Information Products and How to Create Them

Transcript Episode 2

0:08

You’re listening to Take On Life After 50, a podcast for people over 50 who want to supplement their retirement by doing what they love. I’m your host, Diane Ziomek, and this is where you’ll find practical how-to’s and inspiration to create the life you deserve. And just because this is my view of being over 50, the side hustles can apply to any age. In fact, I encourage anyone 16 and over to listen in.

I hope you’ve had a good week, mine was on the chilly side, because winter is trying hard to set in here in Alberta. I’m never really ready for winter, at least not mentally. 

In my last episode, I mentioned information products and how you can create your own.  Chances are you’re probably already doing it. And if you’re a blogger or writer or a printables creator, you are doing it. 

Anytime you tell someone how to do something, whether it be written verbal, audio or video, you are essentially providing an information product. Any form of how-to fits the bill. 

How-to writing has not seen a decline because of the Internet. In fact, there’s more of it done now than even a decade ago. Just think of the apps, the games, computers, gadgets, and so on. They’re being released every day. Someone out there has questions and others provide the answers. 

The internet has also made it much easier for people to share their knowledge and to get paid for it. Think about all the DIY information available. When you want to know how to fix a leaky tap. Where do you go? Do you look in your home maintenance and repair book? Or do you go on YouTube. Either way you’re consulting and information product. 

Writing how-to articles and books can lead to a nice little side income. I personally have earned extra cash by submitting articles to revenue share sites, plus writing my own ebooks guides and courses.

Before I go any further l  will say this: you do not need a college degree in English to write a how -to book. In fact, it’s probably better if you don’t. That’s not to say you shouldn’t if you don’t have ever if you do have that degree, provided you can keep away from the fancy words. I will add however, that some informational products do require what is called technical writing, which lacks humor, personality and pizzazz…but for good reason. 

Here’s something I learned along the way. 

When I first started writing I wanted to sound more educated than I am so used the big words. I soon realized people didn’t care about the big words, they just wanted to learn how to do what I was trying to teach them. In fact, the “educated” articles and ebooks had a lot less readers. 

How-To books and articles should be written to not only teach the reader how to do something, but also to keep them interested in even entertained. A little humor goes a long way in my opinion. 

I myself would sooner read something that has some personality; not boring and dry (like the social studies textbook from grade eight perhaps). No wonder I didn’t do well in that class. Common words, everyday vocabulary, and conversational tone make how-to writing easier for you to do, and easier for the reader to follow and understand. 

Write how you would talk, minus the profanity if possible. I know ,sometimes it’s hard not to swear. The beauty of writing though is the editing takes care of the oopses. If you’re doing a live video or podcast may slip up while that’s a little harder to fix. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t drop the F bomb. In fact, I probably drop it a little too often. Perhaps that’s why writing is my go to for how to information. As for my fiction books, well, that’s  another story.

Information Products are not limited to the written word, although that’s how the majority start. No matter what your end product is going to be, you still need to start with at least an outline. That outline can be turned into articles, books, blogs, CDs, DVDs, booklets, calendars, leaflets, mp3 files, ebooks, e newsletters, classes, guides, instruction sheets, podcasts, video tutorials, speeches, workshops, workbooks, and the list goes on. 

As you can see, there really is no limit to the type of information product you can create. You can take what you know and transform it into an ebook, an audio file, and even workbook depending on the subject matter. 

I personally prefer ebooks and other written materials, but I’ve also recorded a couple of craft classes for my Skillshare channel. And by starting this podcast I’m able to reach a wider audience. I know the podcast won’t do much in terms of teaching you how to make a crochet cotton sponge as that is more of a visual tutorial, but it can provide the seeds to grow your own information products side hustle.

Self Sponsored Ad Begins

Creating printables to help simplify the lives of others is something I enjoy doing. Whether it’s a one page planner insert or a 50 Plus page kids Christmas activity book, designing and publishing them is a form of relaxation for me. When I graduated from high school, I enrolled in a desktop publishing course and was excited to learn all there was to know. Unfortunately that course didn’t have enough students so it was cancelled. That has not stopped me from learning on my own. 30 plus years ago I guess that wasn’t something that interested a lot of people. 

With the software available and the ease of use, I’ve begun to spend more time learning how to design planners, calendars, workbooks, and more, all in my home office. I recently started my second Etsy shop to showcase my printables and my inventory continues to grow. The beauty of printables is that my customers can download and print their purchase immediately, instead of  having to wait for a package to arrive in the mail. Visit http://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TOLA50Printables, and get your planner pages or complete planner today.

Self Sponsored Ad Ends

I’ve told you what an information product is, and given you several formats. Now I’ll help you create one you can transform into some extra cash. 

The first step is to come up with an idea you’re passionate about or that you have an interest in. There’s nothing worse than trying to write about something you can’t stand. As a freelance writer I’ve done that on occasion and it took me much longer than it should have to do the articles. 

How do I come up with a good idea you ask? In my Creating and Selling Nonfiction course I asked 15 questions to help point students in the right direction. I asked about hobbies, work experience, likes and dislikes, personality traits and so on. I trust they will answer honestly as that is the only way they’ll be able to narrow down their niche. 

Next I ask them to list their hobbies, skills, and interests. When that’s done it’s time to put them in order of preference. When they have picked their top three, I asked them to pick one of those to start with. That’s the topic for their first project. 

Next comes the research. If it’s something you know a lot about, you shouldn’t have to do much. But if it’s something you want to learn more about, knowing where to find the right information is crucial. You want to be able to provide your readers, listeners or viewers with the right information. It will be an educational and potentially profitable experience for you. 

Once you’ve compiled your research, it’s time for an outline. And trust me when I say you’re going to need one. It doesn’t matter how short or how long your project is, an outline is necessary to keep you on track. I’ve learned that not using an outline can easily cause one to stray off topic. 

I like to write my first draft of my projects longhand. I do, however, draw the line when I’m writing fiction, unless it’s a short story. When I wrote my Creating and Selling Nonfiction course, some of it was written by a campfire. Hey, what could be better than that? And speaking of campfires, one of my short story contest entries was written while camping. I didn’t win that contest, my story did become a part of the anthology. 

Once you start putting your ideas on paper, or computer screen, it will all start to come together. You don’t have to complete each chapter or section in order, the organizing can come later. Just do the writing and as the saying goes, go with the flow. As you’re writing one section, you may think about what could be in another section. Make those notes as the ideas come. If you don’t, they may be lost forever. Take it from someone who knows. 

The amount of time it takes you to finish your project will depend on what format it’s in and how much information you’re including. I suggest starting with shorter projects. So you have because you Sorry. So you can have a completed eBook, mp3 pile. mp3 file, or video within a week or two. I have written ebooks in a weekend start to finish, I was able to publish the following weekend, which is a perk of self publishing. 

Your completion time can be much shorter. If you’re writing tip sheets, newsletters, articles, mini guides or even instruction sheets, you do what works best for you and work with what you have. You don’t need any fancy software programs to get started, or at all. In fact, I use Google Docs for my ebooks for the simple fact I can work on them no matter which device I’m using. I do have customized software for books, but then I’m tied to my desktop and that doesn’t always work for me. 

By now you’re probably thinking, What about the money? 

If you have an existing website, you can sell your information products directly from there. If you don’t have a website you can publish on Kindle, Etsy, Shopify, or other platforms. My advice is not to do it just for the money though. Make sure it’s something you enjoy doing. And I get it, writing isn’t for everyone. But that’s where the chore charts, planner pages, trackers, and other little projects come in. Plus you also have the option of audio and video. 

That about wraps it up for this episode, but I will say this, there’s a learning curve to everything. So starting with a small project will keep you from getting frustrated. Remember, it doesn’t have to take you weeks or months to get something out there. And as the saying goes, done is better than perfect. You can always tweak later, whether it’s a one page printable, or an hour long video. 

If you’re excited about starting information product side hustle, be sure to listen to the next episode, where I’ll go into more detail about self publishing.

Thanks for listening to this episode, and I hope you’ve been able to take away a little something from it. If you want to learn more about me visit my website www dot take on life after fifty.com and I will see you in the next episode.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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