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Archive for the ‘product creation’ Category

Interactive Content Creation: An Experiment

This morning, I had a 5-hour drive to pick up my daughter. When I first began my drive, I thought about the different types of business-related activities I’ve accomplished while being on a long drive. Stuff like coaching calls, teleseminars, masterminds and other phone-related activities (I strongly recommend using a headset or bluetooth device so you can keep both hands free) came to mind. I have also created videos while driving…the camera was on the dashboard. Of course, long drives are also a great time to catch up on audio training and audio books (something I do quite regularly).

Then I got an idea. I wondered if I could create a different type of content while I was driving by using the interactive power of Facebook. So I pulled off the road, made a post to my Facebook wall using my iPad and asked for responses. The results were pretty cool, and showed just how powerful (and fun) interactive, user-generated content can be.

Below is the actual dialog from my Facebook wall from earlier today. The conversation will likely continue to grow. Occasionally you will see where I interjected additional thoughts. Those were the times I stopped for breaks. Enjoy the dialog and feel free to join in below in the comments!

Tony Laidig: While I’ve been driving, I’ve been thinking about the things that cause us to think or act irrationally (not including alcohol and controlled substances…grin). A couple ideas…seeing a friend or family member in danger. As a guy…women…lol. How about you? What makes you do things that defy logic or reason?

Heddy Rhea: Anxiety…and stress.

Heddy Rhea: And should you be doing this while you are driving?? :)

Tony Laidig: At a service plaza…grin.

Monty Craig: Seeing a Semi coming toward me as I am thinking too deeply while driving! Ha ha…

Kristen Eckstein: Dealing with a psychotic client who expects a best-seller quality book cover in less than 10 seconds & bugs me every 5 seconds for it until it’s ready. (I bet you can relate, Tony!)

Apothecary Jeri: Government agencies come to mind ……MVA, USPS …not that it ever happens to me of course :p

Therese Sparby: Things that defy logic or reason?!?!? I do this all the time… Every time I make a commitment that requires faith, and I follow my instinct. (for example- becoming an entrepreneur and building a business to many people… often including myself… defys both reason and logic) :-)

Laureen Falco: I would say one of the things I’ve done to defy logic or reason was to skydive. I’m one of the few – that didn’t really enjoy my tandem jump – and that one minute free fall felt like a lifetime – especially when you’re thinking that this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done! Had I had a great time – it would have been exhilarating. But the whole time, it was being filmed, and I kept trying so hard to keep my lunch down.

Elaine Ireland: Seeing my kids/grand kids do something that I KNOW is going to hurt them and not being able to do/say anything to prevent it. Sooo, I go do something stupid to compensate for it. Silly, huh?

Tony Laidig: Great comments everyone! Here are a few more I thought of (no I’m not typing this while driving). Unresolved emotions or trauma (like road rage), fight or flight scenarios, fear, faith, peer pressure and my personal favorite…chocolate.

Elaine Ireland: Since when is chocolate…anything, but GOOD for body, mind and soul?

Tony Laidig: True Elaine…but it still makes me act irrationally at times…especially when I NEED it. lol

Heidi Walter: Interesting, chocolate has never made me act irrationally. Must be my genetics. LOL.

Cathy Colonna Rogers: KIDS – Especially your own. They have a way of getting you so frustrated in an argument you can’t even put together a coherent sentence!

Tony Laidig: BTW…I am not suggesting that these triggers will always lead to irrational behavior or will do so in all people. I also realize that “irrational” is subjective. I just find it fascinating that there are influences that can control us with…out explanation. That said, here are some more possible triggers I thought of: Self-preservation, belief in a cause, a need to belong or fit in, the supernatural, organized groups or religions, chemical imbalances or food allergies, group devotion (like sports fans…grin). Any other thoughts?See More

Taylore Vance: This is Scary and we need to realize that this is behind unrest…and social problems including substance abuse — why try if you are hopeless? (Good question)

Heidi Walter: Oh, Tony, you’ll have to get Maxine Jones’ book on agreements when it comes out later this fall. I am editing it now. It’s all about the conscious and unconscious agreements we make, like aging (which doesn’t have to happen) and needing food to survive (That was a human consciousness agreement that built up over the centuries). Fascinating and empowering stuff. We don’t know the title yet, but I’ll be writing about it once it’s ready.

Audrey Spiegel: All great comments and insight….I’d like to add insecurity. Oh, and being hungry and tired.

Susan L. Strahosky: My predominate psychic sense is feeling. I’ve realized it can make me feel crazy when I feel things. I’m aware of things, but there is not physical or outward validation. Like there’s an elephant in the room and everyone else is in denial.

Debby Hall: Love…any and all kinds, romantic, parental, friendships. Logic and reason can go out the window when it comes to love and that’s not necessarily a bad thing:)

Digital Versus Physical

As Information Marketers living in this digital age, we can easily become myopic with our product creation, meaning, we often focus on creating digital products without considering the physical alternative. There are a few, extremely valid reasons for this. For one, digital products provide instant access with zero additional effort once they’re created. Certain types of digital products can also be created very quickly. I’ll be honest, nothing beats finishing a teleseminar or webinar, knowing you just created a quality product in a relatively short period of time. So what about physical products then? Should you consider adding a physical product line to your existing business? It depends…

While we cannot look at all aspects of physical product creation in this post, I would like to explore one option that is dear to my heart…image-based products. Because of our “bent” toward the digital, when we think of artwork or photographs, we often see them as playing a secondary role in our product creation. We use them for our product covers, header graphics, Powerpoint slides and Animoto videos. Seldom do we consider them as products, except as collections on DVDs or as an upload to our favorite microstock photo site.

However, a quick search on eBay will show you that image-based physical products, prints for instance, are very much alive and well. They can also be quite profitable. And that’s where the Public Domain comes in. When it comes to selling physical prints, nostalgia rules the day! I’ve seen it over and over again where individual prints of a certain image ALWAYS outsell collection CDs or DVDs that include the same image. It has been my experience as well.

So, what does it take to make and sell prints online or offline? You need to understand what people want to buy, a source for the content and a delivery mechanism. If this process sounds familiar it’s because it’s the basis of pretty much ALL successful selling. When it comes to prints, the easiest place to research to see what is selling is eBay. With 65 million people visiting per month, you can get a pretty good feel for what’s hot and what’s not. As for the source of your content…you guessed it…the Public Domain! There are many online sources for finding great, high-rez images to use for your prints. I share many of the best sites in my book, Easy Money Picture Project.

When it comes to the creation process of your prints, you have a few options. You can print them yourself using a large-format printer, although I wouldn’t recommend this approach if you’re just starting out. There are also a number of excellent online companies that can create the prints for you. If you want to go high-end with your prints (like canvas gallery wraps or metallic prints), I would recommend using BayPhoto or MPix. On the other hand, poster prints may be a great option for you as well. My two favorite sites for poster prints are Shortrun Posters and Print Pelican. For instance, at Shortrun Posters, you can prints 18″ X 24″ posters on 80lb. cover stock for $2.00 each. That’s a tough price to beat! And if you don’t need a large size like that, consider this…two 11″ X 14″ prints will fit on an 18″ X 24″ sheet. So you could get full-color 11″ X 14″ prints for $1.00 each. Hopefully you can see how HUGE this is for profit margins. Upload your digital file and in a few days, you have your prints!

Hopefully this post sparks some ideas for you. Over the next 90 days, I will be sharing more Physical Product creation strategies. Until then, get started with this one!

Planning Ahead with Product Creation

Many information marketers today create and sell digital only products and do quite well with that method of delivery. Personally, it’s my favorite form of product creation. No physical production costs, shipping issues, etc. Plus the customer has instant access to your product, 24/7. However, having said that, I believe it’s STILL important to PLAN for physical product creation…even if you only intend to offer your product in digital form. Here’s why…

Whether you are designing a product (book, video or audio) for physical production, all the processes are the same as far as pagination, cover design, book editing, video editing, etc. so why NOT plan for physical? So ALWAYS plan for physical but offer as digital…whether you’re creating online videos and need a digital cover for those, offering an MP3 and need a cover for that, or an e-book. There is always a chance you may want to go physical…DVD series, CD, print book, whatever. If you plan for it in the beginning, you’re covered…plus it doesn’t require additional work to design high-res. However, if you design for web only and then decide to go the physical route, you have to re-create everything, which is a waste of time, effort and money. Not good.

Almost none of my products are currently available in print or physical form, but every one of them have been designed that way, just in case. Every online video series I’ve created and sold has print resolution covers designed for them. Every e-book I sell has print resolution covers designed for them and every video can easily be re-rendered at DVD or HD resolution for physical products. You should consider doing the same.

A Robot’s View on Product Creation

I always appreciate great testimonials, and this one by my robot friend on product creation and the Public Domain is no exception. Thanks, my friend!

Product Creation Lessons from Aeropostale

My daughter, Ashlea, works at Aeropostale, so over the past several months, I’ve been in the store many times. I’ve also been paying attention to what they do and how they do it when it comes to how they create and market their products (clothes and accessories). Aeropostale is hugely popular with the younger generation and it’s evident that they understand their demographic (14 to 17 year-olds) very well. Heck, even I like a lot of their clothes and I wouldn’t consider myself a part of their target audience. That said, there are a few lessons we can ALL learn from Aeropostale when it comes to branding and product creation.

For Aeropostale, branding and product creation are synonymous. If you’ve been to one of their stores or to their website, the ONE thing that will stand out immediately is that their brand is on everything…their clothing turns their customers into walking billboards. It’s rather brilliant actually. Of course, they’re not the only company to do this…many do…but I’d have to say they’re one of the best at it for sure.

Aeropostale also provides a LOT of variations with their products. Now stay with me here…their main brand simply involves their name and the year they began their company…1987. Here is where it gets fun…the variations they create on those two elements is nearly limitless, it seems. As a product creator, this is an important lesson to understand. With just the words Aeropostale, Aero, 1987, A87 and other variations, they produce hundreds, if not thousands, of variations on the theme. You can do the same thing with your products and your business…especially if your products are image based!

Here is a challenge for you…go the the Aeropostale website and just look at their t-shirt lines…that’s it. Now, using Aero’s approach as your inspiration, consider a graphic, photograph, logo, or brand related to your business and make a list (or sketches) of every possible variation on the theme you can think of. Ask friends and family to do the same. You will be surprised (and amazed) at the outcome. I guarantee it! Then, share your results and what you learned here in the comments! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Product Creation Ideas for Your Walls?

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am an idea guy (among other things). My intense curiosity is constantly wondering (and wandering) about the “next” thing. Everywhere I look, I find myself wondering, “I wonder if there is an easy way to create that using Public Domain content?” That’s usually how the curiosity begins…including this time with what I’m sharing in this post.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of research on new technologies that allow us to create even more custom products from Public Domain content, which previously would have been impossible or cost prohibitive. I admire companies who push the envelope with technology and then bring their successes to the rest of us. The latest companies I’ve discovered are like that…they take impossible or difficult product creation options and make them easy.

As I share my latest discoveries here, you will notice a theme. And the research paid off with new options for me (and you) to create entirely new types of products and businesses from Public Domain content. What was I researching? Wall coverings and signs!

Perhaps it’s because I’m currently remodeling my house, but I’ve been drawn to alternative ways of decorating walls, rather than just the boring paint styles…and apparently, others are curious as well. There is a definite interest out there in specialty wall coverings. The good news is that I found several companies who can help you create those wall coverings from your own images and designs (think Public Domain). You can then sell YOUR wallpaper, decals, signs, etc. to customers, on Ebay, to contractors…you get the picture (pun intended…grin).

Totally Custom Wallpaper: Offers options for custom Murals, Wallpaper, Borders, Canvas and Peel-n-Stick Decals. Their site also offers an interactive designer template that walks you through the design process, step-by-step.

Murals Your Way: Offers custom Murals in a straight-forward “choose your size, upload your image” kind of fashion. Simply upload your custom image and you’re off and running! They also provide hundreds of existing designs as well.

Java Signs: Offers options for custom Vinyl Lettering, Signs (more on this in a minute), Banners and Decals (wall decals among other things). Their site also offers easy-to-use design tools that make the creation process super simple.

Speedy Signs: Also offers options for custom Vinyl Lettering, Signs, Banners, Decals and Displays. They also offer easy-to-use design tools for creating your own custom designs.

One of the things I love about these options is that we now have a lot of flexibility in product design and offering for an entirely new market…home owners and builders. Remodeling is huge right now with the economy the way it is. More and more people are opting to remodel rather than buy or build. The sites above provide options for you, the product creator, to tap into this market in a very real way!

I also wanted to highlight another product offered on the Java Signs site…custom aluminum signs. Now when you think about metal signs, you probably think real estate or some other type of signage. I don’t…I think custom décor. If you’ve been to any store that sells unique gift ideas, you have likely seen reproductions of old Coke signs or John Deere tractor signs. That’s the direction I’m thinking in. Java Signs provides you with the opportunity to create your own line of metal signs…and Public Domain content is PERFECT for it. Use your imagination!

The LAST new product I want to highlight in this post has nothing to do with walls or signs…it has to do with your feet! Zazzle has finally introduced a brand-new line of men’s sneakers, both low-top and high-top, that you can completely customize with your own designs. I’ve been waiting for this for a LONG time and can’t wait to start designing my OWN sneaker line. You should too!!