You can always start working on a creating a digital product of your own no matter how young your blog is or how green you are in your niche. No one is looking for your expert credentials (unless, perhaps it’s a medical topic that requires that level of expertise).
On your blog, you already know that you’ll be using affiliate marketing and maybe ad revenue to generate an income. But frankly, a business built on just those two monetization models is akin to a house of cards.
Your income can literally be taken away overnight.
For example, maybe the affiliate network you’re partnered up with drops your commission rate. Or a merchant closes down. Or a particular search engine decides your content just isn’t what they want to have in their search results pages anymore.
The only things you really control in your business are where your blog is hosted, the content you publish, your list, and your products. I know you’ve got the first two covered and most likely, the third, too (and I happen to have a great guest post on building your list.)
Next, I suggest you take your business to the next level by creating your own digital information products – and you should start working on this from the very first day your blog is online.
*This post contains affiliate links.
Don’t Let Your (Idea of) Competition Stop You
The first thing you have to do is face your unfounded fear that the market is saturated or that you can’t hold up to someone else in your niche. Nobody cares about that but you – and you’re using it as an excuse not to put yourself out there.
There might be 1,000 books – or 10,000 – on your topic. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write one, too. People who are into a certain niche don’t read just one book and stop.
They educate themselves about a topic thoroughly. For example, if you suffer from panic and anxiety, you’ll want to read dozens of books and pick up tips from each one that will work for you.
Pregnant women don’t just buy “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” They buy several books that help prepare for the upcoming event in different ways (I know I did!)
In most niches, people are looking for fresh ideas or different slants, rather than the author’s list of credentials and experience.
Look at your competition as a sign of health in the niche. It means there’s so much interest, that everybody is trying to meet demand. So you want to jump right in and share your ideas, too!
Think “Value,” not “Size”
No one is asking you to write War and Peace here (have you SEEN how big that book is?) What they do want is value for their money. So you can start out small and write a 10-page report filled with useful tips and sell it for $4.95 if you want to – or $7, or $10 – and get through the process with peace of mind.
Starting small sometimes takes the pressure off of you because you don’t have to write a lot, you’re not charging a ton, and the conversion of sales is easier because it becomes a no-brainer to fork over a small amount.
An eBook is a Great Way to Get Started Creating Digital Products
So how do you create an eBook?
You want to find a slant first – also known as a unique selling point. So you have options – write an A-Z book that covers everything (intimidating for a first timer), or, you can go with a narrow slant.
Some marketers like to think in terms of a series.
Whatever you choose to do is going to be great, but if you want to get your feet wet, pick a narrow topic to begin with. So for instance, instead of “Stress Relief” as your eBook topic, choose “Aromatherapy for Stress Relief.”
Then do a little research to create an outline for it. Brainstorm first, then look on news sites, in forums, on competing blogs, in the table of contents of other books, in keyword tools, and more to find ideas.
So your outline might look like this:
Chapter 1: How Stress is Affecting Your Body and Mind
Chapter 2: Using Aromatherapy to Soothe Your Stress
Chapter 3: Essential Oils and Blends That Calm and Heal
Chapter 4: Aromatherapy in the Bath
Chapter 5: Using Aromatherapy at Work and on Your Commute
Chapter 6: The Best Scent Dispensers to Place in and Around Your Home
Then write your content, using paragraphs that are nicely broken up – and use subtitles, just like you see here.
One thing you don’t ever want to do is to simply “rewrite” someone else’s content.
It’s good to educate yourself, but it’s plagiarism if you create a knock-off of someone else’s content just by rewriting it. Not only that, but keep in mind that most of your audience will be reading other people’s content, too – and if you make it apparent that you do nothing but rip off the other leaders in your niche, your reputation will suffer.
So what can you do for inspiration?
Take note of the highlights for your chosen topic. Ask yourself, “what does a beginner need to know?” or “what happens after someone already knows the basics?”
Another way you can find a unique spin for your digital products is by looking for what is not being covered in your niche. Forums are a great source of information here. Pay attention to the questions people are asking and answer those questions in your eBook.
When you finish creating your eBook, turn it into a PDF and zip it up in a zip file. You’ll need a way of selling it. You can use a site like ClickBank (where you’ll need a site to sell it from), or you can use JVZoo, where you don’t need anything upfront.
Another option is Kindle. With Kindle, you don’t upload the PDF, though. Using Kindle, you can reach a global audience – and it’s FREE for you to use! Series do really well here, assuming the content is good. Utilize free promotional days on KDP Select to give your book away free and generate reviews for it. Never create phony reviews – they’re onto those types of scams and it will ruin your account.
You can also simply create a PDF, upload it to your site, and have readers pay you via a PayPal button, sending them the link to the PDF download after they purchase.
Make sure, once you have an eBook live for sale somewhere, that you immediately go place the eCover on your site linking to it for sale. You’ll want to share your product all across your social networks, too, so this is the time you’ll put on your marketing hat and get out there to, well, market your product.
Create an Online Course or Membership
If you want to, you can create individual modules to explain a concept, and put them inside a membership site – like Teachable or Udemy – where users can gain access to the content and pay for it either all at once or on a recurring basis.
You can make your digital content ongoing training where they pay indefinitely, or have a fixed monthly membership – anywhere from 3-12 months and beyond.
You can also create a course that gets drip-fed out to your audience month after month for a limited time, like a 12-month course where each month delivers a new lesson.
Or, you can create all of your course content upfront, and members simply log in and complete each module when they’re ready.
Cash in With Video Courses
Video courses are becoming more and more popular – primarily because people like to see as they learn. You can put your videos that you create into a private area where only the paid buyers can gain access.
If you go the video route, keep in mind that some people don’t like video – or they won’t have access to a high enough Internet speed to allow them to watch the videos with ease. I personally don’t always have time to watch video and I don’t always want to have to watch video to get to the content I’m looking for.
So always have a transcript available for your non-video customers. This takes a bit more time and effort, but if you want to outsource it to someone, you can do that on freelance sites.
Make sure you practice with video before you create your first course. You don’t want to make rookie mistakes like slurping your coffee by the mic or saying, “Ummmm” too much so that it’s a distraction.
And please, when you’re talking to the camera, make eye contact with your audience by looking directly at the lens, not at yourself being filmed. This is just my $0.02, but it’s always a distraction when someone isn’t making eye contact in a video because it looks like they’re looking over my shoulder.
Boost Your Sales with Services
Products aren’t the only way to level up in business. Sometimes your time is the product – and you can sell it to those who need to use your talents and skills in exchange for a non-residual form of income. Services are also good for promoting to customers who’ve purchased your products – a very soft upsell.
What kinds of services sell well online? Here are a few examples:
- Life or business coaching
- Freelance writing
- Graphics or website creation
- Virtual assistants
- Social Media Managers
The best things you can do as a freelance service provider are:
- Create your own website (or a page on your blog) that promotes your services
- Have a portfolio, if applicable, of your work
- Explain your rates – and periodically run specials to get new clients
- Sign up to freelance sites like Elance to promote yourself
Being a service provider is a way to generate fast income, but you want to work on your own products simultaneously because residual earnings are what provide you with security during times when you can’t work.
Not to mention that passive or residual income is what allows you to live that freedom-based lifestyle I’m always talking about!
Sales Funnels and Copywriting
When you’re selling a product, you have to start educating yourself about sales copy and sales funnels. Sales copy is what the visitor reads (or sees if you use video) when they land on your site and you try to convert them.
The sales funnel is the process they go through whenever they make a buying decision. So some people have a simple one level sales funnel – you either buy the product, or you don’t.
Others go further than that. If the prospect clicks out and decides not to buy, they’re shown a downsell offer, giving them a chance to get something cheaper – or get on their list with a freebie offer, so they have a chance to promote to them again.
If they do buy, they might be shown a one time offer or upgrade. This is something where a bigger ticket item is presented to the buyer, and some sellers go overboard on this, making people choose 5 or more times to the point of many of them giving up completely.
Affiliates love sales funnels because it gives them a chance to increase their earnings when they promote you. When you create a product, think about it strategically in terms of maximizing your sales and providing value to the customer.
Sales copy is something where you have to set aside your own personal disdain for being “sold to” and learn how to sell to others. There’s a reason copy is hyped up – it works.
That doesn’t mean you have to be sleazy or dishonest. But you need to create a sense of urgency and make your offer irresistible, too.
You can learn how to create good sales copy a few different ways:
You always want to split test your sales copy to see what performs better on your visitors. Is it video or text? It is a blue color or red? Is it this headline or that one? Split testing presents readers with two versions of sales copy – one slightly different than the other. You then check your results to see what performs better.
Next, you take that preference, like one headline over another, and use it in your sales copy while split testing another element in your sales copy, like price point or layout.
Repurpose Your Content
The last thing you want to keep in mind as you create information products to sell on your blog is that you can repurpose everything you create.
Created an opt-in report? Expand on it and offer it for sale under $10.
Have several inexpensive reports? Package them up and sell them at a discounted price if your reader buys all of them.
Went all-out on an eBook? Use THAT to create a course or coaching program you can charge a premium for!
You’ve created some amazing products for your readers. Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and wait for the income to roll in!
This is when it’s time to get to work! Roll up your sleeves and get ready to promote your content.
Approach potential affiliate partners and see if they’re interested in promoting your products. Spread the news in your newsletter and on social media. Create blog posts and link to your products from them. If you guest post, mention that you have a product if it’s allowed and not spammy.
Above all, keep your relationship with your readers a priority. The sales will come.
Understand that your income blogging journey will be filled with ups and downs, successes and failures. This is normal.
There’s not a guru alive who hasn’t failed at one or more things – but it’s the ones who learn and get better who make it to the big leagues.
The people who give up easily aren’t cut out for a work at home career. They’re better off providing services and working for others.
It’s normal to feel apprehensive about how well you’ll do whether you’re new to the business of blogging or have been around awhile.
The mere fact that you’re here educating yourself and striving to be there for your audience says volumes about your character as an entrepreneur. Take it slow. Ask for help. And always remember to pay it forward, helping others whenever you can.