The 3 Keys to Creating a Successful Info Product

A few days ago I was in Baltimore speaking at an epically useful conference called Blogalicious. So many amazing people were there, it’s almost unfair. And I promise, this post will be about how to create info products, but please just let me share what got me here.

Two of my favorite people (okay, that’s cheating, they’re my sisters) also spoke at Blogalicious. We all attended each other’s seminars and had an amazing time. Check out Mattie of Mattieologie.com in the middle picture below on the left, and Maya of MayaElious.com on the right.

At the end of one of my sessions, Mattie posed a great question to get us all thinking.

Can anyone with information they’re passionate about (and truly knowledgeable on) create an info product?

And my answer was “YES.”

Why? Because I have an IRL friend who runs a chess website that makes a few thousand per month. He teaches people the basics of chess as well as complex moves (or whatever they’re called–I’m not epic at chess) in a membership site. I also have a friend who teaches people how to downsize to a camper and make a true home out of it. She too makes thousands per month from this one course.

In my personal experience, I happen to like talking about freelancing, coaching, and infopreneurship, because other than two briefly successful cleaning and t-shirt businesses back in the day, these three areas are the ones I’ve been able to build profitable businesses from. Whereas I rarely freelance or coach anymore, I still love teaching on how to get started and grow in those areas as well as how to get into creating info products and establishing your empire. I’m deeply in love with creating eProducts and teaching others how to monetize their information.

Today I want to share the three keys to creating a successful info product, my list of both common and uncommon info products, as well as an invitation to join a free 8-day email course on infopreneurship.


Step 1: Pick a Clear + Helpful Teaching Topic

It’s important to pick something clear. What do I mean by this? Your topic needs to be:

  • One that you can explain.
  • One that you can describe the benefits of.
  • One that you know you can be helpful with.
  • One that you feel confident hopping into a Q+A session on.
  • One that you know you can present in a way that helps others really grasp it.

The key is that you will have to position your product. Positioning is about giving your product a distinct place in the market. If your info product doesn’t stand out from the countless other options, you’re making your job as the primary marketer and instructor/creator much harder.

You can position your product as:

  • the ultimate guide to ______
  • an authoritative niche guide to ______
  • the low-cost resource for ______
  • the luxury experience in learning ______
  • the most interactive and community-centered guide to ______
  • etc.

It just has to have a recognizable position. When trying to figure out what position your eProduct will have, consider:

  • what your audience doesn’t need any more of
  • what your audience is not used to seeing
  • how your audience processes new information in your industry (skeptically, excitedly, etc.)
  • the information your audience is currently lacking on your topic
  • the other resources and guides your audience has likely purchased

Think about it right now. Does the product you’re considering creating have a unique position or advantage in your market? What additional features or reconfiguring might help it get there?

The simplest and most noticeable ways to position a product away from its competition are (1) playing with how much it costs, (2) changing how comprehensive or niche it is, and (3) being purposeful about the experience it creates for your customers.

What are the brands with the most distinct positions in your mind?

  • Apple? They position themselves as higher-priced (which is meant to communicate higher value) with a luxury experience (everything from the packaging to the stores in which they’re products are sold is all “ooh” and “aww” worthy).
  • Wal-Mart? They position themselves as the low-cost leader in home and grocery needs with an extensive inventory. They don’t advertise the durability and quality of their items as much as a more luxury or higher-priced brand like Nordstrom would do.

You get the point!


Step 2: Pick the Type of Info Product (That Best Fits Your Audience and Your Information)

What to Send to Your Email List and How to Create the Wow Factor

If you’re like any business Internet human ever, you’ve probably wondered about what to send to your email list. (Wait, you do have an email list, don’t you?)

Email has a much higher engagement rate than social media and can be easily personalized. So let’s explore what you can send to your email list, how and why to “up your email game” and create wow, the types of things you can send out as free email gifts, encouraging email list signups, building a coming soon page, and more.

Our emails aren’t quick notes we’ve dashed off in Mailchimp, MailerLite, or ConvertKit, we use them strategically to nurture our audience and make them not only want to stay on our list, but to forward those emails to their friends.

What if you received replies to your emails like these? (Actual responses we’ve received, by the way.)

“I just wanted to let you know that I have learned so much from you over the past few years and appreciate all of your clear and no-nonsense teaching. When your emails pop into my box – I immediately open them because I know they’ll be filled with amazing goodness!”

“Thank you for this most excellent email. One of the best I’ve ever read! Full of great information.”

“This is pretty much my favorite email you’ve sent yet.  Well, since I’ve been receiving your emails, I mean. I haven’t seen EVERY email you’ve ever sent in your life, but of the ones I have seen, this is definitely my favorite so far.”

Is our audience the greatest of all time? Yes. Do we work behind the scenes to create the best emails possible for them? Yes. And we want to show you how you can also woo and wow your email list.

5 things you can send to your email list:

  1. Blog to Email Method. This is a basic method where you set up an RSS feed to send your blog posts automatically to your list or even better, to a segmented part of your list that has specifically requested blog post notifications. You can use your email provider’s scheduling features to send it out the next day or at any specified time. But…this definitely shouldn’t be the only thing you send out as you can create much more excitement and value for your audience with these other methods.
  2. Newsletter Method. You can create a weekly, biweekly or monthly newsletter that includes your latest posts/podcast episodes, your favorite resources/books/Ted Talks or a roundup of events happening in your business. While you can of course invite your list to your upcoming online events, masterclasses and workshops, it’s so important to do so in an educational and value added way, rather than a salesy way with fake urgency. We’ll talk more about this below.
  3. Extra Post Method. If blogging is a part of your business, you can create an extra blog post each week (or each month) to provide one additional post to send out exclusively to your email list. Eventually you can incorporate this special content into your site or other content, but at least for a period of time, it should remain exclusive to your email list. #SuperBonus
  4. Expanded Post Method. There are three ways that you can approach the Expanded Post Method. a) Most popular. Look back through your most popular content and create a second part of one of your most popular posts just for your email list. You can expand it by elaborating through a story, an extra case study or a video tutorial. b) Save the end for the email. While you’re writing a post and realize that the content just seems to write itself or it’s going to be a much more thorough post than you expected, you can save some of that content for the email c) Create an epic intro in the email. As with b above, when you’ve created a longer or particularly epic post, you can create an irresistible lead in via email. Make sure that the email itself is always valuable (read: they can still get value from it without having to click through to your blog.)
  5. Opposite Post Method. Send out something via email that’s DIFFERENT than your usual content. If your content is usually practical, provide something inspiring, motivational or personal. If you normally provide uplifting and motivational content, provide pragmatic tutorials or steps to accomplish something. Your audience may appreciate the change up.

Here’s what not to do…send sales emails. If the only time you find yourself sending emails to your list is when you’re selling something, they’ll unsubscribe. So when you write, think to yourself, “How can I help my audience?” not “How can I sell to my audience?”

Bonus tips

  1. Treat your emails like blog posts. They need to be on brand, well planned out, thoughtfully written, and…dare I say it? Epic.
  2. Edit the heck out of your emails. With blog posts, we can go back and edit them (and often do) but with emails, once you hit send, that typo lives out there in Inbox Land forever.
  3. Watch your language! Check your wording for heavy handed salesy or promotional language that may turn off your reader.

Increase your Wow Factor

You can delight and wow your audience by paying attention to little details that improve their experience with you and your brand.

Create custom on brand images for your emails that add to their value. Strong branding may remind them to go check out your blog or website, download that free checklist (that leads them to your online event), or sign up for your masterclass.

If you’re teaching something in the email (and we’re big fans of providing epic instructional content in our emails), relevant images that help your reader quickly visualize your content will help them learn faster, as well as make your emails stand out above the crowd.

Do you have a few more ideas of what you can send to your email list? What can you add to those emails to create your own brand’s wow factor? We’d love to hear!
Photo (c): Aila Images of Stocksy.com

7 Epic Time Investments You Can Make in Your Online Business

Let’s discuss time. You probably don’t feel like you have enough of it, what with running an online business and all. Specifically, let’s talk about ways to invest your time that will have epic effects on your online events, your brand as a whole and the way you do business.

Over the years, we’ve invested in seven areas that have paid off big time. We hope you’ll stick with us as we explain the multiple benefits and applications of each area.

Making these time investments can help any online coach or trainer, freelancer, infopreneur, blogger, or solopreneur . . .


1. Making videos. Even though we all hated being in front of the camera when we first started.

As an introvert with unruly hair, I (Regina) thought it wise to stay off-screen for most of my life. But, with the way the Internet evolves and explodes every single day, I thought it unwise to not try multiple forms of media. Periscope is the video of the day! No wait, it’s now Snapchat. Um…it’s Instagram Stories! Whoa…now it’s Instagram TV!

Whatever the platform du jour is, if you learn to create video, you’ll be able to pivot with the platform. If you run Internet businesses like we do, then the #1 rule for us is:

Once you arrive, don’t stay at your destination too long; you have to set a new course.

In other words, get ready to pivot.

Whatever goal you’re setting right now, once you hit it, celebrate, have a Martin Scorsese marathon, play some Scrabble and drop Z’s and X’s and J’s on your opponent, then set a new course. Even if your new course is taking your current project to the next level. Trying to apply IRL (in real life) speed to an online business is like trying to apply tortoise speed to the hare. Wait. Bad example. The tortoise beat the hare . . . but you get what I mean.

Area #1: Make some videos, yo. All the videos.

Benefits:

  • Videos increase the chances of people on the Internet finding you.
  • They take your brand to the next level of helpfulness.
  • They attract people who are prone to get a little lost in too much text.
  • They allow you to communicate certain things (tutorials, deep thoughts, etc.) more effectively than screenshots or words that don’t come with tones or facial expressions.
  • You can get out your thoughts faster when you speak (on video) than you can in text.
  • Videos allow you to express your personality (and personality quirks…) that help create authentic connections between you and your audience. That’s important in an impersonal world, yo.

Try: Facebook Live, Instagram Stories/Instagram Live/Instagram TV, Zoom recordings, G+ Hangouts On Air, YouTube tutorials, screencasts of your computer screen, recorded presentations, or any other type of video that helps you communicate with your ideal audience.

P.S. >> Tools: I use Camtasia or QuickTime for screen recordings, a DSLR and a lavalier mic for recording myself, and I upload most of my content to YouTube + Vimeo. Don’t underestimate the power of inexpensive (and free!) tools available to you. With just a $25 mobile phone tripod and your camera, you can build your audience and provide epic video content for them.


2. Writing a book.

Wait, writing a book is a time investment? Now you’re just talkin’ crazy…Let me tell you about the hardest thing I’ve ever done professionally. And the second hardest thing I’ve ever done professionally. It’s the same darn thing. Writing a book.

One was a physical 200-page manual and the next one was a 200+ page digital book. I just want to be honest with you here. THEY WERE NOT EASY TO CREATE. At all. But, I don’t want that to scare you off from it. Writing that first book is probably the best thing I’ve ever done for my business.

Do tell us why, Regina.

I will, my friend. I will.

Even though I feel my writing has changed + grown so much since my first book (so yeah, it’s a little painful when I read it), I’ve been able to use that book for IRL classes and its organization and information truly make a difference for people who are just getting started in business. I’ve been able to take some of the book’s content and make long format blog posts out of it; I’ve been able to modify some of the book’s sections and make them more specific for certain industries . . . then include them as content in my online classes and products.

Oh, and it’s made a little money over the last year or so.

Area #2: Invest some (serious) time in writing a book.

Benefits:

  • Writing a book will force you to create lots of content. Whether you give it away for free or charge for it, the amount of content you have to work with and form into different things will be worth it. You feel me? I know you feel me.
  • Your book makes you look legit. Straight up. It just looks sooooo legit that you have a book in your niche/genre/area.
  • Your book can help you make income. You can sell it solo, or bundled with other materials, or as a part of your workshop, or packaged with a baby sloth that you ship to my house. Seriously. I want a baby sloth even more than Kristen Bell. Please say I’m not the only one. And yes, I realize it’s probably not 100% legal or whatever. (note: the lawyer on our team just told me to stop suggesting that anyone ships baby sloths as a book bonus.)
  • Writing a book is just such a milestone that I truly believe you will experience a mindset shift after you’ve completed it. You’ll see your business and yourself differently. You’ll be someone who is a Published Author.

3. Learning doc layout + design.

If information is your game (I’m looking right at you coaches, infopreneurs, bloggers, authors, and online bootcamp instructors) or if you’ll be sending your clients documents (freelancers), then learning how to lay out and design attractive documents is vital. I invested time into learning Adobe InDesign at first. I could tell that it was going to take a bit more time to master than I had to spare in the moment, so I instead invested time in learning Apple Pages. Best decision ever.

The Free Create a Course Workbook The #LoveMyBrandKit, for you, for free

Now I’m able to create workbooks, slides, and downloadable PDFs that don’t take forever to prepare and publish or require me to hire a contractor to do for me.

eBooks and digital workbooks

Area #3: Learn how to lay out documents in the program of your choice.

Benefits:

  • You’ll be able to quickly create documents to add value to your content (checklists, media kits, guides, etc.).
  • You’ll be able to dream up digital products you can create and then actually execute them.

Try: Checklists, individual worksheets, adult homework, workbooks, products, eBooks, media kits, and other guides with your word processing or layout software.

 


4. Learning graphic design software.

I have invested many hours into learning Photoshop (as well as Pixlr and Canva), and it is so useful. Even if you just edit templates or designs you have made for you, knowing a bit about graphic design software will help you create the promotional materials you need much sooner than hiring someone every single time.

I honestly believe that graphics are what will initially help you stand out. Whether it be your Facebook cover photo (that you update with each event launch), your blog post images, or flyers + business cards to promote your brand, knowing how to “whip something up” can be crucial in this fast-paced business world.

Area #4: Find graphic design software that has the functions you need and doesn’t seem to have the largest learning curve ever (unless the software is going to be a key part of your day-to-day operations).

Benefits:

  • You won’t have to constantly wait for your designer to complete things if you’re able to do them yourself.
  • You’ll be able to quickly take advantage of any opportunities you see to promote your brand or products with graphics.
  • You’ll be able to add more to your emails, blog posts, social media accounts, and website when you know how to create or modify graphics.

5. Learning to take + edit photos.

Photography makes a huge difference on social media channels (like the vegan chef’s Instagram feed @fitmencook), your blog, in products, and anywhere else you need on-brand images.

Learn photography and editing with your device.

Area #5: Put an emphasis on learning the basics of photography and lighting, whether you use a mobile phone, or a point-and-shoot camera, or a DSLR.

Benefits:

  • You won’t have to always use stock photography to get your point across in your posts and products.
  • You’ll be able to catch more moments as they happen instead of needing to hire a pro just to get great images.
  • Custom photos will help you stand out, especially if you develop a style of your own.

Try: Learning the settings of your device and taking multiple pictures to get the hang of what makes something awesome vs. ordinary vs. poor quality.

P.S. >> Tools: Most of the photos on my Instagram feed are taken with a Canon T5i and a 50mm lens. But, some are taken with my phone. Almost all of them are edited with VSCO Cam or Snapseed.


6. Creating templates for blog posts, visual collateral, and resources.

This has straight saved me from going insane. All the content you create and clients you serve can be a lot to manage, there’s no need to add blog post graphics to your list for every single post.

Now that I’ve created templates (but you can always purchase one created for you if you don’t like design or purchase a pre-made set on Creative Market), I literally have a 3-step process to get a new image going for my newest post: (1) I open up my template, and (2) bring in the new photo I want to use, then (3) change the text.

How I use and modify my blog post templates.

Area #6: Develop templates (or hire someone to develop them for you) for any items you’ll be repeating somewhat frequently–blog posts, Pinterest, resources, etc.

Benefits:

  • All your images on the various social media channels will have the same feel to them and help your brand become more recognizable.
  • You will save a lot of time by using templates as opposed to creating something from scratch each time you want to publish a new resource/article.

Try: Multiple software platforms that are affordable and have support videos or free tutorials for you to refer to.


7. Creating a challenge (or even an email course).

We love challenges!

I’ve said it quite a few times before, but I’m saying it again because I really, truly believe it works. Host some challenges. This is one of the main ways my blog traffic grew when I was first starting out with this brand. I created a challenge years ago that I thought might be fun to do with a few people, but it started sending my site more traffic than any of my other articles. People like to be challenged because they love to reach milestones.

Check out this 30-day challenge by Jen Carrington as an example.

Area #7: Create a challenge your ideal audience would consider extremely important or engaging. Consider surveying some of your audience, family, or friends to see what they think a good challenge might be.

Benefits:

  • Challenges can be great for spreading your brand name.
  • Challenges can drum up excitement about your new online program or can be used as an ice-breaker in the beginning of your challenge.

  • Challenges are awesome for engaging and connecting with other people who have similar goals.
  • Challenges are typically pretty share-worthy.
  • Challenges usually only last a certain amount of time, which creates a sense of urgency for participants.

So, what do you think? What are some epic time investments you have made or want to soon make in your business?

Graphic design and article: Regina Anaejionu

How to Expand a Blog Post (or Series) into a Book

If you’ve had a blog for more than a week, you likely have at least one blog post up. More than a month or so? You may even have a whole blog series up.

Which means . . . that in another month or so, you could theoretically create a helpful non-fiction book out of your blog post or blog series.

I’ve done this before (5 or more times), and many others have done this too, so if you decide this is the year to publish your book by expanding on something already on your blog, you won’t be alone.

When expanding on posts that already exist for free on the Interwebs, it’s a good idea to take a step back and take a fresh look at the whole topic from the reader/customer perspective.

This comes in the form of five questions you can ask yourself about your current post or series as well as five general idea-generating questions you can ask yourself to create an awesome chapter/content list for your book. You can download the worksheets below (just click on them) to help you work through and record your ideas from this post.

How to go from a blog post series to a book

For the purposes of this post, let’s take for example a series you did on car maintenance for your “modern superwoman” blog. P.S. If it is a single post you are turning into a book, break it down into the main points/sections you made. Below, I assume it is a series, but you can change my list out for your post sections.

How Being an Infopreneur Helped Me Earn Six Figures in a Year

If you’ve perhaps been following along with my blog, reading the income + traffic reports I publish occasionally, then you already know a little bit about how I structure my business and earn a living. But, what I want to talk about with you today is the revelation that has really helped me in my first year of business. It may be something you already implement in your business or it may be something you want to explore more, and I hope I can help.

You see, it’s my new favorite word. Daredevil.
Wait. That’s my new favorite show.
My new favorite word is infopreneur.

A person who makes money with their mind. With their knowledge. A person who loves learning, loves teaching, and loves the feeling of helping others really get something.

And here’s the thing. Even if you’ve been overwhelmed/underwhelmed with scammy-seeming people selling sub-par information products, I want to assure you . . . you can actually monetize your infopreneurship in ethical ways that benefit others. You can explore things like a monetized blog or podcast, books and workbooks, and of course classes or coaching. I have some resources for you, ninja friend.

And whereas this post was originally written in early 2015 (when I’d only been “infopreneuring” on this site for about a year), I have learned a lot since then and want to point you in the right direction if you’re interested in changing your business model around so that you can change your lifestyle through passive income and low maintenance products.

Starter Infopreneur Resources:

1. I have a free 5-day email course on getting started in infopreneurship.