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This is a step-by-step action course designed to provide you with a simplified approach to producing, packaging and promoting your own information products. You can really get rich from information products if you diligently apply the strategies revealed in this course.
There are no fluff or fillers here and each strategy is given to you in a straight-forward manner. Short and sweet it’ll be, I won’t want to bore you with useless chatter too.Information product marketing is not a complicated process, this course is kept 3rd grade simple to show you just how easy it is.
It’s divided into 3 main sections covering the processes of producing, packaging and promoting your product, with additional sections containing more powerful tactics for your use.You will also be happy to know that the knowledge you discover here can be applied to any market and niche. ..
This is because proven information marketing principles stay the same no matter where you bring it to. And as long as there is a hungry market for information, what you learn here will work.Once you possess this knowledge, you can literally produce unlimited information products and promote them for instant results. With that, let us start this incredible journey…
You still need to have your own web hosting and domain name that will allow you to host a 'mini site’ to showcase and deliver your information product for download.
Now in my opinion, one of the BEST registrars to get your domain name at for a reasonable price is NameCheap. While not exactly the cheapest, they make up for it with their reliabilty, commitment to customer service and exclusive benefits for customers.Go to: http://www.namecheap.com
The regular price for a standard .com domain name here is $8.88. There are other domains available such as .net, .org, .info, .us, .tv, .biz, .name etc. ranging from $2.88 for .info to $42.95 for a .tv. The most popular TLD you’d want to go for are .com, .net and .info.Now let's talk about web space…
While it is possible to find free hosts that give you some quality features, they will more than likely put strict limitations on what you can do with your hosting space.
Plus you will have NO CONTROL over the banners that appear on your site either., and you wouldn’t want any banner on your sales page at all to avoid looking unprofessional and distracting to the sales process.
Ultimately the total cost of getting your own domain name and web hosting space will be peanuts considering the riches you’ll be getting out of it with information marketing.
The reason for this is because when you begin anything for the first time it always seems that much more difficult due to it being the very first time.
For some people, writing is an almost impossible task. Let me tell you though that writing an article, special report, or a 340 page ebook isn't any different than learning to roller blade.However once you get the ‘hang’ of it, it becomes child’s play.
The best advice for this is to write about WHAT YOU KNOW. That makes everything so much easier. And don't think you don't know anything, because everyone knows something that will be of value to someone else.
(Note: You can create anything you want and you’d still be able to get people to purchase them simply by offering your customers a way to make money with your product. This can be resale rights, private label rights, an affiliate program etc. Simply by inserting a ‘moneymaking’ element into your product will get you more sales compared to the other way round.)Nothing is ever written in stone when it comes to the internet.
A quick example is how many older books on marketing and selfimprovement have been storming onto the scene with the trend of Public Domain products.
So if you think that your subject won't have any audience, you couldn't be more wrong.
Chances are good that someone will want to read what you have written even if they may have never heard of you. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that everyone has a unique way of looking at and solving certain problems. No two people see things the same. Even if there are hundreds of ebooks, special reports, or articles on the same topic that you’re writing on, it won't be filled with the exact same information. That’s why you see literally thousands of ebooks covering the same subject matter with the author's own unique spin on it.Lets get back to selecting a topic…
No matter which route you take, you should check if there’s a market for it first. You can do this by typing in your subject matter keyword here:http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/
You can also do a quick search on a new keyword tool called ‘The Dowser’
available free here:
Simply type in the your keywords to see the number of people who are interested in learning more about your subject. It will also give you good information on the ratio of current websites on your subject compared to the number of searches for it.This is not the only way to perform testing on your subject matter of course.
Forums are a fantastic way to ask some questions about your subject and get real answers from real people. It's also a wonderful way to find out how much interest there is from others about your topic.
To go one step further, you could ask specific questions and incorporate those into your ebook chapters based on the responses you get.
You can similarly visit the major search engines and check the supply and competitors. If there’re too many competitors in your subject topic with a low demand, you may want to rethink your topic.Now before you begin writing, make sure you have the proper tool to begin with.
You can start out with the simple Notepad or WordPad tool that came with your computer. However, to cut through some additional formatting steps, i.e. - copying and pasting, etc., it's easier to use a tool with a more functions like Microsoft Word or the better, and FREE alternative, Open Office.You can download a copy of Open Office at http://www.openoffice.org.
You may also want to pick up the Open Office Suite. This is helpful to you if you don't have the more expensive Microsoft Office or PDF Maker programs.Well now that you have just the right writing tool, let's start writing your first information product.
Make a list of the things that you do or like to do. Whether it's your job, a hobby you enjoy, or caring for children or pets. Remember that things which we often take for granted or overlook because we do them on a constant basis may be something the market wants to know. Once again do your due research for demand and supply as mentioned above.Look over the list you just created and choose a subject from it. Here are a few example topics that might give you some starting ideas:
** Effective Marketing For Small Businesses ** Organic Gardening
** Japanese Bonsai Tree Growing and Care ** Low-Fat Dessert Recipes
** Delicious Italian Recipes
** Working with Leather
** Buying a Car with No Credit or Bad Credit ** Fly Fishing for Beginners
** Pit Bulls as Pets: A Positive Experience ** Choosing A Name For Your Dog
** Home-Made Cat Treat Recipes
** Having an Iguana as a Family Pet ** Being a Better Parent
** Making the Most Out Of Every Day ** Hot Air Ballooning
** Bird Watching For the Family
** Model Airplane Construction
** Coin and Currency Collecting
** Knitting, Crocheting, Sewing
** How to Play Football
** Learning to Play Tennis like A Pro
** Proper Car Tune Up Instructions
** Easy SAT Study Guide For College Students
** Carpet Laying For Dummies
** How to Build Your Own Tranquil Outdoor Garden Sanctuary
You don't have to have any knowledge about one particular subject, as you could always do research on the topic and create the product as you go along (more on this later).Once you have your choice topic selected, it's time to begin really writing it up.
Now don't be afraid. This is easier than you might think. The way to write an information product is to write it as if you are explaining the subject to someone who has no previous knowledge of it or has never heard of what you are talking about.
Go from beginning to end. Leave out nothing, no matter how small the detail. Remember, most of the people that purchase your information product will be new to the whole process of your subject matter.You would want to create an 'outline' for your product. I’ll show you how in the following pages.
Don’t be worried about the length of your product. There are more important things to be concerned with than something as trivial as length. Believe me, there are marketers out there selling 5-15 page reports like hotcakes.
This is because they have something unique to share. They also focus on the way in which they provide the information to their customers, making sure it’s good useful information. People pay for useful information not the length of the product.Always remember to be as original as you can be. A good way to do that is to write like you speak. Doing so will also make the task of writing a LOT easier for you.
Nothing is perfect. Get your product out there even if there are a couple of typos or a point you forgot to cover. It doesn't matter. What matters most is that you start and finish it.“You don’t have to get it perfect; you just have to get it going!” Now let us move up the pace a little, it’s time to go short and sweet…
To sum it up YOU get the source files of these books. You have complete control over the product. You give them your own title, you can add more information to them, you can add links to affiliate programs, you can put your contact details inside and YOU are the author of the product.It becomes totally your product with no copyright or credit given to any one else! The books are delivered to you in word format ready for you to edit and compile into your own ebooks.
You get 8 packages of products instantly which you can sell immediately. You will also get the sales pages, customizable graphics, an autoresponder series and traffic magnet articles, everything you need to make an income on autopilot.***THIS IS HOW I WILL BE USING THESE PRODUCTS*** As well as selling them as ebooks you are allowed to create content rich websites from the content. This is a great way to earn income from Google Adsense. The possibilities really are endless with content for blogs, autoresponders, special reports and more... Plus you get two new products every month!If you have been looking for your own products then here's your chance. Subject Areas That Will Always Produce Info Riches How does your business serve others? How do you (or your product/service) contribute to the improvement of lives? You have to look past the obvious.
For example, cosmetic companies don’t sell lipstick; they sell romance (and sex). They know women want to love and be loved. Lipstick is a device to attain it.Historically (and most likely forever) people want:
How To Brainstorm And Narrow Down Your Information Product Ideas To Find The “Quickest To Market” ConceptBelow is an example of the brainstorming spreadsheet you’ll find on the following pages.STEP 1: Brainstorm as many ideas as possible.
Write down EVERYTHING that comes to mind. There are no bad ideas at this point. Just do a complete brain dump onto the spreadsheet in the “Idea” column.
You should get at least 20 – 50 ideas during this process. If you get stuck, go back and look through the list of customer desires to get some ideas.Once you have 20 – 50 ideas (or you feel like you’re finished – if you can come up with 100 ideas go for it!), then move on to step 2.
4 small business productivity software
3 college prep SAT study guide
2 dog name book
1 Italian recipe cookbook
How difficult? Who will do it? Level of knowledge? H O N M O L M M L E M ESTEP 2: How Difficult?
In the “How difficult?” column place an H, M or E in the column for each idea. This indicates how difficult it would be – based on your experience and skills – to turn this idea into a product.
NOTE: DO NOT ask anyone else to answer this for you – especially by making a post in a marketing forum. Only YOU can answer these questions.H = Hard, M = Medium, E = Easy Once you’ve placed an H, M or E next to each idea… move onto Step 3.STEP 3: Who Will Do It?
Next to each idea place an O or M in the “Who will do it?” column. This will reference who would be responsible to actually do the work for this idea.If you have the skills to do the work (and want to do the work) then put an “M” for ME. If you don’t have the skills or would prefer to pay someone to do the work then put an “O” for OTHERS. Once you’ve finished this for every idea on your list, move on to the next step.STEP 4: Level Of Knowledge? In this step, place an E, L or N next to each idea based on your personal level of knowledge about the subject of the idea. If your idea is in an area that you are an expert… place an E. If your idea is in an area where you have some knowledge but you’re not an expert… place an L. If you think the idea is a money-maker but you have no personal knowledge of the subject… place an N. After completing that for each idea, let’s move on to the final step.STEP 5: Prioritize Ok, now let’s prioritize your ideas.
Don’t get worried… this is going to be SO easy. You see, most fail at this point because they try to prioritize their ideas based on their own personal “feelings”. Essentially, they pick the ideas they like or want to do.Our process is going to make this SO simple for you.#1 Priorites would be: E (Easy), M (Me), E (Expert)
Why? Because this means it’s an Easy idea, you’ll be doing the work so it’s under your control and you’re an expert in the subject. It can’t get any better than that.The Last Priority would be: H (Hard), O (Others), N (No Knowledge)
Why? Because the idea is Hard to create, Others would have to be involved (which would mean extra money, additional time and limited control) and you have No knowledge of the subject matter.The rest of the categories would be ranked somewhere in the middle. You can even give a Number to each letter so the calculation of your priorities would be simple math. Easy = 1, Medium = 2, Hard = 3 Me = 1, Others = 2 Expert = 1, Limited = 2, None = 3 Place those numbers next to each letter in the appropriate columns and then just add up the totals. Your totals would rank everywhere from 3 (lowest) to 8 (highest).
You’re going to take the top 10 ideas and move on to the next section. Depending on how many ideas you have rank as a 3, 4, etc. you may have all 3’s moving on or 3’s and some 4’s, etc.
If you have more than 1 idea in the 6 category moving on to the next section then you may want to consider brainstorming some additional ideas.
Difficult: Easy, Medium or Hard
Who: Me or Others (example: Freelancers) Knowledge: Expert, Limited, None
Once you have your top 10 ideas identified (from the previous section), you can use the matrix on the following pages to evaluate each of the ideas to determine the one(s) with the greatest opportunity for success.
Idea 1 Idea 2 Idea 3 Idea 4 Idea 5 Idea 6 Idea 7 Idea 8 Idea 9 Idea 10 Passionate 1 1 1
Have Money 11
Spend Money 11
Repeat Buyers 11
Insatiable 1 1
Reachable 1 1 1 1
Already Interested 1 1 1
Already Motivated 1 1
Already Predisposed To Buy 11
The example, above, shows how I would have scored the 4 ideas shown in the previous section. Review the last section to see which idea was #1 - #4. Now compare them with the evaluation matrix above.You’ll see that I’ve identified “Small Business Productivity Software” and “Dog Name Book” as perfect 10’s.
Now, based on the previous section ranking the Dog Name Book as Medium, Me and Limited versus Small Business Productivity Software being ranking as Hard, Others and None.
I’d chose to move forward with the Dog Name Book. Use the blank 10-step matrix on the follow page to rank your top 10 ideas and then move on to the next section.
Idea 1 Idea 2 Idea 3 Idea 4 Idea 5 Idea 6 Idea 7 Idea 8 Idea 9 Idea 10 Passionate
Already Predisposed To Buy
Here’s what I mentioned about in the beginning, having an ‘outline’ for your product. This will guide and accelerate your product creation process faster than you thought possible.
Now before you get scared by the thought of creating an outline… it’s not as hard as you think. Don’t let thoughts of your high school or college English class give you cold feet.Below is an example of what an outline might look like for the Dog Name Book.IDEA: Dog Name Book
Item Front Cover
Table Of Contents Preface
Introduction/Overview Section 1
Table Of Contents
Preface: Value of a Dog's Name
Introduction to Dog Naming
History of Dog Names
Dog Names by Breed
Dog Names by Male/Female
Dog Names by Country
Most Popular Dog Names
28 Tips for Picking the Best Name for Your Dog
Dog Resources Back Cover
It doesn’t matter if you’re sourcing the content by writing it, using ghostwriters, articles, interviews, private label products, public domain materials, etc. you’ll still benefit from having an outline.
I’d personally recommend writing your own content as it’s unique and YOU.
The key is knowing how to tap into Google’s research powers. One of the best ways to find content is by using the search string called “allinurl”.
You can go to Google.com and type in allinurl:[keyphrase] – and search its database for sites that have that keyphrase in their URL, either in the domain name or in a file name.
allinurl: dog name articles allinurl: dog name
allinurl: beagle dog names
You should find some really good content using this method. Let’s check out the real world examples and take a look at what we would find.#1) allinurl: dog name articles • “A Dog Name is Something To Be Chosen Carefully” • “5 tips for finding the right name” • “Puppy dog name meanings”
Looks like great content for the book. Simply decide which section (from your outline) would be the appropriate section for it to go in. Note: If you really want to use the content but don’t currently have a section devoted to it, you want to consider adding one.Now for the important question… HOW can you organize your search findings? Glad you asked… Here’s an example of a way to organize your content:IDEA: Dog Name Book
Top poodle Dog Names
Beagle Dog Names
How to name your huskie
Popular Collie Dog Names
Visual tips by breed can pick the name for you Go with your first reaction with greyhound pups
Link www.site1.com/articlelink.html www.site2.com/articlelink.html www.site1.com/articlelink.html www.site1.com/articlelink.html www.site3.com/videolink.mpg www.site4.com/articlelink.html
Type (text, video, Expert (Owner) audio, etc.) [Name1] text
This way you can quickly see how much content you’ve accumulated for each section. Once you decide you have enough content in a certain section you can stop searching and move on to the other sections in your outline.
After collecting all the content you want for your product, you have two options.
#1) You can contact the content owner and ask permission to include their content in your product. You can do this whether it’s text, audio, video, etc.The benefit of including other expert’s content is that when it comes time to market it you’ve got ‘built-in’ partners to help promote it. #2) You can use the collected content as a template and rewrite it.
Take each paragraph, consider what it’s saying and then rewrite the idea in your own words… in your ‘voice’. It’s easier to edit than stare at a blank white page and start from scratch.
Although initially I was 100% committed to writing my own content, I’ve come to realize the power and the effectiveness of using existing content from the experts.
Unless you absolutely have to have the entire product be your words, I’d suggest using expert content along with some of your own content mixed in.How To Use Amazon To Generate Tons Of High Quality Content Easily Amazon started off selling books, branched out into music and now sell everything - including kitchen sinks. But for content, it’s the book section that should interest us most.
Imagine for a moment that you are standing in a huge real life bookstore in your nearest city. Now imagine that you had all the books on the subject you were researching open at the same time right in front of you.
How would you like to be able to flick through all the books simultaneously and instantly find the pages with the keywords on them, and then be able to read the actual pages?This is what you can use Amazon for. They have a brilliant new tool that is just perfect for researching content called “Search Inside!Û”
All of the results that you find in each of the books are highly targeted, 100% specific to your niche and your research needs. All of the results are from books by expert authors on their subject, not some spotty 16 year old with a blog.Big companies have deemed the content good enough to invest the money to publish the book, now you get to read it online in an instant.
This is a content creator’s dream; exact laser-targeted answers to all your questions, whole pages of content on your subject that you can read, digest and rewrite, and best of all delivered to your computer in just seconds.
Here’s a real life step-by-step example to show you how it’s done. I’ve used gardening as an example but your search can be as wide or narrow and tightly focused as you want.STEP 1:
Log into Amazon, you’ll need an account if you don’t have one and a credit card on file for verification. At the top of the page click on the “Amazon.com” tab.
In the search box just under it select “Books” and enter your search term in the box beside it. I used “gardening” and from the results I got I selected “New Illustrated Guide to Garden -- by Reader's Digest editors” which was Item 3 on the list. I chose this because it had the Search Inside!Û logo at the top of the image of the book cover.
When you click on the book title link, there is the product description and price, then several more sections underneath with
yellow/orangish. The 6th section is called “Inside This Book” and this is the one we’re interested in. This is what it looks like:
At the bottom of the “Inside This Book” section is a search box where you can search this book only. This search returns all the instances the search term is found in the book, along with three lines of text around where the term is found.I’m going to use this box to search on the term “winter plants” as an example: Do you recognize this? It’s basically a Google search – only 100 times better.
Every one of the listings is relevant, I found 274 for my winter plants search and nearly all of them would be useful to look at in some way if I was building content around “winter plants”.Each of the pages can be clicked on to view it.Statistically Improbable Phrases
They really are very nice people these Amazon guys. For your further benefit, just because they know that you want to do some content research, they have included another feature in the Search Inside!Û section called “Statistically Improbable Phrases”.These are phrases which occur a large number of times in the book you’re searching relative to all the books available for Search Inside!Û.
So if for example you were searching for information on “gardening”, your SIPS list might include “soil layering”, “outdoor planting date”, “good hedge plant”, “areas with short growing seasons” etc.
These “SIPs” can then be clicked on to produce a list of all the books in Search Inside!Û” that contain the phrase. The list contains each page that is found, and the pages can then be clicked on to view them. We’re now going to look at the SIPs. Remember these are effectively keywords that appear more times in this book than in most others, so they are highly specific for your niche.You can then drill these down further and find where these search terms appear in all the books in Search Inside!Û. These are the SIPs! We’ll click on one of the SIPs to see what we get, this time we’ll use “good hedge plant”.
Here are the results for “good hedge plant” in SIPs:
We have found 11 books in Search Inside! Û which use this phrase, all of which can be drilled down and re-searched with other search terms.
Remember that although even at this early stage of its development Search Inside!Û has millions of books covered, it is only a small percentage of the total Amazon book inventory.By searching the SIPs in this way you can easily find more books that are covered by Search Inside!Û
Just as an aside, if you copy and paste the results from the SIPs search above into Word or Notepad, instead of just giving you the headlines of each book it returns another “Google” type search with three lines of description for each. You can then read sections of each book at the one go without having to open them all individually.Now you have another 11 books to read up on and find more great content. Do you think you’d be able to knock out a few niche pages with this great facility?
If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can get a ghostwriter for example and email him/her this report to find content to rewrite for you. You could even specify the search terms you want searched on and then put them to work.
If you want to self-publish your book, you’ll see a great PrintOn-Demand (POD) website later in this action guide. You can print just one book or 25,000. It’s a great way to get started with a physical book.3. Newsletters
Content ‘sections’ (articles) that are either used in an offline newsletter or an online ezine. A book of content could give you enough content for a year’s worth of newsletters.4. Blogs
Content ‘snippets’ used in an online blogging program. Snippets would be like taking the title and first paragraph or two from an article.
The debate is still out on this but there are some who say you should use the entire article of content for a blog and others who say you should just use a quick snippet of info to capture the reader’s attention.
Whenever you gather content for an idea you’ll always have more content than you can fit into a book or e-book. A one CD ‘audio book’ could become an full blown ‘audio program’ by breaking it into separate CDs for each chapter and adding additional content.8. Vlogcast This is just like a blog or a podcast except it’s recording the content as a video instead of text or audio.
Although you will have to invest in a camera (either digital video camera or webcam) the software to edit and package the video is completely free – I’ll tell you about it later.9. Video Program
Just like the Audio Program except the content is recorded as a video. For example, you could read the book into the camera or you could be recorded teaching the material to a group. Break the content up into sections and place each section on a separate DVD.10. Workbooks
Examine your content and create a book or report specifically designed to ‘teach’ the material. Present the information in a summarized format and have questions for each book chapter/section.11. Multi-Media Kits Put your book, audio book and/or DVD or you reading your book together. 12. Coaching Program Present your content via the phone or email depending on how you’ve structured your coaching program. 13. Teleseminars
Present your content via the telephone – normally in an interview type format. However, I have listened to a few teleseminars that was just the expert speaking the entire time.14. Teleworkshops Present your content via telephone in a “workbook” type scenario. Make it a smaller group with an interactive layout. 15. Home Study Course Combine books, audio programs, video programs, workbooks, etc. into one product.
Anyone who can create enough content for an e-book has enough content to convert their content into a Home Study Course and have a high-end product to promote.16. Membership Site
Include your text, audio and video content in a secure website where your clients pay you each month for access to the material.The great opportunity here is it is residual income that continues each month. 17. Radio Show
With the power of the internet anyone can have their own radio show. You can record the content and have it played at various times or you can do a live show. Same content as a podcast.18. TV Show
Internet TV (IPTV) is coming very quickly. Just like internet radio – within 1-2 years anyone can build their own TV show on the internet.19. Syndicated Column
As an expert in your field, you may be asked to submit your articles to a newspaper. Or you can post your articles on your own website and others can syndicate the content via RSS feeds.20. Articles Crop your book content into smaller sections – and you’ve got a ton of articles you can use online or offline. 21. Mini Books or Reports You guessed it… if you have a book with 5 chapters, you could make it into 5 “special reports”. 22. CD/DVD Training
Use your audio CDs and/or video DVDs to create a monthly training subscription service. Think like “Video Professor”. You’ve already got the content created – get clients to pay you monthly for it.23. Magazine
A magazine is nothing but a large Newsletter. The great thing about a magazine… you can get advertisers to pay you money each month to be listed in your magazine.24. Software Convert your content into an executable file.
You don’t have to be a software developer. I used HTML and Flash to package text, audio and video into an EXE. Once an EXE I called it software and it could be promoted with a higher perceived value.25. Keynote Speaking Summarize your content into PowerPoint slides to speak from when asked to be an expert presenter. 26. Resell Rights Provide others the ability to resell your product(s) and keep 100% of the profits. Pro: Higher perceived value Con: You lose control of your product If you want income – this is a great way to do it. If you have a product you don’t want to lose control of – do not do this. 27. Private Label Rights Provide others the ability to modify your content, brand it with their own name and resell it as their own. Pro: Higher perceived value Con: It will no longer be your product after it’s rebranded 28. Licensing Make an arrangement with a company to purchase a large quantity of your product. For example: A company may license your content for all their employees. 29. Foreign Rights Convert your content into other languages. 30. Consulting A culmination of all your research and content presented as required by the person and/or company that hires you. The key point when it comes to packaging is that you package your product to meet your need. If you need a viral product – then use a viral package like podcast, special report, etc. If you need an entry-level product - then go with an e-book, book or audio book.
If you need a high dollar product – then package products together like books, CDs, Workbooks, DVDs, etc.
NOTE: The most important part of this information is that you notice it ALL comes from the content we put together based on our idea’s outline.
There is NO difference between the content in an e-book, audio and video but depending on the way you package it you could receive a much higher profit because you’ve provided a much higher value to the client.Make sense?
If you can create an e-book then you can create ANY of the products/services shown above. They are just various ways to package the exact same content.How To Package Your Ebook For Free
This is a particularly important step. And the reason is because you want to make your ebook information product available to as many people as humanly possible.Statistically, most internet users are running on a Windows Operating System format.
That means statistically, most internet users can benefit from executable formatted products, or those that come in the ever popular .exe file extension.
Now that's fine, but if you decide to only use the .exe format, you're leaving out a good chunk of potential customers that run on nonMicrosoft operating systems, such as Macintosh or Red Hat.There is a solution to offer your ebook to almost every potential customer no matter which operating system they run on. And that is by using... The Portable Document File, or PDF, made possible by Adobe.
The genius of this particular file format for information products is that because the .PDF files run on an independent program that can be utilized from any operating system, it then makes the document files platform independent themselves so long as the customer has the program to run the .PDF files from.Adobe Reader itself is also completely free for anyone to download and use. Now, several years ago Adobe Acrobat was the only product to create such a file format. At a cost of $300 it wasn’t very cost effective for the entry-level marketer to take advantage of it. Now, however, there are free ways to create a PDF file for your products.One of them is: http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp
Download the PDFWriter software and install it on your computer. Then from your word processing program simply choose it as your “print” option.
You’ll then be asked where you want to save the file. Pick a location and save the text document as a PDF file.It’s as simple as that to create a high quality text-based infoproduct for you to promote.Another one I’v mentioned before is http://www.openoffice.org:To use it as a PDF compiler, all you need to do is open it up by creating a New Document.
Then when you finish writing up and formatting your original product as far as font settings, line spacing, adding images, and things of this nature are concerned, all you need to do is hit the Export as PDF button and it’ll be exported in .PDF form.Now normally, the links inside the document won't be clickable when you open up the finished PDF file in Adobe Reader.
There is a way to work around this. Two ways actually. The first, and easiest, is to simply add the entire link within the document so that your readers can copy and paste them themselves to their own browsers.The second and a bit more complicated way is to download a PDF editing program.One free option can be found at: http://www.pdfedit995.com. However, if you are going to use this option, you'll also need to download the PDF995 program at http://www.pdf995.com. This works like an additional printer and creates the PDF files this way. Sounds complicated, but it’s not really. All the information you could ever need about using the PDF995 line of software can be found right at their website. Another tool you want to use is WinZip at http://www.winzip.com
All you really need to do is create a specific name for your zipped file, something like myproduct.zip etc., add the files, and they’ll be ready to upload.
Simply open up the WinZip program, choose the Use Evaluation Version, and if you aren’t already using the Classic interface, then just hit the WinZip Classic button at the lower left corner of the program window that opened up.Once you're there, a different screen will appear.
Choose the New icon at the top. When you click the new icon, a new window will pop up. In the File name: area, put the name of the file you’d like your zipped product to have. Say, myproduct, then be sure it's inside the folder you want it to be in, or make note of where it is going, and then click OK.Now, find the files you want to add inside your zip file for your product. For instance the MyProduct.pdf, any related graphics like ebook covers, generic sales pages and hit the Add button. If you want to add multiple files at the same time, hold down the Ctrl key when selecting the files. Once you've finished, release the Ctrl key and then hit the Add button. All the selected files should upload inside the zip file together. If you have a specific folder you would like to add to the zip file, then you will need to hit the Cancel button to close the Add window.
Once closed, you will be taken back to the original window. Now, you will need to open up the My Computer area and navigate to the folder you wish to add.
Highlight the folder, then drag it over to the empty white space under the top icon menu on the WinZip window that is open. Then you should see your files appear there. You will not see the folder, but rest assured when you open up your newly zipped file it will be there.Close the WinZip Program and find your myproduct.zip file inside the folder you placed it in, that's all there is to this.How To Create And Package Audio Products For Free There is a free audio software that makes it SO extremely easy for anyone to create an audio product. It’s called Audacity. Go to: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/Download the software and install it on your computer. To create an MP3 go tohttp://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq?s=install&item=lame-mp3 Download the Lame MP3 encoder. Install it on your computer. You’ll use this file to create an MP3 from your audio recording from Audacity.
Depending on whether you already have one of those cheap headsets (headphones/microphone) that some dealers bundle with PCs, you can record an audio without spending a dime.If you don't have a bundled microphone, the ones at Circuit City or Best Buy costs between $8 and $15. From here onward, I'll assume you have Audacity and Lame installed on your PC.Before You Record
A few basic setup configurations are required in order to record a podcast. First, connect your microphone to the microphone-in connection on the PC.
Connect headphones to the stereo line out or headphone jack (generally the green audio connection). Don't forget to put those headphones on.A laundry list of audio optimizations for your PC are recommended to keep your system running smoothly during recording. After you launch Audacity, make sure Microphone is selected as the recording source in the drop-down menu on the mixer toolbar.Error! Unknown switch argument. Figure 1. Configure Microphone as your recording source
Open the Audacity Preferences window from the File menu. On the Audio I/O tab, verify that your sound card is selected as the device for both playback and recording.
In the Channels drop-down box under Recording, choose 1 (Mono). Unless you are using two microphones, the Stereo option simply duplicates the track, making the file size bigger without a resulting improvement to audio fidelity.Error! Unknown switch argument. Figure 2. Set the audio recording Channels selection to Mono Switch to the Quality tab, and choose 44,100 Hz as the Default Sample Rate and 16-bit as the Default Sample Format.
Audiophiles will argue that higher sample rates and formats are better, but for spoken word, 44,100 Hz and 16-bit sampling works admirably, especially considering that the resulting output will be MP3.Ignore the rest of the settings on the Quality tab.Error! Unknown switch argument. Figure 3. Set the sample rate and bit rate
The File Formats tab configures output options. Choose WAV (Microsoft 16 bit PCM) as the Uncompressed Export Format. Leave the OGG Export Setup untouched.
Then, find the location at which you extracted the Lame codec to add it to Audacity by clicking on the Find Library button and browsing to the file location.I generally unzip the Lame codec to C:\LAME so I can find it easily, but there's no "right" location. Once you've added Lame support, close the Audacity Preferences window by clicking on OK.Error! Unknown switch argument. Figure 4. Configure output optionsReady to Record
Click on the microphone icon in Audacity's Meter toolbar to turn on monitoring. You should see a red level indicator moving slightly as it picks up ambient room noise.
Talk into the microphone and make adjustments to the volume until you get a level that rises close to the right edge of the meter without turning the far-right section solid red.
If you get a solid red bar at the far right, the audio is clipping, which means your finished file will sound distorted. Once you've adjusted the level, you're ready to record.Error! Unknown switch argument. Figure 5. Activate volume-level monitoring
With all the preparations out of the way, it's time to create your first audio. Push the Record button and start talking.
When you finish recording, press the yellow square Stop button and save the file in .wav format. Saving is an important step, in order to make sure you don't accidentally delete the file.
Editing can be as simple as eliminating all the places you said "um" by highlighting them and deleting them, or as complex as adding a music bed and inserting other audio clips into the recorded file.To keep this simple, we'll assume you're a one-take wonder and you recited a golden monologue for your first audio.
To save the file as an MP3, open the preferences again, choose the MP3 bit rate on the File Formats page. (Generally for voice audio, somewhere between 32 and 64 is good enough without making the file size too big.)It is THAT simple to create an audio… and completely for free.How To Record Interviews With Experts For Free
At some point you will probably want to hold teleseminars or just simply record phone interviews with experts in your idea subject area. Most use a service that charges them a fee per call – sometimes a flat rate or sometimes based on the number on the line.
Some marketers use a free software product called Skype to make free phone calls. The problem is that Skype doesn’t allow you to record the phone call.Now… there’s a new free software product called Gizmo that let’s you make free phone calls AND record the call. Perfect for marketers holding teleseminars or doing interviews. Go to: http://www.gizmoproject.com/Download the free software, install it on your computer and then purchase the number of minutes you want.Call Recording At the bottom of the call control drawer on your Gizmo, you will find three buttons: Record, Hold and Mute.Error! Unknown switch argument.
After a call has connected, you can press the rec button, and Gizmo will begin recording the call. The file is placed by default on your desktop, but you can specify a location in your software
The file is a .wav file and should be playable from any media player like Quicktime or Windows Media Player. When you begin recording the call, the other party will hear an announcement, “Call being recorded.”
You will not hear the announcement. When you finish recording, the announcement will tell the other party, “Call recording stopped.” If you want an MP3 rather than a WAV file, you can import it into Audacity and save it as an MP3.
NOTE: Recording calls is legally restricted in certain countries, states and localities around the world. It is your responsibility to understand and comply with any laws that may apply to you or the person you are calling.How To Create A Membership Area For Free
If you want to be financially free you truly should have at least one form of residual income – where the income keeps coming each month.A membership site (or Content Management System (CMS)) is the best way to organize your content and charge a recurring income. Stop looking at the membership site systems that charge you hundreds of dollars for setup and monthly fees. There are tons of high quality open source CMS solutions. Go to:http://www.opensourcecms.com/index.php?option=content&task=vie w&id=388&Itemid=143How To Edit And Package Video Products For Free
When it comes to free video editing software (for PCs) there is little doubt that Microsoft’s Movie Maker is the most robust and feature-rich product to use.It ships free with Windows XP or you can download it here:http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/moviemaker/default.msp xOther Options If you are looking for other options for free video editing software try these resources:http://desktopvideo.about.com/od/softwarereviews/l/bl_freesw.htm (About.com has popups)http://www.mrfreefree.com/free_software/free_video_editing_softwar e.htmlCapture Video from a Tape in a DV Camera
Connect your DV camera to your computer, in most cases this requires an IEEE 1394 adapter on your PC and an IEEE 1394 cable to connect your camera. On the camera, set the camera mode to play the recorded video. (This is often labeled VTR or VCR on a DV camera.)1. Start Movie Maker. To start Movie Maker, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Windows Movie Maker. 2. On the File menu, click Capture Video. Alternatively, in the Movie Tasks pane, under Capture Video, click Capture from video device. 3. On the Video Capture Device page, in Available devices, click the DV camera.
4. In the Enter a file name for your captured video box, enter a name for your captured video file. Then, in the Choose a place to save your captured video box, select the location where you want your video to be saved, or click Browse to select a location.5. On the Video Setting page, choose the video setting you want to use for capturing video and audio.
6. On the Capture Method page, click Capture the entire tape automatically. The tape in the DV camera will rewind. Capture will begin automatically and ends when the video tape ends.7. Select any of the following commands: • To separate the video into smaller clips, select the Create clips when wizard finishes check box.
• To stop capturing before the end of the video tape, click Stop Capture, and then click Yes in the resulting dialog box to save the video that has been captured.8. To close the Video Capture Wizard, click Finish. The captured content will be imported into a new collection with the same name as the specified video file.Capture Parts of a Video from a Tape in a DV Camera
If you want to capture parts of a video from a tape on your DV camera, rather than the entire video, perform the first five steps in the procedure above, and then the following steps:1. On the Capture Method page, click Capture parts of the tape manually. 2. To separate the video into smaller clips, select the Create clips when wizard finishes check box. 3. To prevent audio from playing while capturing video, select the Mute speakers check box.
4. Locate the video and audio you want to capture from your tape by using either the controls on your DV camera or VCR or the DV camera controls in the wizard.5. To begin capturing video, click Start Capture. The tape will play automatically and capture will begin.
6. When the tape reaches the point at which you want to stop capturing, click Stop Capture. Repeat these steps for each part of the video tape that you want to capture.7. When you have finished capturing, click Finish to close the Video Capture Wizard. The captured content will be imported into a new collection with the same name as the specified video file.Capture Video from Tape in an Analog Camera or VCR
Analog video capture is useful when you have older video content, such as VHS tape, and want to convert it to digital. Or you may have an older camcorder that only provides analog outputs, such as composite or S-Video.
Performing analog capture requires a hardware device that can take video input from a composite or S-Video signal and convert it to digital data.
1. Connect your analog camera or VCR to your computer's capture device, and then set the camera mode to play recorded video (often labeled VTR or VCR on an analog camera).2. Open Windows Movie Maker 3. On the File menu, click Capture Video. 4. On the Video Capture Device page do the following:
• In Available devices, click the analog device you want to use to capture video. In the Video input source list, click the input line you want to use.• If you want to adjust and configure the video capture device settings, click Configure.
• In the Audio device list, click the audio capture device you want to use, and then, in Audio input source, click the input line you want to use.• To adjust the volume of your captured audio, move the Input level slider to the level you want to use.
5. In the Enter a file name for your captured video box, enter a file name for your captured video file. Then, in the Choose a place to save your captured video box, select the location where you want your video to be saved or click Browse to select a location.6. On the Video Setting page, select the video setting you want to use for capturing video and audio. 7. To separate the video into smaller clips, select the Create clips when wizard finishes check box.
8. To prevent audio from playing over your speakers while capturing video, select the Mute speakers check box.
9. To automatically stop capturing after a time period has elapsed, select the Capture time limit check box, and then type or select the length of time you want to capture. Time is displayed in the form of hours:minutes (h:mm).
10. Using the controls on your analog camera or VCR, locate the video and audio you want to capture from your tape. In Movie Maker, click Start Capture, and then press the Play button on your analog camera or VCR.11. To begin capturing, click Start Capture, and then press the Play button on your analog camera or VCR. 12. Do one of the following:
• When the tape reaches the point at which you want to stop capturing, click Stop Capture, and then press the Stop button on your analog camera or VCR.
• If you have selected the Capture time limit check box, wait for the specified amount of time for video to be captured, and then press the Stop button on your analog camera or VCR.13. Repeat steps 10 through 12 for each part of the video tape you want to capture. 14. When you have finished capturing, click Finish to close the Video Capture Wizard.Capture Live Video
When your camera is connected to your computer, you can use Movie Maker to capture video directly to your hard drive without saving the video to tape first. Start by connecting your camera to your computer as described above.
Set the mode on your camera to capture live video and audio. (This is often labeled Camera mode.) Start Movie Maker on your computer and begin the video capture as described above. Choose your device and configure device settings as explained above.
Enter a file name for your video and choose a place to save your video.
1. On the Video Setting page, select the video setting you want to use for capturing video and audio.
2. To separate the video into smaller clips after the wizard completes and the video is captured, select the Create clips when wizard finishes check box.3. To prevent audio from playing over your speakers while capturing video, select the Mute speakers check box. 4. To begin capturing, click Start Capture. To stop capturing, click Stop Capture. 5. Repeat these steps to capture another segment of live video. 6. Click Finish to close the Video Capture Wizard. The captured content will be imported into a new collection.WHAT DO TO WITH YOUR VIDEO ONCE IT’S IN MOVIE MAKER
Movie Maker automatically divides your video into segments to make it easier to drag and drop the parts you want onto the storyboard where you put your movie together.
To build a storyboard:
3. Once you've decided which ones you want to put in your movie, click and drag the clips to the Storyboard in the order in which you'd like them to appear in your final movie4. To rearrange your clips on the storyboard, just drag and drop them to a different location.Edit Your Clips Trim your clips to get exactly the footage you need. To edit clips: 1. In the Timeline view, click on the clip you'd like to trim. 2. In the Preview window, drag the scroll bar slowly and watch as the video progresses. 3. Stop at the point where you want to trim the clip. 4. On the Clip menu, click Set Start Trim Point. 5. Now continue to drag the progress indicator until you reach the desired end point of your clip. 6. On the Clip menu, click Set End Trim Point. 7. You will now have your trimmed clip.Add Audio
A soundtrack can really draw your audience in and add fun to your home movies. Just import your favorite clips and then drag them to the timeline.To add audio: 1. In the Taskpane, click on Import audio or music. 2. Navigate to the music track you'd like to add to your movie . 3. Click on Import. 4. The music track will appear in your Collection view. 5. Click on Show Timeline button in the Storyboard section of your screen. 6. Drag your music track to the Audio/Music level of the Timeline.CONVERTING THE VIDEO
Once you’ve crafted your video to be the way you want you’ll want to make sure it’s either in MPG or FLV format for best video results. Below you will find some free converter software to transform your video into any format you want.Video File Comparisons:http://www.videohelp.com/comparison.htmConverting video to Flash Video (FLV):Converting video to Flash Video (FLV):
Some web hosts will not allow you to download EXE files. If you link directly to a PDF, MP3 or other audio/video file it will try to play rather than download.So it’s great to zip the files into a single file the clients can download easily. Besides WinZip which was mentioned earlier, here’s another great tool… Go to: http://www.coffeecup.com/zip-wizard/
Rather than reinvent the wheel here, I’ve got my friend David to reveal his proven template system to you here. Make sure you follow it to a ‘T’.“12-Step Foolproof Sales Letter Template” by David Frey
You don’t have to be an award-winning copywriter to create effective sales letters. In fact, writing great sales letters is more of a science than an art. Even the pros use proven “templates” to create sales letters that get results. The following is a 12-step template for writing foolproof sales letters.Overcoming the Hurdles Leading to Buying Resistance
Every person has some form of buying resistance. The objective of your sales letter should be to overcome your reader’s buying resistance while persuading them to take action.
I liken writing a sales letter to running a steeplechase foot race. The first one to the finish line who has jumped over all the hurdles is the winner, or in this case, gets the sale.
Whether you’re giving a sales presentation in person or on paper, the process of overcoming the hurdles leading to buying resistance are much the same. These hurdles are manifested in many spoken and unspoken customer comments such as:
1. “You don’t understand my problem”
2. “How do I know you’re qualified?”
3. “I don’t believe you”
4. “I don’t need it right now”
5. “It won’t work for me”
6. “What happens if I don’t like it?”
7. “I can’t afford it”
1. Get attention
2. Identify the problem
3. Provide the solution
4. Present your credentials
5. Show the benefits
6. Give social proof
7. Make your offer
8. Inject scarcity
9. Give a guarantee
10. Call to action
11. Give a warning
12. Close with a reminder
It’s important to remember that people are motivated to buy based on their emotions and justify their purchase based on logic only after the sale.This means that each step in the sales letter process must build on the reader’s emotions to a point where they are motivated to take action.
That being true - - there are only two things that truly motivate people and they are the promise of gain or the fear of loss. Of the two, the fear of loss is the stronger motivator.Think about it.
Would you rather buy a $50 course on “How to Improve Your Marriage” or “How to Stop Your Divorce or Lover’s Rejection?” I have empirical data that proves that the second title outsells the first 5 to 1. Why? Because it addresses the fear of loss.
Underlying the promise of gain and the fear of loss are seven “universal motivations” to which everyone responds.
1. To be wealthy
2. To be good looking
3. To be healthy
4. To be popular
5. To have security
6. To achieve inner peace
7. To have free time
8. To have fun
Ultimate motivations are what people “really” want. The product or service is just a vehicle to providing these benefits so make sure your sales letter focuses on these motivational factors.The 12-Step Sales Letter System
Now that we know what impedes a person to buy and what motivates a person to action let’s review the 12 elements of a winning sales letter.1. Get Attention Assuming the reader has opened your envelope, the next step is to get their attention. The opening headline is the first thing that your reader will look at. If it doesn’t catch their attention you can kiss your letter goodbye.
People have a very short attention span and usually sort their mail over the wastebasket. If the headline doesn’t call out to them and pique their interest, they will just stop and throw your letter away.The following are three headline generating templates that are proven to get attention.
“HOW TO _____________________”
People love to know how to do things. When combined with a powerful benefit the “How to” headline always gets people’s attention. In fact, they’re probably the two most powerful words you can use in a headline.
People always want to know “insider secrets.” We love to know things that other people aren’t privy to. Knowledge is power and those who have it feel powerful. Besides that, most of us enjoy a good mystery, especially in the end when the “secret” is revealed.WARNING: DON’T EVEN THINK OF ___________ UNTIL YOU ___________.
Remember that people are motivated by fear of loss more than the promise of gain? Well, the “warning” headline screams fear. The word “warning” demands attention and combined with something of interest to the reader, is a very powerful headline.2. Identify the Problem
Now that you have your reader’s attention you need to gain their interest by spelling out their problem and how it feels to have that problem.
The reader should say to himself, “Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel” when they read your copy. In fact, you shouldn’t stop there. Pretend that it’s an open wound that you’re rubbing salt into.This technique is called, “problem – agitate.”
You present the problem then agitate it so that they really feel the pain and agony of their situation. People are such strong creatures of habit that we rarely change our ways unless we feel great amounts of pain.
In fact, companies are no different. Most businesses trudge along doing the same old thing until things get so bad that they have to make a change.
For example, if you were selling garage door openers you might agitate the problem by telling a short story about what happens when it doesn’t work.
“There’s nothing worse than getting home in the evening and not having your garage door open. It’s dark outside and after tripping on the porch step you search for your front door key.
Finally, you find it only to scratch your new front door up trying to find the keyhole. Exhausted, you get inside and plop down on the couch just when you remember your car is still running in your driveway….”
In this scenario the problem was a faulty garage door opener and the agitation is all the terrible things that happen because of the faulty garage door opener.3. Provide the Solution Now that you’ve built your readers interest by making them feel the pain it’s time to provide the solution. This is the part of the sales letter where you boldly stake your claim that you can solve the reader’s problem.
In this section you will introduce yourself, your product and/or your service. Relieve the reader’s mind by telling them that they there’s no need to struggle through all their problems because your product or service will solve it for them.4. Present your Credentials
In most cases, after you have introduced yourself and your product or service your reader is thinking, “Yeah, sure he can fix my problem. That’s what they all say.” So now it’s important to hit them right away with the reason why you can be trusted.
List your credentials including any one of the following:
1. Successful case studies.
2. Prestigious companies (or people) you have done business with.
3. The length of time you’ve been in your field of expertise
4. Conferences where you have spoken
5. Important awards or recognitions
Your reader should get the impression after reading this section that “you’ve been there and done that” with great success and that the reader can expect the same results.5. Show the Benefits
Now it’s time to tell the reader how they will personally benefit from your product or service. Don’t make the common mistake of telling all about the features of your product without talking about the benefits. As I already stated, people are interested, not so much in you, or even your product or service, but what it will do for them.
Get a piece of paper and draw a line down the center of the paper. Now write all the features of your product or service on the left. Think about the obvious benefits and not-so-obvious benefits of the each feature and write them down on the right side of the paper.Most of the time your product will have hidden benefits that people won’t naturally think of.
For example, a hot tub not only soothes and relaxes your muscles but it also gives you an opportunity to talk to your spouse without interruptions. The hidden benefit is greater communication with your spouse and ultimately a better marriage!
Bullet point each benefit to make it easier to read. Think about every possible benefit your reader may derive from your product or service. In many cases, people will buy a product or service based on only one of the benefits you list.6. Give Social Proof
After you’ve presented all your benefits the reader will again begin to doubt you, even though they secretly want all your claimed benefits to be true. To build your credibility and believability present your reader with testimonials from satisfied customers.
Testimonials are powerful selling tools that prove your claims to be true. To make your testimonial even more powerful include pictures of your customers with their names and addresses (at least the city and state).
You might even ask if you can use their phone number. Most readers won’t call but it is a powerful statement to include their complete contact information. It demonstrates that you are real and so are the testimonials.7. Make Your Offer
Your offer is the most important part of your sales letter. A great offer can overcome mediocre copy but great copy cannot overcome a mediocre offer. Your offer should be irresistible. You want your reader to say to themselves, “I’d be stupid not to take advantage of this deal.”
Your offer can come in many different formats. The best offers are usually an attractive combination of price, terms, and free gifts. For example, if you were selling a car your offer might be a discounted retail price, low interest rate, and a free year of gas.
Hint: When developing your offer you should always try to raise the value of your offer by adding on products or services rather than lowering your price. Include vivid explanations of the benefits of the additional products or services you are offering in order to raise the perceived value of your offer.8. Give a Guarantee
To make your offer even more irresistible you need to take all the risk out of the purchase. Remember, that people have a built-in fear that they are going to get ripped off. How many times have you purchased a product and got stuck with it because the merchant wouldn’t give your money back?
Give the absolute strongest guarantee you are able to give. If you aren’t confident enough in your product or service to give a strong guarantee you should think twice about offering it to the public.In reality, almost all small businesses already have a very strong guarantee, but don’t realize it!
If you had an irate customer that wanted their money back would you just say, “No, I’m sorry. I will not give your money back?” Probably not. If they insist on getting their money back, in most cases you’ll give it back to them.
You see, most businesses already have a strong guarantee and don’t hold it up and trumpet it for fear that a lot of people would take them up on it. That’s simply doesn’t happen. When was the last time you asked for a full refund on something? If you’re like me, it’s been a while.
Here is an example of a guarantee that I give for one of my products: "100%, No Questions Asked, Take-It-To-The-Bank Guarantee"
I personally guarantee if you make a diligent effort to use just a few of the techniques in this course, you'll produce at least $4,490 profit in the next 12 months. That's right, $4,490 extra profit you never would have seen without this course. If you don't, I'll refund the entire cost of the course to you.
Actually, you get double protection. Here's how. At any time during the 12 months, if you sincerely feel I fell short in any way on delivering everything I promised, I'll be happy to give you a complete refund. Even if it's on the last day of the twelfth month!
This guarantee extends for an entire year and that they will receive specific benefits (in this case it’s money). It they don’t get what they expect, they get their money back with no questions asked. This virtually eliminates all the risk for the buyer.
Hint: Your offer may be so good that people won’t believe it. You’ve heard the old axiom, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” To avoid this thinking, give the reason why you can give such as great offer. For example, you might have goofed when ordering inventory and now you’re overstocked and that’s why you can offer such a great price. When people read the reason why, it will help them reconcile your irresistible offer in their mind and make it more believable.9. Inject Scarcity
Most people take their time responding to offers, even when they are irresistible. There are many reasons why people procrastinate on investing in a solution. The following are just a few:
• They don’t feel enough pain to make a change
• They are too busy and just forget
Remember when I said that people are more motivated to act by the fear of loss rather than gain? That’s exactly what you are doing when you inject scarcity into your letter.When people think there is a scarce supply of something they need they usually rush to
get some of it. You can create a feeling of scarcity by telling your reader that either the quantity is in limited supply or that your offer is valid for only a limited time period.
Your offer could sound something like this:
“If you purchase by (future date) you will get the entire set of free bonuses”
“Our supply is limited to only 50 (product or service) and will be sent to you on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. After they are gone there won’t be any more available.”Or “This offer is only good until (future date) after which the (product or service) will return to its original price.”
One word of caution: If you make an offer you need to live up to it. If you go back on your word after the deadline date you will begin to erode the trust and confidence your customers have come to expect from you.10. Call to action Do not assume that your reader knows what to do to receive the benefits from your offer.
You must spell out how to make the order in a very clear and concise language. Whether its picking up the phone and making the call, filling out an order form, faxing the order form to your office etc…. you must tell them exactly how to order from you.
Your call to action must be “action-oriented.” You can do this using words like ‘Pick Up the Phone and Call Now!” or “Tear Off the Order Form and Send It In Today!” or “Come to Our Store by Friday and …” Be explicit and succinct in your instructions.
Plant your call to action throughout your letter. If you are asking the reader to call your free information line then perhaps some of the testimonials might say, “When I called their free information line” or in your offer you might say, “When you call our free information line…” Then when you give the call to action at the end of the letter, people won’t be surprised or confused. It will be consistent with what you said all throughout your letter.11. Give a Warning
A good sales letter will continue to build emotion, right up to the very end. In fact, your letter should continue to build emotion even after your call to action.
Using the “risk of loss” strategy, tell the reader what would happen if they didn’t take advantage of your offer. Perhaps they would continue to:
• Struggle day to day to make ends meet
• Work too hard just to get a few customers
• Lose the opportunity to receive all your valuable bonuses
• Keep getting what they’ve always got
• Watch other companies get all the business
Try to paint a graphic picture in the mind of the reader about the consequences of not taking action now. Remind them just how terrible their current state is and that it just doesn’t have to be that way.12. Close with a Reminder
Always include a postscript (P.S.). Believe it or not, your P.S. is the third most read element of your sales letter. I’ve seen good copywriters use not just one postscript, but many (P.P.S).
In your postscript you want to remind them of your irresistible offer. If you’ve used scarcity in your sales letter, include your call to action then remind them of the limited time (or quantity) offer. It sounds like a simple step but postscripts get noticed.
Voila! You now have a powerful sales letter. Using this 12-step formula anyone can write an effective sales letter that sells. The following are a few extra tips to help you write an even better sales letter:
Tip #1: Write the Features/Benefits – The biggest hurdle to writing a great sales letter is just getting started. Many people have a fear of writing. One way to get your letter started and develop a helpful guide for your letter is to write a feature/benefit list.
Take a set of 3 x 5 cards and write all the features you know about on one side of the cards. Then turn the cards over and write a benefit for each feature. You’ll have started your letter and produced a list of benefits you can use to write it.
Tip #2: Once you have completed the letter, let it sit for a day or so. This will allow you to be more objective you when you edit your letter. If you’ve just spent the last few hours working on it you will find it hard to catch the mistakes or edits in the letter because you’re just too close to it.
Tip #3: Develop a “swipe file” to help get your creative juices flowing. When you see a great ad or receive a particularly effective letter in the mail, keep it in a file that you can refer back to again and again. Companies pay thousands of dollars to develop their marketing materials; you might as well take advantage of that by using it as a model for your own work.
Tip #4: Before you start writing your sales letter, develop a customer profile sheet by documenting every thing you know about your target customer. Some great copywriters put a picture of a typical customer in front of them as they write to help them remember to whom they are writing the letter.
Tip #5: I often get the question, “How long should my sales letter be?” and my answer is, “As long as it needs to be.” Each part of your sales letter should be building your case. If it takes ½ page to build your case then that’s how long your letter should be; however, I use a 24-page sales letter to successfully sell one of my products.
Most anyone can write a powerful sales letter by just following this simple 12-step process. Make sure that you include each of the steps because each step builds your case in a unique way and adds to the reader’s emotions.
David Frey is President of Marketing Best Practices Inc., a small business marketing consulting firm and the editor of the Marketing Best Practices Newsletter. www.BusinessKnowHow.comFree Blog Alternatives You Can Use To Promote Your Products If you are not already blogging then you should consider including it in your marketing promotion. Confused by all the choices? Here’s the best blog comparison chart I’ve found so far. Go to: http://www.asymptomatic.net/blogbreakdown.htmHow To Really Write ‘List-Building Articles’ And Where To Submit Them For Maximum Results These are the steps to writing effective and result-based articles that will build your list and sales on autopilot.1. Choose an attention-grabbing title.
Whether or not someone even reads your article at all is dependent upon your title. This is especially important when you submit it to directories and publishers where there are hundreds of entries. Here are some templates you can use for your titles:How to _________ In _________ Steps. How to _________ In _________ (Time Frame). The Real Secret to Quickly ______________. Top 2 Ways to ________________. 3 Little Known Tips for _____________. The Hidden Costs of ________________.2.) Determine 3-5 points of interest. Use the chapters or sections of your outline to come up with 3-5 main points for your article. You’ll want your article to be 500-750 words, so write 3-5 sections that are about 100 words each along with an opening and a closing. With all the content you’ve collected – this should be simple.3. Write an interesting opening sentence.
Your title gets them to take a look, and you want to immediately get them into the main body of your article. There are several things you can do in this opening sentence to lure readers in deeper…• Ask a question. • Reveal something startling. • Inject emotion. • Present a problem.
Let me quickly give you a quick swipe file of some opening sentences that I’ve created - which you can modify as you see fit for your own articles - that are proven to get readers further into your content:4. Close with a call to action. Your mission is to get them to move on to your desired action.
When they finish reading your article, they are going to do something other than just sit there and stare. They’ve got a ton of options and only one of them is to do what you want them to do.What you want to do is LEAD the reader to your resource box. You do this by bridging the gap between your article and your resource box – you create a “transition” between the two.
In your article conclusion, you’ll summarize the 3-5 points you made in the article. Your resource box should reference something related to those 3-5 points. It will draw the reader to click to your site.
Whether you are submitting your articles to directories, posting your articles at your website, inserting your articles into viral e-books to be passed around the web……your #1 goal is to get subscribers onto a list. And your 2nd goal is to get them to your sales letter. Here’s how you can do it:
Give away a free report or mini-course in your resource box and place that freebie at the top of a sales letter or redirect them to a sales letter after they’ve joined a list.Here are the best places to submit your articles for maximum results:http://www.internetmarketingFAQ.com
Not only can you become a bzz agent and get access to free information and products but you get an insider viewpoint of viral / buzz promotion.Resale Rights And How To Use Them So They Don’t Destroy Your Business You can sell your information product such as your ebook for $27 or you can sell the resale rights to it for $67, $97 or more. Resale rights are a very profitable opportunity once you become an information product creator. There is one downside though. Don’t get attached to your product. Don’t get stuck in the mindset that this product is everything to you.
I made that mistake. When I launched my first product and made over $30,000 in the first 30 days I thought it would continue forever. What I didn’t realize was that because I sold resale rights to many other marketers I would very quickly lose control of my product.
The product itself was a tremendously popular product and very successful. However, after 2-3 months my income had dropped to just a few hundred dollars per month – even though other marketers were still selling thousands of dollars each month.As a product creator you can overcome this. You can create products from scratch for the sole purpose of selling resale rights instead.
Create a product, sell resale rights to it, bank your profits and move on to your next project. I’ve made products in as little as 3-4 hours and you can too with this course.The ONE Marketing Forum You Have To Be An Active Member Of There are many marketing forums on the internet. Some are good, some are not. Now here is THE marketing forum of choice and the one you must go to right now and become a member. You’ll find almost every internet marketer there and it’s a great place to get help, advice and information. Go to:http://www.warriorforum.com/forum/
If you bring your positive attitude and an open mind you will learn more from these successful marketers than from most of the marketing products floating around the internet.A Completely Free Alternative To ClickBank ClickBank has been a powerful friend of online marketers for many years – allowing the sale of digital products for an upfront fee of $50. But now all of that has changed because you can have all the power without the upfront fee. My friend Mike Filsaime has unleashed a powerful alternative that’s completely free, even for a merchant account. Go to:http://www.ewenchia.com/pdc.htmGet signed up today for the internet’s up and coming leader in the digital marketplace.How To Publish Your Own (Physical) Book For Less Than $10 Once you have your content in e-book format, it’s just a one step process to get a physical book printed. Stop thinking that it’s a long drawn out process and a complicated process. It’s not. Go to:http://www.lulu.comLulu.com is a full-featured online Print-On-Demand service that will print one book or 10,000 – depending upon your specific need.
Because there are no minimum orders it’s perfect for the information product creator who is just getting started and wants to have a physical book to promote.
The book could be sold separately.
The book could be combined with audios and/or videos as a “kit” or Home Study Course.
If you’re going to get your book listed in the major bookstores then you need an ISBN. If you go through the “normal” channels you’ll be faced with a $300+ price tag to get the ISBN.Using LuLu.com you can get one for as low as $34.95:http://www.lulu.com/help/node/view/153How To Produce Your CD/DVD For Less Than $7 As an information marketer you will definitely need to be able to create CDs and DVDs.
After getting this far I hope it’s crystal clear that it’s all just “content”. It’s just as easy to convert it to audio, video or software as it is to convert it only to an e-book.Once you get your audios and videos created, if you don’t have a way to produce them on your own, here’s an outstanding resource for you. Go to:http://www.discmakers.com/cdrom/
This is the business section of DiscMakers.com. You can either have them create 100s or 1,000s of CDs / DVDs at a time or you can use their Self-Service section to create them one or two at a time. If you’re just starting out, you may want to use the Self-Service functionality so you can order just a few at a time.As business gets better you can migrate that product to their fullservice business section and produce larger quantities. To access their Self-Service section go to:http://duplication.discmakers.com/mcm/discmakers/index.jsp
How To Make Your Book A Best-Seller For The Instant “Celebrity Status” You Need To Market Your Other Products And ServicesI’ll let the certified expert in this area, my friend Paul Hartunian tell you how in his own words.Achieve Celebrity Status by Paul Hartunian I predict - no I'm certain - that you will soon have no alternative but to use publicity to promote your business, product, service, etc. There are several reasons for this. I'll go into one of them now. I'll cover the others over the next few issues of this ezine.
Like it or not, the US marketplace - and probably the entire global marketplace - is no longer driven by quality, experience, training, etc. It's driven by celebrity status.Here's what I mean by that.
For centuries, the marketplace was driven by qualifications. People would choose a professional or a vendor based on the training that person had, the number of years in business, prestigious awards they may have won, etc.So, if you were choosing a physician, a Harvard educated doctor would be at or near the top of the list. The person who had been in the plumbing business for 26 years got the nod over someone who only had 2 years in business.
That has all but disappeared.
Now, the economy is driven by celebrity status. Sad…but true. Want a clear example of this?
What if the most recent winner of the Nobel prize in physics was to appear at a local market to sign autographs. How many people would show up?Right, his mother, his sister and his dog.
Now, what if some second rate, has-been, blast-from-the-past TV actor showed up to sign autographs. How many people would show up?Right, be sure to have crowd control on hand. The lines of adoring people are going to be long. Want another example?
Suzanne Sommers is out spewing forth advice on health, medicine and nutrition. She played a large-breasted, dizzy blonde on a TV show 25 years ago. What the heck makes her an authority on health, medicine and nutrition?
Right… zip! But nevertheless, her books fly off the shelves while the books written by respected, Harvard educated physicians and their peers are relegated to the remainder sale pile.Some of you may say that Suzanne's books get better marketing, are written better, etc.
I say nay, nay. I say they only have the celebrity status of Suzanne. This is driving highly qualified people crazy. People with celebrity status are given more respect, credibility and money than they are.But there is a solution. Publicity.
One way to get a huge amount of celebrity status publicity is to become a Best Seller. Here’s an article from Dr. Joe Vitale who knocked Harry Potter off the #1 spot… twice!
Can an E-Book Become a #1 Amazon Best-seller? by Dr. Joe Vitale
Ever since Jim Edwards and I completed our now famous e- book, "How to Write and Publish Your Own E-Book... in as little as 7 Days," people have been cranking out their own e-books at, well, a weekly rate. Lately I've been getting a reoccurring question concerning all these e-books. Namely, "Can an E-book become a #1 Amazon bestseller?"
That question keeps coming to me because I made my latest book, "Spiritual Marketing," a #1 Amazon best-seller last June. I also helped several other authors make their books Amazon top sellers, from Kevin Hogan and Mark Joyner to Mike Litman and Randy Gilbert. Obviously there is a formula here that works.But can it make an E-book an Amazon best-seller?
The answer, of course, is yes. In fact, anything you sell can be driven to a top selling spot at Amazon. That's right, anything. That includes music CD's, appliances, videos, audios, DVD's, and yes, even E-books.Here's the secret:
You have to create what I fondly call an "ethical bribe." In other words, say you have an e-book on child rearing. What? Does that sound too easy to sell? Okay, let's pretend the e-book is a work of fiction. Better yet, let's make it an e-book with nothing but poetry in it. Now THAT would be tough to sell, let alone drive up the Amazon ladder to best-seller status, right?
Wrong. Again, the key to making this proven formula work for any ebook you may write is to offer enough incentive for people to go buy it *when* you want them to buy it. In short, you have to give people added value. You offer them freebies---usually other e-books---which they can have if they buy your main e-book at Amazon on a certain day.Are you with me here? Oh. Well, okay. Let me explain this formula in more detail.
Step One: You need an e-book. If you haven't written one yet, go to www.7dayebook.com right now. Get that book and you'll write your own book in less than a week. Guaranteed.
Step Two: Get your e-book listed at Amazon. That's easy. Amazon prides itself on listing everything. They'll list your e-book, too. Just ask by clicking on their Help button and sending them e-mail.
Step Three: Now create a series of bonuses that you can give to people who buy your e-book. Don't throw up your hands and say you don't have anything. Just as you wrote an e-book, you can write smaller Special Reports. Just think of what your key audience might want to read about. If you truly are selling a book of poems, maybe you can write something on how to write poetry. Get the idea?
Step Four: Here's a tip: You can also find public domain e-books which you can offer to people who buy your e-book. Search online for them. There are thousands of e-books available, for free. You can find something relevant to your own e-book, and add it as part of the package of freebies that you'll give people who buy your e-book at Amazon.
Step Five: Now find people who have email lists. This is a step where less imaginative people give up, saying, "I don't know anyone with any lists!" Wake up, people. There are nearly a million email lists online. Search for them. Again, if you're selling poetry, look for the email lists that cater to poets or maybe to writers. There are a staggering amount of those.
Step Six: After you find the email lists, write the list owners and ask for their help in promoting your event. Believe me, all you have to do is ask. They are usually glad to help because you are making a great offer to the people on their list and they will look like a hero when they help you sell your e-book. Again, just write and say something like, "I plan to make my e-book a #1 best-seller at Amazon. Will you help? Just tell your email list that if they buy one copy of my book at Amazon on (pick the day), I'll give them all of the following for free." Step Seven: Finally, set up all your freebies so they are downloadable e-products. In other words, when someone buys your e-book, you want them to send their Amazon e-receipt to you by e-mail. When you receive it, you want to send them the download page for your bonuses. You could also just send the bonuses by email to each person who writes to you, but that would be time-consuming. Still, it's an option if, say, you don't have a website. That's right. You don't even need a website to make this process work for you.There you have it. Write your e-book in seven days and then drive it to best- seller status at Amazon using the above 7-step formula. What are you waiting for?
Dr. Joe Vitale is the author of way too many books to list here. His latest title is "The Attractor Factor: 5 Easy Steps for Creating Wealth (or anything else) From the Inside Out." Register for his monthly complimentary ezine at http://www.mrfire.com/
The term can be misleading since neither podcasting nor listening to podcasts requires an iPod or any portable music player. For that reason, since September 2004 various writers have suggested reinterpreting the letters POD to create "backronyms" such as "Personal On-Demand." However, the word is rarely presented as "PODcasting."
Podcasting is distinct from other types of online media delivery because of its subscription model, which uses the RSS 2.0 XML (or RDF XML) format to deliver an enclosed file.
Podcasting enables independent producers to create self-published, syndicated "radio shows," and gives broadcast radio programs a new distribution method.
Listeners may subscribe to feeds using "podcatching" software (a type of aggregator), which periodically checks for and downloads new content automatically.
Some podcatching software is also able to synchronise (copy) podcasts to portable music players. Any digital audio player or computer with audio-playing software can play podcasts.The same technique can deliver video files, and by 2005 some aggregators could play video as well as audio.Initial development
By 2003, web radio had existed for a decade, digital audio players had been on the market for several years, blogs and broadcasters frequently published MP3 audio online, and the RSS file format was widely used for summarizing or syndicating content.While RSS/RDF already supported media resources implicitly, applications rarely took advantage of this.
In 2001 UserLand founder and RSS evangelist Dave Winer, partly inspired by users like Adam Curry and Tristan Louis, added support for a specific enclosure element to Userland's non-RDF branch of RSS, then to its Radio Userland feed-generator and aggregator.
In June 2003, Dion Mellor demonstrated aggregation and syndication of audio files using RSS in his Ed Radio application. Ed Radio scanned RSS feeds for MP3 files, collected them into a single feed, and made the result available as SMIL or WebJay audio feeds.
In September 2003, Winer created an RSS-with-enclosures feed for his Harvard Berkman Center colleague Christopher Lydon, a former newspaper and television journalist and NPR radio talk show host.
For several months Lydon had been linking full-length MP3 interviews to his Berkman weblog, which focused on blogging and coverage of the 2004 U.S. presidential campaigns. Having Lydon's interviews as RSS enclosures helped inspire Adam Curry's pre-iPodder script, and related experiments leading to a variety of open source iPodder development.
Indeed, blogs would become an important factor in the popularization of podcasting before many professional radio broadcasters and entrepreneurs with business plans adopted the form.
Possibly the first use of the term podcasting was as a synonym for audioblogging or weblog-based amateur radio in an article by Ben Hammersley in The Guardian on February 12, 2004.
In September of that year, Dannie Gregoire used the term to describe the automatic download and synchronization idea that Adam Curry had developed. Gregoire had also registered multiple domain names associated with podcasting. That usage was discovered and reported on by Curry and Dave Slusher of the Evil Genius Chronicles website.
By October 2004, detailed how-to podcast articles had begun to appear online. By July 2005, a Google search for "'how to' +podcast" returned 2,050,000 hits.
Independently of the development of Podcasting and its distribution via RSS, an idea that resembles Podcasting was developed at Compaq Research as early as 1999 or 2000.
Called PocketDJ, it would have been launched as a service for the Personal Jukebox or a proposed successor, the first hard-disk based MP3-player, that Compaq's R&D department had started developing in 1998. See appropriate section in the Personal Jukebox article.Popularization
The word about podcasting rapidly spread through the already-popular weblogs of Winer, Curry and other early podcasters and podcastlisteners. Fellow blogger and technology columnist Doc Searls began keeping track of how many "hits" Google found for the word "podcasts" on September 28, 2004, when the result was 24 hits."A year from now," he wrote, "it will pull up hundreds of thousands, or perhaps even millions."
Searls kept track of the search results in his blog through the next month. There were 526 hits for "podcasts" on September 30, then 2,750 three days later. The number doubled every few days, passing 100,000 by October 18.
His prediction of "perhaps millions" in a year proved to be quite conservative. After only nine months, a search for "podcasts" produced more than 10 million hits.
The amateur podcasts themselves were harder to count, but there were enough to capture the attention of The New York Times on October 28, 2004.
"There are podcasters in California, South Carolina and Connecticut," Times reporter Cyrus Farivar wrote, "with others as far afield as western Canada, Australia and Sweden. Though most podcasts tend to reflect their technologically oriented audience, newer shows are being created with topics like veganism and movie reviews.Even conventional broadcasters are being drawn to the medium, which allows programs to be played at a listener's convenience."
When USA Today took on the subject of these "free amateur chatfests" with a pair of stories the following February, it profiled several podcasters, gave instructions for both sending and receiving podcasts, and included a "Top Ten" list from one of the many podcast directories that had sprung up in just six months.
The newspaper quoted one directory as listing 3,300 podcast programs in February, 2005. At that time, USA Today reported a circulation of 2.6 million, the largest of any paper in the United States. The story of podcasting was getting around.
The Top Ten programs mentioned at that time gave some indication of podcast topics: four were about technology (including Curry's "Daily Source Code," which also included music and personal chat), three were about music, one about movies, one about politics, and -- at the time No. 1 on the list -- "The Dawn and Drew Show," described as "married-couple banter," a program format that USA Today's Marco R. della Cava noted was quite popular on American broadcast radio in the 1940s.
While USA Today was good at recalling the past, its story was less successful about the near future: It predicted that Apple Computer was "in a prime position to make podcasting significantly easier — but probably won't." Della Cava said Apple had "ignored requests from Curry and other technologists to discuss the matter, and declined USA TODAY's interview requests for this story."
In June, 2005, Apple added podcasting to its iTunes music software, staking a claim to the new medium its iPod had helped inspire and name. (See Coping With Growth, below.)Adoption by traditional broadcasters
Traditional broadcasters were extremely quick to pick up on the podcasting format, especially those whose news or talk formats spared them the complications of music licensing.
The American syndicated radio show Web Talk Radio became the first to adopt the format, in September 2004, followed within weeks by Seattle news radio station KOMO and by individual programs from KFI Los Angeles and Boston's WGBH.
The BBC began a trial in October 2004 with BBC Radio Five Live's Fighting Talk. These trials were extended in January 2005 to BBC Radio 4's In Our Time. January 2005 also saw CBC begin a trial with its technology show /Nerd. United States National Public Radio affiliates WNYC and KCRW adopted the format for many of their productions.
In April 2005 the BBC announced it was extending the trial to twenty more programmes, including music radio and in the same month Australia's ABC launched a podcasting trial across several of its national stations.
In May, 2005, the trend began to go the other way, with amateur podcasts becoming a source of content for broadcast radio programs by Adam Curry, Christopher Lydon and others.Coping with growth
While podcasting's innovators took advantage of the sound-file synchronization feature of Apple Computer's iPod and iTunes software
-- and included "pod" in the name -- the technology was always compatible with other players and programs.
Apple was not actively involved until mid-2005, when it joined the market on three fronts: as a source of "podcatcher" software, as publisher of a podcast directory, and as provider of tutorials on how to create podcasts with Apple products GarageBand and Quicktime Pro.The podcasting selection views of iTunes 4.9
When it added a podcast-subscription feature to its June 28, 2005, release of iTunes 4.9, Apple also launched a directory of podcasts at the iTunes Music Store, starting with 3,000 entries. Apple's software enabled AAC encoded podcasts to use chapters, bookmarks, external links, and synchronized images displayed on iPod screens or in the iTunes artwork viewer.Two days after release of the program, Apple reported one million podcast subscriptions.
iTunes Podcast directory lists top 100 podcasts based on the number of new subscriptions in a given 24-hour period, which explains the wild fluctuations in top-20 panel rankings, initially suspected to be an active count of total number of podcast subscribers.
Some podcasters found that exposure to iTunes' huge number of downloaders threatened to make great demands on their bandwidth and related expenses. Possible solutions were proposed, including the addition of a content delivery system, such as Akamai; a peer-to-peer solution, BitTorrent; or use of free hosting services, such as those offered by Ourmedia, BlipMedia and the Internet Archive.Hope this little history shed some light for you. Now let us get going…How To Create Podcasts Using Your PC My friend Jake Ludington will walk you through this simple presentation…
This time around, I'm walking through the steps required to record and post your own podcast using tools virtually everyone has or can easily acquire on a tiny budget.
Ultimately, if you decide to podcast on a regular basis, some equipment upgrades such as the podcast recording kit I recently detailed at JakeLudington.com will drastically improve the sound quality. To learn the process, though, you don't need anything fancy.
Depending on whether you already have one of those cheap microphones that the OEM dealers bundle with PCs, you can record a podcast without spending a dime.If you don't have a bundled microphone, the third-party equivalent costs between $8 and $15 at various electronics retailers. The other piece of hardware you need is a set of headphones.
Headphones are important because although you need to monitor your recorded voice, you don't want the microphone to pick up sound coming from desktop speakers. Ideally, headphones that cover your ears do the best job of isolating your recording sound from other audio distractions. Earbuds make an affordable alternative.
I recommend starting out with Audacity, an open source audio recording application. I like it so much, I bought a T-shirt from the company to show my support. Audacity offers a solid complement of editing features with an interface simple enough for a novice.
It outputs MP3-format audio for distributing your podcast once you download the Lame MP3 encoder. From here onward, I'll assume you have Audacity and Lame installed on your PC.Note: To use Audacity, refer to the instructions in the section titled: “How To Create And Package Audio Products For Free”. Once you have recorded your audio using the above instructions, you can upload it to a Web server and link to it in your blog post.
One thing for podcasting… An important step is editing the ID3 tags for the audio file.You can easily accomplish this by opening the file in Windows Media Player, iTunes, or one of many other popular music players.
In Windows Media Player, right-click on the file in the Now Playing list and choose Advanced Tag Editor. Fill in the Title and Artist fields at the very least, so the proper information about your podcast will display on iPods, Zen Micros, and other portable media players.
You need blogging software with support for enclosures to distribute the file via RSS, like Radio from UserLand, which is available for a $40 annual subscription.
Movable Type is another alternative; it's free for personal use and has support for enclosures if you install a free plugin. Several other alternatives also exist.
Enclosures are essentially a method to let news aggregation clients like FeedDemon, Newsgator, or Doppler know there's a file attachment associated with an RSS feed entry.
Assuming you are using a blogging tool with support for enclosures, you simply type a blog post as you normally would, and use a standard HREF link to the MP3 you uploaded to your server.
The blogging software determines that the link should be an enclosure in RSS based on the file type, and it makes an appropriate addition to the RSS feed.
If your blogging tool doesn't support enclosures (Blogger, for instance, currently doesn't), you can generate an free RSS feed with a FeedBurner account, which will support enclosures.
FeedBurner offers a straightforward wizard to walk you through the process. Once you have the FeedBurner feed created, you promote the link to the FeedBurner feed and encourage people to subscribe.
In each of these cases, the publication process is fairly similar. Upload the MP3 to wherever you have Web space capable of storing files. Make a blog entry just like you normally would, with a title, link, and description. Link to the MP3 in the blog description and post your entry.
If you want to keep your podcast separate from regular blog postings, or if you don't currently have a blog, the simplest way I've found to publish a podcast is to sign up for the $5 account at Liberated Syndication and follow its podcast publishing wizard.
The service automatically uploads your MP3 file, and creates the RSS feed and blog post associated with the podcast, all in one easy step. I use Movable Type for all my regular podcasting and blogging, but am amazed at the simplicity of using Liberated Syndication. I created a very basic site at the service to demonstrate the output.Jake Ludington is the author of the best-selling guide Converting VHS to DVD. He publishes audio and video tips at MediaBlab.com.Making A Podcast With Blogger And FeedBurner
Blogger is not our first choice for weblog-based podcasting. Movable Type and Wordpress are better solutions for many podcasters, because they offer better support for podcasting, more power and greater flexibility.
Nevertheless, many podcasters are finding Blogger to be a good starting place to experiment with podcasting.
Blogger is a free service, and getting started is as easy as filling out some forms on the web.
Here's a quick guide to building a podcast with Blogger. You should be able to set up a podcast using Blogger and FeedBurner in about the time it takes for all the images on this page to finish loading.This how-to assumes that you already have created your podcast MP3 files, and have them stored on a web server. Note that some screens may look slightly different as Blogger updates their site. Go to Blogger at http://www.blogger.com/) and select Create Your Blog Now:
If you haven't signed up for Blogger before, you'll need to do so. Error! Unknown switch argument.
That's the hardest part. If the Terms of Service part wore you out, now is a good time to take a break. Back already? OK - now it's time to name your podcast.
We called ours Snorkflum for this example: Error! Unknown switch argument.Next, select a template. We selected Minima, because it reminded us a little of The Matrix:Error! Unknown switch argument. Once you select continue, Blogger automagically creates your blog. First it makes you wait, though:Error! Unknown switch argument. As long as the Blogger servers don't crash, the Internets go down or anything bad like that, you should get a nice confirmation screen: Error! Unknown switch argument. This is another good time for a break. You just created your podcast blog! How awesome is that? Now you need to Start Posting... From the Dashboard page, click the New Post icon: Error! Unknown switch argument. Add an entry. To add your MP3 file, create a text link, select it with the link tool, and enter the URL for your MP3 file:Error! Unknown switch argument. When you are done, select Publish Post, and you should get a confirmation page:Error! Unknown switch argument. Now check out the podcast blog that you've created. Snorkflum is available at http://snorkflum.blogspot.com/:
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Now take a quick detour to Settings tab and select Basic.
Use the description field to explain what your podcast is, entice people to listen, and provide some keywords to make it easier for people to find.Save this and republish your podcast for the changes to take effect. Now it's time to create your podcast feed. Blogger only provides a Atom newsfeed, and RSS 2.0 is the standard for podcasting. Your Atom feed will be at your blog's address, plus "atom.xml", like this: http://snorkflum.blogspot.com/atom.xml. There is a free service, FeedBurner, that can be used to translate the Blogger Atom feed into a RSS 2.0 fee. Go to http://www.feedburner.com/, and enter your Blogger Atom feed URL:Error! Unknown switch argument. Select Next. FeedBurner will retrieve your Blogger Atom feed and then provide you with an options screen.
Select the SmartCast option, and make sure that the Feed Title and FeedBurner URI (way down at the bottom of the page) are OK with you:Error! Unknown switch argument. Select Next. You'll be prompted for a user id and password. Next, you should get a confirmation/welcome page:Error! Unknown switch argument. Note your FeedBurner Burned URL. In this case, it’shttp://feeds.feedburner.com/Snorkflum. That's it - the podcast is ready to test with a Feed Validator. Go to www.feedvalidator.org and paste in your FeedBurner URL: Error! Unknown switch argument. Your podcast should be ready to go.
Test it your podcast feed with a podcasting client such as http://www.podcastingnews.com/topics/Podcast_Software.html and get podcasting!Effective Podcast Promotional Strategies: Submitting Your Podcast To iTunes
It is being projected that Apple will ship more than 35 million Apple iPods by the end of 2005. The iPod is driving significant business in other areas for Apple to include iTunes downloads and seamless integration between iTunes and iPods.Imagine your audio files streaming through the millions of iPods – it all starts by getting it listed in the iTunes directory. Go for it!What's new in iTunes 4.9
With iTunes 4.9, you can now browse and subscribe to podcasts from within the iTunes Music Store. Podcasts are frequently updated radiostyle shows downloadable over the Internet. You can also transfer podcasts to iPod, for listening on the go.Getting Starting with iTunes Podcasts
One of the first things you will notice after you
upgrade to iTunes 4.9 is that in the Sources list on
the left side of the iTunes software (which manages
and organizes your music) contains a new source
for podcasts. These sources are like visual folders
that identify where your audio files are, where they are sourced from and how you have them organized as playlists.
Very helpful for managing your must and very easy to use as well as being intuitive. For example, in the image to the right you will also see Radio and Music Store.
This is and easy way that iTunes allows you to access thousands of audio files through the iTunes music store or access many Internet Radio stations for streaming radio broadcasts with iTunes.How Podcasts with iTunes 4.9 Works
To access Podcasts through iTunes you select the podcasts Source and you will see an empty playlist. At the bottom of iTunes, you will see the option Podcast Directory.Simply press that option with your mouse pointer and you will be taken to the iTunes Podcast Directory.Error! Unknown switch argument.
From the iTunes Podcast Directory you have quick access to the most popular podcasts but you can drill down into categories for a wider selection as well.
I like movies and movie reviews so I selected Movies & Television from the iTunes Podcast Directory and iTunes now presents the full list of available podcasts within that category as seen in the figure below.Error! Unknown switch argument.
I selected the Reel Reviews podcast (see Figure) and downloaded from iTunes this review Swimming With Sharks.
Also, Micheal who publishes this blog and podcast has an excellent write up on setting up your own podcast. You should check that out.
Publishing your podcast to iTunes is as simple as submitting your podcast RSS feed link to the iTunes directory. You'll need to have a iTunes account (free) in order to do so as you will asked for your iTunes login credentials.
All you do is click the Publish A Podcast link from the main Podcast Directory page in iTunes located in the upper left of the page (see Figure 2 above) and you will be stepped through the process easily. See the following figures below.Error! Unknown switch argument. Submit Your Podcast Feed URL
Once you confirm settings you then click the publish button and you get a confirmation page informing you that your podcast will be reviewed before being available in the iTunes podcast directory.The podcast settings in iTunes are pretty straight forward.
You can set iTunes to check for newly published podcasts that you are subscribed to at "every hour", "every day", "every week", or "manually". You can then tell itunes how to handle your downloads when new podcasts are detected. You can "download all" new episodes, "download the most recent one", or have iTunes "do nothing".Lastly, there is a retention setting where you can tell iTunes to keep episodes based on "all", "all unplayed", "most recent" or "last (from last 2 to 10 episodes)".
This is another great leverage opportunity for publishers. Just like Yahoo going to an RSS centric directory with My Yahoo, publishers benefit from the marketing and education that Yahoo is doing to increase exposure and usage of RSS for custom news.
With hundreds of thousands of My Yahoo users, you only have to place your RSS feed in My Yahoo and you enjoy the benefit of Yahoo's promo efforts.ITunes presents a similar opportunity.
ITunes is one of the top digital downloads stops on the Internet today if not the top download site. With their 4.9 release they are promoting podcasts to their active user base.
That could result in exponential exposure for you and exponential grown in subscribers to your podcast by submitting your podcast feed to the iTunes directory while letting iTunes take care of the promo efforts for generating interest in their podcast directory. Submitting your podcast is free by the way.
iTunes, I think, is especially powerful to podcasters because as a user of iTunes and an iPod, I think iTunes is very good at promoting new features and generating interest in browsing and in buying downloads. It isn't just the brand as much as I think that they provide a buying and user experience that is second to none. Once you start using iTunes for music downloads it really changes the way you purchase and consume music.
Now that they have added podcasting and have a dedicated podcast directory, it will be interesting to see how podcast publishers benefit from being a part of the iTunes directory and how that exposure measures up against other podcast directories available in terms of increasing exposure and getting subscribers.
The latest statisic I was able to find with a quick Google search was that iTunes had over 150 million downloads at some point in 2004. These numbers certainly present a compelling case for submitting your podcast feed to the iTunes directory.Additional information: iTunes RSS Tags
iTunes uses RSS 2.0 with some additional tags. When using the iTunes tags, you must add a namespace declaration in your feed xml, like this:<rss xmlns:itunes="http://www.itunes.com/DTDs/Podcast-1.0.dtd" version="2.0"> Please use UTF-8 encoding for your feed. Other encodings are not guaranteed to work in iTunes.
All values should be plain text (no markup or HTML). Values are limited to 255 characters, except for <itunes:summary> which can be up to 4000 characters. Whitespace in values is significant, i.e. it will show in iTunes, so don’t add leading or trailing whitespace to your values.
Here is a table showing which tags apply to the channel (podcast) as a whole and which tags apply to individual items (episodes), along with where the tag contents appear in iTunes:
website link and arrow in Name column
prevent an episode or podcast from appearing
Category column and in iTunes Music Store Browse
<itunes:duration> Y Time column
<itunes:keywords> Y <itunes:owner> Y <itunes:subtitle> Y<itunes:summary> Y
parental advisory graphic in Name column
Y not visible but can be searched not visible, used for contact only
Y Description column
when (circled i) in Description column is clicked
The file extension of the url attribute of this tag is used to determine if an item should appear in the Podcast directory. Supported extensions include "m4a", "mp3", "mov", "mp4", and "pdf".
Every <item> should have a globally unique identifier that never changes. When you add episodes to your feed, guids are compared in case sensitive fashion to determine which episodes are new. If you omit the guid for an episode, the episode url will be used instead.
Use this inside an <item> element to prevent that episode from appearing in the iTunes Podcast directory. Use this inside a <channel> element to prevent the entire podcast from appearing in the iTunes Podcast directory.
When browsing Podcasts in the iTunes Music Store, Categories are shown in the 2nd column and Subcategories are shown in the 3rd column. Not all Categories have Subcategories.
Use a top level <itunes:category> to specify the browse category, and a nested <itunes:category> to specify the browse subcategory. Choose from the existing categories and subcategories on the iTunes Music Store.
If a nested <itunes:category> is specified, iTunes will show it in the Category column, otherwise iTunes will show the top level <itunes:category> in the Category column.<itunes:duration> The contents of this tag is shown in the Time column in iTunes. The tag can be formatted HH:MM:SS, H:MM:SS, MM:SS, or M:SS (H = hours, M = minutes, S = seconds)<itunes:explicit> This tag should be used to indicate whether or not your podcast contains explicit material.
The two values for this tag are “yes” and “no”.
If you populate this tag with "yes", a parental advisory graphic will appear next to your podcast artwork on the iTunes Music Store, and in the Name column in iTunes.
This tag allows users to search on text keywords. Use spaces to separate keywords.
This tag specifies the artwork for your podcast. Put the url to the image in the href attribute.
iTunes prefers square images that are at least 300 x 300 pixels, which is different than what is specified for the standard RSS image tag. Hence we have a custom tag.iTunes supports images in JPEG and PNG formats. The url must end in “.jpg” or “.png”.
This tag contains information that will be used to contact the owner of the podcast for communication specifically about their podcast. It will not be publicly displayed.
Put the email address of the owner in a nested <itunes:email> element.
Put the name of the owner in a nested <itunes:name> element.
The contents of this tag is shown in the Description column in iTunes, as such it looks best if it is only a few words long.
The contents of this tag is shown in a separate window that appears when the (circled i) in the Description column is clicked. It also appears on the iTunes Music Store page for your podcast. This field can be up to 4000 characters.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!-- must include xmlns:itunes tag -->
<rss xmlns:itunes="http://example.com/DTDs/Podcast-1.0.dtd" version="2.0">
<title>All About Everything</title>
<link>http://example.com/podcasts/everything/index.html</link> <itunes:subtitle>A show about everything</itunes:subtitle> <itunes:summary>All About Everything is a show about everything. Each week we dive into any subject known to man and talk about it as much as we can. Look for our Podcast in the iTunes Music Store</itunes:summary>
<copyright>℗ & © 2005 John Doe & Family</copyright>
<!-- iTunes prefers square images 300x300 pixels or larger --> <itunes:image
rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://example.com/podcasts/everything/AllAboutEverything.jp g" />
<!-- iTunes Browse Podcasts Category --> <itunes:category text="Technology">
<!-- iTunes Browse Podcasts Subcategory --> <itunes:category text="Gadgets"/>
<title>Shake Shake Shake Your Spices</title>
<itunes:subtitle>A short primer on table spices</itunes:subtitle> <itunes:summary>This week we talk about salt and pepper
url="http://example.com/podcasts/everything/AllAboutEverythingEpis ode3.m4a" length="8727310" type="audio/x-m4a" />
<pubDate>Wed, 15 Jun 2005 19:00:00 GMT</pubDate> <itunes:category text="Food">
<itunes:keywords>salt pepper shaker exciting</itunes:keywords>
<title>Socket Wrench Shootout</title>
<itunes:subtitle>Comparing socket wrenches is
<itunes:summary>This week we talk about metric vs. old english
socket wrenches. Which one is better? Do you really need both? Get all
of your answers here.</itunes:summary>
ode2.mp3" length="5650889" type="audio/mpeg" />
<pubDate>Wed, 8 Jun 2005 19:00:00 GMT</pubDate>
<itunes:keywords>metric socket wrenches tool</itunes:keywords> </item>
<title>Red, Whine, & Blue</title>
<itunes:subtitle>Red + Blue != Purple</itunes:subtitle> <itunes:summary>This week we talk about surviving in a Red state
if you're a Blue person. Or vice versa.</itunes:summary> <enclosure
ode1.mp3" length="4989537" type="audio/mpeg" />
<pubDate>Wed, 1 Jun 2005 19:00:00 GMT</pubDate> <itunes:category text="Politics">
<itunes:keywords>politics red blue state</itunes:keywords>
The date must be "day-of-week, day month year".
The time must be in 24 hour format (no AM or PM) and must include the time zone offset.
<!-- valid date and time format -->
<pubDate>Wed, 6 Jul 2005 13:00:00 PDT</pubDate> <pubDate>Wed, 6 Jul 2005 13:00:00 -0700</pubDate>
character name xml & ampersand & < less-than sign < > greater-than sign > ' apostrophe ' " quotation "
The five characters above are the only characters that require escaping in XML. All other characters can be entered directly in an editor that supports UTF-8. You can also use numeric character references that specify the Unicode for the character, for example
character name xml © copyright sign ©
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