Step 3 (pt. 3): Creating Your Products: Special Reports
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Avish: Let’s start with one of the simpler paid products you can make and those are special reports; they’re just reports.
Fred: Yeah, a lot of times you may not have the material, the time, the inclination or whatever to create an entire book, so you may want to just create what used to be a called a monograph, or just a report. And these reports are obviously written material. They’re usually anywhere between a low of say, 5 pages up to a high of 25 or 30 pages. And are very, very specific to a topic so that you may want to create these very, very sort of in-depth and in-detail reports about any given topic.
Avish: Okay. So how do you determine what kind of topic you should make a report on?
Fred: A lot of times when you start a business you notice that people are always asking a lot of questions about a specific topic that’s sort of very, very, sort of granular within your overall topic area. And so for example, let’s just say that you and I were preparing a program on fishing. And you may, and I know nothing about fishing so I’m just making this up, so you may want to prepare a special report on types of bait to use in different fishing conditions; because it’s a really, really sort of specific topic and subject matter within your more general topic of fishing. And so in your book you may have covered or you may talk about in your e-book or physical book the kinds of bait you should use, but this report is going to go into much, much greater detail and be much more specific, so that a person who is reading the general e-book or book on fishing, might want to know something about that. But you don’t want to clog your book down and make it 1,200 pages by putting all the material that you would put in your special report on bait that would go in to that separate item. Does that make sense?
Avish: Yeah, yeah; absolutely. So, let me just, because someone might get an idea and run off and make a report, how do you make sure before you create the report that there’s actually a market for it and people will buy it.
Fred: The thing about it is, is that often times, most people by the way, don’t really do, and frankly I haven’t done a lot of this either, where they will test in advance to determine whether or not there’s a market for a specific, special report. I think that the way that you do this is if you know your field pretty well. For example, if you’re one of my clients and one of your people that you know, Bill DeWees, and he’s talking about voiceovers, he may put together a special report on microphones, studio microphones. In which case he may have a list of his top 12 microphones that he feels are valuable and putting them in order both in terms of price point and effectiveness, whatever it is. So I think that it’s key that everyone sort of think of the special reports as something that is about a very, very important topic but is super, super detailed about one aspect. Now, does that answer the question?
Avish: Yeah, it answers it for that. But I was curious, I know one of the hesitations that I certainly had and I’m sure people have is if you’re only writing something that’s like 10 pages long, are people really going to pay 5 to 10 dollars for that when they can buy a whole book a lot of times for 10 dollars.
Fred: Well that goes back to the whole concept of the value equation, which is the length of a product, whether it be an audio, a video, whatever it is, isn’t really determined by, you know—it’s not like in school where you’d put your term paper on a scale and if it weighed a lot you’d get an A on it. This is more about making sure that you give people—in fact in many cases, less is more, so that I would actually pay more money for a very, very detailed and concise 25 page report than I would for a 250 page manual that I may have to sift through to get all the important stuff.
So the value equation just says that the pricing and the determining of a price for a product isn’t dependent, at least not exclusively, on the size, the length, the weight of the product. It’s instead determined by how much value will people derive by getting it and using it. And so that’s really a better yardstick for determining pricing.
Avish: Okay, that makes sense. So let’s say you decided to create a report and you’ve got your topic. How do you actually go about creating this report now?
Fred: Well, the thing that I like to do is first to take—first create a title for your report and that will sort of get you going. And what you’re going to do here is similar what you’re going to do with a book when you’re putting one of those together, is you’re going to put an outline together. So, you’re going to have your title and then you’re going to want to start with an introduction and a conclusion. And so you’re going to have a great title, something that’s very compelling.
You’re going to first write your introduction and conclusion and then you’re going to say to yourself, what are the, let’s say, four, five or six or eight main topics within this particular . . . For example let’s go back to the Bill DeWees example from the microphones. Let’s say that he came up with 12 different microphones but the thing about it is that he divided those 12 microphones— and of course we’ve done the math very neatly here—in to 3 different categories: high-priced, medium priced, low priced. And he had 4 microphones for each so he had 4 times 3, or 12.
So what he would do is he would write an introduction, sort of the general introduction about microphones in general. He might then write a separate mini-introduction to the section on inexpensive microphones. He would then write a little review, 4 sections, one each on each of the microphones that were inexpensive, and the he would do the same thing with the medium priced and the high priced mike. So at the end of the day he would have a report that had basically 12 sections. But in addition to the 12 sections, there’d be an introduction and a conclusion to the entire report; but within the mini sections of 4 items each, 4 microphones each, he might even have an introduction and a conclusion there as well. Does that make sense?
Avish: Yeah, sure. How about from the technical side then? So you’ve got your outline, you write it. How do you actually create this thing that you can sell online?
Fred: Yeah, well the nice thing is that once you’ve created your report and you’ve written it let’s say, whatever your platform, you can probably turn anything that you do into a PDF file and if you go into Microsoft Word you can just do ‘save as PDF’ and you can take that and you know, in many cases you don’t need to create a fancy cover for it. You just do a file for the document. And then what you’re going to be doing is you’re going to be uploading it into Web Marketing Magic and uploading it to Web Marketing Magic will allow people to go to your site, click on a link and download it to order it. So a PDF being a digital product: very easy to do. Very simple and that’s how it happens.