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Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Search Engine Savvy

When it comes to search engines, we all tend to get a bit myopic, thinking Google is our ONLY real choice for finding the info we need. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth! The truth is that there are literally thousands of search engines available for us to use for our “data mining” duties, and some of them are rather cool. In this post, I thought I’d share some of the search engines I have been playing with recently.

BlinkX: Blinkx offers access to over 35 million hours of index videos from across the web. Using patented conceptual search, speech recognition and video analysis software, Blinkx is extremely efficient and accurate with finding and qualifying online video. They are the world’s largest single index of rich media content on the Web, and deliver more content from a broader range of sources than either Google or Yahoo! They also offer the ability to embed a “wall” of videos based on your search results on your own website.

Technorati: Technorati has been around for quite a while, but it’s likely that you aren’t using it, which is why I’ve included it in this list. They are the leading blog search engine and directory and indexes more than a million blogs. So if you are looking for relevant info on your topic and want to see what other bloggers are writing about, Technorati is your answer. You can also use the results to find articles related to your topic so that you can comment and benefit from the backlinks. I personally use it for leads on new content and info that isn’t being widely shared.

InkMesh: Inkmesh is an ebook search engine that makes it easier to find free ebooks and compare ebook prices for the Kindle, iPhone, Sony Reader, Nook and more. What I like about this search engine is that, not only can I use it to find free e-books, but I can also use the results to “spy” on what Public Domain books are being released by others. Being an iPad user, this is a super cool website for finding e-book gems!

NowRelevant: NowRelevant was a pleasant discovery! It is the interface portal for The Internet Time Machine’s backend search engine that gives you access to every written word about a subject for the past 14 days. It monitor millions of sources and feeds to give you the most up to date and pertinent information on your subject. What that means is that rather than have to filter through ALL the results you would find through Google or Yahoo…some of them years old…NowRelevant limits your results to just the past 14 days, and they offer a time slider that allows you to cut the results down to even fewer days. Why this cool is that your results enable you to track trends easily, which means you can target your PPC campaigns (among other things) with current, relevant data! Gotta love that!

Why You Will *NOT* Make Money from Public Domain Content!

You may have noticed lately that I haven’t been talking about Public Domain content as much now as I have in the past. So what happened? Have I given up on the Public Domain? Have I milked it for all its worth and now am onto bigger things? Have I gone underground and am keeping all the new tricks to myself? Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that I have (temporarily) shifted away some from teaching about Public Domain content because of YOU!

You see, I discovered a growing trend with many of my subscribers that really concerned me. They would hear me talk about the Public Domain and share what’s possible with the content and get excited. They would invest in my Public Domain courses, find TONS of great Public Domain content, but then, something happened. It is this “something” that concerned me, and it is the PRIMARY reason why you will NOT make money from Public Domain content!

I found that many of my customers…perhaps even you…didn’t DO anything with the Public Domain content they found. It just sat there on their hard drive taking up space. Tons of ebooks, images, magazines and more…all with great potential, all doing nothing to make them money.

I wondered, “What about the blog posts and articles you were going to write using PD content? What about all the product ideas you had using PD content as the source? What about the books, e-books, videos, audios, posters, membership sites and all the other wonderful products you can create using Public Domain content? Quite honestly, I was puzzled. I wondered why so many would take those important first steps of action, but then stop. A little investigating revealed the answer. And this discovery is what shifted my business.

What I discovered was that few people actually knew and understood what their next steps should be. They found great content, and in some cases, even created products, but didn’t know how to get those products online. They weren’t sure how to build the websites and set up the download pages. They didn’t understand how to get traffic to their site (if they had one) and, in many cases, the idea of using social media was confusing at best. It seemed that even knowing the right tools and software for creating those products was elusive.

Can you relate? Is this where YOU are in your own business? I think you will agree that it would be irresponsible of me (or anyone else) to ignore the problems you might be struggling with. And so, because of these revelations, I’m changing how I approach my product creation, my interaction with my subscribers and customers and with YOU! No, I haven’t given up on the Public Domain. As a matter of fact, it is playing a key role in some of the new projects I’m working on right now! The task right now, however, is to see YOU succeed even MORE with Public Domain content!

So I’m curious…what roadblocks are YOU facing with taking the next step? What is the ONE THING you believe would make all the difference in the world in helping you become successful (or more successful) online? Please post your thoughts and comments below. And if you would, please also share this with your friends and subscribers through the Twitter, Facebook and Digg links. Thanks!

Business Success Reboot, Part Two

Lately, I’ve been exploring the question of…

“If I had to do it all over…to start over from scratch…WHAT would I do different?”

What I want to share with you today is the ONE skill I learned that made a HUGE difference in my income. And I want to share this because, when I first started out, I was told (just like I’m telling you) that I needed to understand this and I thought I had it all figured out…that I knew what I was doing.

Boy was I wrong!

My first product took me 11 months to create…and I wouldn’t recommend ANYONE take that long to create products. As a matter of fact, now I create several new products every single week…but that’s another story. Anyway, once I had my product created and the website designed I was ready to make some money. After all, I deserved some compensation for all the hard work I had put into creating it (the product was the Public Domain Code Book).

When I designed the site, I felt comfortable with the graphics because that’s what I did for a living at the time. But there was ONE element that I held some real concern about…writing the copy for the sales letter. I looked at what a couple other websites had used and thought I’d try to model them. I was
TOLD that I needed to understand the basics of good copywriting but I ignored those who told me that.

So I wrote what I thought was some pretty clever copy in the vane of Indiana Jones meets the Public Domain and I was SO proud. I absolutely LOVED how the copy and the sales letter turned out. Now for the REAL test…sending traffic to the site to make some serious cash! I bought some traffic through Adwords (another nightmare I’ll save for a future installment) and suddenly, I realized I was facing worst-case scenario…I spent a LOT of money on Adwords and made ZERO sales. I couldn’t tell my wife, she would have killed me if she knew how much money I spent with Google with nothing to show.

When I began to consider what could have been wrong, the message about the importance of copy came back to haunt me. I had to face the fact that my sales copy sucked. I went on a frenzied quest to learn the basics of copywriting to see if I could even salvage all the time and effort I had put into this first project. It paid off. I re-wrote the sales page based on what I had learned and sales began to happen…a few here and there, and then more and more. Since then, that first product has sold over $50,000 and is still selling today!

What made the difference?

It wasn’t the product and it wasn’t the traffic…it was the SALES COPY! That’s what made the difference. It was an expensive lesson to learn and one that I want to help you avoid. That’s why I created, “Copywriting Basics That Work!” You’ll discover how to avoid ALL the mistakes that kept my first product from selling, as well as the secrets to creating sales letters, video sales letters and e-mail promotions convert like crazy.

Do yourself a favor (and for the benefit of your current and future sales), take a few moments to watch the video I created and discover the KEY to finding true success online.

Committed to your ongoing success!

Copywriting Basics That Work

Content Marketing and the Public Domain

Now more than ever before, the key to reaching your audience is to provide them with high-quality, ongoing beneficial content. The day of junk articles and spun content are pretty much over (thank God!). If you think about, it makes sense that your reader would WANT to read something of quality…that’s what YOU want too, right? Of course you do! Nothing you hate worse than to find a website that “hopefully” has the answer you’re looking for, only to find out it’s a spam site designed to get traffic and siphon your money. There will always be those who try to scam the system (not to mention you and I) but you know better…especially when you consider that your content marketing has a great friend in the Public Domain!

When you consider that there are over 85 million books, 200,000+ magazine titles, 5.5 million patents, billions of images and more, content for your site (not to mention your articles, products, autoresponders, etc.) should be a no-brainer! Think about this…we are talking about PROVEN content! It’s already been written by experts and read by thousands if not tens of thousands of readers (just like your target audience). This content was subjected to peer-review, editors and publishers whose desire was to share the best writing on the topic at hand. WHY? Because they knew that if the articles in their magazine sucked, readership would drop and their advertisers would lose money. If the books they published were crap, no one would buy them. Remember, there was no Internet 50+ years ago…LOTS of people read so publishers HAD to produce quality content. Content marketing was just as relevant then as it is today!

Honestly, as a content publisher, you really have NO excuse to struggle with writing blog posts or offering quality content to your readers, prospects and customers! To gain further insight on how to use Public Domain content as a part of your content marketing strategy, be sure to check out these related articles found elsewhere on my blog:

Sell Quality and the Price Won’t Matter

The Previous Post Was a Lesson

Limitless Content

The Gospel According to Magazines

Free Tools for Your Web Presence

Here is the next video in my “Free Tools” series that reveals amazing, free tools that help you establish and enhance your online presence. Social Media is key to establishing your brand, your relationships and your products. The tools that I share here help you take it all to the next level!

In this video, we take a look at:

  • Blog Tools for establishing your online presence
  • Website Tools for creating static websites and minisites
  • Tools that allow us to create group interaction sites
  • Social Networking tools
  • Content Distribution tools
  • And much, much more!

The tools I share in this video are vital to your online success, so prepare to explode your exposure (and success) online!

[FLOWPLAYER SRC=http://stepbystepinfoproducts.com/video_files/Free_Tools2/Free_Tools2.mp4, width=480, height=360]

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.

The Previous Post Was a Lesson!

I “wrote” the previous post titled, “Sell Quality and the Price Won’t Matter” to demonstrate a powerful method for using Public Domain content the right way…one of many “right” ways! You see, I didn’t write the article…I re-wrote it. It’s an excerpt from chapter one of a book I downloaded from Google Books that was published in 1922. I copied the text right out of Google using their “Plain text” feature and then pasted it into Microsoft Word. I went through the text and highlighted the “power points” of the chapter and compiled them into a new Word document and then started re-writing the new paragraphs into a cohesive article. You can see the original chapter with the sentences I used (bolded and in red) HERE. The whole process took me about half an hour, if that.

I wanted to present this quick Case Study to make the point that this strategy can be used in many forms and ways to create new, hybrid articles, blog posts and products. And YES, even by YOU! So what are you waiting for?! Get to it!

PS: I want to add that I could just as easily taken those SAME highlighted sentences and created PowerPoint slides with them and then taught a webinar or created a Camtasia video with them. THEN I would have a video, audio, transcription, etc. of fresh content I taught, all based on that original chapter from the book. And, BTW, this was JUST Chapter one…grin!

Sell Quality and the Price Won’t Matter

There are many people selling online today, especially those just starting their own business, who are convinced that the reason they cannot get more business is because their price is too high. They think that if they just cut their prices a little more than their competition, they would get a lot more business. But would they?

Truly successful companies and individuals recognize that their long-term game plan cannot be built around having the lowest price, but rather, having highest quality merchandise and charging prices corresponding with that quality.

When you look at sellers who try to establish their reputation on price, the fact becomes clear that the combined sales of these price pirates are but a fraction of the sales generated by the businesses focused on quality…and that includes selling e-books! The old axiom is true: “You get what you pay for!”

Cheap things are made for people who cannot pay more; for people who must get along the best they can with something almost as good. Unfortunately, when the expected service is not delivered, the customer is aggravated and upset. He or she never forgets the person who sold them that crappy product. On the flip side, the customer who buys a quality product soon forgets that he or she paid more for it, and remembers only the satisfaction it gives them. Quality is the strongest testimony you could ever have.

Quality means repeat orders. It creates relationships that stay with you year in and year out. It means that you will be able to hold what you have and add to it. In short, quality products means enduring success, and not success built upon the quick sands of here-today-and-gone-tomorrow customers.

Here is something else to consider, if your business were to follow a plan of meeting every price cut that you see others offer, there would be no figure for your customer to use as a basis of price comparison. In other words, selling would simmer down into a seesaw proposition. You have the lowest price today on this product, and your competitor has it tomorrow.

Permanent success can be built only on a quality foundation. A cut in price–if out of line with the general market trend–will undo a reputation for quality quicker than any other one thing. It breeds suspicion. Buyers think: “If his stuff were as good as he says it is he wouldn’t have to cut the price.” And their reasoning is logical.

So you see that quality is synonymous with satisfied customers, and we all know that the product which gives the most satisfaction, in the long run, is the easiest to sell. If you sell a product that is better than what your competitor is selling, you can be sure that the world will find it out about it and want it. Word-of-mouth spreads quickly…especially in this day and age of social media. This is why I emphasize over and over again that you should NEVER publish or re-use Public Domain content as-is. Not that the content is necessarily bad…but it is more an issue of YOUR quality. The quality of product that defines YOU as a great person or business to buy from. When people start wanting the products you are selling, the measure of your success depends only on your ability to embrace even greater opportunities as they are presented to you.

Working From Anywhere

I have to say that I LOVE what I do. Being able to have what my good friend, Pat O’Bryan, refers to as a Portable Empire is nothing short of incredible. I can literally “work” from anywhere…and HAVE…from some pretty cool places. From a little cabin out in the middle of nowhere or sitting on a lounge chair in Palm Springs, to a private island off the coast of Florida or on-board a cruise ship in the middle of the Carribean…it’s a real privilege to no longer have to work a J.O.B.

One of the keys to truly running your business from anywhere is having the right tools to do so. And while it may take you a while to put together your “team” (it did me), you can actually get started rather cheaply. Now admittedly, I am a bit of a tech junkie, so what I carry with me may be a bit of overkill, but I do like the idea of being prepared to create literally ANY kind of media project I need at anytime, any where. And OF COURSE…my commitment is to help YOU achieve your dream business as well.

Below is a photo of my backpack. This pretty much goes with me everywhere I travel and it contains EVERYTHING I need to run my business and create new products. Well…what you see plus my Blackberry Storm…and an HP Mini…and a raft of software.

Portable_Empire

Now I am obviously a photographer as well…and so it’s likely that you may not want to carry so many cameras and lenses, but what you see above has helped me create a business I’m proud of…one that I love and enjoy. And so, as you can see above, your tools of the trade should include (at the very least) a laptop with media-related software,  a video camera of some type and a phone. With just those three key items, you can create just about any type of information product just about anywhere. The broadband modem certainly extends your flexibility for high-speed internet quite a bit as does some sort of portable drive.

As for software, you really need a word processor (like Microsoft Word or Open Office), presentation software (like PowerPoint or Keynote), an image editor (like Photoshop or Paint.net), a web design program (like Dreamweaver or Kompozer) and a screencasting program (like Camtasia or Screenflow). There are other programs as well that can come in handy, like video editing software, audio software and file converters. The GREAT news is that you can find free or open source programs in every one of these categories. For me personally, here is what I use:

  • Photoshop
  • Dreamweaver
  • Camtasia
  • Screenflow
  • Microsoft Office
  • Vegas Movie Studio
  • Sony Sound Forge
  • QuarkXPress
  • Super Converter/Encoder
  • Acrobat Professional
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Artisteer
  • And a raft of other programs.

Please know that the point of this post is not to brag…heavens no…rather, it’s to encourage you to TAKE ACTION. You can DO this just as I am. In the coming weeks, I am going to be going MORE in-depth in sharing how you can get started, or move to the next level. Honestly, without the right tools, you’re going to be handicapped. Soooo…this is the beginning of helping point you in the right direction…the direction toward your OWN “Portable Empire.”

Audio Is Dead? Hmmm…

I had a fun e-mail discussion over the weekend with one of my subscribers who promptly informed me that audio is dead. Guess I missed that memo…apparently, so did iTunes, Rhapsody, Audible, TuneCore and a ton of other highly successful audio websites. Actually, I guess AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile missed it too, since pretty much ALL our cell phones count on AUDIO. Then there are all the millions of MP3 players out there…oh…and all the radio and satellite radio stations. And let’s not forget my favorite, Pandora.com…as well as Slacker.com, Last.fm and Jango.com…guess they missed it too.

The truth is that audio is here to stay…it isn’t going anywhere, which is why YOU need to be creating it. Now, in all fairness, this guy is a TV guy…has stations and everything. I guess I’m wondering though what his viewership would be like if he didn’t include the audio component of his broadcasts…grin. I’m guessing it would be less.

Don’t get me wrong…in a lot of respects, video IS important…heck…Lord knows I’m using a lot of it (have you SEEN my blog lately?). But you STILL need to understand audio to make video effective. For example, what if you want to add background music to your video file? What if you need to include a voice-over in that new how-to video? You kinda need to understand audio. And THAT’S why you need to understand how to Create Audio Products! THAT’S also why I shared my knowledge about the subject!

The great news is that you can STILL grab your copy of Create Audio Products at the introductory price…but ONLY for 12 more hours. The price increases to the regular price at Midnight EST, January 25th. Better hurry!

BTW – For the record…I’m GLAD this subscriber contacted me…I appreciate his feedback and insights…yours too! My greatest hope is to see you create successful audio and video projects and products…and audio is key to both. Time to get started with it!

Create Audio Products

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