Information products are books and ebooks, audio CDs and MP3s, web video and DVDs, teleseminars, and computer software that are used to teach specialized knowledge to another person. Most people have knowledge that other people want. Information products are a way to deliver that information to people easily and profitably. Let’s look at some formats for delivering content.
- Reports and Books – The simplest way to create an information product is to write a how-to or beginner’s guide, short report, white paper, case study or full-length book. Anyone with word processing software (like Microsoft Word) can open up a new document and start writing. If the idea of writing a book seems overwhelming to you, focus on short 6-10 page guides and build up to lengthier documents as you become more comfortable and confident in your writing. Once you have created your report or book, you can use one of the many free PDF conversion tools to create a PDF to offer on your website.
- Audio and Video – Many people perceive audio and video content to be of higher value than a traditional book or ebook. Anyone with a microphone can record audio directly to their computer. To edit your audio file, Audacity is a free, cross-platform program you can download and use.
The quickest way to record video is to buy a Flip video camcorder and record yourself giving a presentation. Or, if you prefer to create screen capture videos or Powerpoint presentations, you can download a 30-day free trial of TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio.
Like with books, CreateSpace allows you to sell physical print-on-demand CDs and DVDs of your audio and video products.
- Online Courses and Membership Sites – A more extensive type of information product is to create an online course or membership site where you deliver different content in written, audio or video format. Subscribers log into a members-only section of your website to access the content.
The primary difference between a course and a membership site is that a course has a specific price and end date while a membership site provides new content monthly for an indefinite length of time, as long as subscribers continue to pay the monthly fee.
Logistically, delivering courses and content online is much easier to do online than offering physical products or delivering trainings in-house or at the client’s company. Rather than worrying about CD or DVD production, printing paper copies, mailing to subscribers, or finding conferencing space each month, you can simply upload your new content to your website.
The quickest and easiest way I have found to set up a membership site is to use the Wishlist Member plugin with WordPress and accept payments through Paypal. To set up your site requires a bit of technical know-how, but virtually anyone can do it in a matter of hours by following their online tutorials – or hire someone to set it up through sites like Elance.
Why create information products?
Creating your own information products helps you demonstrate your expertise, build credibility and find qualified leads. Reports, white papers, case studies and teleseminar recordings can be offered for free as lead generators to get people to subscribe to your newsletter or build your prospect database.
More in-depth guides, audio or video programs, or courses can offer prospects a cheaper alternative to buying your pricier one-on-one services. This allows you to help more people than you would if you only worked one-one-one while still making money.
In addition, while the initial creation of an information product takes time, once it is complete, you can make money from it long-term. If you sell a virtual or print-on-demand product, you don’t have to worry about reproduction costs or inventory. The order process is automated so when people order through your website, they can immediately download their product or have it shipped to them through your print-on-demand service.