Close
Close

How Small Victories Help You Create Big Products for Your Blog

A Guest Post by Paul Cunningham from Blogging Teacher.

Recently Darren blogged about how you can use small victories to build momentum in your blogging. This same technique can also be used for product creation for your online business.

Creating a product for sale is a goal for many bloggers, but some bloggers struggle to see a path from where they are now to where they want to be with their product. One of the biggest obstacles can be the reality that creating a product to sell involves a lot of hard work.

Instead of looking at your product idea as one giant project that you need to complete, build momentum by breaking it down into smaller steps that you can achieve with less effort. Here is an example of a process you can use to progress from running a blog to launching a paid membership site as a product.

Create a Free Report or Email Course

Take a look at your Google Analytics and see how many visitors in the last 30 days were new visitors to your blog. In other words, people who have never been to your blog before. Even if these visitors stick around for several minutes and read a few of your latest posts you still have an archive of older posts that they probably won’t see. And chances are they’ll never come back to your blog again.

By mining your archives for older, related blog posts you can bundle that content together and repurpose it into killer content to use to convert new visitors into subscribers.

For example, take a handful of related posts from one category and turn them into a free guide that visitors can sign up to your mailing list to receive.

reusable_content_1_freeguide.png

This method can increase the conversion rate for new visitors into subscribers because they see the free guide as an incentive to sign up to your mailing list immediately.

Another popular variation of this is to create a short email course instead of a downloadable guide. When the visitor signs up to your list they are put into an auto responder series that delivers them the information in a sequence.

reusable_content_2_emailcourse.png

This is a great way to re-use a blog post series from your archives, and test out a product idea by measuring the response to your free offering.

An added advantage of this method is that it gets the subscriber used to opening your emails, which can improve your conversion rates later on if you choose to send marketing emails to them.

See also:

Create an Ebook to Sell

If you’ve been blogging for a while you’ve probably got most of an ebook already written in your archived blog posts. Even if you only blog once or twice each week that can easily add up to 50000-80000 words which is a massive amount of content that can be quickly edited down and put in sequence for an ebook.

You then only need to write an introduction, some interlinking material and do formatting and design for the ebook and you’ve got a product ready to sell to your audience.

reusable_content_3_ebook.png

See also:

Create a Membership Site

The holy grail of products these days seems to be membership sites. These are usually training or mentoring programs run over several weeks or months and provide strong, recurring revenue for the owner.

The effort involved in launching a membership is much greater than other products, but don’t worry, if you use the techniques already mentioned in this post you can be on the way to your own membership site as well.

First you can test your ideas in the market by putting out free guides and short email courses to see what kind of response they get. Once you have established a viable product you can create the first iteration of it as an ebook. This is a low cost entry point for selling products and if successful will further confirm the viability of your membership site while also providing a stream of revenue that you can reinvest into the development costs for the site.

You can then take your existing content from your blog, guides, email courses and ebooks and complement it with richer content such as video tutorials and audio podcasts for the membership site.

reusable_content_4_membership.png

By the time you are ready to launch your membership site your content has been well tested and revised based on feedback, and you’ve got an established mailing list of potential customers and JV partners to market the site to.

Long Term Strategy

The techniques listed above are not a formula for overnight success, but they can be used to achieve your goal of creating products and building an income from your blogs.

Depending on where you are with your blog traffic and audience you may be able to skip over the free guides and email courses and jump straight to the paid product opportunities.

But if you’ve got a new blog or your monetization efforts for an established blog have not yet been started you can begin with the free content and build on that over a period of time to eventually reach the more lucrative stages of selling products and memberships.

Paul Cunningham writes articles, tips and tutorials at Blogging Teacher to help bloggers overcome the many challenges they face building a successful blog. Follow @paulcunningham on Twitter.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. Josh Garcia says:

    Hey Paul,

    You are awesome for sharing this with us!

    I’m in the process trying to figure out how to put together an eBook for subscribers. You came out with this post at the right time.

    When you have faith things line up perfectly!

    Have a great weekend…
    Josh

  2. Hi Paul! Glad to see you here!
    These are wonderful informative – I had been debating about whether or not to sell and ebook – I actually started out with the idea that I was going to compile a free ebook from old archived posts, but I ended writing almost all new content.
    If this is the case, (new content) I think the ebook should be sold for a reasonable price.
    But you’re right, if you’ve been blogging for a while, it’s time to kick things in gear with a product.
    As always this is an awesome post!

  3. Andrew says:

    Excuse me, but how many posts have there been on here that point you towards email courses / eBooks / membership sites?

    ProBlogger is just the same content posted by different people, often comparing blogging to something slightly different to the last comparison post.

    It seems the best way to succeed in blogging is to have hit on a good niche 5 years ago and then set up a site telling people how to set up blogs and fill it with posts like “What falling down the stairs taught me about blogging” or “Why being a teenager is like being a blogger”.

    Regular content fools people into thinking there is something new when there isn’t.

    It is milking a dry cow.

  4. Andrew says:

    Boo Yah! How great that you shared this!

    Did the other commenters really need to read this post to convinve them to do something they were “trying to figure out”?

    I am done here. Unsubbing from the feed. There is nothing to learn here. The only thing you need is some drive and the stones to actually do something rather than just read about what others think you should do.

  5. Well said, small victories motivates you to aim high for greater heights. Today i received a new project still working on it to be completed by me as soon as possible and look forward to other projects.
    Small projects make you happy in the start but when you gained a name in blogosphere you will make small victories into a big one.
    All of them needs a start and i got. What about you?

  6. Excellent! I have been trying to develop an eBook, but honestly had no clue on how to get started. The links you included in this post are going to be of great help. I think I will use my first eBook to build an email list by giving it away for free, Then perhaps sell another one sometime in the future.

    Membership sites require more authority then I currently have, but I can definitely see the push towards that arena…

  7. Timely post Paul. I’m a newbie to bloggig. I have been doing it for just over two months. I’m implementing some of those strategies you talked about. But I’m particularly happy for the ebook info. I started, and almost finish writing new content for an ebook but with your advice, I can finish this one and use existing content for another ebook with a different topic. Cool! I definitely will work on “Create a Free Report or Email Course” soon. This is exciting stuff. The long term plan is to “Create a Membership Site”.

    Thinking about it, small victories build momentum in all our lives processes to bigger things. That’s how we learned to walk one tentative step at a time until…..

    Thanks Paul, great help.

    http://www.atotheword.com

  8. Srinivas Rao says:

    Paul,

    Thanks for sharing these ideas. After a year of blogging it really amazes me how much content I have that can be repurposed for ebooks, products, etc. I”m in the process of putting together my free ebook for the 1 year anniversary of my blog and I’ll definitely be referring back to this post to finish things up.

  9. Jean Sarauer says:

    Thank you for including a path that includes beginners in this post. You laid things out in a way that makes me feel I really can do this.

  10. Karen says:

    What an informative article, Paul!

    It’s really got me thinking of how I can create an product out of what I have already written. I’ve got a free ebook that I did in January and offer it as incentive to subscribers, but I can be doing a lot more.

    This article has really motivated me to get cracking as I want to ensure that I have added value to my site. I also know that I don’t utilize my email list very well and that I could be doing so much better with it.

    I have to make the time to follow-through with this.

    Great to see you here with a great guest-post!

    Karen

  11. Hmmmm….

    …I’ve got an old online travelogue — created before the word ‘blog’ existed — I’ve been reposting some of that material on the new blog… Maybe a better idea is to create an ebook from that material and use it to promote the new blog.

    Thanks for a timely post, Darren & Paul.

  12. I’ve had no problem creating products. I have 3 fiction eBooks, each of which contain an exclusive story (typically, much longer than the others), a small guide to short fiction writing, and most recently a 48 minute audio version of one of my longer stories.

    People I talk to seem to think the prices are quite fair (the audio book is currently $2.79), and I’ve beta tested the audio book with friends and they like it … but sales are very lackluster.

    I’d like to create audio version of several other stories, but it’s hard to invest the time when there hasn’t been much payback.

    Having said that, I’m still optimistic that sales will turn the corner at some point.

  13. Paul,

    I really like how you presented the different strategies visually as well.

    Re-purposing content not only keeps your hard work alive, but you can also benefit from search engine traffic if you refer to posts that have been around longer.

    Google loves when sites can show that they have been around more than a day or two.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  14. Tyler Davis says:

    I like the idea of progressing from blog posts to free e-book to paid e-book to email course to membership site.

    I use the same principle with guest posts. I write five Ezine Articles on a topic and then I convert it into a guest post with all new material. It reinforces the material in my mind, I establish connections that I didn’t see before, and I establish myself as a better guest poster by using the best of five different articles.

  15. Hey Paul
    Awesome post with great guide. Though i haven’t started building my mailing list but soon i’ll start one. Really useful guide.
    what do you think about giving free squeeze page for building mailing list?

    Glad to see you here :)

    Cheers
    Dev

  16. I think its a difficult task for new blogger to archive. But i am agree with the author of post. I am also willing to make a free ebook for my blog and reader, that actually includes some of my old posts. ya its true.

  17. Hi everyone, thanks for your comments so far. I’m glad you all enjoyed the post and found it useful and inspiring. For me things really started taking off once I realised how much reusable content I had and started using it effectively.

    @Dev – giving away free squeeze pages would be a good list builder, but how about taking it one step further and including a guide on exactly how to use them, how to split test with them, etc?

  18. Skip E-Books and E-Courses. If you can get your head around a membership website then that’s where the cash is…

    The only problem is you will find it tough to get 1,000 members on how to make money on-line. You need a niche subject.

    For instance I’m working on a membership site for people that want to learn flash.

    Thanks

    :]

  19. Dave Doolin says:

    This seems to be a standard and well-accepted towards growing from a blog to a business.

    For good reason: it works!

  20. Thanks Paul. Very helpful. I myself am trying to put together an ebook and a 2.0 type website. Let’s see how it goes.

  21. Hi Paul, thanks for the very descriptive and visual pathways to successful content creation.

    I will print this out and stick on wall as a reminder of what I should be doing.

    Keep up the good work, mate!

  22. @Andrew – this idea that blogging about blogging and then selling membership programs about blogging are the only ways to make money blogging is… well its a tired generalisation.

    @Patrick – a back catalog of offline material could make a great entry into the ebook space (free or paid), if its still good relevant info.

    @Kosmo – without knowing anything about your product or your marketing, its possible you’re pricing too low and giving off the perception of a low quality product as a result. Try testing different price points, you might be surprised.

    @A Sitting Duck – some people can certainly shoot straight for the membership site, but remember this post is about using smaller goals to break down that process into more manageable steps. That is much easier for very busy people trying to build blogs and businesses around other commitments like a day job and family.

    Your Flash course is a great idea (and yes, products and membership programs outside of the blogging/MMO niche are a lot more successful in many cases – one of my own products has nothing to do with blogging at all).

  23. I have bookmarked this now. I’ve wanted to condense some of my series of posts into an ebook for a while, and though my blog isn’t instruction oriented, I think I have enough content or close to enough content to be able to get something people may want to read.

    Thanks for the simple breakdown!

  24. Jade Craven says:

    Poor article, Paul. Just….

    … don’t tweet about negative comments unless you want me to pick on you!

    Just wanted to congratulate you on all the fabulous stuff you’ve been doing lately. Damn, it seems you’re everywhere now.

    I sorta skipped the e-course and membership site and just went for the paid product. I’d been doing this for 2 years, while battling ‘stuff’ and just wanted to dive in there and learn. Its been a fabulous opportunity so far. :P Ironically, we are only NOW looking at doing the free stuff because we want to give back.

    Top job, mate.

    - Jade

  25. Joshua Noerr says:

    Great article Paul. Yesterday, I had my first little victory in deciding what my first product would be. I had been struggling for a couple of weeks with this, but it finally hit me in the shower.

    Now that I have decided on what the product will be, I have felt a small flood of creativity in getting it put together. Sometimes, a little victory can break down a big wall.

  26. Georgia says:

    Another timely post, thank you.

  27. Paul,

    I am in the process of writing an Ebook right now. I find that the hardest part is just sitting down and getting started. Once I type the first couple of sentences it just starts to flow and before I know it, I have 2 or 3 pages. I’m doing this everyday for a month.

    Is there specific software to implement an Ecourse?

  28. scheng1 says:

    That works only when the content is in running order. My blog posts are quite messy. I dont see a way to create an ebook out of them.

  29. @scheng1, maybe it’ll just take more work and editing

  30. poch says:

    I just learned a lot about building an email list. Thanks!

  31. Gwen Tanner says:

    Thanks for this post! There are lots of ideas and time to save if you just look at what you’ve done in the past. Some have months or years worth of stuff that can be quickly compiled into a new product. I particularly like online courses/ecourses and video products since they are trendy now! Membership sites are exploding too.

    Good tips!

  32. @Joe – all you need is something to automatically deliver the emails, such as Aweber or Mailchimp.

    @scheng1 – even if your material needs some editing you’ll still be a long way ahead of people who haven’t even started yet. As Greg said, maybe it’ll just take a little more work.

  33. drt says:

    Great article, Paul.

    I don’t think about all the ideas you mentioned, since I do have a webportal with millions of products to sell. Last time you suggested me to provide Omega-3 ad to my posting on Omega-3, I do have that on my web portal, and I can tell people why it was such a great product. However, I’m really on a cross-road whether my blog would be an extension of my web-portal, or do I still have a choice in deciding what do I want to write apart of my side business in my blog. Accordingly, may be it’s time for me to go back to the drawing board and decide, what is the difference between my new blog ( http://www.at-wellness.net ) and my old blog ( http://www.atanone.net ). Until then, I’d feel a bit unconfortable to announce that my new blog is open for business and dedicated the whole site to promote my webportal products.

    Thanks.

  34. hokya says:

    i think we could not do that alone
    it must be in team

    my question is how much person needed to do all of those?

  35. @drt – products work best when they are relevant to your audience. If you’re not sure what your blog is going to be about then its worth taking a step back and sorting that out before you launch into product creation.

    @hokya – it only takes one person to do all of that, but partnerships can also be fruitful. It all depends on your strengths and weaknesses.

  36. I love small victories. Now, when I first start out I can’t quite say I like them because if you look squarely at the one item you can’t really see the big picture.

    Over time, those small victories are so important and powerful for yourself and as well motivational because you are the one that accomplished it and you are the one that can look back and be excited about the stepping stone it provided.

  37. drt says:

    Paul, you’re right. I’m concentrating on wellness products and the more I write the more I realize that there are endless topics to write. There are also thousands of wellness products to promote from my web-portal alone. Your post and this exchanges convince me where should I go from here. Thanks.

  38. Kat Eden says:

    This is insanely useful, thank-you so much! I’ve bookmarked the url and made a note to myself to create my next e-book later this week. Such a simple idea and yet I hadn’t thought of it; I always think of product creation as a massive (and therefore constantly procrastinated upon) task.

  39. These are good strategies for long term success. Writing an ebook isn’t easy. I have tried it and is very time consuming. But, once you understand some of the concepts, it becomes easier. We have done this for many people and it does bring in a lot of traffic.

  40. Clarabela says:

    Paul,
    Thanks for this informative post about creating a product. I have wanted to create an ebook or other product, but I didn’t think I could come up with a 100-page ebook in my niche.

    But I think I could create something from one of my series on Classic Movies.

    I would also like to thank you for your participation on the Problogger forum. You have provided me with a lot of useful information.

  41. Paul, this is good timing for me, becuase I’m focusing on doing exactly what you describe right now.

    Thanks for sharing this and giving me some good ideas to take things forward.

  42. Joseph says:

    @scheng1, maybe it’ll just take more work and editing

  43. I am looking to launch a membership site this Fall. I have been in the process of testing the material, and have had positive feedback.

    I am going to use your guidelines as suggested.

    In addition.. to the person who said no value on Pro Blogger, I have to immensely disagree. I have always found your content and your products high in my review and would recommend anyone to utilize them.

  44. I’ve found creating a free report for opt-ins is the best activity for building our list. We also find they’re better subscribers and more relevant leads as they’re actually interested in the content.

    I definitely have to create an eBook for sale. I’ve been blogging for awhile and have 100s of posts! Thanks for telling me what’s right in front of my face!

  45. Really great tips. Having a product means you can either gain exposure and popularity from a free product or money from a paid product.

    CopyBlogger’s Internet Marketing for Smart People auto-responder series is literally just a short introduction a topic and then links to old posts.

    Most products are based on old content from a blog organized into a concise, easy to follow, guide. These are valuable because most people can’t take the time to go through all the posts, and having it organized in such a way is really valuable. Buying a product that does it all for you is a smart move based on the time you’d have to spend to organize it yourself.

    Definitely, it’s a very beneficial strategy.