One of the best income streams you can develop online is your own digital information products. If this concept intimidates you, it shouldn’t. All it boils down to is organizing and sharing information and advice.
Don’t let your fear prevent you from being a content developer. You aren’t required to have certain credentials, a publisher or agent. This is just you passing along quality information to your reader.
Why do people buy info products over print books? There are a number of reasons – convenience, prominence in the marketplace (when they search for a certain keyword phrase, your product comes up), and the fact that most consumers buy a variety of books and courses when there’s a topic they want to know – they usually don’t just buy one.
Go ahead and go through the process at least once. It’s not nearly as scary as you might think, and it will create a certain amount of authority for you as you begin to earn an online income.
Pick a Niche That You’re Passionate About
If you’re not passionate about helping your readers, it will be obvious in your writing. You want to have a connection to the niche you’re in. Even if you’re not directly involved, you should have enthusiasm for being there to assist others with the solutions they need.
Remember that when you launch an info product, it contributes to your status as a niche leader. People will want to turn to you in the future. Ask yourself if you’re ready to be in this niche long-term.
Can you wake up every day and immerse yourself in this niche? Sometimes there are topics that you might not want to stay in day after day. For example, maybe you discover there’s a need for information for families going through hospice care.
You can either approach this as something that fulfills you because you are helping people who are in need – or it can be depressing for you to think, write and talk about the subject on a regular basis.
When you’re first thinking about niches, don’t just jump on one because you have experience with it. Choose one you can see yourself being in well in the future, because if the first info product goes over well, you can create an entire empire of eBooks and online courses for sale to your target audience.
Find a Slant That Sets You Apart
You don’t want to do a typical info product that has already flooded with marketplace with no new information. You want to be seen as cutting edge – someone who has an ear to the ground about the niche and can bring new revelations.
Google Alerts come in handy when you’re in the research phase of creating an information product. This is an alert that goes straight to your email’s inbox, telling you when there’s new content on the web about it.
So for instance, if you were writing a diabetes report, you could set up an alert for “diabetes study” – so that you would get all of the breaking news coming out of research labs about this disease.
Tune into the media on a regular basis. News, magazines, and online websites are always covering the latest information in health, finances, relationships, pets – you name it. Just about every niche gets discussed in the media.
Forums will give you a wealth of information. These are the online hubs that your target audience is going to in order to find the information they need from other people experiencing the same thing.
Dig into the forums and really look for unique tips and suggestions and issues people have with this broad topic. You might find excellent “drilled down” ideas that let you create a more specialized info product.
Spy on other blog comments. Just like forums, if you can find a blog where the audience is actively engaged, then you’ll have a wealth of information at your fingertips.
Interact with your own audience. Ask questions and listen to your readers’ concerns. These are the people who will be buying your info product, so it’s their needs that you want to meet anyway.
Find a typical topic in your niche and brainstorm ways you can tweak it for a unique slant. For example, let’s say you are considering the Survivalist niche (which is rising thanks in part to many popular TV shows).
You could look up the latest health news to see what virus is building toward pandemic potential (currently, it’s MERS) and then pen a trend-based ecourse that will be one of a few courses specifically dealing with surviving this particular pandemic.
Or let’s say you wanted to get into the health niche – maybe anti aging or longevity. Go to the news and look for information. Here’s an article about how older working women have improved health over those who retire: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/07/05/older-working-women-may-be-healthier-as-result/.
Your book could be based on this entire concept – maybe with a “work at home” slant so that you’re promoting the best of both worlds – no longer working for someone else, but still earning a living and being productive!
Create an Outline That Helps With the Creation Process
An outline can be a lifesaver when it comes to creating your first info product. It helps you stay on topic, which is important because many of the courses on the market veer off course and ramble – which is when the seller loses his or her audience.
You can use some of the same methods in creating your outline that you do in getting your initial idea. Here is a good formula for creating a viable outline for your new info product:
Step 1: Write off the top of your head.
There are many common sense things you’ll want to put into your info product. Even if you assume everyone already knows something, make sure it’s in the product anyway – because you want it to be thorough and enjoyable for even the most novice audience.
So for example, using our pandemic idea, you might make a list like this:
- What Is MERS?
- How Is MERS Transferred Among Living Things?
- Is There an Immunization for It?
- How Do You Treat MERS?
Step 2: Use a keyword tool to add to your list.
Go to a site like Ubersuggest.org and start playing around with keywords like MERS, pandemic, pandemic preparedness, etc. Doing this, we can add the following topics:
- Creating a MERS Preparedness Kit
- Watch Out for These MERS Virus Symptoms
Step 3: Dig into the research methods previously discussed.
Using a combination of forums, news media and other online sites, we can tack on even more to our outline, like this:
- How MERS Compares to the SARS Virus
- Five Places to Avoid When the MERS Virus Reaches Pandemic Levels
- Preparing Your Family for a MERS Outbreak
Step 4: Organize your outline.
In this step, you’re basically putting everything in logical order. For example, you’re not going to put “What Is MERS” at the end – because that’s something people need to know right at beginning.
Sometimes it won’t matter which order the outline is in. For instance, it doesn’t matter if you tell them how to create a preparedness kit first or if you tell them how to prepare their family first.
Just make sure that you recognize any issues that do need to be in a logical order and arrange those accordingly. From there, you can drill down even further and outline each chapter if you feel it will help you complete your first info product faster and easier.
Develop Conversational Content That Empowers the Reader
If you’re not a professional writer, then creating an information product might be extremely intimidating to you. But it shouldn’t be. First of all, info products aren’t pigeonholed to text status only.
You can create a wide variety of info products – including audio and video media formats, too. Sometimes, you may want to include multiple formats in your info product, like a main PDF with accompanying videos, for example.
Keep in mind that your readers are not hoping for a scholarly book that a college professor might want to read. Most consumers have an 8th grade reading level, so you want to keep it simple and easy to digest.
Be conversational in your writing style. Like a friend writing to a friend – just like this. Don’t use large words when a short, common will do. Don’t get overly excited about breaking some grammar rules if you feel like it.
Just make it enjoyable for your audience. Don’t deliver a mess of grammatical disasters or a document filled to the brim with spelling errors and typos. Clean it up and make sure you’d be proud to send it to someone you were trying to impress!
Get Your Product Ready for Sale
Many newcomers to info product development are so focused on the actual research and product creation phase that they forget there’s more to the entire process way beyond those two elements.
You should create bonus items to accompany your product. Think of relevant things that the reader would also like. For example, with the pandemic course, you might offer one or two other survival guides, such as:
- Food Preparation for Emergency Circumstances
- Sustainable Living for Less Reliance on Your Community
Both of these would help someone in the event there’s a pandemic, when they’ll want to stay home and not venture out to public places like a grocery store or Farmer’s Market.
Some marketers like to have a good upsell or one time offer, too. An upsell is adding on something of higher value to the package. A one time offer is when you give them just one chance to grab something else, and don’t offer it later.
Have professional graphics created for your product, whether you’re going with a Kindle launch or putting your info product on your own minisite. A graphics artist can create a matching header, footer, background, ecover, testimonial box, and order button for your site.
A Kindle graphic might just be a simple ecover, but it’s still important. You have to work with someone who understands how to make the most of a thumbnail image.
Your product creations steps will also include things like creating sales copy, setting up an affiliate program, finding joint venture partners, and actively promoting your product in the following days.
The process isn’t something you do overnight. You do it in increments. Once you get through it the first time, you’ll find it much easier the next time you do it. Don’t be afraid to make a few mistakes along the way. With an info product, everything can be tweaked as you go!
You’ll also discover (as you implement your plan), which parts you enjoy doing and which you wish you could outsource to a freelancer (for example at Fiverr.com). This is something that will help you on all future launches!