My 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?
I 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:
- Estimated time taken to create and promote the guide: 50 hours
- Desired hourly rate: $50
- Financial cost to produce the guide (design etc.): $500
( 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
I 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:
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