*Note that this blog post includes some affiliate links.

Did you know that May is Personal History Awareness Month?

I became aware of the fact many years ago when I first started my business as a commissioned biographer, and I founded the company Lasting Legacies. I continue to be privileged to help individuals write their life stories.

So today I wanted to bring that awareness to you because I’m a firm believer that everyone has a life story worth writing, regardless of your age or your writing ability. We all have a story worth sharing and passing on, especially to our family and loved ones.

And so, because it’s my line of business, I decided to revamp one of my opt-ins that I offer individuals who are interested in writing life story.

That, of course, took me down the rabbit trail of ALL the things I had to do behind the scenes. And I got to thinking that maybe I should do a podcast episode on how to create an opt-in.

Note that the information I’m going to share today differs from Episode 12 in that it was for how fiction writers can create a reader magnet. Today I’m talking about how non-fiction writers can create an opt-in offer for potential readers OR clients.

5 Steps to Create an Opt-In Offer for a Non-Fiction Audience


#1 Come up with the opt-in idea.

What are you going to offer your readers, clients, audience, or whoever you’re serving? What is that thing? It might be a:

  • PDF guide,
  • Checklist, or
  • Quizzes, etc., etc.

There are many different things that you could offer to your particular target market. The sky’s the limit, really. It all comes down to how much time and effort you want to put into it.

#2 Save Your Opt-In Offer as a PDF

For today’s purposes, I’m going to talk about a simple PDF. I personally created a guide called Life Story 101: A 4-Step Guide to Help You Write a Lasting Legacy, which I saved as a PDF.

How exactly did I create that?

First of all, I went to my wonderful friend If you are not familiar with Canva, I highly encourage you to try it out. They offer a wealth of design templates, photos, videos — all of that so you don’t have to keep searching in different places.

When you use their templates, you just change the titles or the wording and customize it however much – or little — you want. I use it for my social graphic images, opt-ins, and presentations. There are many other different things that they offer that I haven’t even tried yet.

I personally recommend that if you have the budget, use the Pro version.

So inside Canva, I design, tweak, and play around with the document I’m creating. I print it out, read it, and often, I send it to a trusted friend to review it to ensure it’s helpful and makes sense.

When I’m happy with the finished version, I save it as a PDF. Why? Because a PDF restricts recipients from editing or changing the document.

Tip: When naming it as you’re saving it as a PDF, be sure to only name it the title of the opt-in so your reader will be able to find it on their computer or phone. As soon as they see the file name, it’ll remind them what it is. Make it easy for them to find it on their computer and open it.

#3 Find a Place to Store Your Opt-In Offer

I recommend that you store your opt-in offer either in Google Drive or Dropbox. I personally use Dropbox and so that’s where I’m going to store my finished PDF file.

Important: DON’T send people directly to that file.

Whether you’re using Google Drive or Dropbox (affiliate link) or whatever, it’ll give you a link that you can send to people, but you don’t want to do that.

Why not?

Because you want to be able to get their email address.

The whole point of an opt-in is to get them on your email list. So don’t just give them the direct link so they can download the file and you have no idea who they are or how many people have downloaded your opt-in offer.

So how do you gather people’s email addresses and give them the opt-in?

#4 Create a Landing Page and/or Website Form for Your Opt-In Offer

You’re going to copy the link for the opt-in offer from Dropbox (affiliate link) or Google Drive and paste that inside of your landing page or your web form that you’re going to create in your email service provider (ESP).

Your ESP is different from sending individual emails from your Gmail or Outlook email address. Rather, the ESP is where you gather an email list of people who have subscribed to your opt-in offers and it will then send bulk messages such as newsletters and automated sequences to them.

Examples of ESPs include MailerLite (affiliate link), ConvertKit, AWeber, Constant Contact, and MailChimp. I personally use MailerLite (it’s free up to 1,000 subscribers).

Inside your ESP, you’re going to create a landing page, which is basically a one-page website without links to other pages. The only thing it is connected to is that Dropbox or Google Drive link that contains your PDF opt-in.

Once your landing page is created, it will provide you with a URL that you will then use to market your opt-in. This is the link you share with everyone. It’s the place where your target audience will plug in their name and email addresses, and then click the button. That action automatically adds them to your email list (once they confirm their request via email).

After you create a landing page, you’ll want to create an email sequence within your ESP. This will be an automated series of emails that you create once and then the ESP automatically sends them out every time a new person subscribes.  The first email in that sequence should include the Dropbox or Google Drive link to your PDF. Additional emails can be added to share more about you and what they can expect to receive from you in the future (newsletters, events, courses, etc.).

In addition, you can also create a web form inside your ESP that you can place on your website, so people can subscribe to your opt-in there directly, without having to go to the landing page.

#5 Promote Your Opt-in Offer

You’ve done all this work to create your free resource; don’t just let it sit there. Make sure you tell other people about it!

Talk about it on social media, post images, and talk about it. Don’t just say, “Here’s my thing. It’s here if you want it.”


  • Tell them how it’s going to serve them.
  • Tell them how’s it’s going to help them.
  • Make it enticing.
  • Include a link to it in your social bios (FB, IG, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Create an IG story and include the link on it (Did you know you can do that?!)
  • Share the link with your newsletter list; your existing newsletter subscribers might want this new resource as well.
  • And everywhere that you market your writing!

I’d Love to Hear from You!

Let me know some of the places that you promote your opt-ins. Drop a comment below or DM me on Instagram. I would love to connect with you over there!

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for future topics, please let me know that as well. I welcome those and will be happy to work those into future episodes.

I hope this episode was helpful and I wish you a blessed week.

Happy writing!


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