Information Products: How to Compile Your Content for Easy Consumer Digestion
When it comes to info product creation, there are basically three ways to do it. Since the choice is ultimately yours, I’m going to tell you about all three of them, not just my preference. First, you can do it yourself – and do it the free way or the fee way.
Second, you can hire someone to do it for you for a reasonable price. And third, you can barter for what you need, exchanging your talent or hard work for theirs. I never knew how prevalent bartering was until someone approached me about it. I barter all over the place now!
What Does an Information Product Look Like?
I was originally going to hire a design company to compile information products, courses, and eBooks for me and include graphics on the header and footer of every page. But at the last minute, I decided to keep it a clean design in case my readers wanted to print it out and read it without wasting a lot of ink.
When prospects and customers buy your product, they won’t have anything to hold in their hands, pick up, and to read before they’re falling asleep. When I first launched my writer’s product, I tested my sales copy out on some writers I knew online. I hadn’t yet had the graphics designed, so it was just plain text.
None of them knew what I was selling. They have to see it to know what it is, so that’s where your design graphics comes in. It’s a virtual image of a book or product. You want someone who can take the idea of what you’ve created and translate it onto the cover and sales page.
Gold represents money, which he used for part of the text, and he creatively created an open book flying out of a computer screen. Of course it also has the obligatory money floating around, because the idea is to show you the profit potential of this concept. And make sure you’re always branding your name, like he’s doing for me in the bright, red block area.
It may actually just be a zip file, but you have to present it like it’s a lot more than that! Even seasoned marketers need to see an eCover because that’s the norm. Veering too far from mainstream makes them uncomfortable.
Choosing Your Boundaries
You want to create a file they can’t change in any way, so whatever you use has to enable you to set security features in place. For instance, I don’t want anyone reading this eBook to be able to use their mouse to right-click and copy my content for their own use.
So you have to set the security on your file to whatever lengths you want to go. Do you only not want people to be able to copy it or alter the text, or do you want to go one step further?
You can make it so that the product can only be downloaded one time, on one computer – preventing people from emailing it to their friends and family. You can also password protect your file. This might come in handy if a small business owner buys your eBook and then wants his right-hand man to read it and put it to use for the company.
Some eBook entrepreneurs like to restrict the document’s ability to be printed out. I have no problem allowing printing, although if you have a header and footer it might take up extra ink if you include that in your product creation.
In fact, whenever I’m hired as a ghostwriter, some of my resources are inevitably in eBook format, and I print those out with 2 pages on each printed page in landscape format to save paper.
You want to see what each compilation option offers in the way of security before you use it. If you like Microsoft Word, you should know that online consumers aren’t used to getting files in Word – they’re used to Adobe’s PDF files and EXE files.
Taking the Do-It-Yourself Route
I like to avoid work whenever possible, unless it’s something I love. So when I have any extra available money, I don’t mind outsourcing a task to someone else. However, there have been times when I didn’t have the extra pocket change, so I had to take matters into my own hands.
As you may or may not know, the ‘net is full of free and fee-based tools. First let’s look at your free options. When an order comes through for your info product, your system will redirect them to where they can download the file onto their own computer.
If you want to turn your eBook into a PDF file, then you can simply go to Adobe PDF and sign up for a free trial account. This gives you five free conversions (you can create a new trial account for every email address you provide) -or, you can sign up for unlimited conversions if you want to pay the monthly fee of $10.81. Or go nuts and buy the whole thing!
Once you get your account set up, you click on “Convert a File.” The wizard walks you through it, but all you do is select the file from your computer, click Continue, and then choose the best settings – you’ll choose eBook.
You can also set your security issues at this time by using the drop down menu that lets you choose how strict you want to be. Then tell Adobe if you want them to email you the file or if you want to minimize your browser and check to see when it’s finished.
I recommend having it emailed to you, because then you can also check into your account at any time to see the conversion history. When you’ve made your decisions, you just click on “Create PDF” and it’s a done deal! Another free PDF tool is Open Office and it’s also free and used widely among online marketers arketers for eBook creation.
Still, it lets you manipulate the file and you can use it regardless of whether you’re on a Windows or Mac platform. And it has a free trial period as well. All of these sites I’m mentioning, by the way, are ones where I’ve accumulated a large list of resources whenever I’d work on a project for a guru.
This is a perk of working for them. If they wanted me to write a chapter on keyword research, I’d just say, “Which tools are the best?” and I’d have my answer within minutes. It’s like having a direct line to the Bat Cave!
You have another option that I’m going to tell you about, but it’s not my preference. Some people create their eBook files in EXE format. I don’t like it. Why? Because I don’t like downloading executable files onto my hard drive by a complete stranger (which is what you are to your clients).
EXE files are responsible for many viruses being spread all over the ‘net, so you might run into customers reluctant to open your eBook and who ask for an immediate refund once they see the format it’s created in.
However, if you want to go for it, be my guest: A free product creator is found here at the EXE Product Creator site. I only recommend using an EXE file if you want your information product or eBook to include audio or video files (what a great innovation of the digital age – 3 media formats rolled into one)!
How and Where to Hire a Good Info Product Designer
If you want to outsource your file creation, then you can use a freelancer who has some experience or find a reputable company on the Internet. I used someone who came as a recommendation to me from another ‘net marketer, and I’m very pleased with everything he’s done because he’s a one stop shop (website, graphics, and eBook compilation). Sometimes I’ll use a new graphic designer, too.
However, every person has different tastes, so you can either Google a company or go to Elance and post a project for free in the Basic category where freelancers bid to complete your project.
You can even ask for mock-ups, which some will provide while others will refuse. I personally use their portfolio to decide because I feel like, as a writer, I wouldn’t write a sample for anyone, so I don’t like asking them to do work for free, either, but it’s your choice.
You want to check to see some of the person’s previous work – and not just a static image. Visit a website they’ve created to see how long it takes to load or if you get any errors, ask them to send you an eBook so you can see how they compiled it, and see how good their graphics are.
Many people go online and launch a business not knowing anything about it, using freebie tools that don’t produce a high level of quality. Make sure you don’t pay in full up front (50% is reasonable) and set clear timelines for delivery or milestones in your project.
Bartering Is a Common Practice in the Marketing World
Another way to get what you need is to barter for it. If a graphic designer is too expensive, don’t hesitate to email them politely asking if they’d be willing to exchange their services for yours. I met a woman my first few months online who was excellent with graphics and setting up websites. This was before WordPress was more common and user friendly, so I definitely needed help with my html sites. I bartered for her services in exchange for my help with her marketing. A year and a half I began paying her, and this relationship and arrangement was beneficial for both of us during our time together.
What do you know how to do – write articles? Then whip up a batch they can submit to Medium and add to their blog and other websites. Do you write scripts? Marketers always need scripts they can use. Or, just offer to refer them in your eBook, product, or course and give them a testimonial.
I’m bestselling Wall Street Journal and USA Today author, marketing strategist, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and I would love to connect further with you to help you to achieve your goals. If you are interested in learning how to optimize the syndication of your content, please take a look at my popular Syndication Optimization training course and consider coming aboard to increase your visibility, credibility, and profitability.
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