where can you get it. Help, research, referrals… you can you ask for them or figure out where to get them.

Answer these questions so you get the blocks out of the way and clear the path to a success project! We’d love to hear what projects you are going to create!

Share with us your commitment to your digital publishing project in the comment section below!

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Comments

  1. Great tips to choose a perfect topic. Generally all bloggers face the problem of choosing the right topic..Even I have faced when I decided to write my first ebook but you have provided an ultimate guide for this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I had a hard time on what topic should I write for my ebook. Then I realized that I am a health and fitness enthusiast so I write an ebook on how to lose weight.
    Have some time to look at my work http://greencoffeebeansextractblog.com/2012/09/19/pure-green-coffee-beans-extract-book/

    • Way to go Tammie! !I do love this process! Often our topic is right in front of us but its so natural that we can’t always see it!

  3. I love this line “For the next 90 days what are my top 3 business goals?”

    That was priceless. Thank you.

    • Yes Nicole…tying your passion with goals is powerful! Choosing 3 goals for 90 days…makes your decisions and projects so much clearer! You know what to commit to!

  4. lynneklippelbookcoach says:

    Hey Laura- What a great post. Your idea of rating your energy for each aspect of the project is really smart. Writing a book takes much energy and love. Your methods here will help authors pick a topic with heart so that they have the energy to write it well.

  5. Great article, and I love the graphics! Especially the treasure chest of gifts… I see a new product (helping people figure out their own treasure chest). Great job!

  6. I’m so honored to be a part of launching The Future of Ink!

    Your community of writers are such great examples of experts creating projects to channel their expertise – ones that are on the leading edge of putting their creativity in business!

    That’s what makes them stand out!

    Looking forward to growing with you and leading the Digital publishing evolution!

    • Love this article Laura! I particularly like the concept of the “Sweet Spot” as all too often we are prone to diving into a project for all the wrong reasons.

      And thank you for coming on board as one of our core Expert Writers. Your creativity and wonderful graphic illustrations bring so much to the mix!

  7. Fantastic article, Laura. Love the steps and your illustrations. Thank you for joining The Future of Ink as an expert contributor!