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The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide to Selling Digital Products on Your Blog (Step Three)

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Step Three Create Your Product

So far in this guide, we’ve talked about building relationships to help you sell your product and about choosing the right product format and topic. Today, it’s time to get down to the meat of selling a digital product: we’re talking about how to go about creating the product itself.

It can seem like a daunting task. This is where a lot of bloggers get hung up and their digital product never happens. How many of us have half-finished products just sitting on our computers? Yes, I’m in this boat as well! But I’ve also finished products that have gone on to be very successful. So, today, I’m going to share with you the difference between creating a great product and losing steam half way through the product creation step.

Step Three: Get Organized for Perfect Product Creation

Creating a digital product falls into five main parts:

  1. Planning
  2. First Draft
  3. Polishing
  4. Editing
  5. Packaging

Some people only do step two and maybe three. This is a recipe for disaster! Let’s walk through each step from start to finish.

Planning for Product Creation

You might think that determining the type of product you’re going to create is all the planning you need, but if you don’t spend some time outlining and collecting your thoughts, your end product will suffer. Here are the steps I suggest you take before you start writing or recording:

  1. Brainstorm or mindmap your topic: Allow yourself to freely think about all of the ideas you have related to your topic that you could potentially cover.
  2. Edit your ideas: Not everything about the topic needs to make it into your product. You want to cover the topic adequately, but keep in mind that your product needs to be focused. If you have to many ides, your topic might be too broad. Focus for a single product or make plans to create several products.
  3. Organize the ideas: Once you’ve crossed off sub-topics that aren’t going to make the cut, organize the remaining ideas into an outline that makes sense for your type of product. For example, if you’re writing an ebook, organize by chapter. Or if you’re creating a video series, organize ideas by which video you’ll use to cover them.

Then, start to flesh out your outline. The more details you can add, the better.

Let’s say, for example, that I’m writing an ebook about Twitter, and one of my chapters is going to be on creating Twitter lists. I wouldn’t just leave it at that and start writing, though. I would break down the outline farther:

  • What is a Twitter list?
  • What kinds of Twitter lists should you create?
  • How to find people to add to your Twitter lists
  • Promoting your Twitter lists

But I wouldn’t stop there. I would break down this topic even further:

  • What is a Twitter list?
    • Definition
    • Explain how to create them
    • Why you should create them
  • What kinds of Twitter lists should you create?
    • Private versus public
    • Naming your lists
  • How to find people to add to your Twitter lists
    • Manually adding people to your lists
    • Tools to help you automate the process
    • Who NOT to include
  • Promoting your Twitter lists
    • Should you promote your lists
    • Methods for promotion

Now, if i were really going to write an ebook on this topic, I might break down these topics even farther. That way, when I start writing, I just go down the list and make sure that every topic makes it into the book in the write order.

First Draft and Polishing

Once you’ve planned, it’s time to start creating your product. I’m going this the “first draft,” which typically refers to written content, but your videos, membership site, course material, etc. can all be “first drafts” of sorts. Basically, we’ll talking about the first attempt at creating the content.

This step is where a lot of projects go to die! 🙂

Here are my best tips for getting it done, even if you don’t have tons of free time (who does?):

  • Have content creation goals. For example, when I’m writing an ebook, I set a goal to write a certain number of words every night before I go to bed. Or I might have a deadline to finish each chapter Stick to these small milestones. The first time you give yourself permission not to complete your daily tasks is the beginning of the end.
  • Use content you already own. Blog posts, older video scripts, etc. can be reformatted and used to create new content. This takes a lot less time.
  • Give yourself a work time and space. Every night from 10 PM to 11 PM you sit in your home office and write. Or every Monday during your noontime lunch break you record one video in your dining room area. Having a set schedule and location for doing your work can help you meet your goals.
  • Set a firm deadline. These are a little different from goals. A deadline is a time for the entire first draft to be done. The best way to make your deadline real is to tell someone (like an editor) when the draft will be available. That way, you’ll hold yourself more accountable. If you work with a mastermind group, you can also work with others to hold one another accountable for meeting goals and hitting deadlines.

Part-way through the product creation process, a weird things sometimes happens: you figure out that you’re doing things in the wrong format. That’s okay! Now is the time to change your idea a bit to better play to your skill set and make sure that you’re giving your future customers the best possible product.

Once you have a complete first draft, it’s time to polish it. This is the self-editing process can be difficult, but try to be liberal with your red pen. Cut unnecessary words and even unnecessary sentences or full sections if you’re producing written content. For other content, be just as liberal with cutting sections. You want to present your customers with the best, most focused product possible.

Editing

So if you’ve already self-edited to polish your work, why am I calling this section “editing”? Because self-editing and proofreading isn’t the same as having someone else look at your work to give you feedback. I know a lot of people cut costs in this area, but if you work with an editor, your final product will be much stronger.

And if you don’t have a great final product, customers will disappointed and less likely to recommend it to their friends.

If you don’t have a big budget, here’s how you can still get a great editor for your product:

  • Trade services with a friend: You edit their new ebook, they edit yours. It’s easier to see mistakes in others’ work. This is a great way to get free feedback and even proofreading services.
  • Offer a free “sneak peak” to your top community members: Give them free access in exchange for providing feedback on your product. This isn’t good for proofreading, but it is good to get general comments on how to make your product better.
  • Work with a VA: Virtual assistants (VAs) are often available at a very low cost, and they do great work. Find someone who specializes in editing and proofreading, preferably in your niche/industry.

Don’t skip this step. Trust me, you’ll thank me later!

Packaging

Lastly, once the content of your product is created, you have to package it. You need to design the ebook and create the pdf. Or you need to upload your videos and create a page to host them. Or you need to design your membership site. Or…well, you get the picture.

In the food blogging world, the saying is that people “eat with their eyes first.” In other words, you have to make it pretty if you want to sell it. So don’t skimp on this part either. Hire a designer if you can’t do the work yourself.

Along with packaging, you need a distribution method. Here are a few options:

  • Put the content behind a pay wall on your site. People will need to log in to view and/or download this content. The easiest option for this is a service like Wishlist Member.
  • Use a service like E-Junkie for easy distribution when someone purchases the product. You can also do this through PayPal, though other services allow you to have an affiliate program as well.
  • Manually distribute the product whenever someone buys it. This requires virtual no set-up, but can be too hard to manage depending on your sales. If you go this route, you may need to hire a VA to help with this process.
  • Set up an email sequence to distribute the product. For this option, you’ll need an advanced email management program, like Infusionsoft, where payment processing is also an option.

I can’t give you advice on which mention you should use. That depends on your specific product, the skill level of your customers, your budget, and your projected sales. Look into all of the options and try to stick to just one for all of your products if possible (this is the easiest option!).

Now…go out and create your digital product! Next up, we’ll talk about preparing for launch day. If you missed any of the posts in this series, you can view them below!

See Other Posts in This Series:

  1. Step One: Building Relationships
  2. Step Two: Choosing the Perfect Product
  3. Step Three: Creating Your Product (this post)
  4. Step Four: Planning Your Launch
  5. Step Five: Customers Service

Image credit (altered): Bigstock

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


Feedback

1
  • oliver smith

    Hello Allison,

    Another Very Nice article, After reading this article i try to find out how people’s are engaging with others in twitter. but one thing i don’t understood that is how people’s are chat with each other in twitter account ?. Please Let know ..

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