Win a copy of the Info-Products Course (Currently worth $1,349)

 

Daily Learning

Anyone can put an info-product together. 
All you have to do is create a sort of sandwich.

First, the opening slice.
Add a whole bunch of information in the middle.
Then put on the next slice.

And you have it–an information product!

But do you know what makes an info-product, outstanding?
An outstanding information product has one simple benchmark: clients are willing to read it, and experience it again and again. They love the way the product is constructed, laid out and how easy it is to implement.

And you’re going to get a chance to win a copy of the Info-Products Home Study Course.
All you have to do is this:
Ask one (or more questions) about info-products.
Yup, that’s it.

Where do you post your question?
Post your question in the comment section below—‘Leave a Reply’ .


Rules
1) The draw will be held on October 1st, 2014.
2) If you’ve already bought the course (and it’s really stunning) you’ll get a credit for another home study course (yes, you could pick up a course like Article Writing Course or some other home study).
3) The course will be digitally delivered on October 22, 2014.
4) Anyone can enter. And you can post as many questions as you like.

P.S. The live workshop is sold out (as it should be) but you can get the home study.
It’s expensive, yes it is, but the prices are going up all the way to $2000 (so it’s still a bargain at this point in time).
Info-Products Home Study


 Important Note: Scroll down to the bottom to leave your comment.


Why “Outstanding” Books (Or E-Books) Are So Hard To Write


Information Products Course

In 2002, I wrote my first book.
It was just 16 pages long.

I didn’t know back then, but I was lucky.
You see, I was just a cartoonist and didn’t know about marketing. So what I could put, I put in 16 pages. And then over the years, I added a bit here and a bit there.

That book you know well as The Brain Audit (it’s now about 180 pages long). That book alone has sold over $500,000 worth of copies (yes, the book alone). That book has helped us sell other products, workshops, and get thousands of clients.

This is what most of us want–and we know that a lot of it lies in the magic of a book.
But not a book–a well written book. A book that’s so empowering that clients remember not just the concepts you’ve covered, but can then recount them quite systematically.

The magic in The Brain Audit (and other Psychotactics products) isn’t that it’s more information. But that it’s information that is easy to remember. Because when you have information that’s easy to remember, you are able to implement it.

And how does a book become easy to remember?
You do it with:
- Structure
- Stories
- Summaries

You might not realise, for instance, that summaries rock. That summaries show up not just at the end of a book, but in a ton of different places. You may think of stories as just a story, but in fact stories, analogies, examples and case-studies are wha tmakes one book great and the other just ho-hum. And structure.

Without structure it’s easy to get hopelessly lost. You can spend months going around in circles trying to figure out which part to keep, which part to drop.

And this is why amazing books are hard to find…
Outstanding books are hard to write because we’ve never been taught that writing is less about the word, and more about the structure. It’s less about the decoration of the cake, and instead the way the cake needs to be structured so it doesn’t topple over.

Learn how to structure.
Learn how to craft stories in a compelling way.
Learn the immense power of summaries.

It will help you put together a book. But it will do a lot more.
From this point on your entire communication method will have a system that’s incredibly powerful. Whether you take on video, audio, live presentations, seminars, webinars–or even speaking at your cousin’s wedding–you’ll learn what makes one piece of communication better than the other.

On August 18, 2014 the prices rise by 50%.
Judge for yourself.
Head to More information: Live Workshop
More information: Home Study 

You’ll never regret it.
Warm regards,

s-

P.S. Some folks are wondering why the home study product will be available on October 22nd. 

The fact is that I’m still working on it. And tweaking it. It’s easy to just give you a ton of information, instead of giving you precise information that you can use right away. You’ll find the wait is well worth it.

 Of course, if you come and join us in Vancouver, Canada (that wait will be a lot shorter).
Here are the links again.
More information: Live Workshop
More information: Home Study 


Announcing! How To Make A Boring Info-Product, Interesting

 

How To Name Your Information Product

Boring books.
Boring presentations.
Boring videos.
Boring audio.

What makes things boring? 
And how can you avoid being stuck in the middle  of me-too, boring, boring?

Here are the three free reports (more details when you click the
link)
Report 1: How to Name Your Info-Products
Report 2: The Irresistible Report: How Do Your Create It?
Report 3: Info-Product Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)

Here’s the link and more details…
Free Information Product Reports

Warm regards,
s-
P.S. They’re free for a short time. So get them while you can, because
you will be able to implement what you learn today!
Free Information Product Reports


Announcing: How to get $75 worth of Info-Products Goodies (Absolutely Free!)

Information Products Free Goodies

As you probably know, we’re having a live Info-Products workshop in Vancouver, Canada in September. And it’s not, not, not, not, not a seminar. It’s not blah, blah. In fact, you actually make mistakes, you work on learning how to “create a non-boring info-product”.

But we can talk about the live workshop and the home study later, because here’s the good news.

You get a series of bonuses (absolutely free). Why? So you can judge for yourself whether you want to follow a system that works, or just some scummy “get-rich-in-your-underwear system.”

You be the judge.

Here are the three free reports (more details when you click the link)

Report 1: How to Name Your Info-Products
Report 2: The Irresistible Report: How Do Your Create It?
Report 3: Info-Product Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)

And once this workshop is done, these products will be sold.
They’re now free. So get them while you can, because they’re extremely well-produced (you’ll see for yourself).

Here’s the link and more details. :)
Free Info-Product Goodies

Warm regards,
s-


Why Cannibalising Your Info-Products Is A Sound Business Strategy

Info Products Strategy Cannibalise

Remember Photoshop Version 3.0?

I sure do. I started drawing cartoons way back in the year 1995. And then along came Version 4, Version 5, Version 6, Version—well, you get the picture, don’t you? Soon enough I was buying every single version that came along and today, decades later, I’m still a Photoshop user.

But what’s Photoshop got to do with your information-products anyway?

Think about it for a second…

When you’re buying software, would you prefer Version 1 or the current, shiniest version? Well, the same applies to information-products. When you have versions of your info-products, you effectively cannibalise the earlier version of the same product. In effect, you destroy the earlier version, so that the new version can live.

So why bother with a new version?

Because if you’re anything like me, and you liked Version 1, you’ll soon want Version 2, Version 3 etc. Every Version can be sold with additional or better-presented information. And invariably the customer is keen to buy into that new version.

By burying your old version, you’ve improved your product (something we all should do) and created a whole new source of income with the new version.

So let’s say you have a dance course on DVD

And let’s say you just put it together in a hurry, forgetting to give it a Version name. But now, hey, you’ve realised, hmm, this cannibalisation thing is a good idea. So you get better video lighting, better video cameras, more precise information and you’ve got a Version 2 of the course. Suddenly, your jaded course has got a new lease of life.

The moment your audience hears of something new, they want it right away. And this includes your existing clients (those who bought the original version) as well as those who haven’t bought anything at all.

Of course you have to treat the existing folk with a ton of respect

And Photoshop (and other software companies) give us direction here as well. They give their existing clients an upgrade price, maybe even a few extra goodies. And you know what follows next, right?

Yes, yes it does. In fact, if you’ve noticed, we do this a fair bit at Psychotactics as well. If you notice, for instance, The Brain Audit is Version 3.2. That means Version 1 existed. And so did Version 2. And a Version 3 (for a very short while). At every stage, clients bought into the versions. And every new version was good enough reason to blow our trumpets and re-launch the new and improved product.

Being new is nice, but improved is better

You probably know this already, but you can’t just slap a new version on your product and bring out. You’ve got to put in new elements. But while new is very important, improved is even better. For instance, we’ve been holding the Article Writing Course since 2006. In all these years, we’ve learned a lot.

However the Article Writing Course stayed in its original version all these years (Hint: Not a lot changes in the methodology of article writing). But what’s changed is what we’ve learned about customers and how they learn. And those concepts, newer examples etc. make for a much better, tighter product.

However, there’s one little caveat

Over the years, I’ve found it’s much, much, much, much, much easier to create a new product than improving an existing one. An existing one is like remodelling a house. There’s a lot that needs to be left standing. It’s often easier to just trash the entire house and start again. And that should give you a bit of a clue.

If you’re going to recreate the product, start as if you’ve never created it before. Start with a fresh plan, fresh mind and only dip into the existing product every now and then. And you’ll have a product that’s instantly attractive to yourself (as the creator), but also interesting to your audience.

And here’s instant proof…

If I were to tell you that the Article Writing Course, Version 2.0 is soon to be available, what’s your reaction?

I thought so. If you’re an existing client you want to see what’s in 2.0. If you’re not, hey, there’s reason to peek into what’s available anyway. And so, you prove it to yourself, at this very minute, that you’re interested.

And notice something: You haven’t seen a sales letter. You don’t know the price. You don’t even know what’s going to be covered or left out. And the interest still goes up quite a bit.

That is what cannibalisation of products is all about

You take your next version of your information product and let it gobble up the older product. Chomp, chomp, chomp.

It’s worth the trip for you—and your client.

And it’s profitable too.

P.S. You can do the same with services as well. But hey, since the title was about information products, I stuck to that topic.


Next Step: Links you should visit

1) Are you interested in taking your online business to the next level? Then you must have a look at 5000bc.

2)  Do you feel like banging your head against the wall when writing content for the important pages on your website?
Introducing: How to write compelling content for your key web pages. 


Top Selling Products Under $50

Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds

Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines

Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done

New! Critical Website Components: How to write compelling content for your key web pages
Free! Excerpt of The Brain Audit: Why Clients Buy And Why They Don’t 



Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room-without turning anyone off?

Online Membership Website: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


Next Step: To get more Psychological Tactics
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Why A Unifying Theme For A Product Helps Tell/Sell Your Product A Lot Quicker

Why A Unifying Theme For A Product Helps Tell/Sell Your Product A Lot  Quicker

Some days I will put on my iPod, I turn on and let it choose a set of songs for me.

By the time it’s playing its third Sting song, I decide—yup, let’s just turn off the random selection, and let me listen to the entire Sting series of albums. On other days, I will go right to the iPod, put on the Sting album, knowing just what I want to hear for the next hour or so.

But how did I end up bugging my wife for the next 72 songs of Sting?

I do so by choosing a unifying theme. Whether the iPod plays just one Sting song after another, or chooses from a selection to bring up the same Sting-genre of music, it’s using a theme to make the music appealing to me. And this same concept applies to your products and courses.

So let’s just clarify: What is a unifying theme?

A unifying theme is simply the one word/thought that drives your product/course.

It’s much like you’d have at a theme wedding or a theme party and everything and everyone conforms to the theme. In the same way, a product/course should have a single theme running right through, which then binds the product together.

But why is this binding so very important?

It’s important for several reasons

1) It helps the writer

2) It allows the reader to understand concepts better

3) Boosts the chances of better publicity/marketing

1) How it works for the writer

When you sit down to create a product, more often than not, there’s confusion in your mind. You know too much and it’s hard to get a thread that runs through the entire product/course. If you did have that thread, it becomes easier to fit the elements of the product/course to the unifying theme. So, for example, when I wrote the series on ‘Black Belt Presentations’, I had a similar problem. There were hundreds of books out on presentations already. And they covered tons of aspects of presentations. To make my series different, I had to choose a unifying theme.

The unifying theme chosen was “control”

I realised that all the information I had needed to be split up into three parts: control of visuals, control of structure of presentation and control of audience. I also realised that in doing so, the series was covering ground that the other books weren’t. So for me, as the writer, it gave me the benchmark to then create three separate books and put it under one unifying theme. Instead of mashing a ton of information wildly together, as is done with many books, I could focus on the specific aspect of control.

And yes, this specific theme helps the reader too.

2) How does it work for the reader?

Most readers are swamped with courses or products that don’t have a unifying theme. Even some of the best-selling books on the planet, simply mash concepts, research and examples together without having a clear binding force. And this means the reader bounces from concept to concept madly, trying to understand the concept and apply it to their own life or business. When the product/course has a clear unifying theme, it’s like that theme party. Everyone knows why they’re wearing their 70′s suit and handlebar moustaches and it’s easier to assimilate the information.

But the advantages of the unifying theme don’t stop there. It’s pure shark-bait for marketing and publicity.

3) How it helps with marketing and publicity

The media has always thrived on something short and sweet. They call it a soundbite.

When a reporter asks you: What is your book or course about? You need to be clear what it’s about in a single line, or single word, if possible. So when they ask, what is the ‘Black Belt Presentations’ about, we can say “control”. When they ask, what is The Brain Audit about, we can say, “Why customers back away at the last minute”. So we can use a slightly longer set of words (a line) or a single word. And as you can tell, they’re both shark-bait.

Immediately the media person knows, you know your stuff

Because the next question will be: Oh, and what is that? And that gives you the permission to quickly tell your story on radio, TV, magazines. But say you never go to the media, your sales page is still a media outlet. The customer still wants that sound bite about your product/course. So in effect, the unifying theme doesn’t just help you put things together, but also helps you sell/tell the world about that product/course.

Of course, this leaves us with one puzzling question: How do we get to this unifying theme in the first place?

There are two ways. The first way is simply to keep ploughing through writing the rough draft of your notes or slides. I personally would be inclined to do a slide-like storyboard, even if I were writing just a book.

You might want to do a mind map, or stick Post-It® stickers all over your wall

But once you have all the points down, you need to find something that clearly connects all the parts together. Something that you can ideally sum up in one word.

If you can’t do it yourself, organise a set of friends, or clients or anyone who will be able to help, so that you can work out what binds your product/course together. But as you’d expect, there’s another way.

The other way is to decide in advance

You decide that you’re going to write an article writing course, and you choose the word “drama”. Now every part of the article writing course or book must hinge on drama. And so, in a way, you’re force fitting the ideas to a unifying theme. Now the word you’ve chosen becomes a benchmark to measure against.

And this is where the biggest problem lies

When you’ve come to your one word/your theme, you’ll want to choose something else.

Like I could choose another type of music on my iPod. Or we could choose from dozens of party themes. But instead, we grit our teeth, make our decision and stick with it. And that creates the foundation of a great product/or course.

Try it. It’s like the experience of listening to 72 songs of Sting back to back.

For me, it’s heaven. For my wife, it’s hell.

But at least there’s a unifying theme for both of us.


NEW! The Brain Audit is now available in many formats

Brain Audit Epub and Kindle
1) You can get a physical book (directly from Amazon)
2) You can get the ePub/Kindle/PDF version
3) You can get an audio version
4) Or you can get the the more interesting (or should we say “most interesting”) option The Brain Audit Kit.
Find out more Brain Audit Options


Top Selling Products Under $50


NEW! Critical Website Components: A Simple Step-by-Step System to Creating your Key Website Pages

1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


How The Stop-Go System Helps Create Non-Confusing Info-products and Courses

How The Stop-Go System Helps Create Non-Confusing Info-products and Courses

Imagine you’re asked to go to the post office.

You have to go down the stairs, take a left, then a right, walk 500 metres, then turn left, find the blue building and then look for the green post box. That’s when you know you’ve reached the post office. The only problem we have with this scenario is that many of us may take the right instead of the left, and wonder if the post box was green or blue. Oh, and yes, what is 500 metres anyway? There are three lanes. Was the lane you missed, the 500 metre mark?

Or is it the next lane?

Any learning has complexity far more than we expect

And yet as teachers/consultants/authors we fail to simplify. Part of the reason is that we don’t think like a beginner. But part of the reason is that we think it’s too simple. Let me give you an example.

In the headlines course at Psychotactics, for instance, we ask the participants to introduce themselves on the first day. How hard is that? Not very, is it? The next day they have to list ten things in the room. The day after, list ten things outside the room.

See where this is going?

You probably don’t, but the goal is to create a safe zone. A zone where you can get nothing wrong. In the first example, you could get the left/right/500 metres/blue/green wrong. In the second example there’s no chance of getting anything wrong.

And yet most of us would choose the second option, because to our eyes at least, it seems like the second option is far too slow in getting anywhere.

Yet true capabilities are reached by slowing things down to extremely tiny parts

You see if you/or your client takes seven steps, there’s a good chance that every one of those seven steps are wrong. Or right. But even if they are right, those steps could be an utter fluke.

You don’t want fluke when teaching/learning. You want certainty. So when you provide a client with a single step, there are only three options.

1) They will do it right.

2) They will do it wrong.

3) They will do it differently.

So if we were to take the trip to the post office, it would need to be broken down like this

Step 1: Go down the stairs. Stop.

Step 2: Make a right. Stop.

Step 3: Make a left. Stop.

Step 4: Walk 500 metres. Stop.

Step 5: Turn left. Stop.

Step 6: Look for the blue building. Stop.

Step 7: Look for the green post box. Stop.

As you can see, every part of the deconstruction process has in built check mechanism. Because even when a task is really simple, people can do things wrong or differently.

Let me give you an example

In the “First 50 Words” course, the first day’s assignment was a round of introductions, then the second day was to find synonyms for three words. The instructions were clear. First you think up as many synonyms as you possibly can. Then reach for the thesaurus.

Guess what at least 30% did with such simple instructions?

They missed out the second part. They didn’t reach for the thesaurus. This meant that they now spent an hour or more on an exercise that should have taken no more than 20-30 minutes at best. This meant that they thought it was 200%-300% harder, more time-consuming and felt too drained to get the benefit of seeing what others in their group had achieved.

Now imagine giving them six steps to do, instead. Almost everyone would miss some of the instructions, and you’d have chaos instead.

You notice this over-enthusiasm a lot if you ever do a photography course

Even the most basic photography course compels the teacher to cover three core elements.

1) Aperture

2) Exposure

3) ISO speed.

Are you confused yet? You should be, because even if you know what those three things stand for, the teacher will try and get all three across to you, mix in some F stop terminology, focal length blah, blah and you’re standing there like a stunned mullet. And so you have to ask yourself: How do I make this really, really simple? And the only answer to that question is: start with one step.

When you start with one step e.g. ISO, you’ll find something interesting

People don’t know a heck of a lot about it. In fact, some people don’t know where to find their ISO buttons. They also don’t change ISO when they go from light to dark situations. In short, to really deconstruct, the teacher needs to work on ONE thing and drill down until that one thing has become second nature and most of the mistakes have been weeded out.

A simple ISO setting that would put most of us photographers to sleep, becomes a journey of exploration for a newbie. And that’s what’s deconstruction is really about.

It’s about ONE step

And the only way you can understand how to deconstruct, is to take someone through the sequence. Take a newbie through the post office walk. Where do they stop? Where do they get confused? How do you then fix the instructions so they are able to make the right decisions?

If you have a group, get them all to do the task individually, and then watch what they’re doing (In our courses, we’re able to watch while they’re doing their assignments on the forum). And then you pay attention to the glitches and slow things down to a crawl.

But isn’t a crawl boring?

At first, sure it is. But once your students know that they can’t go wrong. Once they know that your book/video/audio is so precise that they will get to the end smarter than before, they become very eager students. Now it’s not a crawl.

Now it’s that tiny bit that they have to do and then it’s “recess time and they can play”.

Contrary to what we think, students/learners don’t like hard work. They do get into a course wanting to learn everything, but tiredness and life soon sets in.

What keeps them motivated is the ability of the trainer/author to give them small bites. So small that they can’t go wrong.

Something like: Go down the stairs. Stop

Something as simple as that.

That’s when true deconstruction begins. That’s when people truly learn.

So the next time you’re creating your info-products or courses, stop. Take the walk to the “post office” and you’ll get a better feeling for what your client really wants and needs from you.

 


NEW! The Brain Audit is now available in many formats

Brain Audit Epub and Kindle
1) You can get a physical book (directly from Amazon)
2) You can get the ePub/Kindle/PDF version
3) You can get an audio version
4) Or you can get the the more interesting (or should we say “most interesting”) option The Brain Audit Kit.
Find out more Brain Audit Options


Top Selling Products Under $50


NEW!  Critical Website Components
A series of three books on how to create your “Home Page”, “About Us” and “Get Customers To Sign Up”.

1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


How To Cope When Every Product/Service Launch Is Scary

How To Cope When Every Product/Service Launch Is Scary

Did you know what singer/songwriter Adele does before she goes on stage?

She throws up simply because she’s so nervous.

And she’s in good company too when it comes to be absolutely petrified. Pablo Casals, Arthur Rubinstein, and Luciano Pavarotti and many other performers have experienced bouts of stage fright. And don’t be too surprised if you develop a very large dose of stage fright too.

I wasn’t always scared at a product launch

Back in 2002, when I first wrote and launched the book, The Brain Audit, I didn’t expect anyone to buy it in a hurry. When the first person on our list bought the book, it actually took me by surprise. But since then it can be reasonably scary to launch a new product/service.

Now consider this…

I’m no newbie when it comes to launching a new product. At Psychotactics, we have more than a dozen products for sale. We’ve done numerous courses and many of the courses fill up in less than 55 minutes (yes, you read right the first time). Some courses have a year-long waiting list. And still, the fear isn’t something that you can push away. I’m still as nervous publishing a book or putting out a new course as I was back when I first started.

Which means that if you’ve got a case of the jitters you’re doing OK

All of us get scared from time to time. And some of us get scared every single time. It doesn’t matter how good your product/service is. It doesn’t even matter if you’re super-famous. The feeling of nervousness swells up and swarms through you.

So the next time you’re nervous at a product launch, don’t bother trying to relax. Just go with the flow. Once the product/course is launched, things start to happen and the nervousness just goes away.

Or as Adele says: The more nervous I am, the better the show!


New Product: Critical Website Components Series



Website Components Series: Psychotactics

“What I liked most about the Website Components Series is getting to know the non-sleazy approach Sean is taking.”

How do you get people to sign up to your mailing list without holding a gun to their head?And without being annoying. The key, of course, is to add lots of value. But how do you package that and distribute it around your site? The Website Components Series told me.

I recommend this product to anybody who is unsure about what works on a website and how to bring text, and visuals together. The Website Components Series will be especially useful if you want to understand how to get people on your mailing list in a non-sleazy gun-to-your-head kind of way.

Elfriede Krauth
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Judge for yourself : Website Components 


Top Selling Products Under $50


NEW!  Critical Website Components
A series of three books on how to create your “Home Page”, “About Us” and “Get Customers To Sign Up”.

1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


How Slightly Exuberant Sub-Topics Get You In Trouble

How Slightly Exuberant Sub-Topics Get You In Trouble

Have you heard about a program called InDesign?

Well, if you haven’t, it’s a program I use to create amazing-looking e-books. Then one day, someone asked me to show them how to create e-books similar to what I was doing. Could I, she asked, create a video-based product that would teach her the precise steps to learning how to create the e-book, the e-book, and nothing but the e-book?

So that’s what I did. I mapped out the steps required to get an e-book up and running.

But what does this product have to do with article writing?

Think about it: What is a product? Yup, that’s correct. It’s a bunch of articles. When you string those articles together and cover the points needed, voilà, it’s a product. And if we are to write articles, we need to write outlines. And to write outlines, we first need to create topics and sub-topics. How hard could that be?

Not hard if you do less work, instead of more

Yes, yes, don’t read the previous line again. It’s important to do LESS than more, because the moment you do more, you get yourself tangled. And the best way to see the tangling is to watch it in slow motion, with an example. So let’s roll those slow motion cameras, shall we?

And let’s get back to that InDesign product I was creating.

Step 1: Topic = InDesign

Step 2: Sub-topics:

We can do this the wrong way, or the right way. Heh, heh, of course we’re going to do this the wrong way to begin with. So let’s tackle the first wrong way. Where you think that instead of writing short, short, short sub-topics, you end up with a sort of outline.

- How do we create shortcuts?

- Why is systemising folders important?

- Do we really need the library?

- Can we do without master pages?

Nope that won’t work

And it’s unlikely that you’ve done the questions. But you may have still added some extra words here and there. Let’s look at what’s possible.

- How to create shortcuts

- The importance of folder systemisation

- Why libraries are crucial

- Getting master pages to work

Or we might not even go so far. We might just repeat ourselves for no reason

- Shorcuts in InDesign

- Folder systemisation in InDesign

- Libraries in InDesign

- Master pages in InDesign

And of course all of these are not needed. So now that we know what’s not needed, how do we do less and get more?

Topic: InDesign

Sub-topics:

- Shortcuts

- Folder Systemisation.

- Library

- Master pages

So why is less more important?

The trouble arises when we expand the sub-topic. Usually a sub-topic will expand like this:

Sub-topic = Shortcuts

Outline

- What are shortcuts in InDesign?

- Why are they important?

- When do you use shortcuts?

- Where can you change shortcuts?

- What are the three most important shortcuts to know?

- But what if I want my own shortcuts?

- Summary

- Next step

Now instead of just the term “shortcuts”, let’s take the questions instead

Sub-topic = How do we create shortcuts?

Outline = ?

You get stuck, don’t you? Instead of that question “how do we create shortcuts”, you could have restricted it to just “creation”. That would make the sub-topic go one level lower. Because now you’re not just talking about shortcuts, but how to “create” shortcuts. And in doing so, you realise that there’s a whole world of stuff to do with just “shortcuts”.

But we don’t want to dive so deep yet

And we don’t want to confuse ourselves.

So we avoid questions, long sentences and repeating ourselves. And that enables us to create sharp, precise outlines.

Here’s a visual example

How Slightly Exuberant Sub-Topics Get You In Trouble

Notice how for the most part, the sub-topics have been restricted a single word? That’s because you don’t need any more. In some cases, the term “gradation” has been written over and over again. Again, that’s overkill. It’s not terrible, but you don’t need it.

Note also that this is the first draft of the outline. So it’s mostly to get the topics and sub-topics. The complete outlining will follow later. But some ideas popped into my head and I didn’t want to lose them, so I did jot them down.

And yes, that is my handwriting. How Slightly Exuberant Sub-Topics Get You In Trouble

But what if I put in two or three words, instead of just one?

Sometimes you will find that sub-topic requires more than one word. Well that’s fine. Keep it whole. In one of my outlines I have terms like “gradation wash” or “recognizing junk”.

This is not about getting it down to a single word. It’s about avoiding needless words when outlining. It’s about avoiding the confusion from writing sub-topics that go off tangent.

So when creating outlines be sure to take these steps

1) First create topics.

2) Create short, non-exuberant sub-topics. The fewer words you use, the better.

3) Then outline and you’ll find that it’s much easier to outline your article.

I started out with the InDesign product and a coffee later, I was done

I didn’t need to think through the detail. I just needed to have the topic and the sub-topics as short as possible. That took under 10 minutes and I was done.

The outlining would come later and wouldn’t hassle me at all.

Less is mostly more.

Try it.


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5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
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Why Focusing on “One Concept” Helps Create Powerful InfoProducts

Why Focusing on "One Concept" Helps Create Powerful InfoProducts

I don’t know if you’ve read a watercolour instruction book before.

But no matter which book you read, the instructor will tell you one thing: You need to understand ‘values’. Without ‘values’ in your painting, you will never create a watercolour that is dramatic.

And then you open the book, and guess what?

One page.

One measly page.

One measly page among about 150 pages of the book has been devoted to ‘values’.

So what just happened there?

The instructor told you what was important, and then failed to drive home that importance in greater detail. Why? Because there’s so much to teach that they feel this need to rush from one thing to the next; one concept to the next.

And this is approximately what we tend to do with any training program or infoproduct. We are in such a hurry to create this massive infoproduct, that we fail to understand that one concept needs to get far more mileage than the next.

So why does one concept need to get more importance?

For one, because your clients are plainly confused. When they start learning any new skill or system, it’s like being sloshed around in a whirlpool of information. And the moment, you, the teacher, says: “Hey listen up, this is important!” all the ears perk up. Now the clients know what is important. And they feel a sense of relief.

Instead of being tossed around madly, someone (that someone is you) has taken the trouble to hit the “pause” button and identify what’s important.

When you’re a student, it makes perfect sense to slow down, understand and implement the most important fact. But of course, as the teacher/creator, you’re in no mood to pick just one thing and make it important.

That’s because you think everything is important

And it is. Everything is important.

All that you have to say is important, but ONE thing is more important than everything else.

And if it’s not, it’s your job to drive home that factor of importance. It’s your job to pull out that single element from a tangle of elements—and then drive home why it’s so important for the client to focus on that one point. This not only calms down the client but also gives you the chance to create a solid foundation that you can go back to many times over.

But let’s take an example or two, shall we?

Let’s take the DaVinci cartooning course, for instance (It’s a course we conduct at Psychotactics). When we teach cartooning, it’s easy to get lost in hands, legs, faces, and a ton of other things that you need to teach in cartooning.

But instead we start off with what is called ‘circly circles’. And if you were to speak to anyone who’s done this course, and you asked them what ‘circly circles’ was all about, they would tell you clearly.

They not only understand the importance, but know how to implement it, and know how to fix the problem. What’s happened here is that despite having dozens of elements to choose from, we had to focus on one element and drive that over and over, until it became second nature. And it doesn’t just apply to a course. It can apply to a book or any type of infoproduct as well.

So let’s take another example

In the book called The Brain Audit, (which is about ‘why customers buy and why they don’t) there are seven critical points that need to be considered. But when you read The Brain Audit, it’s quite clear which one gets the most attention. It’s the element called the ‘problem’. What’s interesting is that it’s not even the most important of all the seven elements.

You don’t always have to pick the most important. You just have to pick one and give it the highlight so that you slow down the learner and get them focused. And in The Brain Audit the one element that gets picked, is the ‘problem’. And the message is driven home over and over again.

But how do you pick what’s important?

Because in every infoproduct you’re going to have many elements to choose from…

And in your brain, at least, everything is just as important. Sure it is. There’s no one thing that’s more important than the next. Even in watercolour painting, if you don’t have a ‘focal point’ or don’t have ‘foreground, middle ground and background’, you can still create a crummy picture. But still, one element has to be picked.

Which one is important?

They’re all important. So make a choice. Pick one.

Then make it important.

And highlight its importance drive home the point—in great detail.

And that makes things easy for you, as the creator of the product. And makes things easy for the student as well. It makes your work stand out from the rest. And that’s what you want, right?

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Next Step: Links you should visit

1) How do you create presentations that enthrall, hold and move an audience to action? Find out more…

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Announcing Brain Audit 3.2 + Special Goodies Offer worth $158 (Valid till 11th June 2010)

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sean1

Warm regards,
Sean
P.S.Make sure you don’t miss this offer. And make a decision, based on what you read.
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Insourcing. Why It Beats Outsourcing

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At 7 am, once a week, across New Zealand, a group of between twenty-thirty people assemble.

These groups of people don’t belong to a sect. They have no secret handshake. No password or code.

They’re simply networking. So what makes this group so interestingly different?

The difference is insourcing.

So what’s insourcing?

Well, it’s kinda like the other side of the outsourcing coin, you could say.

Outsourcing says: Go ye, into the world, and find some one to do what you do.

Insourcing says: Go ye, amongst thine customers, because they want to pitch in and help you do what you do.

Huh? Customers pitching in to help you?

Well, that’s exactly what happens at the 7am hour at Business Networking International Groups (BNI Groups) across New Zealand.

One of the thirty people runs the hour long networking event: He/she is called the President. In case the president doesn’t show up, there’s the vice-president (who has his/her own duties regardless).

And there’s a treasurer.
A visitor host to help newcomers settle in.
A networking educator who um…educates.

And no one gets a salary.
No one sends in an invoice to head office for work done.
And I know it’s sounding crazier by the minute, but it’s true.

BNI groups put self-interest below group-interest

That is why you’ll find that every member of the group acts as a sales person. Every member tends to want to bring in more members to enrich the group. Every member helps out in the running of the group where possible.

And while the president, vice-president and treasurer get a rebate on their membership, no one else gets paid. Yet they happily participate and grow the business, without asking for a salary or reward.

This is the concept of insourcing.

And this concept isn’t new.

Even as a child you could go back to a point in time, where your parents threw a party. And no, they didn’t have fancy-schmancy caterers. And they didn’t cook most of the scrumptious food either.

Instead all the guests pitched in. Each of the guest loaded the groaning table with yet one more dessert; yet another salad; yet another lip-smacking dish.

Your parents were no dopes.

They realised they could do it themselves; They could outsource; Or they could insource.

And they did what Wikipedia does

Wikipedia insources. Wikipedia.org is an online encyclopaedia started by Jimmy Wales in the year 2001.

And as of today, Wikipedia has more than 1,920,000 articles on subjects as varied as you can probably think of. Of course, this mountain of articles is just in English.

There are 534 000+ articles in French.
260 000+ artículos en Espanol.
242 000+ artiklar in ze Swedish.

And yup, as you guessed there are hundreds of thousands of articles in Italian, and Polish, and Marathi, from countries and languages you probably even haven’t heard of yet.

Heck, try outsourcing a job like that!

Every day tens of thousands of Wikipedia ‘editors’ (what else could you call them?) scour the pages, adding information, updating information, and fixing information that’s been defaced. And these Wikipedia ‘editors’ can and do fix pages online, simply because they’re allowed to.

For a large part, the system gives an average Joe the ability to post and update information. And it’s all done by ‘customers’ who are interested in keeping Wikipedia going.

So why would your customers be interested in keeping you going?

I mean, why would they ‘work for you?’

Contrary to what you believe, customers are more than willing to pitch in. We’ve all grown up to believe that somehow we’re driven by our selfish desires. And God knows we are.

But there’s a group desire that is bigger than our petty wants. And that group desire understands and recognises the need to pitch in—without a fee.

You may not believe this to be true.

But ask a customer to proof-read your report, for instance. And they’ll do it. Ask for volunteers if you need some technical help on computers.

And you’ll get it. Ask for ideas on how to improve your business, and a wall of suggestions will warm you like sunshine on a freezing day.

Your parents were no dopes, but you sure are!

You are so very enamoured by the great world of outsourcing, that you’ve forgotten what it is like to insource. You’ve excluded your customers from pitching in. You’ve shut the door on not just volunteerism, but technical expertise.

Many of your customers are technically superior to both you, and your ‘outsourced person.’ And these customers are more than happy to pitch in. But you won’t let them.

Well, in our business we let them.

Customers act as guides to new customers.
Customers upload information to our servers and notify other customers about updates.
Customers trawl through our website and spot errors, and help us fix them.

Customers make hundreds of suggestions to fix our business—knowing we will do our best. Customers help at our workshops, doing various tasks (and we do ask for volunteers).

This, my friend, is insourcing.

It’s what your parents did at the summer party. It’s what Wikipedia, iTunes, Amazon.com and hundreds, if not thousands of businesses do all the time. It’s what religions have been successfully doing for thousands of years. It’s what those twenty-thirty people do at every 7 am meeting at BNI, week after week after week.

They’re insourcing.
And you’re not.

Well, about time to change your ways, don’t you think?

Next Step: Want to learn more about Info Products Marketing? Find the entire infoproducts strategy series in text, audio with cartoons!
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