Leaving Work Behind

Why All Bloggers Should Consider Creating an Information Product

Written by Tom Ewer on December 11, 2012. 37 Comments

Information product salesMy freelance writing guide has now been available for just over a month and I am really happy with how things have gone so far.

With over $3,500 in sales I have already smashed my sales goal of $3,000 over the duration of the guide’s lifetime. And the future looks bright as I have plenty of ideas which will help me establish a consistent flow of sales in the future.

However, this relative success was borne out of uncertainty. I had absolutely no idea how the guide would sell and the same questions kept rotating through my mind — did I have a big enough audience? Would the end result be worth all of this effort? Will people actually buy it?

I think anyone who is creating their first information product asks these same questions. Fortunately, in my case, they were all answered with an emphatic “yes, and then some”. And that is why I want to talk to you today about why you should put serious consideration into creating an information product.

Why Create an Information Product?

I think that the easiest way to make a decent chunk of money in the blogosphere is to create and release your own information product.

Sure — you can do affiliate marketing or put advertising on your blog, but you’ll need a high volume of traffic to generate a decent level of income. You don’t need a huge audience to produce a relatively successful information product. In fact, with a small (yet loyal and captive) audience, it can be an entirely worthwhile process.

And I say that not only in financial terms, but also in terms of growing your blog and your brand. I have learned that actually creating something and putting a value on it actually opens you up to greater interest (and by extension, greater scrutiny). If you produce something of value, this can only be a good thing.

Should You Create an Information Product?

DollarI am not saying that anyone with a blog can create a profitable information product, but I am saying that it is something you should give serious consideration.

I’d recommend that you do what I did — estimate (roughly) how long it will take you to create, how much you will need to invest, and how much you would like to “earn” for every hour that you invest into the project. From those numbers you can calculate the lifetime amount of income that your product will need to produce in order to “break even”. In my case, that calculation was as follows:

( 50 * 50 ) + 500 = $3,000

Don’t worry about being too precise here — one of my biggest motivators was the fact that even in the face of failure, I knew that I would have learned a great deal. I cannot stress enough how valuable the entire information product creation process has been for me in terms of expanding my horizons.

But how do you calculate if the final figure is realistically achievable? In reality there is only one way to answer that question definitively (i.e. create and release a product), but you can look for specific markers to determine your chances of success. Although there are potentially many considerations, I believe that the following three questions are key.

Can You Produce a Product of Real Quality?

Without wanting to beat around the bush, do you have the knowledge and experience that will allow you to create a product that is on a par or better than products currently available? Confidence in the product you are producing will be necessary in order to take you all of the way through the process.

How Big Is Your Audience?

This is the million dollar question — what most people look to. But whilst the size of your audience is of course a key factor, it is not the only factor.

For instance, Emilie Wapnick made $4,000 in the first month of her product launch — to a list of just 500 subscribers. Meanwhile, my four day pre-launch to a list of just 225 people resulted in $1,835 in sales.

Are Your Audience Evangelical and Loyal?

Perhaps a more important consideration is how much your audience actually cares about you. Are they truly engaged with your blog? Do they consider you an authority on your topic? If the answer to either of those questions is no, you may find that asking them to fork out money is a bridge too far.

Why a Disastrous Launch Doesn’t Have to Be a Disaster

Failed launchI don’t think that a lot of bloggers necessarily fret about spending a lot of time on a product only for it to fail. More specifically, they worry about the effects of that “failure”.

Think about it — as startup bloggers, we are used to producing a lot of content for little reward. You have to put in a lot of hard yards before you reap the rewards — I can certainly attest to that. So working hard isn’t such a big deal, but there’s no going back from an unsuccessful launch, is there?

On the contrary, I believe that an unsuccessful launch is almost entirely inconsequential. By its very nature, an unsuccessful launch is not going to be noticed by many people. At the very worst it gives you an opportunity to analyze what went wrong and put things right for a re-launch down the line. As long as you create a product of fundamental quality, your time will almost certainly not be wasted in the long term.

As it is, my launch was successful. However, I made many mistakes and there is plenty of room for improvement. I will be working hard over the next several weeks to optimize and add to my guide in order to make it as appealing a prospect as possible.

The moral of the story is this — putting the time into creating the guide is just the first step. A failed launch isn’t the end — it can be the beginning.

Where to Start with Information Product Creation

In creating my own information product I almost exclusively referred to two awesome resources:

  1. How to Launch the **** Out of Your eBook
  2. Publish Your Book on Kindle

Furthermore, I documented my progress in a series of posts here on the blog. I think that those three resources will provide you with everything you need to create a successful information product.

Now please ask yourself — what is to stop you from creating your own information product? If you have been running a blog for a while but are not sold on the idea of doing so, I would love to know why. Please share your opinion in the comments section!

Creative Commons image courtesy of jurvetson

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37 Responses to “Why All Bloggers Should Consider Creating an Information Product”

  1. JamesW
    December 11, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    This is great post and I’m really happy for you Tom, this post provides a valuable information and way to make money from our online businesses.

    And your freelance writing guide is one of the examples how people should monetize their blogs.

    and $3,000 is a nice sum for ebook, you will earn more for sure.

    thanks for sharing

  2. Sandra
    December 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    This is great, congrats on your early success, Tom!
    Sold on the idea, but just started blogging with very few subscribers. Working on an ebook but with such a small reader base, should I still charge for it?

  3. Julie
    December 11, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    That is so awesome Tom! My goal for 2013 is to write an ebook. Right now I am trying to figure out my topic.

  4. Srinivas
    December 11, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Nice work Tom. Congrats on your success. It’s funny because it’s taken me a long time to come to this realization. I think one thing you did that was key was the math. That way you can price it accordingly. If you put 100 hours into something and sell it for dollar, well that’s just bad business. Speaking from experience on putting cheap stuff out. That simple exercise will save people so many headaches. Tom, considering your blog has impacted my pocketbook directly, I’m a big fan.

  5. Jon Pedlow
    December 11, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Well done, and you truly deserve it for your hard work and dedication!

    Keep the momentum going.

  6. Trevor
    December 12, 2012 at 1:48 am

    This article is a great inspiration! I think many new bloggers (myself included) have dreams of ebook success someday. But it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the enormity and uncertainty of the task.

    You’ve provided some great insight to those “looking down the road.” Thanks for sharing.

    Cheers!

  7. debmalya
    December 12, 2012 at 6:00 am

    Hey Tom,

    Nice post Tom, and the links were very helpful. I love your blogs only for three reasons, they are more grounded, practical and insightful. So I am putting up three questions for you because I think you are the best person I know who can answer them well.

    My first question to you is should you go for publishing your ebook if you cannot cover beyond what you have mentioned in your blogs.

    Second question is instead of starting with a blog isn’t it more profitable to write an ebook? Because I think the amount of cash flow will be more as compared to blogging. And to add to it ebook generates a lot of recurring income.

    Third question is what are the ways by which you can promote your ebook on kindle?

    • Tom Ewer
      December 12, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      Hey,

      1. Absolutely! Some people will happily pay money to have everything presented to them in an accessible package.
      2. Certainly not if you don’t have a platform to promote it with. If releasing on Amazon then quite possibly.
      3. Not sure — come back in 3-4 weeks and I will have a lot more to say on this topic 🙂

      Cheers,

      Tom

  8. Jamie Alexander
    December 12, 2012 at 11:18 am

    NIce job, the only way is up from now on.

    You’re right about people becoming a product creator if their niche allows it. I’m looking forward to writing my one, although I’m not in a rush at the moment. I only have a few thousand readers per month so I feel a launch right now would be pointless.

    One thing I’d rather not do is work out how much I want per hour. I only want to think of it as passive income, so I would risk putting the hours in for nothing.

    Hopefully you can teach many people that freelancing is a good base while they build their own business because there’s no risk of failing at the first attempt. It pays the bills as we keep trying again and again.

    • Tom Ewer
      December 12, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      Hi Jamie,

      A few thousand readers? If they’re engaged then that sounds like you have a good platform from which to launch. Remember Emilie who launched to just 500 subscribers…

      Let me ask another question — what number will be high enough for you justifying doing it? You’ve already said that you’d risk putting the hours in for nothing, so what’s stopping you?

      Cheers,

      Tom

      • Jamie Alexander
        December 12, 2012 at 7:01 pm

        I don’t think there’s anything stopping me. It feels like I’m more comfortable waiting until the right moment. There’s more ways I want to gauge my readers before I decide what will go in the book.

        My launch isn’t the most crucial think in the world because like I’ve said to you before I’d rather a long-term passive income that a quick launch every month, but I still think having around 10K readers per month would be nice.

        I don’t really know if this counts because it’s so cheap, but I put my freebie book on Kindle at $2.99 just as a traffic generation method. It’s already number 191 in the free kindle chart so hopefully it might bring in £10 per day once the promotion ends. Not so much a passive income, but it will afford me a Thai massage every day lol

        • Jon Pedlow
          December 12, 2012 at 10:28 pm

          Hey Jamie

          This reminds me of a saying, (you don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going).

          Another great saying (Just do it)

          Go for it Jamie!

          • Jamie Alexander
            December 13, 2012 at 10:11 am

            You’re probably right. I spent an hour writing some kind of outline when I was waiting at the airport a few weeks back. I might start trying to write out some chapters before Xmas.

            If I want to add videos etc, I’m sure that can be added at a later date.

  9. Sarah Russell
    December 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Congrats again on the success of your launch!

    Personally, I love the idea of releasing information products, as they’re one of the fastest and easiest ways to put a monetization strategy into place on a blog. Blogging, on its own, doesn’t make money – putting things in place like your launch strategy is what does.

    I also love that there are so many different options for creating information projects. Don’t like writing? Record a video course! Don’t have a video camera? Release an audio book. There’s really something for everybody (assuming, of course, that you have knowledge that’s worthy of sharing in the first place!).

  10. Jonathan Jacob
    December 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Great post Tom. I just read this post over at Think Traffic that might be interesting as it also have to do with product launches ect. http://thinktraffic.net/most-common-pricing-mistake

    • Tom Ewer
      December 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      Thanks for the link Jonathan — I’m a huge Think Traffic fan (just interviewed Corbett for an upcoming project actually). I do plan on having more than one price point for my product — it’s on the list of things to do 😉

  11. Mike
    December 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    The way I see it, I have to demonstrate that I’ve got my “A game” being played at my site before I’ll even think about doing something like this. Once I get my traffic numbers up (they’ve plateaued a bit lately) and my content moves from good to truly great, then I’ll begin this process. An e-book is one of my 2013 goals!

    Nice post!

  12. Jean Galea
    December 20, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Well done for the success of this ebook Tom, was 50 hours the original estimate or did you actually write all that content within that timeframe? Considering the depth of the book I think even a top writer would struggle to do it all in 50 hours.

  13. Mitch Mitchell
    December 30, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Good stuff. I haven’t come close to your success but I have created a couple of products. Even without the sales the products help create a profile of accomplishment and authority, and I’ll take that for now.

  14. Kay Franklin
    May 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I like your comment on disastrous first launches ” an unsuccessful launch is not going to be noticed by many people”. lol Quite! I guess thats why we dont hear much about the bad launches that marketers have made.

    On a positive note – a bad launch is a huge learning opportunity! And perhaps an invaluable one.

    • Tom Ewer
      May 23, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      Absolutely — failure is often the best teacher! And you’re right about not hearing about bad launches; you won’t find many bloggers talking about them (myself excepted!).

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