The ABC’s of any subject give you the basics you need to get started. Basics are very important because that’s the foundation you build upon. In some cases, you don’t have to go far beyond the basics to excel in your chosen field or area. Sports provide many excellent examples of this. There have been standout athletes over the years that excelled far and beyond their contemporaries by mastering and sticking close to the basics.
I’ve watched certain boxers over the years that broke records and achieved tremendous longevity in the sport by mastering the basics. They weren’t big knockout punchers. They didn’t have incredible defenses. They didn’t apply overwhelming pressure against their opponents. Bernard Hopkins and Joe Calzaghe are a few good modern examples. Neither had the flash of an Ali or Leonard. They didn’t have the defense of a Willie Pep or Pernell Whitaker. They didn’t have the punching power of a George Foreman. Even so, they kept winning and winning and both hold records for most title defenses in their respective divisions.
During their fights, announcers would say, “They don’t do anything great, but they do everything well!”
The same could be said about champion athletes in other sports as well.
At the very least, you have to have the basics under your belt.
The Basics of Information Publishing
Let’s take a quick look at the basics of information publishing. It’s common knowledge that people come online looking for information. Although the model has changed over the years, publishing is a big business that’s only getting bigger. From PDF eBooks to Kindle, Blogs to Membership sites (and don’t forget publishing on-demand services) – there is no end in sight.
- You have to pick a niche you’re knowledgeable in or in the process of becoming knowledgeable in.
- You have to have the tools to write and create your finished product (Word, Open Office, Adobe Acrobat, etc.)
- You have to have a website with a sales letter from which you sell your product from. You also need to secure a payment processor (Paypal, etc.)
- You have to collect names and build a mailing list.
Those are the basics of the information publishing business. There are other things we could add, but you get the general idea.
If you never did anything else but still managed to do all those things really well, you could make money writing, publishing and marketing information products.
You could do a joint venture here and there to help speed up the sales and the list growing process… but all things being equal, even if you didn’t, you’d still develop a solid business over time if your product was good.
GETTING BEYOND THE BASICS
Now, let’s take a look at what exists “beyond the basics.” I call it the XYZ’s of information publishing. These are things you encounter when you’re in the midst of the process that people don’t always tell you about.
Problem: You discover you’ve picked the wrong niche.
Picking the right niche isn’t as easy as some people would have you believe. When I wrote my first booklets, “Car Buy Secrets” and “How-To Erase Your Poor Credit Rating,” I found out from experience that I didn’t have any follow-ups “in me” to continue in that particular niche profitably.
My Car Buying and Credit Repair booklets were a great way to get started in the publishing business. They become the foundation upon which my reputation was built. I remained in that niche for three years. Afterwards, I began writing in the self-publishing niche for business owners interested in publishing paper and ink booklets to promote their companies, products and services. It wasn’t long before my consulting service (the backend, money-making product) began developing.
I added all kinds of services to that business including SEO services, webhosting, graphic design, etc. It all started with a single booklet title (like a seed) and grew from there. Was that the plan from the beginning? Nope. I flew, basically, by the seat of my pants.
Test several niches if you’re not certain which one is right for you. Sometimes the only way you really learn is by DOING and experiencing all the little ins and outs. Reading about it is great, but doing it is where your education will increase by leaps and bounds.
Problem: You’re A Lousy Marketer.
As it turns out, you write and produce good information products. Heck, they may even be great! Only thing is – your marketing campaign results in “crowds of people” not buying your product. People just don’t respond to your sales copy.
There are plenty of sales letter formulas and examples you can learn from and borrow online as well as offline. There are also plenty mind-map examples you can find, too, showing you how the process works and what you need to do from start to finish.
The problem is, most people take “a little of this” and “a little of that” and splice it all together. The results are something that sounds like an overt sales pitch and I’m sure you already know, “People hate being sold to.”
The best salespeople sell just enough to make it seem as though the buyer is making an informed decision. They give enough information to make the next logical step a “buying decision.”
In person, if you talk to someone who’s a potential client or customer, you can talk to them and find out what they’re looking for and offer them a solution to their problem. You can provide them with a service to meet the need. You share the benefits of doing business with you and if you leave them with a good feeling, they’ll often make a decision to do business with you. That’s a simple business transaction.
That’s what you want to capture in your sales letter and materials.
It takes a little practice to get it right. Okay… it takes a LOT of practice to get it right.
Reverse engineer your publication creation method by writing your sales letter first. List all the benefits your readers will get by purchasing your product. Then, go back and write your publication outline to mirror the sales letter. While this method isn’t practiced by many, those who’ve struggled with creating a more effective sales letter/marketing package swear by this method.
A friend of mine who’s been publishing how-to books for many years told me this method has worked wonders for him (he hates writing sales letters).
- If you don’t know how to make a decent looking website, use WordPress to create your website on your own domain. If you don’t know how to do that and don’t intend on building multiple websites over time, hire someone at fiverr.com to do the job for you. Sites on blogger.com and WordPress.org are not the way to go.
- If no one or very few people known you exists, give your eBooks to local business owners. This is a simple way promote yourself, provide value to new readers and open the doors to a variety of networking opportunities.
- If you’re WordPress site isn’t showing up the search engines under your keywords and phrases use the following basic plugins – (All-In-One SEO, Google Sitemap Generator, Maxblogpress-ping-optimizer).
- If you can’t create a decent looking product box or book graphic, hire someone for $5 at fiverr.com – minimally. You don’t have to invest in software unless you enjoy the cover creation process.
- Sales flat-line. If you send out a mailing to your list or do a joint venture and get less than satisfying results, don’t give up! There are people who will see you offer who (for whatever reason) can’t or won’t be able to purchase your offer initially. Keep your products out there and continue to market them. Change headlines; tweak the text or the offer, etc.
Is there anything that I know today that I wish I knew about the information publishing business when I started? I’ve learned so much over the course of time that one single thing doesn’t stand out. If anything, I would say to make sure you treat this like a business because that’s exactly what it is. Like any other business, you’ll need patience, organization and the ability to adjust to the changes that inevitably come.
There may be plenty of frustrations and challenges along the way, but the rewards definitely outweigh the effort. The technical methods may change, but the publishing business is here to stay.